Originally posted March 17, 2012
It's one thing to speculate what the Rambam or Rashi meant in a given passage
But when a living being writes or speaks, and says something that is fuzzy or controversial, to me it is downright lazy or perhaps dishonest not to verify and clarify with the author or speaker.
People often put their own "spin" on things, often in a critical way, without concern of how it was actually intended.
EG In Avot derabbi Nosson we see how Tzaddok and Baituss ran with a mis-interpretation or a mis-understanding of their mentor Antigonos Ish Socho. Did they first verify their denial of s'char in the next world with their Rebbe?
If the agenda is honesty, then go to "the Horse's Mouth" and verify, verify, verify.