Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Torah Sages

I have to say that Anonymous and I have continued to discuss the issue of kippot and the 'Uniform of the Army of HaShem.' I have been enjoying the conversation, but it has brought about another question in my mind that sort of spun off while thinking further on the issue of the story of Yosef.

The argument that has been presented to me is that HaShem has dictated what one should wear. (Dark dress pants, a white crisply pressed dress shirt, black velvet kippah, etc. - the Uniform of the Army of HaShem.) The center piece of the argument is that The Rambam made a statement about emulating the Torah Sages, and that this is in more than just a spiritual ideal.

I have been thinking on this and I like the idea, it is sound thinking, after all the Torah Sages certainly know more than I do about a great many things.

Anonymous has accused me of being arrogant because I refuse to acknowledge that I am off the 'path of true Judaism' by refusing to accept the 'uniform' as HaShem's ideal clothing. He has asked how I rectify the fact that I am refusing to accept the 'uniform.'

My initial thought was 'well I could say arrogance of knowledge,' but the flipness of the response really isn't what I am trying to accomplish. While I tend to be sarcastic frequently, this is not a subject that requires that kind of response.

Torah Sages, Yes that is what I am supposed to be discussing. Perhaps I may be off on this, but I think we need a definition here. The reason I am saying that is it seems to me that both Heshy and Anonymous are taking a ridged view of what a Torah Sage is, especially in the last 250 to 300 years. How do I mean this? Well, it seems that if the Torah Sage is one that fits a very defined view of the that term. They must be dressed a certain way, believe a certain way, etc. The problem with this: It eliminates people who may be scholars and sages, but don't fit their definition. Alternatively if you are going to say, dress/behave according the way Torah Sages dress/behave I believe that telling some one that it must be a certain set of Torah Sages is going against The Rambam's law. One who may be a Torah Sage to me may not be to Heshy and Anon, and visa versa.

Is it bad to have a Sage that isn't a Chassid. Well now that really is the question?

I don't have a solid answer, but I will say this, I believe that a true Torah Sage has to have several things, insights in to Torah that do not conflict with Halakhah or the Torah/Writings themselves. I also believe that the true Sage will not limit his interpretations to what he was told before simply because he was told. HaShem gave us the ability to think, to decide. Why must the most educated in our society be limited to only a certain view or views.

If a great Torah Sage of the modern generation where's a knit kippah, are Heshy and Anonymous going to ignore his legitimate insights into the Torah, because of his dress style?

Oh well, I have a feeling this thought process will go on for a while.

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