Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Deceptive Memories and Yeridat Hadorot

A recent comment on R. Natan Slifkin's blog discusses an idea I've been thinking about a lot lately. See the third paragraph of the November 18, 2009 5:09 AM comment of G*3 to the post Quite well put. I don't necessarily agree with the rest of the comment.

Different Rabbis for Different Folks

Ponder the following:

Suppose the Skverer Rebbe (whom I know nothing about) rules that X is permitted. Suppose that R. Elyashiv and, for good measure, the entire Agudas Yisrael, believes that X is forbidden. Suppose Mr. A believes that R. Elyashiv is the greatest posek alive today, and that the Skverer Rebbe, though a talmid chacham, just doesn't measure up to him. Would Mr. A think it wrong of Skverer chasidim to engage in X, as per their rebbe's ruling? Generally speaking, I think not.

Now replace Skverer chasidim with disciples of R. Hershel Schachter (of YU), and replace X with the belief that Chazal made mistakes in science, or any number of other issues on which R. Schachter (among others) disagrees with R. Elyashiv. Shouldn't the attitude of Mr. A be the same? Shouldn't Mr. A consider it acceptable for R. Schachter's talmidim to follow his views? -- Unless Mr. A thinks that R. Schachter is not a talmid chacham.