Thursday, April 10, 2008

Rabbinic authority

Come to think of it, R. Yakov Emden was fighting the influence of the Eybeshitzer Rebbe. The famous Shaagas Aryeh, from Vilno, went wandering through European towns, exercising the power of speech that Shulchan Aruch gives to anyone who is learned in Torah. In one city, he listened to a rabbi's Fri. night speech, commenting "hevel vshtuss," prompting the speaker to call Shaagas Aryeh an am haaretz. Shaagas Aryeh replied with the Mishna that says that an am haaretz precedes a kohen; the head of the community admitted that Shaagas Aryeh is great enough to dine at his house. Visiting another city, Shaagas Aryeh was so critical of the city's minhagim and halacho practice that the community exercised the right to ask him to leave. They escorted him to the city's limits, as befitting a talmud chacham's stature. He turned around, looked at the city, and said that the city was great to visit. The heads of the community told him that this was the first nice comment they heard from him. Shaagas Aryeh answered that the city was good, because the they, the heads of the community, were no longer in it.

It's exciting to learn what cool, democratic(?) liberties are granted by Shulchan Aruch.
(in resposne to a friend sending
Rabbinic authority Berel Wein, THE JERUSALEM POST, Mar. 14, 2007)

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