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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Insight 5767-21: The Chok

Parshat Ki Tisa and Pashat Parah

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

1 comment:

  1. In re-reading the Insight, I found that I did not fully describe the process for which I am advocating. When there is the confusion of conflict, there are three laternatives, not just two. My call to not simply declare such situations a chok demands the necessity to consider the conflict in rational terms. What I mentioned in the Insight was that this may demand one to advocate for the perceived Torah morality in the face of the general populace's perception of right and wrond. What I did not say is that this process actually initiates a theoretical dialogue. There are times that an outside voice can force us to consider a review of halachic positions. Of course, halachic analysis must maintain its own integrity but halachic analysis can be initiated by moral questions. For example it is the recognized pain of the aguna and a perceived moral view that there is something wrong with a woman in this state forever barred from marrying that pushes many poskim to find a heter. Womeone may argue that this moral value is expressed in Torah itself but as I mentioned the difficulty with confusion of conflict may not only arise from a conflict with what may be defined as natural morality. I also do not feel that I fully explained what I meant when I argued that if we do continue to use the term chok we must truly define the matter as a confusion of absurdity, not just of conflict. The Rav, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, once responded to the question of why women cannot be witnesses by referring to the fact that Moshe and Aharon could also not be witnesses (together, as two brothers). In doing so, he was basically asserting that this shows that rules of witnesses enter the realm of the absurd. It is absurd that tow individuals such as Moshe and Aharon cannot give testimony. In making this point, he was indicating that in the same manner the exclusion of women as witnesses can be seen as another absurdity (form the human rational perspective)in the chok of this law of witnesses. The confusion of cnnflict is shown to be a confusion of absurdity within the absurdity of the chok.