Attacking vs Questioning


Jessie Fischbein



Dear Jewish Times,

In your article, "Plural Positions," you defended your adherence to the concept of one, absolute truth. You explained that we must fit into the Torah, not fit the Torah into our predefined philosophy. You explained that you would only teach opinions that you agree with.

You did not respond to two points that I would like to address.

The writer said: "[You] presume yourself as the sole source on what is considered "correct" and "truth," whether it be in areas of Philosophy or Halacha. To presume either is quite laughable even for the greatest talmid chacham, which I'm sorry to say from reading through your website, you do not seem to be."

The language "I'm sorry to say that you do not seem to be a talmid chacham" came across as a personal attack. I would have liked to see an example cited of an area of philosophy or halacha, with proof that it is clearly
false. This would have backed up the accusation more specifically.

The writer said: "You should also get an education... many of your claims are clearly stated from a lack of one."

Once again, this is a personal attack unaccompanied by specific data. I have seen many examples of questions sent in by readers with the following format: "You claim X. This gemara/midrash/practice, etc. contradicts that.
How do you explain that?" This gives Mesora the opportunity to defend its position. The writer of this letter must address all of the points he disagrees with by bringing clear sources that contradict what Mesora says, and then receive unsatisfactory explanations, in order to justify this complaint. His current contentions are vague. He criticized Mesora personally instead of attacking the halacha or philosophy with sources.