Faulty Thinking
Moshe Ben-Chaim
Reader: So your main theological objections to chassidut are:
1) God permeates all physical matter, is embraced by Chassidus. Equally embraced and corrupt, Chassidism maintains "there is good in everything, even sin and evil contain some good." Based on this error, Chassidism promotes the next error:
2) Chassidus promotes dissension into sin by a tzaddik in order to facilitate "ascension."
Mesora: Correct.
Reader: The first point is of course true and is the opinion of the Torah. Of course, the subtleties of this idea have to be understood. Everything in his world, by right should not exist. It is only through the constant 'attention' of Hashem that creation maintains itself. This life-force is the g-dliness in all things. Even evil has good in it since G-d fulfills His devine purpose in the world through it.
Mesora: You make the same mistake the chassidim make. There is no good in evil, and God does not desire evil to exist at all. This is a major mistake you are making, and against the Torah. You are resorting to a destruction of your own thinking, just to salvage chassidus. Your true goal should be to discover the truth, at any cost, even if it means abandoning ideas you learned, or abandoning a complete lifestyle. When you are ready for this level of honesty, begin your research again.
Reader: Since it is halachicaly forbiden to study kishuf, I can not tell you how it works. But I know that Shaul went to a necromancer to raise the spirit of Shmuel and 'it worked.'
Mesora: See the Radak there, he says explains it as Saul's own daydream, and that the baalas ove never did anything. If you were not so interested in, and attracted to these fantasies, you would have researched all the mefarshim and would have read the Radak. You must examine yourself and see that you are bent on retaining magical things, even when reason goes against it. Read the Radak, read the Ibn Ezra again, but this time, think into the reasoning, and don't allow previous ideas to affect your thinking. Engage only reasoning to determine whether it makes sense.
Reader: I have seen the opinions against the reality of kishuf, they are almost always by Rabbis living in societies where such beliefs were mocked. Coincidence?
Mesora: You are continuing to make the same mistake in thinking, over and over again. By suggesting influences caused our sages to arrive at conclusions, you violate "Mak-Chish Magideha", "degrading the Torah's teachers". Do not theorize about supposed, negative affects due to WHERE a Rabbi lived, but read his words and try to understand his idea. Read Ibn Ezra on Leviticus,19:31 again.
Your argument against this Ibn Ezra (who accuses believers in magic to be "empty brained") is completely out of line. Not once will Rashi, Ramban, or Rambam accuse another of false ideas because of where they lived, or who they learned from. You are resorting to a line of argument which no Rishon, Tanna, or Amora ever used, because what they discuss is the truth or fallacy of the content, while you are attached to something else.
Mesora: Saadia Gaon in Emunos v'Daos says all Egyptian tricks were slight of hand, and they had no power.
Reader: Maybe so, but just because Egyptian tricks were slight of hand, does not imply that there is not such thing as kishuf.
Mesora: Then you must prove it, or abandon this belief. A rational thinker doesn't say, "although I never saw flying elephants, they may still exist". Rational thinkers will only accept what reason tells them, and they will deny unreasonable things unless proven. You are working the opposite way. You are believing things until disproved. There is a big difference, and your method will lead to all unexplainable and impossible thoughts.
Accept ideas on their own merit, regardless of authorship.
Your one barometer for thought: Accept what makes sense.

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