Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Why we don't understand Chazal

No doubt, that "Chazal vs Science", is probably the biggest debate argued about, here on J-blogs.
All agree that Chazal were men of great wisdom. Hence their name - Chachomeinu Zichronom Livrocha. The questions arise when the basic meaning of their statements don't concur with our current knowledge of science and how the world works.

I would like to propose a theory, to explain why that is.

The first thing we have to acknowledge, is that wisdom comes from God.

כי ה' יתן חכמה; מפיו, דעת ותבונה

"חכמה" is generally associated with the brain - the brain is the source of our intelligence

I would like to show you that there exists another source of חכמה.

Yuma 39:a

תנא דבי רבי ישמעאל עבירה מטמטמת לבו של אדם שנאמר (ויקרא יא) ולא תטמאו בהם ונטמתם בם אל תקרי ונטמאתם אלא ונטמטם

"An Aveirah is "M'tamtem" the heart of a person".

Rashi: אוטמת וסותמת מכל חכמה

It (the Aveirah) blocks the person from all wisdom.

The Gemara is clear that an Aveirah affects the heart - מטמטמת לבו. From where does Rashi get, that it affects חכמה?

I believe the answer is, that there is another source of חכמה, called חכמת הלב which God dispenses to those he chooses to.

Shemos 28: ג ואתה, תדבר אל-כל-חכמי-לב, אשר מלאתיו, רוח חכמה; ועשו את-בגדי אהרן, לקדשו--לכהנו-לי.

Shemos 31: ו ואני הנה נתתי אתו, את אהליאב בן-אחיסמך למטה-דן, ובלב כל-חכם-לב, נתתי חכמה; ועשו, את כל-אשר צויתך.

Shemos 36: א ועשה בצלאל ואהליאב וכל איש חכם-לב, אשר נתן ה' חכמה ותבונה בהמה, לדעת לעשת, את-כל-מלאכת עבדת הקדש--לכל אשר-צוה ,ה

The Gemara in Eiruvin 53:a describes the greatness of the "Rishonim" - the earlier Chazal:

אמר ר' יוחנן לבן של ראשונים כפתחו של אולם ושל אחרונים כפתחו של היכל ואנו כמלא נקב מחט סידקית

R' Yochonan said: The hearts of the "Rishonim" were like the opening of the Ulom......

I believe that the intention here is that those "Rishonim" had חכמת הלב like the opening of the Ulom...

There is no doubt, that the advent of modern technology is a result of the huge amount of חכמה which God has granted us. I would like to propose, that the tremendous חכמה we see today in the world, is חכמת המוח - Wisdom of the brain, and not חכמת הלב - Wisdom of the heart.

The reason for that is based on the above quoted Gemara Yuma and Rashi, that Aveiros block the heart from wisdom. In today's bitter golus, none of us can proclaim to be free of Aveiros. Therefore, our hearts are "blocked" from חכמת הלב, and therefore, we find it extremely difficult to understand the depth of Chazal, whose wisdom was derived from their special God given חכמת הלב.

Recently, I had the opportunity to ask R' Avrohom Schor Shlita a question. I asked, "People ask me if Midrashim are to be taken literally".

He answered: "Tell them, that when they will learn "enough Torah", they will understand".

At first I didn't fully understand his answer. I think with the above, I understand it better. Once someone learns "enough Torah", he will be Zocheh to חכמת הלב, and then - "he will understand".

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