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Author:  Gershon
E-mail:  beercon2@aol.com
Date:  7/1/2004 9:27:00 AM
Subject:  RE: Prophesy
Message:  I jusy glanced at the Gemara you mentioned in Baba Basra. Without fully analyzing it yet, I have to say this. Be very careful in bringing aggadata gemaras to support your position against the Rambam. Obviously the Rambam was well aware of that Gemara, yet he held there is only nevuah for chachamim. Unless you maintain that the Rambam did not know that gemara -- I would be curious to know if you did. But either way, you must learn agadata very carefully as they are most often NOT to be taken literally. (Please see the Rambam's introduction to pirush hamishnayos. Judaica Press has an excellent translation, done by Zvi Lampel. Pages 150-164 are a MUST read for everyone!) Especially when a baal mesora like the Rambam sets out a principle in nevuah, you cannot take a perfunctory reading of an agadata in Baba Basra and reject what the Rambam says.

Even if you still disagree with me, I think it behooves you to instruct your readers on the nature of aggados as this is a serious issue which is unbelievably distorted. So many "rabbonim" misinterpret gemaras and think they know what they are talking about. If you read what the Rambam says about aggados and see how analyzes and aggada there, you will see what I am talking about. If you have not seen it yet, you should. It is absolutely required reading!
   
Reply:  First of all, let us not use such a statement to negate 3/4 of the Gemaras, by just saying, "they are most often NOT to be taken literally..."

That is also a very dangerous statement. This gives people the right to choose which Gemaras to accept and which to just shrug off. Yes, when the Gemara says that Adam was as tall as the the length of the world, that is not to be taken literally. This story is clearly to be taken literally. When you have a bit of mileage on Gemara, you can most often know automatically which are literal and which are not.

The fact that the Ramba"m said what he said, does not negate a Gemara. You just need to understand the difference. Negating the Gemara just off the cuff in order to conform with your own theological views is ridiculous. It is reminiscent of the beginnings of Christianity, or maybe worse, Chasidus....

It is Ok to have a Setirah, rather than to automatically pop off a Gemara. On another post I explained the Setirah. It is really two different kinds of Nevuah. A Shoteh and a child have a Nevuah that they know nothing about. God just drops it in here and there on special occassions. 98% of their statements can be childish and/or foolish, and once in a while they can be fed a Nevuah. The real Nevuah that is attained deliberately by a Navie or aspiring Navie, is a whole different thing. This cannot be just anyone. There are special requirements and prerequisites. AA

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