Isaac Kaplan

"Is it any wonder I've got too much time on my hands?"

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

On Thinking and Not Thinking

One thing that's bothered me for years is how differently some yeshiva guys approach gemara and hashkafa.

If a yeshiva guy stumbles upon a gemara that they don't understand, they'll spend many hours trying to understand it. Some people I know would get visibly frustrated if they couldn't get pshat. The attitude of "it's okay, I have emunah that this is right" is ultimately behind all the frustration. But that attitude isn't so strong to the point where people won't try to understand the gemara because of their emunas chachamim.

When it comes to hashkafos, though, a lot of guys just sip the kool-aid. I don't think they think objectively about hashkafos.

Why is that? I think it comes from how each issue is presented. Gemara is learned in a "fair and balanced" manner. There's no agenda in trying to understand a gemara one way as opposed to another. So most yeshiva guys look at a gemara with a clean slate.

But when I would attend vaadim about hashkafa, there was clearly an agenda there. You knew what the mashgiach was going to say. Sometimes he would discuss the other side, but usually it didn't get much treatment.

Also, you hear a lot more about emunas chachamim when it comes to hashkafos than when it comes to gemara. Questions are not encouraged in this setting. Why?

2 Comments:

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