Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Rav Reich and Lakewood Yid on the power of the Gra z"l

Lakewood Yid quotes a speech given by Rav Uren Reich at the Agudath Israel's 82nd National Convention. While I have problems with several parts of Rav Reich's speech (which I commented on at LY's blog), the discussion turned to one particular statement. The statement is as follows:

Chazal HaKedoshimhakatan shebetalmidei Rabbeinu haKadosh mechayeh meisim! If the Gaon says that he could bring down kol galgal hachamah on this table and show it to Aristo – do we have a safek that what Chazal HaKedoshim said is emes? Ra’u mi’sof haolam ve’ad sofo – ain leharher achar divrei haGemara.

Roughly translated, what Rav Reich is saying is that if the Gaon (presumably the Vilna Gaon) said he could bring the entire universe down to his table top and show it to Aristotle, certainly the Talmudic statements regarding the nature of the universe would be shown to be correct.

Now, LY acknowledges that it's not so certain that the Gaon ever made such a statement. However, he goes on to state, that if he did, he certianly had the power to do so. When asked by a poster if the Gaon could actually do such a thing, he answers:

If the Gaon said he could, then he could. R'tzon Ye'rayov Yaaseh. (He [God] does the will of those that fear Him -- translation mine).

By postulating such a statement, LY, in effect, makes the Gaon omnipotent. If he could say it, he could do it (by virture of R'tzon Y'raiov Ya'aseh). Such a position is inherintly ridiculous.


Why couldn't Yehoshua finish the conquest of Eretz Yisroel and drive out the Canaanites? After all, certainly Yehoshua feared Hashem and certainly he wanted to conquer EY. R'tzon Y'raiov Ya'aseh.

Why couldn't Dovid build the Beis Hamikdash? After all, Dovid certainly feared Hashem and certainly he wanted to build the BHM. Heck, he wrote the line "R'tzon Y'raiov Ya'aseh!"

Why couldn't Yirmiyahu prevent the destruction of the first Bais HaMikdash? Didn't Yirmiyahu fear Hashem? Was Yirmiyahu less than the Gra?

Why couldn't the Tana'im prevent the destruction of the second Bais HaMikdash and Betar? Was the Gaon greater than all of them put together? Did they not fear Hashem? Were they not aware of the verse of "R'tzon...?"

Why couldn't the Rishonim prevent the decimation of European Jewry during the Crusades? Did they not want to prevent it?! Did they not fear Hashem?

If none of these great people could prevent the very mundane (non-miraculous) happenings that happened during their lifetimes, why does it make sense to say that the Gra z"l could bring the entire universe down to his tabletop?

The Wolf


Larry Lennhoff said...

None of the authorities you cite ever claimed they could do any of the things you say they desired. So I don't see how they are counters to LY's comment that if the Gra said he could do something he could do it.

Not that I find his claim believable, but the logic of your counterexample simply doesn't follow.

BrooklynWolf said...

The logic simply lies in the fact that even LY would agree that the people I quoted were greater than the Gra. As such, if the Gra were so powerful that he could do "anything" (R'tzon Yire'uv Ya'aseh), then surely these greater people could have done something about the calamities that befell them in their time.

Larry Lennhoff said...

What Lakewood Yid said was that 'if the Gra said he could do such and such, then he could'. The veracity of the quote from the Gra was questionable. If in fact the Gra could not put the whole universe on the table before Aristotle, then LY would say that the Gra would never say such a thing.

I don't read what you've quoted LY as saying is that the Gra is omnipotent. I hear LY saying the Gra is absolutely truthful. The same could easily apply to Yirmiahu - the reason that he never said he could prevent the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash is that he couldn't.

BrooklynWolf said...

The way I understood LY was that he was saying that *assuming the quote to be accurate* (and he did leave room that it might not be), that the Gra could do whatever he wanted, in effect, making him omnipotent.

My point was that, assuming the above is true, then if the Gra was omnipotent, then certainly the other figures I mentioned should be as well - but yet we see that they weren't.

I'll allow for the fact that I'm misinterpreting what LY said. If he chooses to explain it in a way that shows that my interpretation was wrong, I will be more than happy to apologize.

The Wolf

Anonymous said...

this is the most idiotic and childish arguments h i have ever encountered ,its really an embarrasment please cut it out

BrooklynWolf said...


Thank you for your comment. However, if you'd care to tell me exactly what part of my post was idiotic or childish, I'll be glad to address it.

Personally, I don't think taking LY to task for his comments is idiotic or childish. Nor, for that matter, do I think someone taking me to task for my comments childish or idiotic either. I simply ask that you elaborate further on why you believe so.

The Wolf

and so it shall be... said...

"However, if you'd care to tell me exactly what part of my post was idiotic or childish, I'll be glad to address it."

The part where you take Lakewood Yid seriously and present a rational response to his psychophantic drivel.

BrooklynWolf said...

Fair enough. Point taken.

The Wolf

topshadchan said...

a little late, but my two cents.
i believe it was me who asked if ly really believes the goan could do it.

in my opinion ly doensnt actually believe what he writes.
he simply takes a maximalist position and sticks with it until he cant any longer. he then takes the next maximalist position.

he stated goal is to defend charedi ideology. that ideology is to not give an inch unless confronted with overwhelming evidence and a godol says its ok to give that inch.
charedi gedolim are in no mood to give any inches, so they are creating a society of taliban driven loonies.