Einei HaEdah

A collection of sources to help those who don't want to buy into myths about Modern Orthodoxy, religious anti-Zionism, and other matters. NOTE: This is more of a database than a blog. NOTE #2: I refer to HaRabbanim HaGaonim Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Yosef Dov HaLevi Soloveitchik, and Rav Ahron HaLevi Soloveichik, Zichronam L'V'rachah, as "Rav Moshe, "the Rav," and "Rav Ahron."

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Roles of the Gadol and the Communal Rabbi: "Communal Governance, Lay and Rabbinic: An Overview"

by Rav Aharon Lichtenstein

from THE ORTHODOX FORUM's "Rabbinic and Lay Communal Authority"
edited by Suzanne Last Stone
Robert S. Hirt, Series Editor
Copyright © 2006 Yeshiva University Press

"The notion that whatever has not been explicitly proscribed is implicitly licit, and thus not subject to rabbinic judgment, is morally and religiously abhorrent…Rabbinic involvement in areas of communal governance and policy, and lay recognition that it is not only legitimate but desirable, is essential to the optimal viability and vibrancy of a kehillah."

"It may be noted that we are confronted, mutatis mutandis, by a communal version of the problem of da’at Torah..."

"Advocates hold, first, that gedolim are imbued with a greater sensitivity to the sacral...Opponents [rejoin, p]rimarily, [that g]eneral insight is important, but it cannot be divorced from intimate knowledge…I share much of the faith of the advocates in the illuminative character of Torah and their concern with spiritual priorities. I freely admit, however, that under present circumstances I have difficulty in its application."

BLOGGER’S NOTE: Rav Lichtenstein focuses his reservations (vide p.47) on contemporary [2006] da’at Torah. The Rav, as is well known, passed away in 1993. Furthermore, Rav Lichtenstein’s reservations are based on the need for an “in-depth understanding of the ambient culture and of the issues confronting it.” No doubt, Rav Lichtenstein would maintain that the Rav had that!