Thursday, January 5, 2017

Is There Objective Halachic Truth?

לרפואת כ"ק מרן אד"ש
והגאון רבי משה בן רחל
והגאון רבי אהרן יהודה לייב בן גיטל פייגע 
בתוך שח"י

Rav Yisrael Salanter asked [Iggeres 30]: How can it be that Beis Shammai almost always ruled stringently while Beis Hillel almost always ruled leniently? If it is a matter of pure logic - then there should be no reason why Beis Shammai should almost always lean to the stringent side and B"H to the lenient side!!

He answered that they were NOT arguing about logical constructs. They were arguing about "שיקול הדעת" - how to decide when both sides of the issue are compelling. Here, logic took a back seat and they decided based on their natural, inborn כחות הנפש - personal inclinations. Beis Shammai's personality was one of stringency while Beis Hillel was one of leniency. 

Rav Kook and the Satmar Rabbe both have ample sources to support their respective approaches to sinful Jews. So why was Rav Kook so loving and understanding while the Satmar Rebbe was such an outspoken zealot? The answer, I believe is the same - different kochos hanefesh, different conclusions.

Rav Hutner was once asked - So what about objective truth? His answer was that OBJECTIVE truth is what the Rabbi SUBJECTIVELY decide. That becomes the will of Hashem.

That is reminiscent of this post

When choosing a Rav, it is worthwhile to seek someone whose nature is akin to yours to a certain extent [or at least appreciates who you are] in addition to being a big talmid chochom. 

[עי' על התשובה במשנתו של הרב הוטנר עמ' 291]