Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nightmare 3

In a post on Curious Jew's blog, we were discussing the validity of platonic relationships.
Someone asked:
As far as having female friends — is the advantage of their friendship really greater than the danger of inappropriate (in this context) feelings appearing between us?
and I replied

As a 50+ year old man who BT'd in his 40s, I will unequivocally answer that based on the experiences of my life the advantages of platonic friendship with women overwhelmingly outweigh the dangers of inappropriate feelings for me.

A third party responded:

Based on what concept in Judaism do you give this answer?


I was dumbfounded. I talk about the fact that you can and should see everything through the lens of halacha, but the idea that one should simply completely disregard one's life experience unless you can show that halacha supports what you have actually lived seems insane to me.

After a few minutes I answered (in two posts)
Chaim Bachem. Or Darchei Noam, if you prefer.

I'm sure the commenter will find this answer completely inappropriate because he thinks it misuses the concepts I brought up.

2 comments:

Shira Salamone said...

For reasons unknown, I can't see the Word Verification letters on some blogs when I'm on my office computer. I finally have 1/2 a min. to comment from home.

I didn't get it, either. Did that person expect to pretend that your pre-Orthodox life literally never happened?

Mikewind Dale said...

"I was dumbfounded. I talk about the fact that you can and should see everything through the lens of halacha, but the idea that one should simply completely disregard one's life experience unless you can show that halacha supports what you have actually lived seems insane to me."

Excellent point. The problem with the Haredim (and the MO who are Haredizing) is that their epistemology is as dualistic as the Platonic metaphysics of the Christians.

For the Haredim, if it doesn't come from the halakhic canon, chapter and verse, it isn't worth knowing.

But for the Spanish rishonim, knowledge is knowledge, truth is truth. "Shema Yisrael" is no different, epistemologically, than "1+1=2", because both are true.

Hai bahem is exactly the correct response. Rabbi Dr. Leo Levi, as a source for Rav Hirsch's Torah im Derekh Eretz, brings the midrash about Moshe going up to heaven, and the angels complaining about giving the Torah to flesh and blood, and Moshe answering them that the Torah contains laws for man like going to the bathroom or using money, that don't concern angels.