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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Do Chazal get to decide who gets into Olam HaBa?

There was some heated discussion (see point #6 in the post linked) about this topic recently.

I think it is a clear-cut Gemara in Sanhedrin 104b:


אמר רב יהודה אמר רב בקשו עוד למנות אחד באה דמות דיוקנו של אביו ונשטחה לפניהם ולא השגיחו עליה באה אש מן השמים ולחכה אש בספסליהם ולא השגיחו עליה יצאה בת קול ואמרה להם (משלי כב) חזית איש מהיר במלאכתו לפני מלכים יתיצב בל יתיצב לפני חשוכים מי שהקדים ביתי לביתו ולא עוד אלא שביתי בנה בשבע שנים וביתו בנה בשלש עשרה שנה לפני מלכים יתיצב [בל יתיצב] לפני חשוכים ולא השגיח עליה יצאה בת קול ואמרה (איוב לד) המעמך ישלמנה כי מאסת כי אתה תבחר ולא אני וגו

"Rav Yehudah said in the name of Rav: 'They sought to enumerate one more (king- Shlomo, as one who does not merit Olam HaBa). At that moment the image of his father (David) came and prostrated itself in supplication before (the Anshei Knesses HaGedolah - begging them not to include Shlomo on the list), but they did not pay attention to it. A fire came down from Heaven and the fire licked at their benches, and they paid no attention to it. A Heavenly Voice came out and said to them - 'Do you see a man diligent in his work? He shall stand before kings, he shall not stand before darkened ones'. He who built My House before his own house (as Shlomo did), and not only that, but My house he built in seven years, while his house he built in thirteen years, he shall stand before (righteous) kings, he shall not stand before darkened (wicked) ones. And they still paid no attention. A Heavenly Voice came out and said: 'Is it from you that (punishment) is meted out, that you despise (him)? Shall you choose and not I?'"

Says the ArtScroll Gemara, note #40 there, in the name of R' Avigdor Miller (a similar idea is brought in the Sefer Bircas Avraham by R' Avraham Erlanger from Yeshivas Kol Torah) :

"As a general principle, G-d accords with the decisions of the great Torah sages in each generation. Accordingly, David feared that if Shlomo were included in the Mishnah's list, he would indeed lose his share in Olam HaBa. Moreover, following the principle that the final say in Torah matters was left to the considered opinion of the Sages, the Anshei Knesses HaGedolah ignored David's entreaties, the supernatural fire, and even the first Heavenly Voice.

Only when the second voice informed them that the matter was beyond their jurisdiction did they desist."

So, it's ultimately up to Hashem. But, He'll definitely take the opinion of Chazal into account, which is what David was afraid of. So, it probably isn't wise to roll the dice on G-d deciding in your favor against Chazal and the Rambam's considered opinion that you shall have none.

19 Comments:

Anonymous yehuda said...

I don't even understand the question.Why should chazels right to pasken on who has cheleck in olam habo be any less then thier right to pasken on the rest of torah?There are clear misnoyis in sanhedrin paskened in the rambam in hilchos tesuvah as to who doesn't have chelek in olam hoba.While perhaps Hashem will take into account mitgating factors I don't see how anyone can even question chazals right to say and pasken that according to the torah one who does certain averos has no chelek in olam habo.

3:00 PM  
Blogger Bari said...

Why should chazels right to pasken on who has cheleck in olam habo be any less then thier right to pasken on the rest of torah?

The Rambam in Peirush HaMishnah to Sanhedrin, regarding whether the Dor HaMabul get Olam Haba, writes the following: "I have already mentioned to you many times that any Machlokes between the Chachamim that does not have practical import, only it is a matter of 'belief in something' ('Emunas Davar Bilvad') there is no 'Tzad' to decide Halachah like any one of them."

The Bircas Avraham in his comments on this Gemara about Shlomo, applies this Rambam to this matter of determining who gets Olam HaBa as well.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Tal Benschar said...

IS there perhaps a difference between broad categories of people who do not have Olam ha Bah (e.g. one who denie ikkarei emunah, one who is poreish min ha Tsibbur) and particular people (whether Shlomo ha Melech gets OHB)?

6:15 PM  
Anonymous yehuda said...

IMHO it is poshet that the Ramban in pirush misnoyish was only refering to people that the whole differance is belief.Moreover that rambam is reffering to a machlokes t'noim so he doesn't want to pasken but if chazel make a blanket uncotested satement that for certain avores one has no chelek in olam habo we clearly pasken like them as the rambam does in hilchos teshuva.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Bari said...

I thought of that, and I guess its possible. But it sure doesn't sound that way from either the Bircas Avraham or the Margalios HaYam there.

6:35 PM  
Blogger Bari said...

That was for Tal. Here's the Bircas Avraham:
"But the (second) Bas Kol was that Olam HaBa is given in Shamayim, and it is not a matter of Hanhaga for this world, and therefore it is not included in that the Torah was given to their decisions, and then they (the Anshknh"g) retracted"

And the Margalios HaYam: "ShebeInyanim Shemaymiyim Ain Makom LeHachraah". ("In heavenly matters there is no room for decision").

It sounds to me like it's ultimately up to Hashem.

We might not even be arguing. You said:"Perhaps Hashem will take into account mitigating factors". Okay, then doesn't that mean He has "veto power"?

6:41 PM  
Anonymous yehuda said...

Yes hashem has veto power but I wouldn't rely on him using it.The rishonim and acronim repeatdly quote the gemoras of ain lo chelek l'olam habo in all its severity.Also the acronim ask on nuances of what rambam does or doesn't say and clearly feel them to be halacho l'maaseh.

6:49 PM  
Blogger Bari said...

Yes hashem has veto power but I wouldn't rely on him using it.

Sounds an awful lot like this:

So, it probably isn't wise to roll the dice on G-d deciding in your favor against Chazal and the Rambam's considered opinion that you shall have none.

No?

6:51 PM  
Anonymous yehuda said...

No.I mean it the same way beis din can decide not give misah to someone who was essentaily chiyuv misah.e.g. They suspended misas beis din 40 years before the churban but as the gemorah says the din(halacha)of chiyuv misah remains untill today.

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.haloscan.com/comments/hmaryles/114840886614457236/#36180

also on gadol hador.

6:57 PM  
Anonymous yehuda said...

No more comments from me on this topic as I don't feel comfrtable discussing this issue in a venue like a blog.

6:58 PM  
Blogger Bari said...

email me please, then. I'm still not sure I get where we're differing.

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"That was for Tal. Here's the Bircas Avraham:
"But the (second) Bas Kol was that Olam HaBa is given in Shamayim, and it is not a matter of Hanhaga for this world, and therefore it is not included in that the Torah was given to their decisions, and then they (the Anshknh"g) retracted"

And the Margalios HaYam: "ShebeInyanim Shemaymiyim Ain Makom LeHachraah". ("In heavenly matters there is no room for decision").

It sounds to me like it's ultimately up to Hashem.

We might not even be arguing. You said:"Perhaps Hashem will take into account mitigating factors". Okay, then doesn't that mean He has "veto power"?"

But that doesn't explain the gemara. Why then does god have to send a bas kol? You can argue that this is an issue of kovod, either for dovid/shlomo or for chachomim, but the plain meaning is that it's part of a dialectic, that God is saying this, but also is kaveyochol bound in some way to the chachomim's decisions. I.e. God is saying it's not really your right, but don't do it, because if you do, i'll (kaveychol) have to abide by it.

Obviously God has veto power - over kiddush hachodesh too, but that is not the level the gemara is discussing this at. I think the whole point of the gemara is to lay out the rules of the game. God's veto power is extra-curricular. In some way, the gemara is saying that God is bound by chazal, at least acc. to its plain meaning, and therefore God has to say "mix out, this is not your affair."

there's also the "eylu shetiknu chachomim she'eyn lohem chelek l'olam habo" in avos d'rav nosson 41 that I mentioned in my comment (why no hattip?).

7:33 PM  
Blogger Bari said...

no hattip because it was hard for me to follow your link and which comment was yours. Sorry.

At any rate, I would think that the Bas Kol was to tell them that they were mistaken in thinking that this was among those matters given to their jurisdiction.

What do you mean about Kiddush HaChodesh? If there were a Bas Kol about when to have Rosh Chodesh we wouldn't listen to it at all. Chazal had the Koach to determine Rosh Chodesh even to the point of determining when a Shor is a Tam or Muad for that particular day of the month, and for Vesses HaChodesh, and even when Hakadosh Baruch Hu sits in judgement for Rosh HaShanah.

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What do you mean about Kiddush HaChodesh? If there were a Bas Kol about when to have Rosh Chodesh we wouldn't listen to it at all."
that's why they need a second bas kol, in which god tells them it's not their business - why does god need to do that if he can ignore them and they have no jurisdication?! The gemara is discussing the dialectic between hashem and the chachomim and it's not as simple as "they have no jurisdiction" - if so, why does god need to argue with them? The implication in the pashtus is that god is telling them what's proper, but that they can "overrule" it so to speak.

"Chazal had the Koach to determine Rosh Chodesh even to the point of determining when a Shor is a Tam or Muad for that particular day of the month, and for Vesses HaChodesh, and even when Hakadosh Baruch Hu sits in judgement for Rosh HaShanah."

Yes, but my point is that God has the power to overrule this - right, you're not suggesting that he "Can't" ignore beis din. The point here is that there is a reason God is arguing with chazal, as though it matters what they decide. Unless you read this as an issue of kovod, it's more complex than "it's up to God." The gemara has god telling chazal "I should have the right to overrule you" for the express purpose of interfering with what they decide, i.e. what they decide matters.

You've settled this by saying "God decides but the chachomim have a say and he takes what they say into account" but the implication of the gemara is more than that - that God is telling what the chachomim to decide, because what they decide has effect.

11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://tinyurl.com/n3sxw

| 05.24.06 - 8:55 pm

11:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

also

http://tinyurl.com/l8hfp

11:21 PM  
Blogger Bari said...

I'd agree with you if Hashem would say: "You must desist, for I wish to give Shlomo Olam HaBa" or something. But here's how Rashi explains:
"Does the choice depend on you and not Me to say who has a share and who does not have a share? It depends on Me!"

Maharsha: "... Certainly you can choose to do good or bad, and not Me for you, because that is not in My Hand, but reward and punishment, payment on the actions of a person, for good or for bad, is it from you? For certainly it is in the Hand of Hashem Yisbarach!"

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's the translation/explanation of what hashem says. But the larger picture in the gemara is why does hashem need to say it. The gemara is part of the polemic between god and the chachomim, like nitzchuni banai, chanina bni omar kach etc

5:24 AM  

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