Don’t Ask On A Derush

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R. Ya’akov Kamenetsky, Emes Le-Ya’akov al ha-Torah, p. 186 n. 20:

The rule that “We do not ask questions on a derush” is not due to the unimportance of derush in relation to peshat. Rather, peshat is an explanation of the verse itself and therefore one can challenge it. However, the intent of a derush is only to present an idea or an innovation from himself and only to attach it to a verse. If you refute [the connection] from this verse, he will attach it to another. Therefore, it is not appropriate to challenge it. Quite the opposite; the main point of the idea or the innovation is like the “it seems to me” of the Rishonim, that one cannot dispute because it comes from the strength of the Da’as Torah of the innovator and not from the text itself.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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