Putting the Pundits in their Place

Who knows more: the experts or you?

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Comments (15)

(15) Dale Linda Dunn, February 12, 2008 11:48 PM

video emails

Rabbi Salomon's videos are wonderful!!
Please, Please keep them coming!!
Thank you so much!!

(14) Yoni C, January 24, 2008 11:50 PM


I find your message "Don't listen to the experts" very hypocritical. How many times have you cited and used experts' words and studies to bring out your own ideas and points? Just two short weeks ago when you were discussing the annoying airport security system you said "Experts agree that performing chemistry in an airplane bathroom is really very unlikely to produce any serious explosives." Why is it okay to listen to the experts regarding that? Are you not afraid that they are making a mistake and that shampoo bottles can create explosives?

I also think that your message of "Don't listen to the experts" is very misleading. Are you suggesting we go to medical school before going to a Dr. when we have a sore throat? Are you suggesting that we should fix our own car or "prescribe" ourselves the medicine that we think is the correct one?

I really think your confusing two things. There's a difference in listening to an expert while doing your own research and just listening to an expert and following blindly. While I ought to think that the latter is faulty and a symptom of low self-esteem and a lack of responsibility I don't see anything wrong with the former.


(13) Margarita, January 24, 2008 11:11 AM

you had a great point, but the way you put it is not the best

reminder is great, but please remember that experts do have a point. listening to experts and remembering that going to the hospital is important. G-d is running this life and beyond, but we have to help things to happened. statements like yours discourage our kids from study a secular trade and guess what - we still need the money and if G-d would want us to pray only we would be still in desert eating manna. didn't happened.
remember where things are coming from and it's cannot be stressed enough how important it is, but please go to doctors and lawyers, listen and get involved with real life, listen to teachers (some of them are wrong but there might be problem which teacher can see and it needs to be addressed). there are unprofessional people and there are bad people and we should thing for ourselves, but slamming everyone who does something which pays well like that is not the answer. you had a great point but the choice of delivary of it is wrong in my mind

(12) hershy, January 23, 2008 10:54 PM

Alot of so called experts have "big mouths and small brains".

(11) Chaya Sarah, January 23, 2008 6:06 PM

you did it again!

Well done! Once again, you've succeeded in leading us back through simple reminders to that which is the absolute most important to remember. thank-you again!

(10) NesanelS, January 23, 2008 2:06 PM

Exceeded Expectations!

This reminds me of a story I read from R' Mendel Kaplan of blessed memory (there is a book by his name; he was a 'grand disciple' of the Chofetz Chayim (a disciple of R' Elchonon Wasserman): Someone once told him about what someone had said that he thought someone would grow up great, but then he didn't. Said Rabbi Kaplan (who was a boys high-school rabbi for many years in Philadelphia), that, 'I would rather hear a story about someone thinking that a person would not grow up so great, - but then he did.
This also reminds me of the words of the he Chovos Hal'vovos; one of the Rishonim (who lived about 1,000 years ago), that, 'one who puts in his best effort, The Creator will help that he should reach above of his abilities.
With appreciation to: R' Salomon.
p.s. There is a great story from a Rabbi Kelemen in Israel about his child who was born and had a terrible prognosis, but then with help from Heaven guiding many events, this was totally taken care of!!! Do a search on Google for the words - Rabbi Kelemen We Are Never Alone - It is an astounding story. (Permission is necessary for sale)
There is also a great video given out by 1-866-6-SABBATH - for free for the asking. It is on DVD, and is a professional presentation of a story of a man who overcame his illness after accepting to keep the Sabbath. Likewise we could all gain from improving - of course. So please call. (This post is without their knowing - but I've seen it a number of times and have converted it for IPod also.). Shalom!!!

(9) David Cohen, January 23, 2008 10:37 AM

Anti-intellectualism run amok

I have to take issue with the main thrust of the webcast. I think the distrust of facts has reached crazy proportions in the US, and it becomes a sort of credulity of its own, because if the assumption is that ALL experts and authorities lie, then a) there are no consequences for experts and politicians who blatantly lie to further their ends, since it is assumed that everybody else is lying too, and b) everybody is free to act and believe as they were predisposed to anyway, without consulting with the experts or there "facts," since these are assumed to be baseless to begin with.
You wouldn't poskin on whether somebody's tefillin were kosher or not without consulting with an expert in tha area of halakha, because logic dictates that a person who has spent is whole adult life studying that area probably knows more than you about it. Likewise, it behooves us to listen to the opinion of climatologists regarding the likelihood, causes and proper response to global warming; to oncologists regarding the proper treatment if (G-d forbid) we are diagnosed with cancer; and to the weatherman regarding whether we should pack a raincoat.
If Hashem decides to change things from their natural course so that they don't go as the experts would predict, or if factors that the experts were not aware of turn out to have a greater-than-anticipated effect on the outcome, fantastic! But that does not excuse us from planning for the future using the best resource Hashem has given us to work with--other, smart, people.

Greetings from Houston,

(8) Jacqueline Mamoni, January 22, 2008 7:36 PM

3 is validation

Get three opinion..

(7) Ruth Housman, January 22, 2008 1:59 PM

something to think about

Since God rules the world then what we are given, namely in dialogue, must be part of the cosmic picture. How can one separate this out except to live with paradox? Sometimes the weatherman is correct, and most often that's how we get to plan so as not to leave the house and skate on thin ice.
To protect the elderly from an incipient disaster.
So yes, and no. Don't trust the pundits but do place some trust in the education of others to help in times of distress. They are not always right. We are, all of us, flawed, with that Achilles heel. To follow the right path is to leaven everything with a sense of humor and to realize we all fall down, sometime or other. It's part of that greater cosmic story!

(6) thomas eby, January 22, 2008 10:25 AM


Beware of the experts. I thoroughly agree with Rabbi Yaakov. Unfortunately in America as around the world too many people want to believe the supposed "Experts". It is the easy way out to let someone else do your thinking for you. When that happens disaster often follows. Since it is a Rabbi making these comments he knows only too well the history of the Jews and how they have been led down the primrose path to disaster. There is a book written in the mid-1800's by an English author called "The Madness of Crowds". In this book he points out how man only regains his sensabilities when he seperated himself from the crowd. Only then can he see clearly the truth and act upon it.

Very good article.
Tom Eby.........

(5) Kevin, January 20, 2008 5:48 PM

Great talk

Its good to hear that we are not all zombies to the material world that god has a place in our hearts.And we should follow his way.

(4) Yehoshua Cirt, January 20, 2008 12:04 PM

No where is this truth more evident than in Israel!

I've been in this holy land for 25 years, and I'm astonished each day by the stupidity of Israeli policy makers (read: American policy makers,for what are we to the Americans, but a bananna republic). Time and time again, they prove themselves wrong on many accounts. "If we get our of Gaza, then we have a fair chance, if we, if we."
You live the reality cited by the rabbi here very intensely for better or for worse. Two psukim come to mind: "Many are the thoughts of man but G-d's will shall be realized in the end," and "A land where the eyes of G-d are upon her from the beginning of the year till the end." It seems that anything the politians and policy makers proclaim is given a perusal and a veto from above as in no other land or circumstance! It's truly inspirational to live this truth on a daily basis here!!

(3) Rosen, January 20, 2008 8:24 AM

Estimating vs. unpredictability

It certainly is a normal part of growth, even for experts to make the wrong predictions and estimations. Much like how no one knows the absolute truth, except for G-d. Those who claim to be prophets assuming they've heard G-d's word often turn out to be wrong. So, it's best for one to make his/her own judgment and think for themselves, and not just listen to an expert's input. The media does not seem to put fair emphasis on all the presidential candidates focusing more on name recognition such as with H. Clinton and race recognition with Obama, more than those who are very experienced. I supported Joe Biden for president, but unfortunately, he was not as emphasized by the media, and I really wanted him to make it thru in the polls, given his experience and clear-cut Iraq war strategy...Getting back to experts, sometimes when I incur a certain problem, and rely on them to assess the situation, they'll say that they "never heard of or seen it before". That makes me feel peeved that they are not fully experienced or well-trained enough to deal with something relatively new...Other than that, G-d is the ultimate yoke of this world, and we are given free will to determine whether we are to be the change in the world we want, depending on unification or division.

(2) Eric, January 20, 2008 8:05 AM

People use this argument against the Rabbis, too

Isn't this the same argument/logic that people use in order to disregard the advice/rulings of Rabbis? Also, isn't calling yourself a "noted psychotherapist" the same as calling yourself an "expert"?

(1) Noach, January 20, 2008 6:15 AM

Something to think about, too.

Dear Rabbi Solomon,

while I do agree with your opinion, I still want to remark that for some people, they take your words in a different way: All human beings make mistakes, and some so-called specialists really only rely on data that they produced without taking the "real world" into account. Still Specialists are to be treated with respect for their work. I know some people who have said: I don't believe this doctor, I won't take his medicine. But actually, the doctor had been right and the person who was defiant only couldn't understand that that "PhD" really meant something. In the End, G'd runs the place. But we have to treat the work of others with respect. What do you think?


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