(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Bais Medrash (c) Torah.Org

Date: Mon, 23 Jun 1997 20:22:39 -0400
From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel)
Subject: RE: Recognizing Gedolim In Email Situations

Michael Stepakoff [BM v1n19] asks how we are suppose to know who are
elders are in an email interaction...that purpose being to show them the
proper respect.

I think being a Gadol is not only an attribute of the person but also an
attribute of what he says.  I would like to help Michael by suggesting
that a Gadol's postings would excel in the following three attributes:

   * EXAMPLES: A Gadol could give many examples for each rule he
   mentions--most people when they cite rules can only give a few examples

   * DISTINCTIONS: A Gadol could reconcile superficially contradictory sources
   by giving clear and precise distinctions which account for the
   contradictions in a meaningful manner--most non Gadolim cannot introduce
   good distinctions

   * SOURCES: A Gadol can usually cite many sources for most ideas that
   he discusses. Ordinary people can only cite a few sources.

It would appear to me that if an ordinary person occasionally produced
a posting like a Gadol--i.e. it excelled in the above 3 characteristics
...then when responding to that posting it is obligatory to treat it with
the same respect we give a Gadol

Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d. ASA RHendel @ Mcs Drexel Edu