Sunday, April 17, 2011

Emunah and Proofs

First we had the Orthoprax layman, then the Orthoprax Rabbi and now Ami has delivered to us the Orthoprax Posek. I remain unconvinced; It is possible that this fellow is pulling their leg or doesn't exist at all. There is also the possibility that someone is trying to create a "buzz" to sell more magazines.

Emunah is a very difficult topic. Faith is the very opposite of proof. If there would be a proof that Judaism is the one authentic religion, then why wouldn't it follow that everyone would be Jewish!

Elsewhere on the Jblogosphere the "proof" of the 4 species is being discussed. Some see this statement in Talmud Chulin 60B as proof of a divine authorship of the Torah:

אמר רב חנן בר רבא השסועה בריה בפני עצמה היא שיש לה שני גבין ושני שדראות וכי משה רבינו קניגי היה או בליסטרי היה מכאן תשובה לאומר אין תורה מן השמים

Yet if you analyze this statement, you might notice that it doesn't say that there is a proof. All it says is that there is a Teshuva; an answer. What the Talmud may be telling us here is this: Nobody has any proof that their religion is correct. Yet everyone needs, aside from the fact that they were born into it, an answer, a Teshuva, as to the logic of why they follow a particular religion. It needs to make sense.

As to whether this "proof" is actually referring to the Shesuah, the 4 single Simaned animals, or something else entirely, may be the topic of another post someday.


  1. Nice post. You are absolutely correct - the Gemara says there's "a response." As usual, our vaunted sources are a lot more responsible and circumspect than some are today.

  2. Superb post. Well worth the wait. Unfortunately this blog does not have the audience it deserves. You say so much in so few words. Keep up the great work! Looking forward to the someday post.

  3. It's entirely possible there's an Orthoprax posek. He probably sees Torah the way a doctor sees medicine, as a branch of knowledge. Just as a doctor has no need to have "faith" in anything when a patient or another doctor asks him a question, just a good working knowledge of the subject matter, so an Orthoprax posek may be fascinated with the intellectual complexity of Torah without actually believing in its origin.

  4. IMO there may be preponderance of evidence for the veracity of the עקרי הדת but there is no proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

    I agree with you but for a much more parochial reason

    If there would be a proof that Judaism is the one authentic religion, then why would anyone receive sekhar for emunah???

    ( presuming that there is s'khar v'onesh for the mitzvah/ inyan of emunah.)

  5. Also IMO far too many Kiruv Klowns rely way too heavily on empirical "proofs". I think that BTs should be transitioned as rapidly as possible from empiricism top faith. besides the fact that many of these so-called "proofs" are themselves shaky at best and downright dishonest and disingenuous at worst one reates a situation wherein one who lives by the sword dies by the side, i.e. if what first brought one to the religion is a series of e.g. archaeological evidence that supports or buttresses TeNaK"H narratives then the same BT will be susceptible 15-20 years down the line to losing there convictions when archaeological evidence that negates or revises TeNaK"H narratives becomes public knowledge. Even if s/he is too committed to chuck it all at that point you've unnecessarily created another Orthoprax.


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