RIETS Dinner 5781

Blind Faith or Thoughtful Belief?

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Date:
Apr 5, 2021
Length:
34 min 30 sec
Downloads:
18
Views:
86
Comments:
3

Mishna:
Avot 
Machshava:
Emunah Mussar 

Description

Are we allowed to have religious doubts? How does one live with doubt?

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  1. Title: Blind Faith or Thoughtful Belief?
    Author: Yehuda Mermelstein ,

    Hello Rabbi / Dr. Woolf,I am a first time listener and I was impressed with the way that you formulated the 2 sides of this issues.Your other observation also seems correct regarding the tension that has always existed regarding how engaged one should be with the outside world.However I was wondering if it is necessary conflate these 2 points.It seems plausible that an Orthodox Jew could be exposed to the outside world in various ways, but still not specifically be interested or bothered by questions of faith. The converse seems reasonable as well.It's also questionable that lacking certain tools or basic guiding principles in their approach to faith and doubt will be the stumbling block in their engagement with the outside world. That might be true for some people, but certainly not for others.We also know for a fact that in Europe as well, there was widespread incidence of leaving the fold, so I don't think that this important debate has now been resolved because of the uniqueness of our era.I would actually suggest the contrary that the deep philosophical faith based questions were actually more prevalent in the past among the ones who left the fold than they are now.Apologies, for the length, but I would also like to comment on some other points.I also read the Torah Maddah Journal debate between Rabbi Parnes and Drs Berger and Kaplan.And it has been a while, but if I recall correctly, Rabbi Parness did not simply write that if you think a certain thing you are out and bye. He was referring to a specific Rambam which certainly implied that indulging in those activities was problematic. There might be a way around the question but the default position of Rambam would seem to be in line with Rabbi Parness' reading.I also recall them citing the Rov (Maase Rav) as a justification for freedom of inquiry which is a solid basis for their approach, but that does not address the real issue which is Rambam's formulation of this prohibition.It's also interesting that while you favor Rambam's approach as opposed to Rabbi Yehuda Halevy, you do admit that people lack the intellectual humility to be able to withdraw and live with it, so the approach might be somewhat impractical.You also admit that it sounds like a cop out which is pretty much what the Raavad accuses the Rambam of in Hilchot Teshuvah.Finally, I find it interesting that people outside of the Ultra Orthodox community are very comfortable and confident referring to and commenting on issues that have reached crisis levels in those communities. It creates the impression that other Orthodox communities are problem free.Thank you and I apologize if this seemed provocative. Obviously nothing here is personal.Yehuda Mermelstein

  2. Title: Blind Faith or Thoughtful Belief?
    Author: Yehuda Mermelstein ,

    Hello Rabbi / Dr. Woolf,I am a first time listener and I was impressed with the way that you formulated the 2 sides of this issues.Your other observation also seems correct regarding the tension that has always existed regarding how engaged one should be with the outside world.However I was wondering if it is necessary conflate these 2 points.It seems plausible that an Orthodox Jew could be exposed to the outside world in various ways, but still not specifically be interested or bothered by questions of faith. The converse seems reasonable as well.It's also questionable that lacking certain tools or basic guiding principles in their approach to faith and doubt will be the stumbling block in their engagement with the outside world. That might be true for some people, but certainly not for others.We also know for a fact that in Europe as well, there was widespread incidence of leaving the fold, so I don't think that this important debate has now been resolved because of the uniqueness of our era.I would actually suggest the contrary that the deep philosophical faith based questions were actually more prevalent in the past among the ones who left the fold than they are now.Apologies, for the length, but I would also like to comment on some other points.I also read the Torah Maddah Journal debate between Rabbi Parnes and Drs Berger and Kaplan.And it has been a while, but if I recall correctly, Rabbi Parness did not simply write that if you think a certain thing you are out and bye. He was referring to a specific Rambam which certainly implied that indulging in those activities was problematic. There might be a way around the question but the default position of Rambam would seem to be in line with Rabbi Parness' reading.I also recall them citing the Rov (Maase Rav) as a justification for freedom of inquiry which is a solid basis for their approach, but that does not address the real issue which is Rambam's formulation of this prohibition.It's also interesting that while you favor Rambam's approach as opposed to Rabbi Yehuda Halevy, you do admit that people lack the intellectual humility to be able to withdraw and live with it, so the approach might be somewhat impractical.You also admit that it sounds like a cop out which is pretty much what the Raavad accuses the Rambam of in Hilchot Teshuvah.Finally, I find it interesting that people outside of the Ultra Orthodox community are very comfortable and confident referring to and commenting on issues that have reached crisis levels in those communities. It creates the impression that other Orthodox communities are problem free.Thank you and I apologize if this seemed provocative. Obviously nothing here is personal.Yehuda Mermelstein

  3. Title: Blind Faith or Thoughtful Belief?
    Author: Yehuda Mermelstein ,

    Hello Rabbi / Dr. Woolf,I am a first time listener and I was impressed with the way that you formulated the 2 sides of this issues.Your other observation also seems correct regarding the tension that has always existed regarding how engaged one should be with the outside world.However I was wondering if it is necessary conflate these 2 points.It seems plausible that an Orthodox Jew could be exposed to the outside world in various ways, but still not specifically be interested or bothered by questions of faith. The converse seems reasonable as well.It's also questionable that lacking certain tools or basic guiding principles in their approach to faith and doubt will be the stumbling block in their engagement with the outside world. That might be true for some people, but certainly not for others.We also know for a fact that in Europe as well, there was widespread incidence of leaving the fold, so I don't think that this important debate has now been resolved because of the uniqueness of our era.I would actually suggest the contrary that the deep philosophical faith based questions were actually more prevalent in the past among the ones who left the fold than they are now.Apologies, for the length, but I would also like to comment on some other points.I also read the Torah Maddah Journal debate between Rabbi Parnes and Drs Berger and Kaplan.And it has been a while, but if I recall correctly, Rabbi Parness did not simply write that if you think a certain thing you are out and bye. He was referring to a specific Rambam which certainly implied that indulging in those activities was problematic. There might be a way around the question but the default position of Rambam would seem to be in line with Rabbi Parness' reading.I also recall them citing the Rov (Maase Rav) as a justification for freedom of inquiry which is a solid basis for their approach, but that does not address the real issue which is Rambam's formulation of this prohibition.It's also interesting that while you favor Rambam's approach as opposed to Rabbi Yehuda Halevy, you do admit that people lack the intellectual humility to be able to withdraw and live with it, so the approach might be somewhat impractical.You also admit that it sounds like a cop out which is pretty much what the Raavad accuses the Rambam of in Hilchot Teshuvah.Finally, I find it interesting that people outside of the Ultra Orthodox community are very comfortable and confident referring to and commenting on issues that have reached crisis levels in those communities. It creates the impression that other Orthodox communities are problem free.Thank you and I apologize if this seemed provocative. Obviously nothing here is personal.Yehuda Mermelstein