Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rosh (55:9): Jewish vs Secular thought

from Daas Torah - copyrighted translation

Rosh (55:9):
This that you wrote concerning the conclusions of intellectual analysis and the conclusions of religion thought – what shall I reply to this? The fact is that our Torah is not like your idle chatter. From secular logic - which all religious scholars distance themselves from - you cite proofs that cause an obligation or give rights or prohibit or permit. But it is an established fact that the ones who laid the foundation for the system of logic did not believe in Moshe nor in the righteous laws and statues which he transmitted to us – either in writing or through tradition. So how can those who are the intellectual heirs of a system which denies the importance of Moshe and his teachings bring a proof to support a particular statute or law of Moshe and to decide laws based on analogies and deductions which are characteristic of the study of logic? Of course this is not possible! In my day and my place are Halachos decided on the basic of solely on logical models – G-d forbid! As long as I live there will be Torah amongst the Jews and proof will be based on Mishnah, and the Babylonian and Yerushalmi Talmuds. There is absolutely no need for secular logic. That is because secular philosophical analysis is not the same as Torah thought and law - the wisdom of the Torah is a Tradition that was given to Moshe at Sinai. A Torah scholar generates conclusions based on the traditional hermeneutic rules as well as by drawing analogies and making deductions – even though these are not necessarily what would be found by the use of secular human intellect – we conduct ourselves according to Tradition. In contrast philosophy is entirely natural. They have great scholars and they rigorously follow pure human intellect. With their great intellect they delve deeply and of necessity contradict the Torah of Moshe since the Torah is simply not based on human intellect but Tradition. This is expressed by the verse, “Be simply pure with G d”. In other words even if the Torah directs us to go against human intellect we should not question our Tradition but should follow in total obedience to the dictates of G d. Therefore we do not bring proof from secular scholars against the upright laws of G d. Concerning this Mishlei (2:19) says, “None that go to the alien woman ever returns.” In other words all those who get involved with secular analysis are not able to escape from its influence and cannot bring the wisdom of Torah into their hearts because they have become accustomed to the secular way of thinking which is inherently more attractive than Torah. As a result of the influence of secular thinking, they are not able to fully comprehend the wisdom of the Torah which is the true path of life. That is because their minds are constantly dominated by natural thinking and wisdom and they assume that the wisdom of Torah and secular thinking are equivalent and compatible. They thus believe that is possible to bring a proof from one to the other – and as a consequence they corrupt the correct halacha. The fact is that these two modes of thinking are opposed to each other and thus incompatible – they can not coexist….


  1. What happens when the secular method will save lives?

  2. Where is this Rosh 55:9?

    1. this is from his teshuvos. It is at the end of the 9th section


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