Monday, February 28, 2022

Faith and philosophy

 Meiri (Mishlei 30:6): One’s faith should be established entirely on the basis of the tradition received from the prophets. Only after it is firmly established should one work to comprehend the details through intellectual study. However, intellectual study should never be the determiner of the validity of one’s faith. This caution has been mentioned more than once because there are some of our people who feel that they have to justify and rationalize every aspect of the Torah. It is well known, however, that there are many aspects of the Torah that are simply not amenable to philosophical proofs. Those that insist on philosophical proof have their faith progressively weakened as the result of the inevitable repeated failure to find them. That is why I have repeatedly emphasized the fact that rational proof simply doesn’t exist for many things. In fact, the Torah requires that we start with faith - rather make its acceptance dependent upon some artificial criterion of philosophical justification. Furthermore, even those aspects of Torah which are convincingly provable - not everyone is capable of understanding these proofs. Therefore, those who are not competent in these areas should not get involved in these types of proofs - lest he be thoroughly messed up by the endeavor… In sum, in these deep matters there are very few who can meaningfully and successfully deal with faith on a purely philosophical basis. Therefore, it is appropriate for everyone to rely on the words of the Torah and the prophetic tradition - because that is the proven solid foundation and the length of our days.

1 comment :

  1. I used to subject things to philosophy, including my emunah. Yetzer hara can undo philosophy in 5 seconds, so I try keep some pesukim in mind as a second layer of defense.


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