by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths
Dear Rabbi (Censored):
Unfortunately I strongly disagree with the content of your site and therefore won't be linking to it. I was taught the Torah has 72 facets, and the Beis HaMikdash had 13 gates - all paths and understandings to fill different peoples needs, insights and approaches to Torah and Derek Hashem.
Frankly I consider a strictly dogmatic approach and literal interpretations of every pasuk to be the antithesis of the derek halimud set down by generations of our holy gedolim, all the way back to the amoraim and tanoim. They questioned and searched and dug for understanding, and never shied from making sure the truth of Torah was brought into focus for the people and the times. When we have pshat, derush, remez, and sod, why would you get stuck in pshat?
Almost humorously, the Gemorah Bavli was censored in the past by the Xian Church for statements that didn't align with the dogma of the Church. Today you would censor the world for not aligning with Midrash and Aggadah???
You may feel you can build a high enough wall around your neighborhood to block out the world and it's influences. My experiences say that's an impossibility. Rather, I try to learn how the truth of Torah applies in every situation. When there's an apparent conflict, we must learn deeper to understand how Hashem's wisdom applies, how there's a deeper truth and understanding to found - both in the Torah and in the aspect of the world.
The world is not flat, blood does circulate, lice don't auto-generate from sweat, nor mice from mud. Illnesses do come only from Hashem but doctors have been gifted with the wisdom to understand the agents of bacteria and viruses, there's no type of sheep that grows from the ground. Jews and gentiles have the same number of teeth. The earth does orbit the sun. The age of the universe has NO simple answer when time itself is relative across the universe.
No where is there a science belief test as a basis of yiddishkeit. The Ramban's 13 principles of faith do NOT include literal belief in every science statement of every gadol Torah over the last 3,000 years. I am not a kofer for believing these science principles, nor for failing to believe those science statements made in the distant past (nor can you quote a single statement from those gedolim of the past to that effect).
I assume you use a computer (after a you have a web site), a cell phone, and a microwave oven, and when sick take antibiotics. ALL of these contradict scientific or medical principles expounded by gedolim of the distant past. For me none of that causes a problem with their Torah and their wisdom from Hashem. Nor does it cause a problem with applying Torah principles to the use of these devices that never existed in the past - no pritzut, no lashon hara, kashrus of a device that cooks without heating the chamber, and taking refuot made from various substances (and/or on Shabbat).
For you, how do you deal with it?
We should be dogmatic in adhering to Torah and halacha. But when we are solid in our principles, in the Torah, and in our kesher to Hashem, we have nothing to fear from new understandings of the physical aspects of creation. Yes, there are dogmatic scientists who follow the 'religion of science' who try to bring their latest discovery of an aspect of creation as proof that they know better and there is no god. They and their ideas pass on their way, while Torah is still here.
And those who explain the incredible wonders of Hashem's creation and how it relates to Hashem's Torah are not to be reviled, they are to be lauded.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
// 9/03/2009 //