web analytics
April 21, 2015 / 2 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Faith and Knowledge

faith leaps

At that point, says Abarbanel (Chap.11), “the shape of faith which follows these inquires will be drawn in the heart of man and within his soul, for he then will believe perforce in the conclusion resulting from these inquiries and this knowledge, and that kind of (intense) faith will come suddenly without his choice or will” – somewhat of a clinching process.

However, there is a slight problem with this exposition of the Rambam’s view in terms of the wording Rambam uses to define this mitzvah. He does not state that the mitzvah is to believe but rather to know (Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah 1:1). According to Abarbanel, the knowledge, seemingly, is that which precedes the mitzvah, while the mitzvah itself (of faith and belief) is to believe in that which transcends intellect and understanding.

The Rambam’s wording, therefore, implies that the mitzvah of faith and belief is not totally bereft of the intellectual process but actually incorporates it. It does involve the intellectual process even when dealing with the transcendent realm of faith and belief, of emunah, and facilitates its internalization. The pasuk extolling the wonders of the era of Mashiach also attests to this: “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of God” (Yeshayahu 11:9). And so does our daily recitation of the Aleinu prayer: “All inhabitants of the world shall recognize and know…”

Thus, the mitzvah of emunah remains applicable (even after the “clinching” process) in terms of its having to be nurtured through study of appropriate Torah topics and reflection. Were the mitzvah to entail only faith and belief, we indeed would be hard put to keep observing it once we reached the clinching point of fully and firmly believing – as faith and belief don’t just dissipate. Emunah does incorporate knowledge also, as there are many progressively higher levels of revelation and recognition of the all-encompassing dimension of God. We are commanded to strive to attain these higher states of recognition by engaging in a reflective process during prayer.

“A mitzvah without kavanah is like a body without a soul” (Shelah HaKadosh, vol. 1, p.249b). Many of our children have not been sufficiently exposed to the inner soul-dimension of the Torah and thus can fall prey to the many negative attitudes abounding today. Yeshiva education ought to develop in our children a strong personal emunah and knowledge that will have them stand on their own terra firma and, as a result, not be swayed by any transient cultural winds.

Until educators realize the importance of these matters and implement changes in yeshiva curricula, parents should find time to read and study with their children appropriate texts and passages dealing with these fundamental elements and use them as a springboard for discussions. Questions on the minds of our children, which they may be ambivalent or even fearful about asking, should be welcomed and elicited.

The yearly experience of the question-and-answer process of the Haggadah, instituted by our sages as an educational tool to ingrain emunah, should spread throughout the rest of the year at the Shabbos and Yom Tov table.

About the Author: Rabbi Yeheskel Lebovic is the spiritual leader of Cong. Ahavath Zion (www.ahavathzion.com) in Maplewood, New Jersey. His articles on Jewish philosophy and chassidus have appeared in various publications. Comments from readers can be e-mailed to ylebovic@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Faith and Knowledge”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Rav Aharon Lichtenstein
Republished: My Rebbe Rav Aharon Lichtenstein Is Awarded the Israel Prize 2014
Latest Indepth Stories
Rav Aharon Lichtenstein

What was supposed to have been a 15 minute interview, turned into an intense learning session and intellectual battle, the likes of which I had never experienced in my entire life.

Rabbi Lichtenstein (z"l).

Rav Lichtenstein did not learn Tanaim, Amoraim, Rishonim and Achronim, rather he learned with them

Israel Supreme Court at Night

How can NIF claim they don’t support BDS when they try to repeal laws forbidding boycotts of Israel?

Rabbi Lichtenstein (z"l).

“Rav Lichtenstein’s vision and inspiration served to guide the development of Tzohar.”

As Holocaust survivors decline rapidly attacks on the veracity of the Holocaust rapidly escalates

The Constitution created history’s most powerful legislature & inherent foreign policy power battle

The S-300 poses a major problem; Israel will have to get creative as to if, when & where it strikes

“The resentment towards us (Jews/Israelis) was really intense. They clearly hate Zionism & Zionists”

Egypt has been more effective against Gazan smuggling tunnels than Israel’s military operations

She had many names and was many things to many people, but to me she was just Babineni.

Is ISIS in Gaza? “No, but there are ISIS loyalists here..we pray to God they unite under ISIS’ flag”

Rabbi Portal was that great “inspirer,” changing people for the better, enriching the lives of all

Iran knows Obama, Putin, and the Europeans don’t have a Red Line beyond which they will go to war

There is no way to explain the Holocaust. I know survivors who are not on speaking terms with G-d. I know many who are the opposite. I have no right to go there…

When a whole side of your family perishes, friends become the extended family you do not have.

“We stand with Israel because of its values and its greatness and because its such a wonderful ally”

More Articles from Rabbi Yeheskel Lebovic
Lebovic-032015

Shidduchim options have grown-the question “Why should I settle for this one?” has become widespread

Rabbi and Rebbetzin Lebovic with Rebbetzin Tova.

Inspired by the Perek Shira pasuk for “small non-kosher animals” we named the bunny “Rebbetzin Tova”

What benefit is a learning experience that leaves kids confused,disillusioned&harms self confidence?

Rosh Hashanah has an obvious connection to God’s Kingship. We constantly refer to Him during the Asseres Yemei Teshuvah as Melech/King. The nusach of the tefillah, referring to Rosh Hashanah as “a remembrance of the first day” (of Creation), implies a certain dimension of divine kingship operating at the time of Creation and replicated every […]

Israel’s leaders contemplate all manner of political and security concessions that are bereft of any backbone.

Israeli leadership doesn’t look to God for help, it gave away Gaza because of political predictions and calculations.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

If you lack emunah, how can you develop it merely because you’re commanded to believe?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/faith-and-knowledge/2013/12/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: