Sunday, June 28, 2015

אמונה למעלה מהשכל

I recevied the following critique, from which my position should be understood:

I would rephrase the dichotomy by saying that where misnaged, having unwavering commitment to and absolute belief in supremacy of his own seichel, would jump to conclusions based on apparent contradiction, a chosid would exercise his emunah in a Tzadik and let his seichel conform to it - either by admitting his limitations in understanding the reality, rethinking past views or finding new insights. In any event, this is not an expression of fundamental intellectual dishonesty - not being able to admit the wrongs of his Rebbe - as YGB intimated.

I am not aware of any Jewish school of thought though, that would not place the koach of emuna as a higher faculty in relation to one's intellect. Emuna, as being rooted in the more sublime aspect of one's soul does supersede one's intellectual capacity. If you are aware of the alternative worldview, please share it with us. As for your claim of opposition to Chabad for its insistence on Emunah being hierarchically higher than seichel and the claim that this aspect of Chabad ideology being identified as “karov leavoda zara”: you are well aware of the gravity of such charge. I would assume that the oilom would appreciate if you would provide the names and makoiros of writings that espouse such view(s). I would encourage you to kindly share those sources. Alternatively, I would suggest to classify your statement as emotionally driven, common anti-Chabad slur and treat it accordingly. 

Now, this is not really "Chabad ideology." It is a distortion of the actual Chabad notion of:

 איתא במדרש "פתי יאמין לכל דבר - זה משה". והרי פשיטא שאף אחד לא ישאל מהו החילוק בין "פתי יאמין" כפשוטו לדרגא ד"פתי יאמין" שנאמרה אודות משה רבינו - אמונה שלמטה מהשכל ואמונה שלמעלה מהשכל!... אם מישהו זקוק להסבר וביאור בדבר - אינני יודע אם שייך בכלל לעזור לו בזה!... (התוועדויות תשד"מ ח"ד עמ' 2567)

Which refers to emunah on the level of Moshe Rabbeinu - an emunah that comes after revelation. It is used in contemporary Chabad Meshichist circles, for the most part, to justify belief in the Rebbe as Moshiach even after Gimmel Tammuz. Such, as in the use of a Meshichist website:

 עמידה בתוקף האמונה מול מציאות שלכאורה סותרת את האמונה (=נסיון). "וגם כשנדמה שיש איזה בלבול הרי הולכים בדרכו של אברהם אבינו, היהודי הראשון, שבראותו נהר המעכבו מלקיים ציווי השם, עמד בתוקף ולא נתפעל"

The usage there in itself is absurd, as Avraham Avinu was the first one to come to cognition of Hashem through logic and reason. Any subsequent Emunah above logic and reason was on account of the revelation that followed the logic and reason.

So why is the concept "close to Avodah Zarah?" Because the way it is used in the circles in which it is used is as an argument to check one's logic and reason at the coat check. Well, if logic and reason are discarded, then whatever whim of faith or religious experience - or, even more so, the faith in which one was raised - are necessarily the primary basis of one's religious choices in this world. Emotion over intellect.

If that is the case, a proponent of another religion is justified in arguing that you cannot know his religion to be wrong until you have its religious experience. A person born into idolatry cannot be held responsible (as Halacha does, as Reb Elchanan explains in his famous essay), as that is his religious experience - more so, the faith in which he was raised. There would be no anchor for perspective other than feeling. And one who once might feel an ecstatic experience in another religious setting would be compelled by the pinciple to go with it. And that would be the lower form of pesi ya'amin l'kol davar. V'ha'meivin yavin.


  1. The theology of the messianics is total inconsistent with Chabad Lubavitch.
    The ideas promulgated are heresy.
    The Rebbe zy"a would not give such kafira any support

  2. Logic and reason can help defend us from absurd concepts alien to Judaism,