(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Torah Forum (c) Project Genesis
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2000 00:01:46 -0400 (EDT)
From: Russell Hendel < email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Arguments of NonReligious Intellectual Jews
QUESTION: 1) Does Judaism believe that its fundamental beliefs can be proved?
2) Isn't the first commandment to BELIEVE in God (not a proof?)
3) Doesn't BELIEF vs PROVE enhance our FREE WILL since if fundamental tenets
good be proven we would have no freedom.
1) If you look carefully at Rambam Chapter 1 of Foundations of Torah we
see that the Rambam mentions BOTH the knowledge that G-d exists as well as
PROOFS of G-d's existence and then concludes with the statement > > and the
knowledge of this thing is a positive commandment< < I interpret this to
mean that we must KNOW that there is a proof of G-d's existence besides
knowing that G-d exists.
2) The assertion that the first commandment is to BELIEVE in God is based on
the translation of the Hebrew word A-M-N as BELIEF.
However, Rav Hirsch on Gen 15:6 clearly states that the proper translation
of AMN is NOT belief but rather "AMN = AN INTENSE PREOCCUPATION WITH AN
IDEA---ALLOWING THE IDEA TO MOULD YOUR EVERY MOVE". In other words BELIEF(AMN)
focuses on HOW an idea affects you---it has nothing to do with KNOWLEDGE vs
FAITH (I guess Rav Hirsch would claim this is a Christian intrusion in the
translation of the Bible).
3) Finally FREE WILL has nothing to do with KNOWLEDGE or with PROOF.
This has been discussed in the past on Torah forum. Free will has nothing
to do with knowledge or lack of knowledge but rather with the person's
capacity to avoid impetuousness. Perhaps some of these points should be
further elaborated on.
Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA;
Moderator Rashi is Simple