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Rationalist Judaism makes no sense

black hat godI’ve decided that I’m not a fan of rationalist Judaism, most because as much as you try to prove and debate the “facts” supporting a Judaic way of life, it still makes no sense. I’m not really sure how one can prove the Torah was written by God and I’m not really sure why it would matter, it doesn’t make me want to practice Judaism anymore or less. In my mind, rationalist Judaism takes the heart, soul, and spirit out of Judaism, but for some reason more and more former yeshiva folks have begun to take on this stance.

I’m not saying that I don’t find, Rambam, Hirsch, and Jung fascinating, they are some of the best Jews out there and Torah U’Madda and Torah Im Derech Eretz seem to me like the best ways to practice Judaism, but there’s something about rationalist Jews that rubs me the wrong way. Our own Frum Satire friends Eliyahu Fink and Telz Angel are rationalist Jews, as are most of the few forward thinking frum Jews out there, but it always seems like rationalist Jews are just postponing the inevitable – going Off the Derech due to intellectual reasons.

Almost every day I’m exposed to the ever growing OTD community and every few days one of my once frum friends has an epiphany that Judaism makes no sense, I always wonder why it took them so long to realize this. I’m in a constant state of discovery and despite the fact that it makes no sense, I see incredible value in Torah, learning, and remaining a full fledged Orthodox Jew. Basically, just because it makes no sense to me, doesn’t mean I’m going to stop practicing it. I just get unnerved at those who try to rationalize Judaism and try to make sense of it – when everyone who’s intellectually honest can see that logic and religion don’t mix.

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{ 93 comments… add one }
  • Dan July 9, 2013, 11:33 AM

    I love hating on rationalist jews.

    Almost as much as I love judaism.

    which is somewhat more than I live frumsatire. But that’s still a lot.

  • E. Fink July 9, 2013, 11:38 AM

    Rationalist Judaism doesn’t claim one can prove the existence of God.

    • Heshy Fried July 9, 2013, 11:44 AM

      The whole point of this post was to make more sense of rationalist Judaism.

    • Sharona July 10, 2013, 4:00 PM

      What does it say then about the existence of God and the validity of the Torah?

  • Telz Angel July 9, 2013, 11:44 AM

    Damn, you outed me as a Rationalist. I was going to agree with you in thinly veiled satire. But alas, I admit the truth. I think G-d gave me a brain for a reason — to use it. Go figure that. The brain was not given so we should be fooled by the garbage da’ad toirah line that I learned in Yeshiva — a line of thought designed to dull the mind and make you conform to the idiocy of following flawed leaders. Instead, I say the beracha of Atta Chonein with lots of kavanah. That’s why it’s the first of the weekday berachot.

    My problem is with all the irrationalists, mystics, and zombies that typically give divrei torah at the shabbos table and the shul pulpit. They are more mind numbing than watching the Kardashians all day.

    • AlmightyMexijew July 9, 2013, 1:10 PM

      Imagine Kardashians giving over a deep kabbalistic drash on Shabbat….and you can’t walk out til after kiddush because you forgot to buy wine/juice/bread and your lunch host wants to stay..Oyyyyy the suffering

  • tesyaa July 9, 2013, 11:45 AM

    The rationalist approach is ridiculous because every religious rationalist draws the line somewhere. They’re rationalist wannabes.

    • josh July 9, 2013, 11:57 AM

      Exactly. Well said.

    • anon109 July 9, 2013, 12:26 PM

      Just because every religious “rationalist” draws the line somewhere, doesn’t make it ridiculous. First, your premise that non-religious rationalists are entirely rational is nonsense. People as a whole are hardly rational creatures. Moreover, your view is an extreme, all-or-nothing view. If for whatever reason, one chooses to believe, one need not reject all rationality.

      • Telz Angel July 9, 2013, 12:51 PM

        The rules of frumkeit:
        1. if someone does not think like you do, they are wrong.
        2. if someone does not think like you do, you have to correct them.
        3. if someone does not think like you do, they are a threat since Ch’vSh someone else might come agree with them too. If this happens a lot then the world will be destroyed and moshiach can’t come.

        Therefore, you must all agree with me. I’ll post as many comments on as many blogs as possible, since apparently that is the most effective way of convincing people they are wrong. If there’s one thing the internet proves, all you have to do is comment on blogs and forums telling people why they are wrong. If you do this a lot, then moshiach will come.

        • anon109 July 9, 2013, 1:05 PM

          I frankly don’t give a darn what you think.

      • tesyaa July 9, 2013, 1:00 PM

        I didn’t mean to imply that non-religious rationalist are perfectly rational, just that religious rationalists cannot be rational.

        • anon109 July 9, 2013, 3:42 PM

          Agreed. I’ve embraced my cognitive dissonance. Though what I was attempting to say before was that no one’s behavior is entirely rational, or that people act irrationally.

      • josh July 9, 2013, 3:24 PM

        Good point.

    • G*3 July 9, 2013, 2:50 PM

      It’s true that it’s impossible to have a completely rationalist religion, but I’d much rather live in a community of rationalists than a community of mystics. Most rationalists will admit that they can’t prove their religion, and that they believe for reasons other than the unassailable truth of their religion’s tenets. Mystics tend to think that their religion is absolute truth, obviously so, and that anyone who would deny it is misguided at best and probably evil.

  • Telz Angel July 9, 2013, 11:57 AM

    Let’s make a chiluk between rational and supercilious (there’s a fancy word you won’t find in an Artscroll), the aloof, disinterested brisker type. Briskers and the followers of the Rav “takes the heart, soul, and spirit out of Judaism,” since they posses all the neurosis of the chassidim , but with none of the warmth. I forgive chassidim for being crazy, since at least they are nice. Lubavitchers are the craziest, but the nicest of them all. Forgiven Forgiven Forgiven. But the Briskers are just as crazy too, but stone cold. What’s that about?

    Chassidm wear a gartel (belt) to separate between their upper and lower half. Briskers wear a tie to separate between their head and their heart.
    Rationalists use their head.

    • Anonymous July 10, 2013, 5:41 PM

      Hilarious !!!

  • joel rich July 9, 2013, 12:03 PM

    Iíve decided that Iím not a fan of rationalist Judaism, most because as much as you try to prove and debate the ďfactsĒ supporting a Judaic way of life, it still makes no sense.
    So what have you replaced it with that makes sense?
    She-niríeh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu,

    • Heshy Fried July 9, 2013, 12:14 PM

      That’s exactly his point, Judaism is nonsensical so why try and make sense of it?

      • joel rich July 9, 2013, 12:40 PM

        That was my question – does one try to make sense of life in general and, if so, does one replace their original organizing principal of Judaism with something else that “makes sense”?
        She-niríeh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu,

        • tesyaa July 9, 2013, 1:05 PM

          There may not be any form of Judaism that makes sense. One can explain why being part of a socio-religious group is healthy, that organized communities meet needs, that people have spiritual yearnings and want some way to connect to them beyond the physical, that all humans are haunted by the spectre of mortality and want to find their place in the cosmos. All true, but all of these apply to any religion. Judaism makes no more sense than any other religion, but that doesn’t mean it (and other religions) have no value.

    • anon109 July 9, 2013, 12:19 PM

      The point is that even the so-called “rationalist” Judasim only goes so far. http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2009/03/drawing-line-is-rationalism-futile.html

    • Jodi July 9, 2013, 1:51 PM

      Oh please, how does the fact that we don’t have a ‘replacement’ lend any credence to a set of beliefs that are patently untenable?

      Or are you merely saying that while we’re searching for a worldview that ‘makes sense’, we should in the meantime throw our lot in with a discredited system that clearly doesn’t?

      Both options are equally idiotic and have unfortunately become emblematic of the intellifundie mindset of the Joel Richs of the world.

  • Seriously? July 9, 2013, 2:17 PM

    I find it amazing and sad that everyone is so sure Judaism does not make sense. Just goes to show how little actual thinking is going on. Lots of rapid-fire judging happens in its place.

    • Telz Angel July 9, 2013, 2:21 PM

      Rational == it does make sense
      Judaism == lots of rapid-fire judging

      Best of both worlds.

    • G*3 July 9, 2013, 2:57 PM

      You think it makes sense?

      Parts of it make sense. It hasmany useful functions. Halacha has an internal logic. But the whole tri-omni God who created the world, gave a set of rules on Har sinia to three million people, lied to us either is His text or in his creation, made it look like He doesn’t exist, provided us with an objectionable moral code, stood by while His chosen people were persecuted for millenia, is merciful yet dcreated things like malaria…? That makes sense?

      • Seriously? July 9, 2013, 5:54 PM

        Pick one.

        Our job is to improve the world, to heal the schism G-d created on the second day.

        Malaria is there to drive us to defeat nature.

        Evil exists because free will is more important to G-d than life.

        • G*3 July 9, 2013, 7:18 PM

          Pick one what?

          > Malaria is there to drive us to defeat nature.

          And that’s important because…?

          > Evil exists because free will is more important to G-d than life.

          You can have free will and no evil in the world. God could have made the world in such a way that we’re incapable of causing each other harm, but have free will to choose whether or not to keep Shabbos.

          Besides, how does the free will argument explain natural disasters?

          • Seriously? July 10, 2013, 2:55 AM

            Defeating nature is important because the Torah tells us that G-d split the world asunder. And our job is to recombine it – physical and spiritual. We are supposed to FINISH the job of creation, and that means improving on G-d’s creation. Illness and natural disasters are there to remind us that nature is not some good and pure thing. Nature does not care whether you live or die.

            If we cannot choose evil, then we have no free will.

            • G*3 July 10, 2013, 7:16 AM

              > the Torah tells us that G-d split the world asunder. And our job is to recombine it Ė physical and spiritual.

              Iím pretty sure thatís chassidus, not ďthe TorahĒ in the narrow sense, but okay.

              > If we cannot choose evil, then we have no free will.

              You cannot choose to flap your arms and fly like a bird.
              You cannot choose to metabolize grass.
              You cannot choose to be someone else.

              None of those things mean you donít have free will. Not being able to choose to harm your fellow man because the world was made in such a way that itís impossible would also not mean you donít have free will.

              • Seriously? July 10, 2013, 7:39 AM

                Of course it is in the Torah. Day 2 – the splitting is not good. The rest of the Torah is about holiness being the reunification of the split between heaven and earth, spirituality and physicality.

                And on free will, I disagree. Loving other people is a path to knowing and loving G-d. If you do not have the freedom to kill, then you cannot freely choose love from the menu. Just as if you do not have the freedom to choose an inappropriate relationship (homo/incest, etc.), then there is no value in choosing one that can lead to holiness.

                • G*3 July 10, 2013, 10:47 AM

                  > Of course it is in the Torah. Day 2 Ė the splitting is not good. The rest of the Torah is about holiness being the reunification of the split between heaven and earth, spirituality and physicality.

                  Which is an interpretation of the pesukim with a Chassidishe flavor.

                  • Seriously? July 10, 2013, 10:52 AM

                    The text is incredibly consistent. I think it is pshat.

              • Yochanan July 10, 2013, 2:40 PM

                Actually, you can flap your arms like a flightless bird.

  • David Sher July 9, 2013, 2:34 PM

    Rationalism is great as a sort of lodestar or goal but it is not and cannot be the endgame for finite limited creatures such as ourselves. Thus while I support rationalist Judaism and count myself in that camp, I also understand that it rationalism will never actually describe human life.

  • G*3 July 9, 2013, 3:03 PM

    > Iím not really sure why it would matter, it doesnít make me want to practice Judaism anymore or less

    For some of us it does matter. If itís all true, then you have to keep the mitzvos whether you want to or not, because if you donít God will punish you. If itís not true, then you donít have to bother, except with those things that appeal to you. Apparently all of Judaism appeals to you, but thatís not true of everyone.

    • tesyaa July 9, 2013, 4:00 PM

      Even if you believe, if it’s not true, you won’t get punished if you slip up (obviously).

      • Kooloytoyra July 9, 2013, 4:45 PM

        But if it is true and you did not believe, and you made fun of the rabbis words, you get dumped into a boiling hot cesspool (In the next world) (Gitten 57a, Eruvin 21b). Now why such a horrible punishment? Why can’t you tell G-d “I was a non believer? HE HE- HA HA! And the answer is, “I gave you enough brains to look around you and see that the world was made by very high intelligence, and the more science books come out the more proof (DNA…etc…) AND EVOLUTION WAS NEVER PROVEN. ITS ONLY A COCKEY THEORY! And everything that happened by Hitler was fortold in the Torah that it was gonna happen if the Jews would slip away from the Torah.

        The problem with you guys is that you’re a bunch of ‘hippies’, who want to live life the way YOU want it, and not the way G-d wants it. and for that you’ll rot in hell.

        • G*3 July 9, 2013, 5:19 PM

          You know that “gehenom” and “hell” are not the same thing, right?

          • Seriously? July 9, 2013, 5:56 PM

            And neither is in the Torah itself.

            The whole heaven and hell thing is just copied from Christianity in a “me, too!” form of marketing.

            • Michael McG July 11, 2013, 12:26 PM

              “Hell” isn’t even original to Christianity. Places of eternal punishment (some of it involving fire) and places of eternal reward are present in the non-Isrealite, pre-Christian cultures (see: Tartarus and the Elysian Fields of Greek mythology).

        • tesyaa July 9, 2013, 6:33 PM

          The odds of it “being true” or “not being true” are not exactly 50/50, or even close…

          • Seriously? July 10, 2013, 2:56 AM

            Statistics do not apply in one-off cases. They only apply if you can roll the dice many times.

            Either the Torah is true, or it is not. You get to choose.

            For my part, the world makes a lot more sense, and life has infinitely more meaning and purpose, if it is true. If it is not true, then the only purpose of life is hedonism. And that is sad.

            • G*3 July 10, 2013, 7:20 AM

              > Statistics do not apply in one-off cases.

              I donít think she meant it as a statistical analysis. More that given everything we know, the preponderance of evidence is against it being true.

              > life has infinitely more meaning and purpose, if it is true. If it is not true, then the only purpose of life is hedonism. And that is sad.

              That your life has more meaning and purpose if Judaism is true, and that you think the alternative is sad, has nothing at all to do with whether it is true. Thatís an appeal to consequences.

              • Seriously? July 11, 2013, 5:15 AM

                You are right. In that paragraph I was not making an argument for truth. I was making an argument for value.

                I stand by my earlier statement: it cannot be proven that the Torah is true – we have free will.

  • DRosenbach July 9, 2013, 5:00 PM

    It’s not that Judaism doesn’t make sense, but rather, that one cannot provide nearly enough evidence for the incredible claims made to substantiate it according to the scientific method, which we all know and love.

    If I may take a step out on a limb, I surmise that, to some extent, this is what Heshy meant — much like how people will use the terms strong and resilient as synonyms when referring to physical objects and their properties, even though they mean very different things.

    But then there’s the issue of drawing the line, as many people over the past few years have asked me in response to my posts — which is a very fair question. Why say that God didn’t do X but did do Y? And if you pick this and not that, does that make rational sense? Sure, we can quibble over the authoritativeness of quoted sources based on rationalist thinkers like R’ Ishmael, Maimonides, the Maharatz Chajes, the Meiri and many others, but the premise of my arguments were always to argue about these issues from without Judaism — taking for granted that Judaism is true by accepting 2 inviolable tenets: that a god exists and that he’s the God of Moses. One may combine that into one, or split it into 613, but you get my drift.

    But I wouldn’t say that rationalist is incompatible with Judaism because it’s all a definition of terms — when we say that Maimonides was a rationalist, we don’t mean that he was a rationalist like Spinoza. And when we refer to people like R’ E. Fink as a rationalist, we similarly do not mean to put him in the same category as Spinoza.

    • Seriously? July 9, 2013, 6:14 PM

      I agree entirely that, once one accepts that the Torah is min hashamayim, then it is rational.

      But that the Torah is min hashamayim is *necessarily* unprovable. Because if it were provable, then people would not have Free Will. Without Free Will, we cannot choose to serve Hashem or walk away. Which means we would not be people at all, but angels.

      • tesyaa July 9, 2013, 6:34 PM

        So the fact that it’s unprovable is a type of proof? Only a mind twisted by years of Gemara could come up with that one.

        • G*3 July 9, 2013, 7:29 PM

          A few years ago there was a story on one of the blogs about a woman whose baby was breech, and was told to go to a certain kever and daven, and the baby would turn Ė unless the cord was wrapped around its neck, which would make turning dangerous. The woman went and davened, but the baby didnít turn. When it was born, the cord was wrapped around its neck. It was hailed as miracle! The segulah had worked exactly as advertised!

          The people involved somehow lost sight of the fact that nothing had happened, and called the nothing a miracle. Same thing here.

        • Seriously? July 10, 2013, 2:59 AM

          That is just silly. I am accepting, on its face, that one cannot PROVE that G-d exists, or that Torah is Emes. And you have the choice either way. It is all about having that choice, and you need to be able to rationally go either way.

        • DRosenbach July 10, 2013, 1:53 PM

          I never said it was a proof — only codgery, old rabbis assert such a thing.

      • Kooloytoyra July 9, 2013, 7:07 PM

        You should really listen to Rabbi Akiva Tatz. Can you prove that the sun will rise tomorrow morning? Absolutely not! It’s just in your blood. When G-d spoke to us personally at Mt. Sinai, either all the Jewish unborn souls (And mazels of converts) were there on the spot, or the 3 million parents transmitted the entire experience to their children by the Passover Sader. And it’s impossible for 3 million people to get up one day and make up the same exact baloney story, and sell it to their children (Especially Jews) and the children shouldn’t smell foul play.

        But here you don’t need proof. When you have a marriage between G-d and the Jews then it’s in your blood. The hell with proof. Go prove Evolution! Go prove that the sun will shine Tomorrow! Where else in the world do we find a nation that loves G-d for thousands of years, even though we get slaughtered every five minutes? Why is the Jew always there just like the sun is always there? Why can’t there be a world without Jews? That’s not enough proof?

        • G*3 July 9, 2013, 7:38 PM

          > Can you prove that the sun will rise tomorrow morning? Absolutely not! Itís just in your blood.

          Itís nothing of the sort. I expect the sun to rise tomorrow, based on past experience, but I canít be certain that it will rise. After all, it will die eventually. Probably not for a long, long, time, but maybe something unexpected will happen and it will have burned out by tomorrow. To say that itís ďjust in your bloodĒ is nonsensical.

          > And itís impossible for 3 million people to get up one day and make up the same exact baloney story, and sell it to their children (Especially Jews) and the children shouldnít smell foul play.

          Iím not going to go through the entire argument against the Kuzari here, but suffice it to say that there werenít three million people in all of Egypt at the time, people are very gullible, there are two places in Nach where the torah or a part of it are ďrediscoveredĒ and no one is skeptical, and myths arenít made up by a single person who tries to sell it to the public but form slowly over a long time.

          > Go prove Evolution!

          Itís been proven. Over and over and over. Among other things, itís the reason that we now have antibiotic-resistant diseases.

          > here else in the world do we find a nation that loves G-d for thousands of years, even though we get slaughtered every five minutes?

          So youíre saying that our entire culture has Stockholm Syndrome, and this somehow supports Judaismís legitimacy?

          > Why canít there be a world without Jews?

          Why do you think there canít be a world without Jews? There was, before the Jews became a nation, and there might be again.

          • Mak July 10, 2013, 2:27 AM

            “there are two places in Nach where the torah or a part of it are ďrediscoveredĒ and no one is skeptical”

            Care to elaborate???

            • G*3 July 10, 2013, 7:23 AM

              I can’t quote chapter and verse offhand, but one is when Ezra teaches torah to the Bnie Yisroel after they return from golus, and the other is when a cohen discovers a book (probably devarim) in the Beis HaMikdash.

        • DRosenbach July 10, 2013, 2:06 PM

          R’ Tatz’s arguments are meant for the intellectually weak who do not employ rigorous evaluation and actually serve as very good indicators to discriminate between those who apply such thinking in their lives vs. those who do not — and I say this not to offend you, but merely to explain, perhaps, why you’ll get such a harsh response from some of the other posters here.

          Can you prove that the sun will rise tomorrow morning?

          I think your premise is off target. Who is even asking whether or not the sun will rise? Based on empirical observation, we know that the sun has risen every morning since mornings came into fashion, and thus, we plan for tomorrow. Perhaps I shall die by the end of the day, but I still asked the office to call all the patients today and confirm their appointments tomorrow — if I don’t make it, so be it.

          And I think that in a scientifically oriented discussion, we ought to omit rhetorical statements that serve to do nothing but reinforce misunderstanding, such as, “Absolutely not! It’s just in your blood.”

          I’m going to eat dinner now, but I’ll address the argument known as the Kuzari principle you brought up later tonight.

      • G*3 July 9, 2013, 7:23 PM

        > But that the Torah is min hashamayim is *necessarily* unprovable. Because if it were provable, then people would not have Free Will.

        So how did the Bnei Yisroel have the free will to construct the eigel, an idol, arguably the worst sin, having just witnessed yetzias Mitzrayim and krias yam suf and therefore knowing with absolute certainty that God exists?

        How did the meraglim, having just witnessed matan torah, have the free will to bring back a bad report?

        The chumash seems to disagree with the notion that sure knowledge of God negates free will.

        • Seriously? July 10, 2013, 3:06 AM

          Great questions!

          Eigel: Many have argued that their intentions were good – the egel was not pure avodazh zorah. They knew G-d existed, but they did not know what to do next.

          Meraglim: They knew G-d existed, too. But they doubted *themselves*. Even knowing, externally, that G-d exists, is a far cry from internalizing that G-d will keep us. After all, we suffered plenty in Egypt – and where was G-d?

          But your point remains: that sure knowledge of G-d does not negate free will, as seen in the chumash. I would answer that sure knowledge of G-d CONSTRICTS free will. In neither of these cases were people able to freely say “G-d does not exist, and so I choose to do Z instead of Y.” So while the people could be bad, they were not able to deny G-d’s existence – which is the basic and first question for each person today. In the midbar, the Jews did not have the freedom we have now.

          • ksil July 11, 2013, 6:34 AM

            brauch hashem god gave us free will!

            99% of the evidence points to this religion (rabbinic orthodox Judaism) being man made and not true….imagine if he forced me to accept it….that would suck

  • MLM ROX July 9, 2013, 7:55 PM

    heshy are there any jews that you like?

  • Short girl 1 July 9, 2013, 9:28 PM

    Yes, the definition of apologists.

  • Mordy July 9, 2013, 9:42 PM

    Just for clarity sake, C.G. Jung was raised within the Swiss Reformed church and is not one of us.

    • Meir July 10, 2013, 11:36 AM

      Leo Jung, one of the “Founding Fathers” of Modern Orthodoxy

  • David July 10, 2013, 5:54 AM

    Whether or not Judaism makes sense depends on your theory of myth & ritual, and whether you regard them as a meaningful part of man’s experience. The thirteen principles of faith aren’t binding, no matter what contemporary Jews want to say about them. They are amoraim and other major rishonim who disagree with some of them, or that they were written down at all. Judaism may have necessary beliefs, but those are open to a great deal of debate and discussion. Is prophecy really just a booming voice you can surreptitiously record with your iPhone? But in our days, it is heresy to have an intelligent discussion about it, or God, ritual, myth, et all in our modern and scientifically advanced world. Most rationalist Jews never attempt to answer the most important question: What is the point? what is Judaism trying to accomplish? What does it provide for the individual? What is my theory of myth and ritual as a modern, thinking person? Truth requires a little bit of apikorsus. After all, if you are living according to other people’s labels and expectations you are a slave living in fear. An authentic religious experience requires us to make something of Judaism for ourselves. after all, who are you doing it for? Are you the protagonist of your own life? Or are you the kehal’s catamite?

    • Seriously? July 10, 2013, 5:57 AM

      You are exactly correct about the important questions.

      The Torah answers them, even though few are looking.

    • Smell my toyrah July 10, 2013, 9:46 AM

      A slave living in fear? You mean a Jew ( who pretends he was a slave in Egypt even though there is no record of such events happening.)

      • David July 13, 2013, 3:16 PM

        No. A slave in the sense that he is not the protagonist of his own life.

        ??? ??? ????? ???? ?????; ????? ???????? Ė ?? ????? ???, ??? ??? ???? ?? ?? ???
        ???? ???? ????? ????? Ė ??? ???.

        “There are free men with the spirit of a slave; and slaves with the spirits of free men. He who is true to himself ? he is a free man. He who lives according to what is good in the eyes of others ? he is a slave.”

        –Rabbi Avraham Isaac Kook

  • Ignorant Jew July 10, 2013, 7:45 AM

    Great article! You want rational thinking learn Spinoza, you want fairy tales that make you feel better than 99% of the world, try Judaism.

  • jo July 10, 2013, 12:59 PM

    I have heard that R’ Soloveitchik wasn’t into giving proofs that Torah was true.

    • ksil July 11, 2013, 6:36 AM

      of course he wasn’t! because there are none, silly!

      • Jewbag July 12, 2013, 12:53 PM

        Yea how you gonna prove talking donkeys and snakes, noah’s ark and all the other stuff all of which has no physical archeological proof! Read some of Israel Finkelstein’s stuff

  • Yochanan July 10, 2013, 2:46 PM

    I don’t think the Rationalist point of view is that Judaism is purely rational, but rather that there is more room for rationalism than is commonly given.

    • G*3 July 10, 2013, 10:52 PM

      Exactly right.

  • Kooloytoyra July 10, 2013, 3:50 PM

    All you kofrim and apikorsim who have questions, questions, questions; you are all a little late. You should have been around in the 1930’s, and then you would have had a ball. If you;re so smart and rational why couldn’t you stop Hitler? I’ll bet 50 or 75 percent of the people who went to the gas chambers were Kofrim and Apikorsim. Why couldn’t you get out of it? you know why? I’ll tell you why. Because G-d said in the Torah that if you abandon the Torah THEN ONE NAZI WILL RUN AFTER ONE THOUSAND JEWS. Go look it up in the ‘curses’. That’s why Rabbi Mair Kahana was a shmuck, Because he made fun of the six million that they went to the gas chambers like sheep. He should have known what it says in the Torah.

    And now the Benay Torah are strong and powerful, and you Kofrim and Apikorsim are holding on for dear life onto the Blogs, trying to screw up the minds of the Benay Torah, who love G-d. Sorry, but you’re a little too late! Go get ready for the cesspool.

    • G*3 July 10, 2013, 11:07 PM

      > If you;re so smart and rational why couldnít you stop Hitler?

      Now you’ve gone off the deep end. Being smart doesn’t deflect bullets.

      And it was smart and rational people who stopped Hitler: the code breakers at Bletchley Park, the engineers who developed weapons like the P51, and the Sherman tank, and generals like Eisenhower and Montgomery. There were also a lot of people with guns who put themselves in harms way to stop the Nazis.

      > Iíll bet 50 or 75 percent of the people who went to the gas chambers were Kofrim and Apikorsim.

      You’d lose that bet.

      > And now the Benay Torah are strong and powerful, and you Kofrim and Apikorsim are holding on for dear life onto the gs, trying to screw up the minds of the Benay Torah, who love G-d.

      You need to get some perspective. Chareidim are a tiny subset of a tiny subset of a tiny subset of humanity. Most people, including most non-Chareid Jews, just don’t care about them one way or another.

      • Seriously? July 11, 2013, 5:18 AM

        Numbers don’t matter. A single person can change the world.

        The better question is whether bney Torah could be doing more to change it for the better? Of course they could. So could all of us.

        • G*3 July 11, 2013, 6:23 AM

          > A single person can change the world.

          Sure, but he seems to be under the impression that “Benay Torah” are a group that we’re all jealous of and trying to undermine, when in reality no one really cares.

          • Seriously? July 11, 2013, 6:39 AM

            I dunno. I see a LOT of people on this site who are crititicizing, and angry and defensive about Orthodox Judaism.

            That means the people on this site clearly care.

    • Seriously? July 11, 2013, 5:20 AM

      Any number of people could have stopped Hitler before the War. But that would have required trying. And people are too sheep-like, on the whole, to draw conclusions and act on those conclusions, unless they have a community behind them.

      The frum Jews thought they could just say tehillim. They should have been planning an assassination.

  • John L July 10, 2013, 9:28 PM

    I’m sure Judaism once made perfect sense…back in the bronze age! As for Kooloytoyra’s dire predictions for those of us who can’t or won’t follow blindly, well at least I’ll have a lot of friends with me.

  • Kooloytoyra July 11, 2013, 11:52 AM

    See my new post- ‘Judaism by definition is irrational’

  • Mongo July 15, 2013, 4:45 AM

    I think Jews just need to stop practicing Judaism altogether. It has never done us any good, and people just ridicule and disrespect it all day long. Evidently there is nothing meaningful or rich about Judaism. I think the next step for Jews is to drop all tradition and religious symbols, and then, for once, we can all be happy. We have tried, but sadly we have failed.

    • Seriously? July 15, 2013, 5:19 AM

      A little too unsubtle for really effective satire. But good first attempt!

  • linda July 15, 2013, 1:35 PM

    Jung was Jewish?? I thought he was Xtian.eu

    Freud was Jewish. Perhaps you meant Sigmund Freud.

  • Wacko flacko December 12, 2016, 4:07 AM

    Facts…I went off the D exactly for this reason.
    I’m a pretty smart guy
    (I’m currently an Ivy League MBA student)
    I went to a modern-yeshivish school which tried to rationally convince me to be Jewish.
    I was 23 by the time I clearly formulated why Judaism makes no sense. I appprached my favourite rabbi from high school and told him “I shouldn’t need to live a Jewish life bcc of blah blah blah”
    I guess my argument was solid bcc he agreed with me and ended up breaking down crying and telling me how hard it is for him to personally believe in Judaism. It was a buzzare encounter. I told him he was dumb for ever teaching young kids to believe that religion is rational, it creates problems later on in life.
    These days I’m an apekores…as in I literally believe in the Greek philosopher named Epicurus. I believe that all humans need a god to get through life, it’s just the way we’re built. Once you accept that you give up trying to use our feeble minds to justify our religions. I will say that Judaism is a beautiful religion and that I’m happy that people practice it. Judaism believes in law based morality as opposed to thought based morality (Christianity) which to me is not really effective when the going gets tough. Christianity does a lousy job of keeping people moral when life gets hard. The holocaust is proof of that. But when life is good, Christianity seems to be overall a pretty solid religion. So all in all I’m very happy that orthodox Judaism exists. Even though I should probably practice something which i believe to be good, in reality i don’t because my mind was built in a rational way to approach religion and now that that’s shattered I have a hard time being happy when I practice the religion. God bless frum people!!!

    • OfftheDwannaB December 15, 2016, 5:40 PM

      then they all clapped?

    • Riddler April 29, 2018, 12:01 AM

      Wacko Flacko I’m kind of interested in your arguments. Would you mind telling me what they are?

  • Mario August 16, 2018, 10:03 PM

    Rationalists apparently don’t believe in the supernatural and miracles but pray for both every day.
    I told this to a rational Rabbi and he stopped coming to our shul. There’s three shuls in our sinagogue. I don’t know if he keeps praying wherever he goes now.

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