It is (forgive the expression) an "Article of Faith" among contemporary Kiruv Clowns that the tenets of Judaism are 100% rational and require no element of faith much less great leaps of faith. This is, of course, preposterous.
Not only do we often lack airtight philosophical arguments and/or incontrovertible empirical evidence for that which Jews believe about, G-d. revelation, prophecy and unseen worlds but OTC, the evidence at times runs counter to these beliefs. Most skeptics out there would probably term my last sentence the understatement of the millennium. In any event faith in and reliance upon G-d is a challenge and the לפום צערא אגרא= "The reward commensurate with the pain suffered" has never been greater than it is today.
I was recently tagged by BeeZee over at Izgad to present a list of my Ani Maamins. He was probably expecting a rehashing of the Maimonedean 13 principals. Those principles have been discussed and deliberated upon in many great scholarly works both in Lashon Qodesh and in the vernacular. So anything I could cogitate, say, or write about them would be superfluous כיהודה ועוד לקרא
But as a Jew with a Havdala-Qedusha obsession I am intrigued by a great number of post-Maimonidean Emunos that deal with things that I believe about humanity in general and Jews in particular. Some of these are sourced מפי ספרים ומפי סופרים in classic Jewish sources while others I sort of intuit to be what a Jew ought to believe. As is the case with the Maimonidean variety many lack airtight philosophical arguments and/or incontrovertible empirical evidence and OTC, the evidence at times runs counter to these beliefs. As we will be reading פרשת בראשית tomorrow and as this Parsha celebrates the creation of both the macrocosm and the Microcosm known as אדם הראשון I hereby present my imperfect articles of imperfect faith in Humanity and Jewry. They are not listed in any logical or chronological sequence and are numbered only for the convenience of the hundreds of commenters (*EYE ROLL*) who will no doubt be commenting on them. Where I remember a source (or even mild hint of an allusion that I can hang my hat on) I will indicate it at the end of the article of faith:
1. I believe with imperfect faith that…..HaShem created the first humans endowed with free-will but that evil was completely external to them
2. I believe with imperfect faith that…..pre-sin humans enjoyed gender equality and that all gender inequities, including prohibitions against female polygamy, are among the punishments for/ fallout from the original sin (Meshekh Khokhma)
3. I believe with imperfect faith that…..pre-sin humans were immortal and as such structurally different even on a physical level from current and all post-sin human (Ramkhal)
4. I believe with imperfect faith that…..the qualitative gulf separating even post-sin humans from animals far exceeds the one separating animals from plants or plants from minerals.
5. I believe with imperfect faith that…..humanity as a whole blew several opportunities to regain the pre-sin state and that ultimately this privilege fell exclusively to the nation built by the three Patriarchs and four matriarchs (Ramkhal)
6. I believe with imperfect faith that…..there are innate differences separating Jews from gentiles
7. I believe with imperfect faith that…..among these differences are the fact that Jewish souls derive from a higher spiritual hierarchical rank
8. I believe with imperfect faith that…..among these differences are the fact that the thoughts words and deeds of Jews have tremendous constructive or destructive impact on worlds seen and unseen and that even the most unsuccessful, marginal Jewish Schlepper or lo yutzlakh is impacting things "behind the scenes" in ways that major gentile world-political leaders do not (Nefesh HaKhayim) . Also that even among Jews success influence and/or impactfulness in this world are NOT indicia of rank and impactfulness in unseen worlds or the world to come and that, in fact, in terms of true metaphysical influence and impactfullness, things are often 180 degrees different than they appear here
9. I believe with imperfect faith that…..when Jews are altruistic they REALLY mean to be altruistic whereas when gentiles are altruistic they are being self-serving or have other ulterior motives (Talmud)
10. I believe with imperfect faith that…..A Jew is intrinsically good and that sin never expresses his/her true inner desire, that vis a vis a Jew we view the Yetzer HaRa even in our post-sin world, as an external force imposing HIS will upon Jews and coercing them to sin under duress (Rambam Hilkhos Gittin, Rav Tzadok nearly everywhere)
11. I believe with imperfect faith that….. Because Jews have a greater capacity for good that they also have a greater capacity for evil, that the higher they come the lower and harder they fall.
12. I believe with imperfect faith that..... humans are first and foremost communicators and that being unable to speak so that others listen or to listen so that others speak is dehumanizing. So is any impoverishment of language that robs it of subtlety, nuance, abstraction and shir/poetry. As Rav Schwab z"l pointed out the human capacity for speech preceded the arrival of the second human being, hence the primary capacity for speech communication is with one's Creator. (late addendum)
That is all for now. I tag Evanston Jew,JS, Conservative Apikores, BOTH and Tikun Olam
Havdala -Qedusha...Have tou had YOURS today??? Hmmm???