Halakhic discussion on the paper “Three pillars of Judaism – Intellect, Halakha and Integration. A scientific analysis”.


The paper “Three pillars of Judaism – Intellect, Halakha and Integration. A scientific analysis” was posted at the orthodox Halakhic Jewish forum Hashkafah with the request for comments. Below are a Halakha man (H)’s comments with my (V) responses. 

(1)

H:

Do you think that the priestly blessing, something that you can’t take credit for, trumps intellect?

If you see the High Priest, you will see that he is “vested” in the people, not in himself.

V:

Yes and No. If the priestly blessing helps individuals to figure out what is wrong and what is right in his/her individual creative work, the blessing is intellectual and what an individual needs to correctly use his/her “free will” given to him/her by God. However, if under the cover of priestly blessing is the order to obey or be punished, that is not “in the image of God”.

The true High Priest is an intellectual individual and he is “vested” in the people indeed. However, your rabbi may be vested not in the people but in collecting money to support his salary and well-being of his synagogue.

Would you agree with this?

(2)

H:

Why do you say the blessing is intellectual. That is the means the serpent used to offer the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The fruit that God told them not to eat. The serpent also said that there is no punishment for eating it. If the law has no punishment then it is baseless.

Why did you start your second paragraph with words about the High Priest, and then finish with corrupt selfish rabbi ?

V:

The same answer as in the above. If the priestly blessing helps individuals to figure out what is wrong and what is right in his/her individual creative work, the blessing is intellectual and what an individual needs to correctly use his/her “free will” given to him/her by God. However, if under the cover of priestly blessing is the order to obey or be punished, that is not “in the image of God”.

(3)

H:

I believe the priestly blessing is about God’s creative work. I mean it says; The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace… Then recieve a blessing name.

It is also why the High Priest is “vested” in the people and not in himself. Because it is about God’s creative work, the person that is being claimed by God.

If intellect is your first pillar, at what point does God enter your grand scheme of things. God looked for a man after His own heart and God claimed David. God said that He will build a house for David. God’s creative work. David said, God is my rock.

V:

Honestly saying, I don’t understand your question. I agree with everything in this your post. God is everything in the three pillars – in Intellect, in Halakha and in Integration. God provided us with the Free Will to interpret His guidance tailored to human life conditions. Some of us live in constantly changing environment – those Jews are using God-given intellect to tailor their realm to God’s guidance, and that is the pillar of Intellect. Some of us are uncomfortable with constantly changing life environment – and they tailored their realm to their static life environment and codified it in Halakha, and that is the pillar of Halakha. Some of us are uncomfortable with Jewish self-separation – they are concentrating on finding common ground with non-Jews, and that is the Integration pillar.

(4)

H:

If you heard the story in the beginning, then you would see that it is the serpent that offered free will. And by God’s word you would see that God offered perfect will.

V:

Yes, I have tried to study hard all crucial Torah’s stories, and what I have discovered is the following.

(a) We cannot discover the God’s truth playing with different words – in this case Free will, Perfect will, God’s will; we can get closer to the God’s truth only by trying to understand the Torah’s fundamentals.

(b) One of the Torah’s fundamentals is that we the humans are created in the image and likeness of God and the most prominent trait of the image is that God is the Creator. Therefore, we the humans have to be creators. The goal of our human creation is developing spiritual and material “stuff” to make our world a better place for everybody. God had done and continue to do all that – and we the humans have to be participants in the creation at our human level of responsibilities.

(c) Nobody of the humans is able to understand the precise God’s guidance for our human creation. Therefore we the humans compete for better interpretations of the precise God’s guidance. We compete in our synagogues and yeshivas for a better understanding of God’s guidance on spiritual/moral issues – we compete in our political institutions for a better understanding of God’s guidance on communal issues – we compete in our scientific schools for a better understanding of God’s natural laws.

(d) The three pillars of Judaism I have described in my original post – Intellect, Halakha and Integration – are at the heart of the competition. At the Intellect pillar the Jews are competing for the best tailoring of God’s guidance to permanently changing life conditions; at the Halakha pillar the Jews are trying to find something suitable for and unchangeable at any life conditions; at the Integration pillar the Jews are searching for spiritual common ground for the Jews as the Chosen people and non-Jews.

(5)

H:

…I think that death feels like dis-integration. And that it is very dis-a…pointing.

V:

Your post “…I think that death feels like dis-integration” reminded me of one more human spiritual characteristics if indeed we truly believe we are created in the image of God. God is Eternal, and therefore every human is eternal – eternal in terms of the eternity of soul and our creative deeds (including our families and communities). That’s why I believe a natural dis-integration of our bodies should not be dis-a…pointing. Would you agree with this?

(6)

H:

In my last post, I am just conceding. You did not accept my first post in this thread about the priestly blessing. So it is the natural course that you chose for me. You win. I lose.

V:

Here I disagree with you completely. In an honest discussion on Torah there are no winners or losers – everybody has a chance to strengthen or modify his own beliefs. Your posts let me better understand how the Jews of the Halakha pillar are searching for the God’s truth.

About Vladimir Minkov

Vladimir Minkov Ph.D. is a nuclear scientist, published author and writer. He is the co-author of "Nuclear Shadow Boxing", a scientific history of the nuclear confrontation between the Soviet Union and USA during the cold war and is the author of "The Jews and Their Role in Our World", which explores his personal journey to discovering Jewish identity. Having lost much of his family in the Holocaust and finding his search for spiritual development stifled in the Soviet Union, Vladimir migrated to the United States in the late 1970s.

Posted on September 10, 2013, in English-language posts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. V,I honestly believe that all humankind is searching for this understanding, for in the end there is very little difference in any human form.Yes,we may look ,dress and speak differently but underneath that exterior we are all exactly the same.

    As a child and onto adulthood I believed that I was part Cherokee, and I searched for my roots and customs.I was a happy camper until I decided to have the research done on my blood to see where my lineage originated.I discovered that I had no Native American blood r8unning through my veins ,but I was still the warrior and keeper of the environment.

    I didn’t allow for that discovery to alter my thinking and behavior in any way.As V.stated above,”the Jews are trying to find something suitable for and unchangeable at any life conditions; at the Integration pillar the Jews are searching for spiritual common ground for the Jews as the Chosen people and non-Jews.”,I see a possible common ground that if allowed to flourish would provide a common ground.Afterall,isn’t that the goal of all mankind?

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  2. Vladimir to Larry:
    Thank you for the comment.
    The story of your life has reminded me my own search for my personal life identity.
    I found my own identity as an individual of the Chosen Jewish people with the very meaning of “the Chosen” to advance the spiritual integration of Jewish and non-Jewish peoples into one community following the same Torah/Bible-based spiritual principles but realizing those principles in different, peacefully competing ways.

    Like

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