20 June 2006

Kefira - Like a hole in the head




I once had a rebbi in Beis Medrash, who often stated that Kefira Material, anything that contradicts the Torah, is like a hole in the head. Get exposed to it, even accidentally, and you've damaged your brain with a tiny hole, spiritually speaking that is. Do it often enough and you've got hundreds of holes; effectively you're damaged goods. Not that the Torah is false (CH"VSH), just that you as an individual are no longer capable of resisting the falsehoods of the world.

I knew instantly that he was right. When I was a mere stripling of 12, I took out this interesting looking book from the library, "God is an astronaut". It tries to demonstrate thru various events in Tanach, that God, as we experienced him, was really an astronaut from another planet. For example, the desciption of the Chayos in the Maase Merkava could resemble a spacecraft. Layouts of the pyramid were really landmarks for alien aircraft. Ancient roads were landing strips for aircraft. The deaths of Nadav & Avihu Bhakrivam aish zara was due to electricity. That's how there were "burnt" without any external markings. There were hundreds of interesting tidbits like that, most of which I can't remember the details. It is considered a flawed work of pseudo science, but it makes for fascinating reading.

I felt this was gibberish, but it always left a slight impact on me that maybe what happened back in bibilical times was really the result of an encounter with a more sophisticated culture.


Later, personal encounters by me with real science and history was more than enought to leave me with serious doubt as to the accuracy of Torah Misinai as we know it.

This brings me to individuals like Lakewood Yid, Chardal and others who hang around GH blog. I just can't see how they can escape the Kefira holes that my Rebbi warned me of. I wish them lots of luck, cause they'll need it.

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    29 Comments:

    At June 20, 2006 2:03 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said...

    Ah, the conflict between truth and fact.

    It's all true. But none of it is factual.

     
    At June 20, 2006 2:21 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Welcome back, BOTH.

    > It's all true.

    Yes, thats what the mean by Torah True Judaism.

     
    At June 20, 2006 3:46 PM, Blogger Avi said...

    So what is the problem? They will have so many holes in their brain, that they will become holy. Isent that what they want? Avi

     
    At June 20, 2006 5:27 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Avi, very cute! (and ain't that the whole truth).

     
    At June 20, 2006 5:33 PM, Blogger Moshe Kappoya said...

    BH,
    I've come to the same conclusion, which why I feel I must say goodbye.
    Hatzlocha!

     
    At June 20, 2006 5:38 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    MK, if you're a maamin, then please do yourself a favor and stay away.

     
    At June 22, 2006 10:32 AM, Blogger Moshe Kappoya said...

    BH,
    My soul weeps for you.
    A short personal anecdote if I may.
    When in my teens, I rebelled against my religious upbringing and began to "slip away". Not long after, my uncle passed away on Yom Kippur. At the funeral another uncle told this story about the deceased.
    During WWII when the Nazis ym"s occupied Hungary he decided to "hide" amongst the goyim there. Being a wealthy man, he was able to dress the part of a "gentleman" and move about the town freely. One day he met a shiksa that recognized him. She told him that if he did not marry her, she would report him to the Nazis. He refused and was deported to one of the camps. He survived and eventually came to NY.
    After hearing this I thought to myself, here was a man who could have lived very comfortably, but instead choose to go through hell rather then betray his religion. And so too for the past 2000 years my ancestors have willingly submitted to torture and death to stay true to Hashem's Torah. And I was going to be the SOB to break the chain?!?

    I will pray that you find your way back.

     
    At June 22, 2006 12:24 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    MK, Thanks.

    My soul weeps for me as well. However, I'm not breaking any chains or Halacha. Except possibly belief. Nuch 120, if God takes me to task for that, I can't help that. I can only control my actions. The Gemara Said Lo uvdo Avoda Zara ella Lhatir Lahem aroyos. I haven't been matir any Arayos.

    That being said, past ancestral or personal sacrifice is not reason to have emuna either. It may appeal to your emotions but it does not follow logically.

    During early Christianity days, Christians were thrown to the lions by the Romans for being Christian. That doesn't prove the Christians are correct, right?

    What was it in your teens that led you to rebel? Intellectual or Emotional reasons? I'm willing to bet it was emotional, i.e. friends, taava, bad teacher , etc.

    That's very typical of teenagers and adults as well.

    I think you are making emotional decisions, which is not necessarily bad. You'll certainly have a clear conscience as it relates to Yiddishkeit.

     
    At June 22, 2006 3:16 PM, Blogger Moshe Kappoya said...

    However, I'm not breaking any chains or Halacha. Except possibly belief. Nuch 120, if God takes me to task for that, I can't help that. I can only control my actions.
    I think you may not realize the severity of denying one of the 13 ikrim. And yes, we are expected to control our thoughts and desires. Remember "Lo Sachmod"?

    As for myself, yes initially it was an emotional decision. But I can honsetly say that today I believe because it is obvious to me.

    With faith, there are no questions; without faith, there are no answers.

    Yisroel Meir Hakohen (1838-1933)

     
    At June 22, 2006 5:04 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    MK, Firstly the 13 Ikkarim are debatable. I even heard my Rav say it; he's a regular Chareidi Rav who is quite well known. There are other versions such as 7 Ikkarim or 3 Ikkarim or possibly even one Ikkar. These were promulgated by other Rishonim. It's just the Rambam's Ikkarim became well known. Secondly, a requirement to "believe" just makes no sense. What if you don't? You can't be forced to believe something if you don't.

    If I tell you that you must believe the sky is green, you only believe it it you believe.

    You can profess belief, but that doesn't mean you do.

    I tried to pre-empt some of this in my comment to you before about Lo Uvdo Avoda Zara.

    This is a famous kashia, how can one be forced to believe. In yeshiva we learned that really everyone believes but they fool themselves into not believing because they really don't want to believe in order to be Matir Arayos.

    Well there are many who have lots of doubt and would wish that it were true, yet still are not Matir Arayos. etc.


    > Remember "Lo Sachmod"?


    Agreed, once you believe then controlling your desires and envies is do-able.


    > With faith, there are no questions; without faith, there are no answers.


    Possibly, but that doesn't mean the faith is true either. The same motto can be said of other religions.



    Hmmmm. I would have hoped that I'd attract other people in by boat. I'm not looking to try to convince believers of anything. But I'll gladly defend my skepticism to anyone.

     
    At June 23, 2006 1:39 PM, Blogger Moshe Kappoya said...

    FYI,
    I think you'll find this interesting...
    http://hassid.blogspot.com/2005/10/end.html

     
    At June 23, 2006 4:20 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    I read it and it does not do much for me. I really don't feel I need to do any teshuva for many reasons. At least not any more than your typical Baal Habos needs to do Teshuva.

    An interesting point though is Mitoch Shlo Lshmuh. It does say about Torah, Meoros Shebah Machzirin Lmutav - As long as you're not learning Lekantair.

    And I believe thats true, the more you learn the more "religious" you will be. That's no different than someone who reads science books all day, will become more intellectual.

    There was a period when I recognized that I was learning exactly Lekantair. So for around 4 years I stopped learning. I'm over that now and I'm back to a daily dose of learning. At least it keeps me connected.

    So tell me, how wacky is that for someone who pretty convinced about the non historicity of TMS ?

    Good Shabbos.

     
    At June 26, 2006 9:43 AM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    If you want to know how I'm avoiding the holes, check my blog. It's not too difficult really.

     
    At June 26, 2006 4:57 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    JP, you're free to dis-agree with my Rebbi.

     
    At June 27, 2006 1:18 AM, Anonymous Pinchas Giller said...

    The "kefirah holes" sounds close to R. Nachman Breslaver's famous "Torah of the Void" (Likkutei Moharan 64); the astronaut thing sounds like Erikh Von Danekin's "Chariots of the Gods."

    This all must have filtered down to you wherever you were.

    It seems that the frum world is very 2 dimensional and shies away from complexity or paradox in the objects of their belief.

    You said:

    "..serious doubt as to the accuracy of Torah MiSinai as we know it."

    But maybe you knew it with insufficient subtlety.

     
    At June 27, 2006 9:02 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Pinchas,

    You are possibly correct about the book being Chariots of the Gods. When I wrote this post, I went looking searching for a book entitled God is an Astronaut and came up empty. But, thats the title as I remember "reading it" many years ago, so that's what I went with.

    The other incident are verbatim words from a revered recently deceased Litvishe Maggid shiur.

    I don't think R' Breslav or Von Daniken's neccesarilly had copyrights on their respective ideas.

    No subtlety? That's funny.


    Anyhow, what I find realy interesting, is that commenters often post on ancillary issues, somehow missing the point of the post. Maybe it's my writing. Or possibly, if I re-arrange your sentences, your'e disagreeing with the Kefira holes issue by saying that people should be able to live with the dichotomy of ideas. Well, I tell you that LY does not live with the dichotomy, because he simply rejects science and anything that threatens to conflict with with cocoon. Which is not bad. But one day, something may crack and he'll really be in deep doo-doo.

    I'll post about subtlety in the future.

     
    At June 27, 2006 8:23 PM, Anonymous PInchas Giller said...

    No, all I meant was that Torah mi-Sinai may be more complex, in its reality, than the simplistic view. And, I apologize, when I said "you" I meant the 2nd person plural, as in Torah mi-Sinai as taught to the masses. I think that the idea is full of mysteries and paradoxes, myself.

    And your writing is quite fine, it is my thought processes that are erratic.

    There was a point, in the popular culture, when there was a theme that Aliens were going to come & bequeath humankind with knowledge. "Close encounters," "ET" it was even parodied by Woody Allen. Lately the aliens in movies all seem to be malevolent. It's a nastier decade.

     
    At June 27, 2006 11:12 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Pinchas, no apologies necessary either way. Unfortunately my upbringing (chareidi-lite)does not really provide for a complex TMS. And true Chareidi has no leeway at all.

    See any good movies lately? I can't even recall the last time we (the wife & I) went to a movie or even rented something. I settle for Seinfeld reruns and borrowed Sopranos. IMO, The early Sopranos were the best thing out on the tube. Ever.

     
    At June 28, 2006 11:48 PM, Blogger lakewoodyid said...

    BHB,

    Please explain:

    Da Mah She'tashiv L'apikores.

     
    At June 29, 2006 1:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    my intention was the first words not the last word

     
    At June 29, 2006 9:53 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > Da Mah She'tashiv L'apikores.

    LY, it certainly does not mean going surfing the web LOOKING for apikorsim.

    You have strayed from your own characterization of your blogging as defending anti Chareidi posting. Now you're doing mundane postings about Flip Flops in shul. Your web charisma is carrying you away.

     
    At June 29, 2006 9:56 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > Anonymous said...
    my intention was the first words not the last word


    Anon, sorry, I don't know who you are and what you're referring to.

     
    At June 29, 2006 12:21 PM, Blogger lakewoodyid said...

    >LY, it certainly does not mean going surfing the web LOOKING for apikorsim.

    You're avoiding my question. You said Kefirah make spiritual holes in the brain.

    The Mishna says we should know what to answer. We can only answer if we read their position.

    How could the Mishna allow it if it creates holes?

    (Hint, see the mefarshim on the mishna in Avos perek 2)

     
    At June 29, 2006 12:23 PM, Blogger lakewoodyid said...

    >> Anonymous said...
    my intention was the first words not the last word

    >Anon, sorry, I don't know who you are and what you're referring to.

    Sorry about that one. Blogging from a treo is a pain.

    I was simply trying to say that although I quoted the Mishna - "L'apikores", I was not refering that term on anyone.

     
    At June 29, 2006 12:38 PM, Blogger lakewoodyid said...

    >Now you're doing mundane postings about Flip Flops in shul. Your web charisma is carrying you away.

    I'm fully entitled to express my right wing views. As much as your entitled to express your doubts.

    And standing before God "nisht koveh'dig" is not a mundane matter to me.

     
    At June 29, 2006 3:21 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    LY,

    > How could the Mishna allow it if it creates holes?

    That was not my Vort, it was from a very chushoov Maggid Shiur. I will try to research it the Inyun. I sincerely doubt it means actively engage in conversation with Apikorsim unless forced into it. It probably means Study Tanach and Gemora well so in case you get into the position where you are forced to confront an Apikores you will know how to respond.

    Yes, you certainly are entitled to blog on what you wish, but I remember you saying your charter is to defend against anti-chared sentiment, right?

     
    At June 29, 2006 5:30 PM, Blogger lakewoodyid said...

    >Yes, you certainly are entitled to blog on what you wish, but I remember you saying your charter is to defend against anti-chared sentiment, right?

    Gotta sometimes take offence too.

     
    At June 29, 2006 11:42 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > Gotta sometimes take offence too.

    LY, as long as you don't
    "take offence" :)

    Good Shabbos.

     
    At July 07, 2006 1:27 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    BHB
    Many people believe orthodoxy is the only way to preserve the jews.
    I agree.
    That doesnt mean that privately you cant have brain.
    I think youre accomplishing both.
    Youre saving orthodoxy, and saving your brain.
    Double schar.
    Hashem gave us sechel and rabboonim.
    Those two are mutually exclusive a lot of the times.
    I believe they are becuase when you make the leap to all faith, you have no sechel. Its not a bad thing. We need our standard bearers. Doesnt mean they arent smart or wise.

     

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