<html><head></head><body><div style="font-family:verdana, helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:13px;"><div><div>I read Gil Perl's article and I don't understand why the idea of RAL's not knowing or being able to know but nonetheless believing doesn't speak to him. I find all the talk about there being no objective truth to be irrelevant. Truth goes beyond provable fact. It even goes beyond the contradictions to belief by newly discovered scientific truths which by definition are subject to change with new discoveries.</div><div><br></div><div>In the Lonely Man of Faith, RYBS explains that there are no cognitive categories in which the total commitment of the man of faith could be spelled out. The commitment is rooted not in one dimension, such as the rational one, but in the whole personality of the man of faith. The whole human being; the rational as well as the non-rational is committed to God. Hence the magnitude of commitment is beyond the comprehension of the logos and the ethos. The intellect does not chart the course of the man of faith. It is a function not only of the logic of the mind. It is also a function of the logic of the heart. An apriori awareness that becomes an axiom - a conclusion that cannot rely on solely rational considerations. </div><div><br></div><div>HM</div><div><br></div><div><br></div><div class="ydpe8231871signature">Want Emes and Emunah in your life?
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On Monday, November 20, 2017, 7:25:20 PM CST, Micha Berger via Avodah <email@example.com> wrote:
<div>My most recent blog post, in which I argue that Post-Modern Orthodoxy<br>is a contradiction of terms.<br><<a href="http://www.aishdas.org/asp/post-modern-orthodoxy" target="_blank">http://www.aishdas.org/asp/post-modern-orthodoxy</a>><br><br>-micha<br><br>Post-Modern Orthodoxy<br>micha - Published Mon, Nov 20, 2017<br><br>Modern Orthodoxy is based on an integration of Orthodoxy with life<br>in the modern world. However, with R' JB Soloveitchik's passing, the<br>movement was left without a luminary who analyzes and discusses matters<br>of worldview. Consequently, Modern Orthodoxy's thought is that of the<br>mid 20th century, when Neo-Kantian and Existential answers addressed<br>the kinds of religious questions people on the street were confronting.<br><br>And so, the argument is today, that there is a need for someone to<br>articulate a Post-Modern Orthodoxy.<br><br>This is why there was much discussion in some Modern Orthodox circles<br>with the publication of a selection of R' Shimon Gershon Rosenburg --<br>"Rav Shagar"`s -- essays in English. "Faith Shattered and Restored:<br>Judaism in the Postmodern Age", edited by Rabbi Dr. Zohar Maor, was<br>published by Maggid Books this past June.<br><br>Dr. Alan Brill, on his blog, carried numerous translations of R' Shagar<br>since, as well as analysis of his thought. In particular, see this post<br>of notes that Dr Brill compiled while teaching R' Shagar's thought,<br>"Rav Shagar: To be connected to Eyn -- Living in a Postmodern World".<br><<a href="https://kavvanah.wordpress.com/2015/01/18/rav-shagar-to-be-connected-to-eyn-living-in-a-postmodern-world" target="_blank">https://kavvanah.wordpress.com/2015/01/18/rav-shagar-to-be-connected-to-eyn-living-in-a-postmodern-world</a>><br><br>Times of Israel had an interview with R/Dr Maor, "Israel's paradoxical<br>man of faith, deconstructed".<br><<a href="http://www.timesofisrael.com/israels-paradoxical-man-of-faith-deconstructed" target="_blank">http://www.timesofisrael.com/israels-paradoxical-man-of-faith-deconstructed</a>><br><br>And recently, R Gil Perl, an alumnus of Yeshivat Har Etzion ("Gush")<br>who became a student of Rav Shagar, wrote an essay about why R' Shagar's<br>thought spoke to him in a way that the teachings of R' Aharon Lichtenstein<br>of Gush couldn't in the long run. See "Postmodern Orthodoxy: Giving<br>Voice to a New Generation".<br><<a href="http://PostmodernOrthodoxy:GivingVoicetoaNewGeneration" target="_blank">http://PostmodernOrthodoxy:GivingVoicetoaNewGeneration</a>><br><br>To give you an idea of R Shagar's thought, he likens Deconstructionism<br>to Sheviras haKeilim -- the Qabbalistic idea that Creation involved the<br>breaking of vessels, and the post-modern's inability to consider an idea<br>to be objectively true. He builds a case for the condition of having<br>difficulty with belief and therefore believing in nothing and turns<br>it into a Ism of believing in Nothing. Identifying that lower-case-n<br>nothing with the Ayin, the capital-N Nothingness from which G-d made<br>Yeish, something (indeed, everything).<br><br>Me, I think it doesn't work.<br><br>Post-Modernism is a confusion of the subjectivity of my justification<br>for knowing something with the subjectivity of the known. Meaning, I<br>can know objective truths for entirely personal and subjective reasons.<br>I can be convinced of halakhah because of my personal experience of<br>the beauty of Shabbos. Not from my liking Shabbos; from that about the<br>Shabbos experience I find beautiful, likable, meaningful, and True. I<br>know that hilkhos Shabbos as we have them today really did objectively<br>speaking come from the Creator by way of my personal experience of<br>Shabbos. Objective truth, subjective justification.<br><br>In contrast, in Post-Modern thought, since I have no guarantee of<br>objectively proving anything to anyone else, the notion of objective<br>truth is entirely denied. There isn't "the truth" as much a "his truth"<br>or "her truth", narratives people and societies construct for themselves.<br><br>And this touches everything on the college campus from religious beliefs<br>to defending the Palestinian because we have our narrative and they<br>have theirs. (There is room for every narrative but those that exclude<br>other narratives.) In the real world outside those ivory towers, though,<br>you won't find too many people with Post-Modern notions of science,<br>declaring (eg) that math or physics are merely social constructs. But<br>certainly outside the realm of the scientifically provable Post-Modern<br>thinking has become part of the zeitgeist.<br><br>My problem with "Postmodern Orthodoxy" is that Post-Modernism (as<br>I just described it) is inherently incompatible with the notion of a<br>lower-case-o orthodoxy, including our case, capital-O Orthodox Judaism.<br>I often said on Facebook that one reason why more are going OTD in this<br>generation than in mine is that Post-Modernism has become part of the<br>common culture. It is impossible to maintain any orthodoxy, including O,<br>if one believes that there are no objective truths, or even that there<br>is nothing one could ever assert as objectively true.<br><br>There is a profound difference between believing there is an absolute<br>truth that I personally do not fully know or understand -- which R' Gil<br>Perl presented as R' Lichtenstein's position, and believing that all<br>truths are human conditioned. Between a personal nothing and an ideal<br>of Nothingness. And yet, R Shagar says just that. To repeat a quote of<br>Rav Shagar used in R Perl's article, "All truths may be the product of<br>human conditioning, but such conditioning constitutes the medium through<br>which the divine manifests in the world."<br><br>Rav Shagar's position strikes me as internally inconsistent. For<br>example, to This presupposes that there is a Divine which is manifest<br>in the world, and any claim that says otherwise would defy that Truth.<br>So, there is at least that one central Truth that is necessarily true,<br>regardless of human conditioning.<br><br>The entire notion of considering any of the Articles of Faith human<br>conditioned, true only from our perspective, enters the heretical.<br>Another example, R Shagar's Post-Modern Orthodox Jew will speak of<br>revelation "though he knows there are varying and conflicting revelations,<br>the contradictions do not paralyze him." If one does not believe the<br>revelation via Moshe and the revelation of the Torah are unique, are<br>they not koferim baTorah according to the Rambam? How many rabbanim would<br>allow you to use the wine of someone who believes that the only reason to<br>embrace the Torah's message is because it's "the faith of our fathers"<br>(as R' Shagar describes it) and not different in kind than the message<br>of the New Testament or the Qur'an?<br><br>There are two ways we can speak of the ideal human: we can describe life<br>on the mountain peak, the person who has perfect generosity, perfect<br>patience, perfect faith, a perfect relationship with G-d and other people,<br>etc... But we know that actualize perfection is unachievable for anyone<br>bug G-d. So, the true ideal human is one constantly working toward having<br>those perfect relationships, trying their best, constantly growing. But<br>they are two different things -- the ideal in the sense of the goal to<br>strive for, and the ideal of being a striver.<br><br>We need to learn to separate these notions. Ayin is part of the<br>ideology. A crisis of faith, those times of nothingness, is part of the<br>reach to internalize that ideology. The ideal life for most of us will<br>be struggling with the ideology; but once one makes that struggle part<br>of the ideology itself, I fear one crossed the line.<br>_______________________________________________<br>Avodah mailing list<br><a ymailto="mailto:Avodah@lists.aishdas.org" href="mailto:Avodah@lists.aishdas.org">Avodah@lists.aishdas.org</a><br><a href="http://lists.aishdas.org/listinfo.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org" target="_blank">http://lists.aishdas.org/listinfo.cgi/avodah-aishdas.org</a><br></div>