Reply To: Should we try to encourage Mashichists and Elokists to return to the fold?

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Avram in MD


“For now, let’s continue on the other 607 mitzvos only.”

As I’ve argued before, I don’t see how this distinction can be made – a basic level of belief is a prerequisite for fulfillment of all of the mitzvos.

“Second of all, I put myself in a theological bind. In order to put my defining point into focus, I pushed it beyond any reasonable parameters. Of course any sane human has to be thinking something to be observant.”

Correct, hence my not-so-reasonable examples of an athiest observing mitzvos out of guilt, etc. It’s not sustainable at all, and only the external will be kept (and then perhaps only when others are looking), and mitzvos have both external and internal components.

“However, that may speak more to our humanness, than to spirituality. After all, do malachim ‘think’ when they observe His will?”

The Torah was made for humans – it is the blueprint of humanity, and in fact the astonishingly blunt and accurate knowledge of how humans work was what drew me who grew up non-frum into Torah more than any “age of the universe” type arguments that are popular with Aish, etc.

“My main point is this. Every Born-Observant Jew, starts of practicing before they understand any Torah system.”

I don’t really agree with this. Young children innately have an innocent and pure faith that is cute beyond words, but are also ruled completely by their yetzer hara. This is a necessary part of their development, because children need to have their needs met for survival. As we get older, we can increasingly suppress and control our yetzer hara, but our knowledge and understanding also becomes more complex, which gives the yetzer hara new areas to attack other than the stomach and the toys.

“Some people never get that there is a specific purpose to Torah. And they have a mush where others have a sense of purpose.”

And this is something to be sad about and try to change, not accept with a shrug.

“If they preach their lack of knowledge, the proper response is ‘you need to learn more’ or something similar.”

Not if they start gathering adherents to their cause.

“But if they change their practice because it is all mush anyways, then they begin to lose their bona fides. if this is true, then it follows that observance can be achieved without any real idea of the Godhead.”

Not so, only outward observance, which is incomplete, and as I’ve been arguing this whole time, not sufficient to actually be considered fulfilling the mitzvos at all. In another hopefully approved post, I pointed out that our acceptance of “Orthoprax” is more due to our inability to see inside a person and thus using the outward appearances as a proxy. But our acceptance does not a kosher Jew make. That’s up to Hashem, as it says (paraphrasing Chumash Devarim), the revealed are for us and the hidden are for Hashem to deal with.

“I contend that some people are not just uncomfortable talking about Hashem, they really do not understand what the whole conversation is about.”

Yes, someone gave us a children’s book that told the story of Passover, and while the illustrations were great, I noticed that the book did not mention Hashem at all! It made it sound like Moshe Rabbeinu was a magic man who did it all – the book could’ve been titled “Moses and his magic staff”. So I read it to my kids, changing the words to say that Hashem did all of these things, and then chucked the book into the trash after they went to bed.

To keep the mitzvos on even the basic level, one has to fully accept all the mitzvos. Now, the query of the six constant mitzvos becomes unavoidable.”