Logical Emunah Vs. Simple Emunah [#14542]

August 19, 2021


It seems that the Rishonim (early Torah scholars, spanning 10th-15th centuries) would “prove” emunah (belief in Hashem and in His Divine Providence, etc.) using logic, science, and philosophy. Later, the Acharonim (later Torah scholars, who spanned 15th-19th centuries) shunned this study and forbade people from learning it. For example, the Gra said not to learn Shaar HaYichud of Chovos HaLevovos, because emunah peshutah (simple, unquestioning faith in Hashem) is a more preferred approach to emunah as opposed to “proving” emunah through philosophy. 1) First of all, what I want to know is: What exactly is intellectual, logical, philosophical emunah? 2) Also, which approach in emunah is indeed more preferred – logical, intellectual emunah or “simple” emunah, emunah peshutah?


1) Philosophical, logical emunah is attained by: (1) Thinking of a concept and also the opposite of that concept. One should understand what the existence of the concept implies, and also understand what the absence of that concept will mean. (2) Think about all the factors involved in each thing, what each matter is comprised of, and bring proofs to it. (3) Reflect about each thing on a conceptual level as well as on a practical level. (4) See what prevents or brings about the actualization of something, the performance of any concept, how it operates, and its purpose.
2) A person has a mind, called the mochin, and he also has the root, the shoresh, of the mind. There is a verse, “Wisdom, from where is it found?” Wisdom has a higher source to it. It is the p’shitus, the temimus, the emunah, the non-intellectual belief in Hashem, which powers the mind’s wisdom. (Keser/emunah is the root of Chochmah/thinking). The philosophers were mainly using their minds, whereas the Pashtanim (those Sages who took the simple, surface approach to Torah) and Mekubalim (those sages who studied the hidden parts of Torah) were using ohr pashut, the simple, undifferentiated light. The Pashtanim were using the lower aspect of this pashut, this simplicity, while the Mekubalim were using the higher aspect of this pashut/simplicity.
Every person would need to clarify his shoresh neshamah (soul root), in order to know if his approach to emunah should be logical and intellectual emunah, or simplistic, unquestioning emunah peshutah. However, in the later generations, the light of p’shitus is shining, because the light of Mashiach are radiating more strongly with the closer we get to Mashiach, as the sefarim hakodeshim revealed. Therefore, in our times the main light is the source of the wisdom, which is ayin/emunah/p’shitus. Besides for this however, it is anyways not recommended for a person to take the route of philosophical emunah, because people’s minds are smaller today and they can become easily mistaken.