Faith & Moshiach

What does Reason have to do with *Faith* in Moshiach?

WB: Since both G-d's existence and Moshiach's coming are included in the 13 principles of faith, I'm sure that Moshiach's coming will eventually become clear to everyone.

I am not questioning the eventual arrival of Moshiach, or the possibility that he could arrive soon. One of the things about this debate that pisses me off (I intended to be vulgar because I'm not getting anywhere by being polite) is that people keep asserting things I already accept as if this makes it sound like we disagree about less.

I am questioning the assumption that there is any particular reason today more than yesterday to expect him soon.

Look, God's existence and Moshiach are found in the 13 principles. That Moshiach will come *soon* is not. So stop acting like there is something wrong with my belief.

Answer: Reason and Faith are interrelated

I think you have made it absolutely clear that you do not question the eventual arrival of Moshiach. I had no doubts about your position when I wrote my article. I think your are misinterpreting my article, and to imply that I doubt your belief, and that is were the anger is coming from.

Let's put things in a more precise framework:

There are two distinct levels in the belief in Moshiach:

  1. An generalized belief that his arrival will occur at some point in time. This belief is not grounded in any particular intellectual reasoning, but is grounded in a supra-rational belief rooted in the Jewish soul. (I do not question that ANYONE lacks this, and certainly not you Warren).
  2. A level of belief in Moshiach which is not restricted to the supra-rational but extends into the rational. I. e. that the evidence from the world and intellectual reasoning supports the conclusion that Moshiach is coming, and not only that but that it is imminent. In other words, in the first stage, one cannot connect the dots, but in the second stage one can. [I believe you have stated that is what you do not find any evidence for. My statement (the one you quoted at the top) was that I believe that this level of belief will soon become clear to everyone].

zeidie.jpg (44527 bytes)These two levels also exist in one's belief of G-d. Some say that belief in G-d is purely supra-rational. Others say that it is also graspable and comprehensible by one's human intellect.

When the Rambam states that the mitzvah on emunas Elokus (belief in G-D) is l'yada sh'yash mitzios Elokus, (apologies for the paraphrase) he is commanding us to KNOW that there is a G-D, not just super-rational belief. That means we are to extert our intellect, observe our environment and intellectually grasp the G-dlyness in the world (LEVEL B).

The supra-rational belief in G-d couldn't have been a commandment. It is inherent in the soul. But intellectual exertion is the domain of commandments. And that is what the Rambam considers the mitzvah of Emunas Elokus.

Similarly, in one's belief in Moshiach. We all are inheritors (from Avraham avinu) of a LEVEL A belief. CHABAD (chochma, bina, das) Chassidus in general teaches that one's belief should also be an intellectual belief. That we should make things clear enough to have a level B belief. That is what the Moshiach campaign, advertisements, etc is about. It is a campaign that is trying to bring an intellectual understanding of the immanence of Moshiach.

Of course, sometimes the qualities and capacities of the teachers are not up to the task, but I assure you they are making a good faith effort.

Author: Yechezkal-Shimon Gutfreund