Friday, March 23, 2012

Margin of Error

29 Adar, 5772
March 23rd, 2012

If it were up to me, we religious figures would have a mandatory disclaimer after we spoke, like in those car commercials.

It would go like this:
“There is neither wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel in place of God.” Proverbs 21:30

What this means in context is something like, “Everything I’m saying has a healthy margin of error.”

This is the truth of the situation - to live a religious life is to reach for God’s will, not to know it. The very point of the exercise is that we do not know with certainty, and that we spend our lives searching for the way. Life is an exercise is learning, not knowing. No religious leader, no matter how fervent, knows the will of God.

But before you get too excited, remember that this disclaimer applies to everyone, not just religious leaders. Often I see people who substitute doubt of religion with their own certainty. Overhead from another Jew: “That’s just what the Rabbis say, it’s not God’s law.” Just because we do not believe in perfect knowledge does not mean we reject wisdom. Not to give teachers the presumption of value is to say that one person cannot pass holiness to another.

What I’m describing is not an end to belief, but a call for belief with humility.
And yes, you still can’t eat that bacon double-cheesburger.

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