Monday, March 15, 2004

Explanation of Dogma

Someone asked me to explain my list of 9 Ikkarei Emunah. I hope that this brief exposition clarifies the matter somewhat.

I believe that it was in the midst of the lengthy Protocols discussion of this topic that the matter came up of what Marc Schapiro would ideally like. I suspect that he did not say the following, but rather someone suggested that his ideal would be following halakhah with the minimal belief needed to support the halakhic system.
So beyond the obvious problem that in today's day and age, there is no need for any justification to keep halakhah. One could (and many do) keep halakhah without believing in either God, Reward & Punishment, or Sinai, there is another problem.

This is so theologically boring.

Do we really want to get rid of theology so that we have some minimalist belief system to compiment halakhah?

Take, for example, the question of the Land of Israel. There is so much room for deep and wide ranging theologies about the nature of the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel.
Or Jewish chosenness. Or progressive revelation.

Judaism should be overflowing with theological ideas and options. But, denying theology is not the way to do so. An alternative suggestion is that we define a minimalist sex of Jewish dogma and, from there, people can create serious Jewish theologies

However, as in everything, boundaries have to be set. Once set boundaries are in place, then room is opened up for a more extensive theological discourse.

This is why I composed a minimalist set of Ikkarim which would be agreed upon my all normative Jewish thinkers.

The problem with the Rambam's Ikkarim is that there are fundamental problems with them, as Shapiro points out in his book. Therefore we need a new set of Ikkarim which would allow and encourage more theological discourse in the Modern Orthodox community, which has been a theological dead-zone for many years.

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