For the last 20-something years, my arguments with my husband have progressed along the same, well-worn path.

I state something that to his ears sounds fantastic, unbelievable, incredible, and sooner or later, he tries to close the argument down with the statement: ‘that’s not logical.’

Who knew, that I’d married Mr Spock?

A lot of his ‘logical’ tendencies have been useful to me, because he’s forced me time and time again to find the ‘logical’ process underpinning what I’m grasping intuitively. Man, the arguments we’ve had, about everything from erev rav, to personality disorders, to how the human body really works, all the way up to how ‘emuna’ is meant to fit into the logical picture.

He’s forced me to pin things down logically again and again, and that’s mostly been very helpful.

But this week, when we were having another one of our ‘discussions’ about whether it’s really possible for Disney to be working with the CIA to put ‘mind control’ cues in its movies, and he delivered his that’s not logical statement again, I suddenly realized something massive:

Why is ‘logic’ the final arbiter of what’s right or wrong, here?

Because what is ‘logic’, ultimately? It’s whatever process or thought or argument you can cram into a human brain. It’s totally limited to human perception and understanding, and as we know, even the most intelligent humans only have a very small part of the picture. There is a time and place for ‘logic’ (more on that in a moment).

Human logic makes no space for God, and because it can’t tease out the ‘process’ behind miracles and other supernatural phenomena, it deals with them by pretending they don’t exist.

To put this in other words, the more a person believes that ‘logic’ is the final arbiter of right and wrong, truth and lie, the less likely it is for that person to have anything even approaching real emuna, or real emunat tzaddikim.

I know that’s a big statement, but I’m going to back it up.

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First, let’s take a look at what logic actually is, and where it comes from. This is from Wikipedia:

Logic (from the Ancient Greekλογικήromanized: logikḗ[1]) is the systematic study of the form of valid inference, and the most general laws of truth.[2] A valid inference is one where there is a specific relation of logical support between the assumptions of the inference and its conclusion. In ordinary discourse, inferences may be signified by words such as therefore, thus, hence, ergo, and so on.

There is no universal agreement as to the exact scope and subject matter of logic (see § Rival conceptions, below), but it has traditionally included the classification of arguments, the systematic exposition of the ‘logical form’ common to all valid arguments, the study of proof and inference, including paradoxes and fallacies, and the study of syntax and semantics.

Historically, logic has been studied in philosophy (since ancient times) and mathematics (since the mid-19th century), and recently logic has been studied in cognitive science (encompasses computer sciencelinguisticsphilosophy and psychology).

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In other words, logic is a form of Greek-inspired philosophy.

So, whenever someone makes the ‘logic’ of a supposition the acid test of whether it’s ‘true’ or not, they are effectively operating out of a system of Greek heresy, instead of Jewish belief.

Let’s give some concrete examples.

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There’s an idea in Judaism that if your finances are hitting the skids, you should make an effort to go and give even more money to charity. That way, you’ll sweeten whatever spiritual judgments are keeping you poor and constricted.

Now, does this sound logical?

At this point in time when you’re finding it hard to even scrape together the money for the rent, you’re meant to go and give even more money to charity?!?!

It’s totally illogical.

And yet, it works. I’ve lost count of the number of times that immediately after we paid a big whack of charity we couldn’t really afford, or a big pidyon that squeezed us financially, how much new business flowed in through my husband’s doors, afterwards.

Essentially, there is very little ‘logic’ behind any of the mitzvoth we keep, whether it’s avoiding shatnez, eating kosher, keeping Shabbat, paying 10% of our income to charity. Sure, Jews with a more philosophical bent have tried to make Judaism jive more with Greek philosophy by trying to assign reasons to mitzvoth that make sense to human logic.

But ultimately?

All the mitzvoth we keep boils down to emuna, to faith, to the idea that we can’t understand everything, however big our brains are.

Behind all this talk of ‘logic’ there is so much arrogance, so much ga’avah.

It takes some real humility to admit that we still know so very little about what’s really going on, and that our ability to grasp what’s really going on in the world is actually incredibly limited.

So, when people start boasting about how ‘logical’ they are, and how they think ‘logically’, what they’re really saying is:

“I have very little emuna, and I’m incredibly arrogant.”

Now that we all know that, hopefully more of us will start to challenge ‘logic’s’ stranglehold on our public discourse.

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All that said, logic and human reasoning still has a place in our lives.

God runs the world according to His spiritual rules, and we have to follow those rules to the best of our ability. If God has built the world in such a way eating fast-food usually makes us ill, and treating people badly usually makes us social lepers, and running in front of speeding cars on the highway usually makes us dead – we have to respect those rules.

Go right ahead, and make a logical calculation about whether you should dash across the road in front of that articulated lorry – but remember that all these logical ‘rules’ aren’t presenting the full picture of how God is actually running the world.

Illogical, miraculous and supernatural things are occurring to every single one of us, all the time.

Why?

Because God is running the world, and God is operating things at a level far, far beyond the boundaries of human logic.

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So, to sum up.

From this moment forth, just telling me something is ‘not logical’ doesn’t automatically win the argument, or close down the discussion. Heretical Greeks made human ‘logic’ the arbiter of truth, and to put it bluntly, they can get stuffed.

A multitude of sins hides behind ‘logic’, including heresy, denial of God’s omnipresent role in the world, arrogance, narrow-mindedness, argumentation for its own sake, victory-seeking, and trying to make other people appear ‘small’ or ‘stupid’.

Logic is a false god, that’s keeping so many Jews away from really developing a genuine relationship with Hashem.

Once we start acknowledging that, and once more of us start relating to a logical frame of mind as some sort of severe spiritual disability, instead of lauding and praising it, that’s when we’ll jump a whole bunch nearer to the world actually getting fixed, and redemption really happening.

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UPDATE: Thanks to Yosef for the link to this clip, which makes the point very nicely!

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Photo by Macu ic on Unsplash

2 replies
  1. Orna Nitzevet
    Orna Nitzevet says:

    Bs”d
    In DUTCH/FRYSIAN, they say:
    ‘NU BREEKT MIJN KLOMP.’
    There is a place in NORTH of Holland, where even the Romans did not dare to come and build a way…these are the Frysian people with this explanation of logic. When they cannot phantom something, they say: ‘NU BREEKT MIJN KLOMP.’ Nou breek me klomp
    Klomp is wooden shoe! that they walk in around/or did for many centuries in their swamp like land not to get wet feet while taking care of the land and cows. If it broke, o boy, what now? walking without one shoe….in the cold and rain and mud…all the way back…
    I found them the most UN-LOGICAL people i ever met.
    But wait a minute…..when the ‘AL-IE-ENS’ come and try to conquer them….i think they are the most immune to the nonsense of demon like creatures to become their KING…i wish i could say that about Israelis connected to whats’upim and brainwashed by very strong television culture from the beginning of this medina…how many of my people are going to believe that AR MI LI US is the MARS AL IN EN KING to save them and are going to bow to him because the MEDINA do so also???
    Exactly the logic that ‘make’ students bright (chiloni study) is going to make them loose their mind and serve SM, sameh mem, or his son, or his army…for they are trained well from the birth until now, and no CHAREDI/TZADIK/SHOMER MITZVOT person can get them over the bridge to the other side of the ‘LOGIC’ to loose their mind into EMUNA, REAL EMUNA, not just a kippa on my head emuna. And only the merit of prayer of their grandmother, grandfather, mother, father can save them from the HUGE MISTAKE of accepting the logic OF GOG U MAGOG, and be its servants .the mind=MOAH of many of us is captured and enslaved in the LOGIC of movies (my mother z’l was smart enough to explain me before my BAT MITZVA! that they use movies to PUT A SPELL ON PEOPLE TO SERVE THEM=it is a sort of MAGIC!!!!) and tend to believe anything as truth so long it is explained in the ‘comfort’ zone movie like lesson with familiar subliminal messages that feel familiar and cozy for they where send into the brain by all these movies from the beginning of time of this last generation…yes, believing in the UNI-VERSE instead of adama, .GALAXIES instead of heaven, B(A)ALL-LIKE PLANET instead of earth, ROUND HUGE MOON instead of the moon we are told about in the ORAH ORAITA, THE CETRUM OF OUR ‘PLANETARY SYSTEM’=THE SUN RUNNING TRUE THE ‘SPACE’ WITH ALL THE ‘PLANETS’ AFTER IT IN ONE OR ANOTHER NEW MADE UP WAY, instead of the sun serving us here while having daat and hating the people that bow to it, knowing its smaller the ADAMA! ‘KADUR ARETZ’ instead of the place we are created from that feels with us and cherish us in loving obedience to HASHEM!!!! a place that is alive and have daat similar to the daat of a shomer mitzvot JEW…no, the messenger of the other side is not scary, it is the ignorance and not knowing about the ‘SPELL’ what make this situation scary. A JEW that is under the ‘SPELL’ that gives other JEWS for free to the other side, a JEWISH RAT is it called in our history. By sending info by what’s up or any MAGIC, who we serve???who will get the message beside the one we send it to??How about the pictures, recordings???This is serious and so similar to the time in MITZRAIYM that i want to cry about……….but i have hope.
    The HOPE IS PRAYER.
    Please, let’s pray:

    Hashem said that anything we need, we can ask straith from Him for He is our ABBA.
    So with this (and with many others) i want to thank HAKADOSH BARUH HU for all the good things in our life. Also for the not so nice things that help us fulfill our TIKUN. For being able to live in ERETZ YISRAEL IN THE MERCY OF YOU! For the trees, food, water, air, Kineret, Beer Miriam that heal me every time i need, for the singing birds, the frogs that keep my garden bug free, for the Adama, and all Your MERCY on us. For the TSCHUVA of AM YISRAEL, including my children and their children, for RAHEL IMENU, FOR YOSEF HA TZADIK. FOR MOSHE RABEINU AND FOR DAVID. I ask YOU to brake the ‘MAGIC SPELL’ of the TV like gadgets on my people and bring them back to really SERVE YOU. I ask YOU for Mashiah to be crowned in public already and take his job. To be the king of Yisrael, a pure servant of Hashem to lead us. May the Kohanim start to do their job. Please. May the SANHEDRIN start to bring justice. May the HALACHA BE the beautiful compliment to our LIFE OF TORAH.
    May we have the merit to come to BET HA MIKDASH.
    Pureness and Kdusha so that the Schina protect us again against any foreign tough, person, rule, eye, speech and nation.
    SANHEDRIN WITH KOHEN HA GADOL
    is what i want! Our people that lead us in the wisdom of OUR TORAH AND TRADITION. Chukim shel TORAH HA KDUSHA is what i respect. Please let it be.
    That ONLY JEWS will ‘write’ the LAW to us. Thank you ABBA! Malchut Yisrael. To serve YOU in dignity.
    =============================================================================
    Now Rivka, you do not need to post this, if it is too much, but i want to say thank you, that at least you consider the TRUTH about the LOGIC of our time…we must save our people from the in programmed LOGIC to serve the coming time of……may HASHEM HAVE MERCY!
    Life is not a movie.
    Life is a hard survival in this SEA and it is wet, B.H. with HIS/OUR TORAH!!!!
    Only this water can damage the gadgets that keep us in the spell. May we be
    ELECTROCUTED into the TRUTH!!

    Reply

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