In Praise of Jewish Skepticism

“To Israel, the heir of the religion of truth, the children of Jacob, the man of truth…it is easier to bear the burden of exile than to believe in anything before it is thoroughly and repeatedly examined and all of its dross has been purged away, even though it appears to be a sign or a miracle. The undeniable evidence for Israel’s love of truth and rejection of anything which is doubtful can be seen in the relation of the people of Israel to Moses. In spite of the fact that they were crushed by slavery, yet when Moses was told to bring them the tidings of their redemption, he said to the Lord: “Behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken to my voice, for they will say: The Lord hath not appeared to thee’ (Exodus 4:1)”

-Solomon Ibn Adret of Barcelona (1235-1310), Responsa no.548.

Author: Matthew Zachary Gindin

Freelance journalist and teacher. I write regularly for the Forward, All That In Interesting, and the Jewish Independent, and have been published in Religion Dispatches, Situate Magazine, Elephant Journal, and elsewhere.

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