Intermountain Jewish News

Banner
Thursday,
Apr 02nd
Home Columns View from Denver Non-reason in Judaism and physics

Non-reason in Judaism and physics

E-mail Print PDF

IT turns out that reason has less of a hold on religion and science that one might suppose; or, at least, on Judaism and physics.

In Jewish legal lingo, a “decree”  is a rule that runs against reason. The classic decree is that of the Red Cow. Its ashes, ritually prepared, contaminate its preparers; at the same time, these ashes purify the impure people on whom the ashes, mixed with spring water, are sprinkled.

Same object: ashes.

Two diametrically opposed results: impurity and purity.

That’s a “decree.”

The search for reason in the ritual of the Red Cow will likely take one as far as the search for reason in the reality of an electron in two different orbits simultaneously, or in the dual nature of light, now corpuscular, now wavular.

Same light.

Two diametrically opposed ways of characterizing it. Light is a particle. Light is a wave. On top of that, both characterizations are  necessary to explain light.

Go figure.

You can’t, by means of reason.

It has been remarked that attempts to draw analogies from quantum physics to any other aspect of reality is doomed to failure because nothing else behaves like subatomic realities. Even so, wherever they live, absolute paradoxes do govern part of reality.

The same goes for Judaism. Whenever they were in play, absolute paradoxes, or at least disjunctions unexplainable by reason, do govern parts of the Torah. One example is the “decree” of the Red Cow. Another example is in this week’s Torah portion.

The rest of this article is available in the March 28, 2014 IJN print and digital edition only. Contact Carol to order your copy at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or subscribe to our new online e-Edition.

Last Updated ( Friday, 28 March 2014 06:03 )  

IJN e-Edition

This is only a taste! Get full access to the IJN via our e-Edition, only $14.04 for IJN Print subscribers.

E-Edition subscribers get access to a complete digital replica of the IJN, which includes all special sections.

Get the IJN's free newsletter!

Shabbat Times

JTA News

Iran talks extended another day

Ben Harris Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program were extended for a second time beyond the March 31 deadline for a framework accord. ... [Link]

South Dakota legislator Dan Lederman resigns midterm

Marcy Oster Lederman, a Republican who has served in the state Legislature for seven years, said in a blog post that he was stepping down to spend more time with his family. ... [Link]

Sen. Robert Menendez indicted on corruption charges

Marcy Oster A champion of intensified sanctions on Iran, Menendez was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly doing political favors for a friend and political contributor. ... [Link]

Riskin’s Haman remark reflects broad Israeli distrust of Obama

Ben Sales Mistrust of the president has grown more apparent as the United States and Iran approach a deal over the latter’s disputed nuclear program. ... [Link]

Mikvah-peeping rabbi’s estranged wife speaks publicly for first time

Julie Wiener Sharon Freundel’s 90-minute lecture at a suburban Washington day school did not discuss herself or her estranged husband, but it did address issues related to his crime. ... [Link]

Jewish candidate quits UK race after saying Israel should kidnap Obama

Anthony Weiss The United Kingdom Independence Party candidate, running for Parliament in a major Jewish district of London, had suggested that Israel should “do an Eichmann” on the U.S. president. ... [Link]

U.S.-Israel missile system David’s Sling passes key test

Anthony Weiss The system detected a target missile launching and destroyed it in a trial that potentially clears the way for full-scale deployment. ... [Link]

Kirk Douglas’ underground tunnel to the Playboy Mansion is no April Fool’s joke

Gabe Friedman On Monday, Playboy revealed that secret tunnels were built in the 1970s to connect the Playboy mansion to the houses of a select group of A-list actors. ... [Link]

Intermountain Jewish News • 1177 Grant Street • Denver, CO 80203 • 303 861 2234 • FAX 303 832 6942
email@ijn.com • larry@ijn.com • lori@ijn.com