Intermountain Jewish News

Banner
Saturday,
Apr 18th
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

Security consultants warn Jewish institutions on cyberattacks

Ron Kampeas The security arm of the national Jewish community urged Jewish organizations to review cyber security measures after a number of attacks. ... [Link]

Obama taps Adam Szubin for top sanctions enforcement post

Ron Kampeas President Obama nominated Adam Szubin to be the top Treasury official monitoring sanctions compliance. ... [Link]

Vandals rip Holocaust sign in Upper Nyack

Ron Kampeas Vandals ripped down a Holocaust commemoration sign in Upper Nyack, N.Y. ... [Link]

Amid Coachella’s music and heat, Shabbat Tent offers peace and good vibes

Gabe Friedman An inside look at a haven of hospitality at one of the world’s hottest and craziest music festivals. ... [Link]

Palestinian protesters clash with IDF in West Bank on ‘Prisoners Day’

Gabe Friedman The IDF clashed with Palestinian protesters in the West Bank during the annual Palestinian Prisoners Day demonstrations. ... [Link]

WJC Latin America opens website to combat Holocaust denial

Cnaan Liphshiz The moves are designed to curb the proliferation of revisionism in Spanish-language cyberspace. ... [Link]

Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher gave their third baby quite a name

Gabe Friedman The Baron Cohen newborn’s name has far more than just a Jewish component. ... [Link]

Brooklyn Jewish landlords arrested for harassing tenants

Gabe Friedman Brothers Joel Israel, 34, and Aaron Israel, 37, pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud, burglary, grand larceny, submitting false documents and unlawful eviction, among others. ... [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