Intermountain Jewish News

Banner
Wednesday,
Aug 20th
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

Judge blocks protest against Israeli Film Festival in Australia

Ben Sales A pro-Palestinian protest at the opening night of the Israeli Film Festival in Sydney will not go ahead, a judge ruled. ... [Link]

Israeli MK Zoabi recommended for court trial

Ben Sales The Israel Police recommended that Arab Israeli Knesset member Hanin Zoabi be put on trial after Zoabi insulted and threatened police officers during an interrogation. ... [Link]

Israel attempts hit on Hamas commander as clashes resume

Ben Sales Israel attempted to assassinate the head of Hamas’ armed wing as clashes between Hamas and Israel resumed following Hamas rocket fire on Israel. ... [Link]

Rocket fire continues as Israel strikes back

Ben Sales Israel attempted to assassinate a Hamas commander as clashes between Israel and Hamas renewed. ... [Link]

Philadelphia synagogue’s historian found dead in home

Julie Wiener A Philadelphia man who served as his synagogue’s informal historian was found beaten to death in his home. ... [Link]

State Dept. designates Gaza-based council a terrorist group

Marcy Oster The U.S. State Department designated a Gaza-based jihadist umbrella group as a terrorist organization. ... [Link]

Barrage of rockets strikes Israel as bomb shelters ordered open

Marcy Oster Hamas claimed responsibility for a barrage of rockets fired on southern and central Israel, including Tel Aviv. ... [Link]

In wake of rabbi’s murder, Miami Jews fretting over security

Anthony Weiss A daylight murder and a spate of anti-Semitic incidents have the North Miami Beach community on edge. ... [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