The Torah has been transmitted to us with extreme care and precision. The Rambam believed in it and passed it on. The Vilna Gaon believed in it and passed it on. Our grandparents believed in it and passed it on. This is called kabbalas Avos – and it alone is enough to trust and live by our mesorah.
Still, substantiating emunah with one’s own thinking (known as emunas ha-seichel) offers huge advantages. It provides excitement — a passion and an enthusiasm that make the emunah alive and vibrant. It helps tailor our Torah lives to our individual minds and souls. It helps make Yiddishkeit real.
No magical “leap of faith” is necessary in order to believe. All we need is clear thinking – as demonstrated in this incredible book. In this ‘refresher course’ to emunah, we will rediscover why we believe, and will be able to daven and learn with ever-increasing levels of emunah and connection to Hashem.
Chezky Tauber –
This book by R. Dovid Sapirman, shlita, is foundational to understanding Judaism. This book does a great job of presenting the traditional understanding of Torah: where it comes from, how it was written, and why we can trust the veracity of this view. You should also read R. Sapirman’s “Unbroken Chain,” which explains the Oral Law.
Israel Drazin –
Readers interested in knowing what Haredi, that is fundamentalist Jews, believe, will find this book, “Emunah,” meaning “Faith,” interesting. The basic premise is believing that not only did God give the Five Books of Moses, the Torah, to the Israelites while they stood at Mount Sinai, God also gave the Israelites what came to be called the “Oral Torah.” Haredi Jews understand the “Oral Torah” to be how God wanted the Torah to be understood. These “explanations” were not written down until the days when Jews wrote Midrashim, Mishnah, and Talmud, close to two thousand years after Sinai. Non-Haredi Jews recognize that the “Oral Torah” was not from God, was not even “Oral” or “biblical Torah,” but changes in the biblical laws because of the changed attitude and need of Jews. The Bible meant what it said. It was full of laws that the Israelites needed at the ancient time. For example, the Torah states that God commanded “an eye for an eye,” meaning, if you knocked out an eye of another, your eye will be knocked out. The Torah law stopped Jews from killing another person because of the infliction of a physical injury. The rabbis changed the law to be monetary compensation. The offender had to pay damages. Other examples include the doing away with the biblical laws of sacrifices because of the realization that God neither wants nor needs sacrifices, and the cessation of inhuman slavery. Haredi Jews do not reject what non-Haredi Jews call “rabbinical Judaism,” they insist instead that there was only a few modifications, and the “Oral Torah” is not a rabbinical changes, it was what God commanded at Sinai. Rabbi Sapirman takes the Haredi position.
Miriam N. –
I loved reading this book! I found it both an easy read, with depth, knowledge, and information! Would highly recommenced!