Faith and Heresy
[Parshat Mishpatim]



Faith and heresy have shaped our world in more ways than one can imagine. How much art, music and literature has been inspired by faith? How many people have been killed by those who considered them heretics? Empires have risen and fallen in the name of faith and heresy. Minds have been opened and closed in that same name. Many of today’s battles are driven by believers attacking non-believers. On a personal level as well, who is not struggling with their beliefs or non-beliefs? Even the greatest believers are often plagued by doubts. As are the greatest heretics and skeptics.

But before addressing the tension between faith and heresy shouldn’t we first define what those words mean? After all, as Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev once told a self-proclaimed atheist: “I too don’t believe in the the god you don’t believe in”… So before we declare what we believe or deny let us define what G-d is and is not, what faith is and is not, what heresy is and is not. How much of it is defined by our cultures, instead of our choices? How indoctrinated are we in the things we profess to believe in? We may find out that we are not such great believers or heretics as we may think we are.

Please join Rabbi Jacobson in this candid discussion on belief and non-belief. What lies in your heart of hearts when stripped of formalities, conditioning, programming, education, parental attitudes and social pressures? Probe into your inner psyche to discover the things you truly believe in and those you don’t. You may be surprised at what you find.


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[Parshat Mishpatim]”

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