Friday, 7 May 2010

The Sinai "Proof" and other Psychological Kiruv "Proofs"

- Why does the supposed in Redactor in the DH sometimes try to resolve contradictions and sometimes not?

- If the Torah was written by man how could it make such outrageous promises about Shmitta?

- How could anyone believe a fake Sinai revelation?

This is the ammunition of kiruv guys to convince people that it is rational and necessary to believe in Judaism. The mistake these people are making is that they believe they can accurately predict human psychology. Human psychology is just so complex that it is almost impossible to say what exactly people will actually do. I suppose these kiruv arguments also have just a little to much faith in human intelligence. Here is an update: people are capable of being very very very stupid. You can't always rationalize the strange and sometimes impulsive things people do (especially a long time ago when almost nobody was educated)

Once I'm on topic I just want to point out that the phenomenon of Shmitta happened in historical times! How could a human tell all the Jews not to cultivate for a year and then make the divine promise that they would have enough grain to make it by!?

Well what about the South African Xhosa?

From Wikipedia
"In April or May 1856, the teenaged Nongqawuse and her friend Nombanda went to fetch water from a pool near the mouth of the Gxarha River. When she returned, Nongqawuse told her uncle and guardian Mhlakaza, a Xhosa spiritualist, that she had met the spirits of three of her ancestors.She claimed that the spirits had told her that the Xhosa people should destroy their crops and kill their cattle, the source of their wealth as well as food. In return the spirits would sweep the British settlers into the sea. The Xhosa would be able to replenish the granaries, and fill the kraals with more beautiful and healthier cattle.Mhlakaza repeated the prophecy to Paramount Chief Sarhili. Sarhili ordered his followers to obey the prophecy, causing the cattle-killing movement to spread to an unstoppable point. The cattle-killing frenzy affected not only the Gcaleka, Sarhili's clan, but the whole of the Xhosa nation. Historians estimate that the Gcaleka killed between 300,000 and 400,000 head of cattle."

Sounds an awfully lot like Shmitta to me


Luke Skyhopper said...

I was reading a daat emet post which cites Macabees II in saying that Jews ultimately lost a battle/campaign because they had kept the shmitta laws and thus ran out of food.

Shilton HaSechel said...

Makes sense the Macabees as far as i know had not yet developed the concept of pikuach nefesh like we have nowadays. Back in the day Jews would sometimes lose battles because they refused to fight on the shabbat.

G*3 said...

All of the kiruv “proofs” you cite, in addition to underestimating people’s credulity and stupidity, are all implicitly based on the idea, a la the Kuzari, that the Torah was dreamed up one day by some guy who then tried to sell it to the masses. All if these things would most likely have already existed in the culture and/or holy writings. The people hearing the redacted form for the first time would have been nodding along, “Shmitta, yup, I’ve been doing that all my life.”

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