Monday, April 29, 2013

48 Ways: #24a - Trust in our Sages


Pirkei Avot 6:5 teaches that Torah is acquired in 48 ways, which it lists for us. The twenty-fourth of the 48 is emunas chachamim, which may refer to trust in our sages.

I expect to apply a different definition tomorrow, but this explanation means that one who would succeed in Torah study must have a basic trust in our sages to lead us honestly. If we are worried that our sages might be mis-leading us, we will read their texts with one eye on the door, so to speak, without the ability to immerse ourselves in them.

Of course, one might counter that a healthy skepticism can help provide an objective read and alert the student to potential errors - but this mishnah is not approaching Torah with that perspective. The goal of this mishnah is for the student to accomplish mastery, and this mishnah contends that true mastery requires that one buy into the system wholeheartedly.

Have a great day,

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