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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Rav Kook on the search for Truth

One of the difficult fact of life in today's world is the extreme piety and an extreme search for Truth appear to be mutually exclusive. Those who are regarded as pious are often the ones who most limit the permitted areas of intellectual pursuit while those with broad knowledge and searching soul have a reputation for religious laxity. While it is true that many in the MO world have a certain irreverence towards the holy and so this reputation might be deserved, I have always maintained that the reputation of piety on the right is often not deserved. True piety must go hand in hand with relentless search for truth and a truly pious person must be willing to pay a personal price for such a search. In reality I believe that the truly pious exist in both the MO and chareidi world but those individuals are few and far between.

I have recently found a piece by Rav Kook that I believe is written regarding a piety that is not coupled with such a striving for Truth (אורות האמונה 67-68):

The enslavement of the intelligence and its stupefaction result from certain influences, and the more holy the influences, the greater the damage done, amounting to the corruption of the world, and resembling more and more the villainy of false prophecy in G-d's name, actions of wickedness and impurity, idol worship and abomination. Thus when the attempt to stupefy the intelligence is presented in the name of faith, of fear of Heaven, or diligence in Torah and fulfilling of mitzvot, it becomes a terrible lie and a filthy impurity.

Then the holy ones of the Most High, G-d's pure servants, must go forth to redeem the world and Israel, the Torah, and all that is holy to the Lord from these destroyers. Let them be who thy may: liars who want only to cheat their fellows or fur-cloaked deceivers, weak of spirit and small of mind, whose own intellectual light has been obstructed, their feelings dulled, and their imagination coarsened, who purposefully and thoroughly trample down the reality before them, their own faith enrooted in mere fables of faith ... and thus souls stumble and fall, and human beings live the lives of beasts, degradation without knowledge or understanding, without human honor, that most basic element in recognizing the honor of Heaven that fills the world, that gives life to all, and animates spirit and soul.

'Nuff said.