Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Is it wrong to teach people?

Is it wrong to teach people? I run into this all the time, on chanuka especially.

See, I've done some elementary reading, mostly of blogs, so I know why we celebrate eight days of chanuka, or to put it politically correctly, I know the most plausible explanation. Is it wrong to share this information?

Every year I encounter some bright eyed kid eager to share one of the many bogus, sorry, less plausible explanations for Chanuka's length, and every year I tell them about what it says in the book of Macabees. Is that wrong? Would it be better to let people stay naive? The same thing happens whenever the conversation turns to chumash. The people I know, typically, know Rashi's interpretations, and that's all; worse, they've been raised to believe that Rashi is the one and only correct interpretation. So it's always a little mind blowing, for them, when I share a "not from our mesorah" rishon that disagrees strongly with Rashi. Would it be better if I didn't bother?

And now a blogger I rather admire has published a naive expression of faith in the Ramabam's 13 principles, as recorded by the ani maamin poet, meaning not precisely those principles of faith in which the rambam himself actually believed. I half wrote a post pointing this out, before I stopped myself.

Why bother, I said. She wants to believe what she wants to believe. It makes her happy. It connects her to her people, and to her community. Who am I to interfere?

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