Re: Do You Really Believe a Jew Can Be an Atheist??

micha@xxxxxxxxxxx (Micha Berger) writes:
jimbotuk2000 <jimbo.tyson@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On Oct 21, 2:48 pm, mi...@xxxxxxxxxxx (Micha Berger) wrote:
Joe Bruno <josefbr...@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
I know and my family knows this is possible under Jewish law.

It's not true. There is a commandment to love G-d (just one example),
not possible if you don't believe He exists.

I'm sorry, now I'm confused - how does this issue of a failure to keep
a commandment - speak to the question of identity?

Joe said that he knows that it is "possible under Jewish law" for a Jew
to be an atheist. I answered saying that it's possible, but it would be a
violation of Jewish Law. I thought the question was about Judaism lacking
dogma, and thus one could follow Jewish law without any belief in G-d.

As is clear from the rest of the thread, I didn't reply assuming the
same meaning of the phrase as intended, and that I alone had this problem.

Aside form apostasy, what commandments don't simply entail
disfavour/punishment but loss of yiddishkeit?

Apostasy doesn't either. More like he's a Jew, but not a "member in good
standing". Don't count him toward a minyan until he returns to the faith,
preferably with a dunk in a miqvah.

Say the President of Nigeria came to the King David Hotel, fell
in love with an Israeli girl, learned from his advisors the Jewish
marriage formula, and gave her a ring, before witnesses, and says "Harei
at... Behold you are married to me via this ring, according to the rite
of Moses and Israel."

The talmud asks about this kind of case. There is no halachic marriage
between Jew and non-Jew, the rite wouldn't mean anything. But perhaps
this particular non-Jew was from one of the 10 lost tribes, and the
wedding was valid? And this is not an issue in which majority matters,
so the fact that it's unlikely doesn't matter!

The talmud answers by writing off the Jewishness of the 10 tribes. So it
seems that at some point, being an unidentifiable victim of assimilation
doesn't just make someone a Jew who noone knows is Jewish, but a non-Jew.

If someone fails to keep the mitzva Micha mentions does that
person lose their share of olam haba?

The list is in chapter Cheileq, the 10th or 11th chapter of Tr. Sanhedrin
(depending on edition). M lists his 13 articles of faith in a preface to
that chapter because he is using them to explain "All of Israel have a
place in the world to come... And these are the ones who have no place in
the world to come: one who says there will not be a resurrection, or that
the Torah isn't from heaven, or an Epicurian..." (Mishnah Sanhedrin 10:1)

"Israel" here either means "members of good standing in the community", or
that the people on the subsequent lists had a place in the world to come
initially, but actively lost it, or "all" often means "the vast majority".

But that's belief in G-d (which Epicurus denied). Not the mitzvah to love

Thanks for the lesson.

WADR though Micha, I fear you took a simple question and made a
philosophical treatise about it. I understood the question as:
"If someone is Jewish, but does not believe in G-d, is s/he _still_
Jewish?" And the answer to that question is "yes".

Moshe Schorr
It is a tremendous Mitzvah to always be happy! - Reb Nachman of Breslov
The home and family are the center of Judaism, *not* the synagogue.
May Eliezer Mordichai b. Chaya Sheina Rochel have a refuah shlaimah
btoch sha'ar cholei Yisroel.
Disclaimer: Nothing here necessarily reflects the opinion of Hebrew University