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Basics of Emunah #5: Can an Intelligent Person Believe in G-d?

The Spiritual DNA of the Universe

1 hr 37 min

Class Summary:

Can an Intelligent Person Believe in G-d? The lecture explores the question if science has really made G-d irrelevant, or is it the other way around. The lecture goes on to explain “Jewish cosmology,” known as “something from nothing,” and its profound ramifications on our understanding of the Divine and its relationship with the universe.

Please leave your comment below!

  • MR

    Meir Rosenberger -10 months ago

    Disease and Sickness

    Therefore a baby born with heart problems that needs emergency surgery etc. Is also Hashem as well as the person whose life is just wonderful as well as the Holocaust is Hashem.

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    • YJ

      YY Jacobson -10 months ago

      Not an easy question or conclusion...

      From our finite perspective we see things in our own finite and limited way.
      see also class number 9. 

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  • T

    Terry -6 years ago

    Basics of Emunah # 5

    What  a gift to see the connection  between quantum physics and Torah!  Thank you Rabbi Jacobson.

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  • K

    Kayla -7 years ago

    simply mindblowing...

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  • E

    emes -8 years ago

    I listened to your series on Emunah and want to express my sincere appreciation to you, I feel I grew from it and came closer to feeling whole in my belief. I would greatly appreciate if you can upload the 1st lesson, I assume that was the most important class explaining what we are actually obligated to believe.

    I would like to ask 2 questions I am left with after the series; I don’t get the point of the basis of logic behind Hashem’s existence being the lack of odds in the alternative – the only place for calculating odds is ahead of the fact, IE, if you were to guess if you will win the Powerball your odds were 1/290M, highly improbable indeed. But after the fact, someone did win, not only 1 person but 3!! So if you are looking at a fact, you cannot say how unlikely it was to happen once it actually happened. Point is, if there is a scientific explanation to how the world came in to existence, then the odds of that being the scenario are irrelevant as the logic and probability of a super natural creator is not less fantastic.

    Also, I did not understand the logic that if the original creation was Yesh Mieiyen, that it needs to be or it is probable that it is recreated perpetually, why is a one-time creation of matter which exists continuously illogical?

    I am sure you have a lot on your plate with all your different obligations, but I will greatly appreciate even a reference to an answer. Thanks again for the beautiful project!

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    • RYJ

      Rabbi YY Jacobson -8 years ago

      Dear Emes.

      Thanks for your kind words and comments. I appreciate them very much.

      In regards to your questions:

      1. I have a situation in front of me, it is called the universe and our planet within the universe. It is amazingly complex, in incredible ways. Even what we know today would freak out any thinking person, never mind what we do not know and are beginning to scratch the surface of.

      Now, I look at this design and I ask how did it come about. So many details and facts coming together, in an organized way; so many separate forces joining together and working together to sustain our universe. It is astounding.

      Now I ask myself: What caused all of this? I can say: Coincidence. Random mutations. Random explosions. Meaning no mind behind it, no intelligence and purpose behind it, just random occurrences.

      Or I can say: A creator organized it and willed it so.

      Can I prove which one is correct? No. But if you ask me what is more logical? I know my answer.

      In the case of a lottery ticket the situation is different. How did the person win? Because it is one in 192 million chance that he will win. For the person it is unlikely; but not impossible or even strange. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. They drew numbers. And one man happened to draw the same numbers as the winning numbers. Where is a need for an explanation here? He drew numbers randomly; the people in charge did the same. It matched.

      Why did it match? Sometimes two people might randomly draw the same numbers. Or some of the same numbers.

      Yet in the case of a universe, I am seeing mindful structure and organization. Not random numbers. I see in each cell 3 billion units of organized digital data, like a computer code. And the body has 40 TRILLION CELLS, all organized perfectly, and in each one billions of units of data organized perfectly. And there are thousands of types of cells working together in sync. And this is all ONE body. And there are billions of human bodies. Never mind Quintilian of other organisms, all operating with this incredible symmetry. So now I ask, how did these facts come about? I search for an explanation. Could it all be a random mistake? Maybe, maybe. But I think it is logical to assume there is intelligent designer behind an intelligent design.

      You say, it happened already, so it is pointless to ask how did it come about, just as I don't ask how did I win the lottery.

      But this is not a comparison. The fact that someone won the lottery is not abnormal, or insane; just good mazal, unlikely mazal. It is that two people happened to choose the same few numbers. Okay, nice, lucky, but not improbable. When you have 192 million choosing numbers, and there are say 300 million numbers to choose from, there is a NICE chance someone will get it right. In our case, we are observing factors that were they to happen by mistake would be freak-en crazy. It would be like you winning a lottery ticket over 900 million years, each day, again and again and again and again. That is absolutely insane. Is it possible? of course. But it is logical to assume, some a person is behind this, someone wants you to win and is arranging it behind the scene.

      On another note: Now most agree there was a Big Bang, meaning the universe has a beginning. The question then is how did it begin? Who caused the big bank?

      As far as your second question:

      If matter on its own is non existing, it reverts back to its natural state of nothingness. I need to constantly re create it.

      I can't expect a football to remain in the air forever, because I threw it up in the air. Unless my power is in it all the time keeping it up. So G-d's power needs to be invested in the universe all the time. And Hashem's power is part and one with Him.

      Let me know if it is clear. Please confirm reception and clarity.

      Wishing you much beracha and hatzlacha,

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      • DB

        Dovid Birk -8 years ago

        More on the question from Emes: Starting at the current situation and seeing the world in all its complexity, and looking back, it seems illogical to conclude that it happened randomly - thats a given. But, as emes states, thats only starting at the end looking back.

        What about the idea that before there was the world we see, we have no grasp of how many processes there were, how many "attempts" at the emergence of a world, how many failures in bringing about life via these random processes.

        If one could entertain that there was no limit to time or process, there is no reason to suggest a world wouldn't emerge. Yes, this world is riddled with unimaginable odds, but it did eventually emerge. Within our time frame, it's unlikely that it will happen again, but thats within the limitations of time that we understand.

        What if there was no limit to time?

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  • JMK

    Jonathan Michael Kahanovitch -8 years ago

    i was expecting the rabbi to quote targum on breishis that Gd created the world with wisdom - "bchuchmasa bara"

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  • S

    shaul -8 years ago

    i just realize what's peshat moshiach revealed:

    you will open a science journal and it will say exactly what it says in Tanya.

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  • M

    Moshe -8 years ago

    I have been an avid listener to your shiurim via torahanytime and enjoy and look forward to them. You don’t just say a lecture, you actually paint a lecture. Not with primary colors mind you, but with all the colors of the rainbow and then some. It’s definitely an art. Thank you for that.

    I wanted to share a thought I had regarding the lectures in emunah. There is a concept in our generation that says “if I don’t understand it then it is probably not true”. “This concept of a higher being that you cannot see, hear or feel, sounds old-fashioned, medieval etc”. There is also one very dirty word that restricts our minds and that word is “naïve”. “If you believe --- you are naïve. If you trust -- you are so naïve.” So we don’t believe it unless we see it…

    So a couple of years ago I came across an article. In the late 1900’s there was a fellow who claimed that his horse could count. This horse was really amazing. The owner would ask the horse an equation and the horse would tap his answer over and over again. It turned out to be something where the horse was able to feel his owners muscle reaction or something like that. Here is a link to the story


    So this gave me great insight. This horse with all its talent, may know how to tap out a result but the horse would never ever understand the logic of 1 + 1 = 2. The concept and logic of summarizing an arithmetic calculation is above and beyond the smartest animal in the world.

    Now we humans would agree that there may be smarter people than us, for example we are comfortable with the notion that Albert Einstein knew many things we couldn’t wrap our head around. But just like there is a limitation with the smartest animal where they cannot understand logic; not even the simplest arithmetic example, humans have a limitation as well where we cannot understand or conceptualize certain aspects as well. The concept that we may be limited and that we can only imagine and internalize some of these concepts thru dveikus bashem goes against the grain of the typical layman thinker. But this is true. We are limited

    One more thing; for some reason, we would rely on an Einstein, Sagan an others even though we don’t have an inkling of what they are saying, but we would dismiss the Rambam, the rogochover and many of the gedolim of yesteryear that were brilliant.

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  • YM

    Yaakov M. -8 years ago

    On the concept of G-d speaking everything into reality constantly, how do we follow up to this concept with free will and the ability for evil and immorality to exist? G-d wills for all these choices to be made at every second? Are they made independent of Him?

    R' Jacobson via email: G-d wills for free choice to be made at every moment. And that is why the parable for creation is speech not thought. Thoughts happen within ourselves. Words take on an autonomous identity, they enter a space outside of ourselves. This reflects that creation is the way Divine energy assumes an external identity, where the universe and man experience themselves as being outside of G-d.

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  • YM

    Yaakov M. -8 years ago

    You started mentioning the connection between שמחה and Judaism with אין עוד מלבדו, what exactly is the joy that one should be feeling?

    R' Jacobson via email: When one feels that they need to suppress their life in order to be a servant of Hashem, their natural I revolts inside, and there is a sense of repression and subjugation. When one realizes that ones very I is really an expression of Hashem, serving Hashem means being in touch with the truth of your own reality, you are not giving up your I for G-d; you are aligning it with its true identity.

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  • DAS

    David, a Scientist -8 years ago

    Here are some facts about emptiness. I computed this myself but then found this on line as well..

    The amount of empty space (real nothing!) in every atom is 99.99999999996% or the emptiness is 100000000000000 (1 and 14 zeros) more than the matter which is mainly in the nucleus.
    Therefore the 7.1 billion people on this planet if the empty space would be removed from them would fit into one (yes one) sugar cube (2cm x2cm x2cm). . This planet completely with all that it is on it and in it (including the Earth through and through) would fit into one quarter of the c arry on luggage allowed on airplanes if the emptiness is removed.

    Hevel Havolim Hacol Hevel!

    The reason we cannot see this or pass through it is because of the fact that our eyes cannot resolve anything remotely close to this size and when we touch something we are also touching with fingers made up of atoms which are subject to the strong electromagnetic forces between them..

    So here is a thought to meditate on.

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  • A

    analogrevolution2016 -8 years ago

    Wow! This guy is a first rate demagogue! Not only does he play fast and loose with facts, but he also begs every question.

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    • PF

      P Fried -3 years ago

      Do you have a specific point to make?

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  • Y

    yid -8 years ago

    which class is torah min hashomyim being explained

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    • RYJ

      Rabbi YY Jacobson -8 years ago

      We did not do it yet; but we will in the future.

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      • Y

        yid -6 years ago

        we are patiently waiting. 

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The Emunah Series

Rabbi YY Jacobson

  • January 14, 2016
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  • 4 Sh'vat 5776
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