Monday, March 22, 2010

Oral Law With Equal Authority of a Written Law - Torah Sheba'al Peh as Revelation Based Explanation of Torah Shebiktav.

Rambam in Hilchot Ma’achalot Assurot 2:1 rules that one who eats from a non-permissible animal transgresses a negative commandment that is derived from a positive one-לאו הבא מכלל עשה. This is a special category of prohibition that are presented in the positive - one may eat from ruminating animals who also have split hooves – which leads to the logical conclusion that it is prohibited to eat from those that lack these characteristics.

מכלל שנאמר וכל בהמה מפרסת פרסה ושוסעת שסע שתי פרסות מעלת גרה שומע אני שכל שאינה מעלת גרה ומפרסת פרסה אסורה. ולאו הבא מכלל עשה עשה הוא.

Normally, if someone transgresses a negative commandment he becomes liable for corporeal punishment if certain conditions are met. However, contravening a negative commandment that is derived from a positive commandment generally does not merit any corporeal punishment. However, the Torah also specifically prohibits animals that have only one characteristic (Siman), which again leads to the logical conclusion that those that have neither are of course prohibited. Since this prohibition is given in the negative form, eating all prohibited animals, whether those who lack both Simanim or only one Siman, makes one liable for corporeal punishment.

ובגמל ובחזיר ובארנבת ובשפן נאמר את זה לא תאכלו ממעלי הגרה וממפריסי הפרסה וגו' הרי למדת שהן בלא תעשה ואע"פ שיש בהן סימן אחד. וכל שכן שאר בהמה טמאה וחיה טמאה שאין בה סימן כלל שאיסור אכילתם בלא תעשה יתר על עשה הבא מכלל אותה תאכלו:
לפיכך כל האוכל מבשר בהמה וחיה טמאה כזית לוקה מן התורה.

The problem is that there is a general rule in Halacha that אין מזהירין מדין ק"ו, a prohibition that is derived through an extrapolation from a minor premise to a major one, (Kal Vechomer), which is the case here, does not warrant corporeal punishment. For a liability for corporeal punishment to take effect, the prohibition must be clearly stated in the negative. As the prohibition to eat animals lacking both Simanim is derived through a Kal Vechomer, there should be no corporeal punishment for transgressing. Why is this case different?

Rambam addresses this in his Sefer Hamitzvot Negative Commandment 172 by referring us to Negative Commandment 336 where he promises to explain it. He also comments that just like in that later case, the negative commandment is only a clarification.

אלא שקל וחמר זה לגלויי מלתא בעלמא הוא, כדרך שאמרו בבתו", כמו שנבאר במקומו

The Torah prohibits sexual relations with one’s granddaughter whether she is the daughter of a son or of a daughter. Nowhere does it expressly forbid relations with one’s own daughter whether she was born through marriage or out of wedlock. That prohibition itself is derived logically through a Kal Vechomer (according To Rambam – Rashi disagrees) while the corporeal punishment is derived through another hermeneutical process, a Gezeirah Shava. (I do not want to get into the particulars of this Derasha here and leave to the interested reader to look it up in sefer Hamitzvot ). Here the Halacha goes even a step further; the Kal Vechomer creates a separate negative commandment. After explaining the process, Rambam makes an interesting statement.

ולשון גמרא כריתות:
"אל תהי גזרה שווה קלה בעיניך, שהרי 'בתו' אחד מגופי תורה,
ולא למדה הכתוב אלא בגזרה שווה: אתיא הנה הנה אתיא זמה זמה".
והתבונן באמרם: לא למדה הכתוב, ולא אמרו לא למדנוה, לפי שכל הדברים האלה קבלה מפי השליח והוא פירוש מקובל, כמו שביארנו בהקדמת חיבורנו בפירוש המשנה, ולא שתק הכתוב מלהזכירה אלא מפני שאפשר ללמדה בגזרה שווה.
וזהו עניין אמרם:
"לא למדה הכתוב אלא בגזרה שווה".
ומספיק אמרם "גוף תורה".

Rambam notes that the Gemara refers to this prohibition as a גוף תורה – part of the body of Torah – in other words an integral commandment within Torah, which though not explicit it has the same status as an explicitly written commandment allowing for corporeal punishment. However, he notes that the hermeneutical derivation, the Gezeirah Shava, is not the basis for the separate commandment. That hermeneutical process, though it could have made the act a Torah prohibition (more on this later), would not have it counted as a separate commandment nor would it have allowed corporeal punishment. The basis for it being a separate commandment is that it is Pirush Mekubal, a revelation based explanation of the text that Moshe received directly from God. That gives this law the same authority as an explicitly written law. Rambam consequently offers an original interpretation of the Gemara statement "לא למדה הכתוב אלא בגזרה שווה. Traditionally it is explained that the Gemara is pointing out that a Gezeirah Shava is authoritative because it teaches a Guf Torah, a commandment. IOW it defines the authority of a Gezeirah Shava. Rambam notes that if that were the meaning the Gemara should have read -לא למדנוה - we, the Rabbis, do not know it except by using a GS. The Gemara reads - לא למדה – the Torah did not teach it. The Gemara is telling us that the Torah did not find it necessary to specifically teach this prohibition because it was taught orally and it relied on the GS as a mnemonic and/or as support, which is generally referred to as Assmachta. Rambam legislates it in Hil. Issurei Biah 2:6

הבא על אשה דרך זנות והוליד ממנה בת אותה הבת ערוה עליו משום בתו ואע"פ שלא נאמר בתורה ערות בתך לא תגלה מאחר שאסר בת הבת שתק מן הבת ואיסורה מן התורה. ואינו מדברי סופרים.

The last words, ואינו מדברי סופרים – they are not of rabbinical origin – means that the derivation is not hermeneutical. It could be a Torah law and still be considered Divrei Soferim. IOW the Rabbis may derive a law logically through a Kal Vechomer and that law would have the authority of a Torah law, a De’oraita, but it would not be counted as a separate commandment nor would it make the transgressor liable for corporeal punishment. This law, because it is a revelation-based law, is not considered Divrei Soferim but Guf Torah and warrants to be counted separately. The hermeneutics, as Rambam explained in his introduction to Pirush Hamishna, is only for support.

שכולן פירושים מקובלים מפי משה. ועליהם ועל דומיהם אמרו, כל התורה נאמרו כללותיה ופרטותיה ודקדוקיה מסיני.
אבל אע"פ שהן מקובלים ואין מחלוקת בהם מחכמת התורה הנתונה לנו, נוכל להוציא ממנה אלו הפירושים בדרך מדרכי הסברות והאסמכתות והראיות והרמזים המצויים במקרא
Coming back to our original Halacha about prohibited animals,

אלא שקל וחמר זה לגלויי מלתא בעלמא הוא, כדרך שאמרו בבתו",

We now understand that לגלויי מלתא בעלמא הוא, means it is a Pirush Hamekubal that found support through hermeneutics. Both the prohibition to eat forbidden animals and the prohibition of sexual relationship with a daughter are in that category of Torah Sheba’al Peh and have the same authority as a written commandment.

We gained several insights working through this comment of Rambam. We have a clear case here of a category – Pirush Hamekubal – that Rambam defines in his introduction to Pirush Hamishna and is central to his understanding of what Torah Sheba’al Peh – the oral Torah is. It has the exact same authority as a written law including to be counted separately and also allows for corporeal punishment if transgressed.

We also learned that Divrei Soferim is not necessarily a rabbinic law, a Derabanan, but could have the authority of Torah law if it is derived logically or hermeneutically. It however cannot be counted as separate but rather as an extension of an existing law ( see Shoresh 2 in SHM) and has implications on the punishment a transgressor is liable.

The sugya of the prohibition of sexual relationship with a daughter is very complicated and I have just focused on one aspect of it according to Rambam. Rashi and other Rishonim understand it differently. I have followed Rambam here and his approach points to some very important basic concepts of what TSBP is.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Chilul Hashem of Chumrot: Parasites in Salmon

Hearing the latest controversy about the Kashrut of Salmon reminded me of a comment Rambam makes in a letter to his pupil regarding the controversies that broke out about the Mishne Torah after its publication. Apparently it threatened the authority of the then Gaon in Baghdad, Rabbi Shmuel Ben Eli and other rabbinical leaders so they went on the attack against many of the MT Halachik rulings as well as theological positions. The controversy turned nasty and Rambam’s pupil Rabbi Yosef ben Yehudah corresponded with him about it. In a lengthy letter (or as some claim a series of letters gathered into one), Rambam advises his pupil, amongst other quite fascinating comments, to refrain from getting caught up in the dispute and restrain himself from responding.

And about your being upset because he (R. Shmuel Ben Eli) attacked you in a public document – do not let this bother you because no person would remain quiet when hurt by another one. You must realize that you hurt him very much. You destroyed his reputation and blunted his arrows. Without you, the Rosh Hagalut (apparently the title of the leader of the community in Aleppo where Rav Yosef lived) would have been like a dove in the talons of a kite (bird of prey) as he would have shamed him in the matter of the Get and other such matters, destroying him. (Apparently Rav Yosef defended the Rosh Hagalut against an attack by RSBE on a ruling he made and RY defended him). You cannot expect that someone you caused harm to should love you and praise you! There is also no point in your asking where his Fear of Heaven is? For this man (RSBE) and others like him, even those who are greater than he is, even those that preceded him, see Yra’at Shamayim (fear of heaven) to be punctiliousness in Chumrot just as it is in the perception of the masses. However, the obligations that pertain to developing good character traits are not considered by these people to be a part of Yra’at Shamayim. They also are not careful with their speech, like those who have perfected their Yire’ah are. Furthermore, all the people of religion, especially those that have positions of authority, once a matter threatens their authority, their Yire’ah (fear of heaven) disappears!” (Translated from Iggerot Harambam by Rav Sheilat page 308).

The insistence of these technocrats of Halacha in how to ensure that every technical detail of a Halacha even to its illogical conclusion is foisted on their followers and public is done without any regard or thought to the underlying theology of the Mitzvah. If they did not put up this great barrier between thought and technical detail, if they did not dismiss theology as unnecessary, and questioned a little the whys and wherefores, we might end up with less Chumrot and more Yire’ah. Furthermore, by continuing this nonsense, they erode the authority of Halacha in the eyes of people and create a great Chilul Hashem. They are trying to assert themselves and impose their control at the detriment of the truth, without any regard to the consequences that their actions have on the Klal. In fact they are eroding legitimate Halachik authority and the influence of authentic rulings.

This is just from a religious perspective. From a practical Halachik perspective, there is plenty of discussion already in the press and online. Here is a synopsis in one article.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Mitzvat Asseh To Establish Criteria for the Forbidden and the Permitted.

Hilchot Ma’achalot Assurot begin with an interesting statement.

מצוות עשה הן הסימנין שמבדילין בהן בין בהמה וחיה ועוף ודג וחגב שמותר לאוכלן, ובין שאין מותר לאוכלן--שנאמר "והבדלתם בין הבהמה הטהורה, לטמאה, ובין העוף הטמא, לטהור"
ובין החיה, הנאכלת, ובין החיה, אשר לא תיאכל"

The features that differentiate between animals, beasts, birds, fish and locust that one may eat and those that one may not eat are a Mitzvat Asseh (positive command). [We know this] from the verse, “and you shall differentiate between the clean and unclean animal, between the unclean bird and the clean one, between the edible beast and the inedible one”.”

The Rav Kafieh edition reads as above מצוות עשה הן which at first blush is hard to understand. What does it mean that the features are the mitzvah? Of course, as is common with Rambam, whenever his concepts seemed alien to their readers, especially when hand copying was in vogue, emendations and clarifications were common. These emendations eventually found their way into the text. In the Frankel Edition, we read מצות עשה לידע הסימנין שמבדילין where the Mitzvah is to know these features. Much has been written about this language and most commentators build their explanation on this version. Besides Rav Kafieh, I have not found any that refer us back to Rambam who explains what he means quite succinctly and that in fact confirms the version of the Kafieh edition. In Sefer Hamitzvot Asseh 152, after listing the Mitzvot Asseh that pertain to animals, beasts and locusts, he lists the one pertaining to fish. He then makes the following comment,

והעניין באומרנו שהיא מצוות עשה הוא כמו שהזכרתי לך, שאנו נצטווינו לדון בסימנים אלו ונאמר: זה מותר לאוכלו וזה אינו מותר, כמו שבאר הכתוב ואמר: "והבדלתם בין הבהמה הטהרה לטמאה וגו'" (שם כ, כה) ולא תהא הבדלה אלא בסימנים

When we said that it is a Mitzvat Asseh it means, as I mentioned, that we were commanded to deliberate in these features and say: This [specific feature found in an animal – DG] one may eat and this one may not [IOW makes it permissible or forbidden – DG]. That is the meaning of the verse “and you shall differentiate between the clean and unclean animal”. The only possible way to differentiate is with features.”

The Mitzvah is the deliberation itself to arrive at a conclusion on the features that help us differentiate between the permissible and the forbidden. Defining and establishing the features, is the Mitzvah. Hence, Rav Kafieh version must be the original one, eliminating many conjectures of the meaning.

The idea that defining the rule itself is so important and the significance of that is emphasized in another related Halacha. In Mitzvat Asseh 150 regarding birds, we read,

הציווי שנצטווינו בסמני העוף,
והוא שרק כמה מינים ממנו יהיו
מותרים. וסימני העוף לא נאמרו מן התורה אלא הושגו בחקירה, כי כאשר אנו מתבוננים בכל
המינים שנתבאר איסורם אחד אחד, מוצאים אנו בהם דברים הכוללים אותם, והם סמני עוף

“The command that we were commanded regarding the features of birds is that only few categories are permitted. The features of birds were not given in the Torah but were attained through inquiry. For as we contemplate all the categories that were forbidden, one by one, we find the common features that apply to all of them. Those are the features of unclean birds.”

While the other groups, animals, beasts, fish and locusts the Torah specifies the features that make them permissible, a limited list of forbidden birds are listed without any explanation. Extrapolation from this limited list is done through inquiry by establishing their common features, using that as a basis to permit or forbid other birds.

I am not sure why establishing criteria and refining those already stated is important. In MN 3:48, Rambam states “The characteristics given in the Law (Lev. xi. and Deut. xiv.) of the permitted animals, viz., chewing the cud and divided hoofs for cattle, and fins and scales for fish, are in themselves neither the cause of the permission when they are present, nor of the prohibition when they are absent; but merely signs by which the recommended species of animals can be discerned from those that are forbidden.” IOW there is nothing intrinsic about these features; they are just tools that we use to identify the permitted and the forbidden. In general, Rambam sees these laws as a way of developing restraint and self-control. That is the thinking behind the negative commandment, the Lo Ta’asseh of “you shall not eat…” What does the positive commandment of “you shall eat…” mean? If restraint is the underlying concept, why is there a commandment to eat? Eating itself cannot be the Mitzvah. Developing the criteria, applying these to specific species is a way of using the restraint in a positive way by immersing oneself in God and His laws. Ascetic behavior alone does no good without replacing the void created with a positive action. Restraint is for the purpose of allowing intellectual growth. Without that, it is incomplete and misses its intended goal.

Monday, March 01, 2010

May One Doubt? Faith On the Way to Knowledge.

Last Shabbat we were discussing in our learning group whether it is permitted to question Ikkarei Emunah. The problem becomes extremely important as Rambam demands that one arrive rationally at the conviction that God exists and counts this obligation as a Mitzvat Asseh
לידע שיש שם אלוה.
הלכות יסודי התורה פרק א
א יסוד היסודות ועמוד החכמות, לידע שיש שם מצוי ראשון.

“The Foundation of all foundations and the supporting beam of all knowledge is to KNOW that there is, out there, a Prime Existent.”

Clearly the choice of word to KNOW as opposed to BELIEVE demands an in depth analysis of the issue. How can one do that without analyzing contrary opinions? As we know and I discussed on this blog many times, the reality is that it is a lifelong goal to arrive at that conclusion rationally and it also is the ultimate goal of every human being. In fact, it is the reason for the torah and Mitzvot. They all are here to help one arrive, through proper speculation, and full rational conviction to that conclusion. How can one do it without doubting during the process? One who is working on the problem honestly, is it not inevitable that he is going to doubt along the way? Is doubt not definitional until one is convinced of the conclusion?

Similarly, Rambam tells us in Hilchot Yesodei Hatorah 7:1

מיסודי הדת, לידע שהאל מנבא את בני האדם

“One of the foundations of the law is to KNOW that God prophesizes people.”

Indeed, at the beginning of Yesodei Hatorah Rambam counts the Mitzvat Asseh to listen to a prophet -לשמוע מן הנביא המדבר בשמו which is a natural outcome of this foundation. Again, we see Rambam using the word, לידע - to know as opposed to believe. This requires rational conviction rather than Faith. How is one to do it without at some point analyzing opposing possibilities without ever doubting? The problem seems even more acute when we read the following Halachot in Hilchot Avodah Zara chapter 2.

ג [ב] ספרים רבים חיברו עובדי עבודה זרה בעבודתה, היאך עיקר עבודתה ומה משפטה ומעשיה. ציוונו הקדוש ברוך הוא, שלא לקרות באותן הספרים כלל, ולא נהרהר בה, ולא בדבר מדבריה. ואפילו להסתכל בדמות הצורה--אסור, שנאמר "אל תפנו, אל האלילים" (ויקרא יט,ד). ובעניין זה נאמר "ופן תדרוש לאלוהיהם לאמור, איכה יעבדו" (דברים יב,ל)--שלא תשאל על דרך עבודתה היאך היא, ואף על פי שאין אתה עובד: שדבר זה גורם לך להיפנות אחריה ולעשות כמו שהן עושין, שנאמר "ואעשה כן, גם אני" (שם). [ג] וכל הלאוין הללו בעניין אחד הן, והוא שלא ייפנה אחר עבודה זרה; וכל הנפנה אחריה בדרך שהוא עושה בו מעשה, הרי זה לוקה
ד ולא עבודה זרה בלבד הוא שאסור להיפנות אחריה במחשבה, אלא כל מחשבה שגורמת לו לאדם לעקור עיקר מעיקרי התורה--מוזהרין אנו שלא להעלותה על ליבנו, ולא נסיח דעתנו לכך ונחשוב ונימשך אחר הרהורי הלב: מפני שדעתו של אדם קצרה, ולא כל הדעות יכולות להשיג האמת על בורייו; ואם יימשך כל אדם אחר מחשבות ליבו, נמצא מחריב את העולם לפי קוצר דעתו.
ה כיצד: פעמים יתור אחר עבודה זרה; ופעמים יחשוב בייחוד הבורא, שמא הוא שמא אינו, מה למעלה מה למטה, מה לפנים מה לאחור; ופעמים בנבואה, שמא היא אמת שמא אינה; ופעמים בתורה, שמא היא מן השמיים שמא אינה. ואינו יודע המידות שידון בהן עד שיידע האמת על בורייו, ונמצא יוצא לידי מינות.
ו ועל עניין זה הזהירה תורה, ונאמר בה "ולא תתורו אחרי לבבכם, ואחרי עיניכם, אשר אתם זונים, אחריהם" (במדבר טו,לט)--כלומר לא יימשך כל אחד מכם אחר דעתו הקצרה, וידמה שמחשבתו משגת האמת. כך אמרו חכמים, "אחרי לבבכם", זו מינות; "ואחרי עיניכם", זו זנות. ולאו זה, אף על פי שהוא גורם לאדם לטורדו מן העולם הבא, אין בו מלקות.
The first Halacha above tells us that idol worshippers have written many books about idol worship and the modalities of that worship. God forbids us to read these books or to think about these issues for fear of us being attracted by the idolaters, their idols and their methods of worship. Considering Rambam’s understanding of Avodah Zara, idol worship as falsehood and nonsense, the source and cause of the dark ages that humanity periodically went through throughout history, there is no surprise there. (For a thorough analysis of this issue, see my article in Hakirah available online here ).
However, the next Halacha seems to be quite problematic at first blush. Rambam tells us that not only AZ but also any thought that might seed doubts about any of the Ikarim is prohibited. Does that not include reading philosophical texts? After all, Aristotle did not believe in God as Creator - one of the Ikkarim - and still Rambam recommends reading him in a letter to Ibn Tibon. Rambam himself quotes Aristotle at length and praises him over and over as the greatest of thinkers. What about reading later philosophers? May one read Kant? But even more problematic is the issue I started this post with, how is one to honestly become convinced rationally that God exists, to KNOW rather than BELIEVE that he does, or that God prophesizes humankind, without questioning the premise along the way? At the same time, it is a Mitzvat Asseh to work towards knowing God rationally as well as to listen to the prophet’s revelation. How is one to understand these conflicting Halachot?

A careful reading of these Halachot however, solves the problem and clarifies how one has to go about the Mitzvot that require Yediah, to KNOW rather than just believe. When discussing AZ in the earlier Halacha, Rambam forbids reading their books for fear that will lead to possible acceptance of idol worship, a total falsehood and lie. In the next Halacha however, Rambam changes the theme and does not talk about reading books anymore but forbids any random thought that may lead to the negation of an Ikar.

ולא נסיח דעתנו לכך ונחשוב ונימשך אחר הרהורי הלב – we may not turn our mind to that (forbidden thoughts), thinking and letting ourselves follow the cogitations of our mind.

מפני שדעתו של אדם קצרה, ולא כל הדעות יכולות להשיג האמת על בורייו – for a person’s mind is limited and not all minds can apprehend the Truth in its entirety.

ואם יימשך כל אדם אחר מחשבות ליבו, נמצא מחריב את העולם לפי קוצר דעתו
And if every person were to follow his mind’s cogitations, he would destroy the world because of his mind’s limitations.
In other words, one may not just contemplate in a vacuum, letting one’s mind go and speculate without any further preparations. One may not speculate, without having first studied all the necessary sciences. One must be well versed in logic and the sciences to know where scientific knowledge ends and where metaphysical speculation begins. Lacking that -
ואינו יודע המידות שידון בהן עד שיידע האמת על בורייו
He is unaware of the proper methods of logical and rational thought that lead to truth.”
It is only when a person can differentiate between empiric proofs and matters that cannot be proven empirically, and never will be, that he can undertake this speculation. Those matters that deal with questions like whether the world was created in time from nothingness must be approached from a completely different perspective than regular scientific knowledge. One must first make sure that the question cannot be answered scientifically and only then must one turn to tradition and revelation for the answer. To be convinced of the veracity of the answers furnished by tradition one must be convinced that it does not contradict scientific reality. Only then, can one rely on tradition with conviction. The methods used in this process are different from those used in a purely scientific investigation. Without realizing that, the person is going to come up with false and erroneous conclusions. At times, the person will wander after AZ
יתור אחר עבודה זרה at others, ופעמים יחשוב בייחוד הבורא, שמא הוא שמא אינו He will question God’s unity
Rambam lists a series of subjects that such a person will touch upon in this process of speculation. The speculation itself is not the problem. The problem is when he is doing it without the proper parameters needed for such a speculation - ואינו יודע המידות שידון בהן. This will inevitably lead to wrong conclusions. On the other hand, when one approaches metaphysical speculation systematically, first getting a good understanding of the sciences and at the same time assimilating the Torah and its tradition and revelation, he is following the proper path to knowledge – Yediah.Hil Yesodei Hatorah at the end of the fourth chapter -
ואני אומר שאין ראוי להיטייל בפרדס, אלא מי שנתמלא כרסו לחם ובשר; ולחם ובשר זה, הוא לידע ביאור האסור והמותר וכיוצא בהן משאר המצוות. ואף על פי שדברים אלו, דבר קטן קראו אותם חכמים, שהרי אמרו חכמים דבר גדול מעשה מרכבה, ודבר קטן הוויה דאביי ורבא; אף על פי כן, ראויין הן להקדימן: שהן מיישבין דעתו של אדם תחילה, ועוד שהן הטובה הגדולה שהשפיע הקדוש ברוך הוא ליישוב העולם הזה, כדי לנחול חיי העולם הבא. ואפשר שיידעם הכול--גדול וקטן, איש ואישה, בעל לב רחב ובעל לב קצר.
And even using this approach, not everyone may conclude the process and that includes great people.

ואף על פי שגדולי ישראל היו וחכמים גדולים היו, לא כולם היה בהן כוח לידע ולהשיג כל הדברים על בוריין

In MN 1:34 (which can be read in full here - a poor translation but the only English version available online) Rambam dedicates a whole chapter explaining the importance of preparatory study and listing many of the subjects needed before speculating about metaphysical questions.
There are also many subjects of speculation, which, though not preparing the way for metaphysics, help to train the reasoning power, enabling it to understand the nature of a proof, and to test truth by characteristics essential to it. They remove the confusion arising in the minds of most thinkers, who confound accidental with essential properties, and likewise the wrong opinions resulting from that. We may add that although they do not form the basis for metaphysical research, they assist in forming a correct notion of these things, and are certainly useful in many other things connected with that discipline. Consequently, he who wishes to attain to human perfection must therefore first study Logic, next the various branches of Mathematics in their proper order, then Physics, and lastly Metaphysics.”
It is clear from all the above that all the sciences and philosophy are not only not forbidden, but are a required study necessary to properly fulfill the Mitzvot that require knowledge – לידע –. There is no question that at some point in the process doubts and questions may arise and one may possibly never conclude the process. One is however obligated to try their best and do the work that leads to knowledge. The last Halacha highlights the problem.
ועל עניין זה הזהירה תורה, ונאמר בה "ולא תתורו אחרי לבבכם, ואחרי עיניכם, אשר אתם זונים, אחריהם" --כלומר לא יימשך כל אחד מכם אחר דעתו הקצרה, וידמה שמחשבתו משגת האמת
This is what the Torah warned against saying “you should not wander after your hearts and eyes, after which you are currently straying”, meaning that you should not follow, each one of you his own limited mind, thinking that he has attained the Truth.”

Ignorance and hubris are forbidden. Knowledge and humility are mandated. Doubt is permitted and is natural in the process of honest speculation. Conclusions that negate tradition and revelations on matters that cannot be resolved through scientific methods and do not contradict reality, are forbidden. Faith is very much part of Judaism. It is however, faith based on knowledge and on the way to knowledge.

ד הִנֵּה עֻפְּלָה, לֹא-יָשְׁרָה נַפְשׁוֹ בּוֹ; וְצַדִּיק, בֶּאֱמוּנָתוֹ יִחְיֶה.
Behold, his spirit within him is puffed up, it is not upright; but the righteous man is rewarded with life for his fidelity. {S} (Habakkuk 2:4)