Aaron Zimmer
Cohost of "Physics to God" podcast

A More Nuanced View of the Good in Modernity

Last time, I stated (rather bluntly) that the good part of modernity is knowledge and science. In the interest of moving beyond brief generalities, this time I want to add some nuance, complexity, and qualification.

First, the good knowledge of modernity goes beyond the hard sciences (i.e. physics, chemistry, biology) and includes philosophy, psychology, history, etc. The beneficial wisdom of the modern era is very broad and diverse. Additionally, many good things from the modern world derive from applications of knowledge and science, such as modern medicine and technology, and it is important to appreciate these gifts of modernity.

Second, some good modern values are synergistic with the Torah, and developments in good values from the modern world (e.g. the attitude towards slavery) can enlighten us about the values of the Torah that were there all along. This touches upon a complex issue about how to treat an idea from the Torah that’s been clarified from outside sources. (This issue also arises when modern psychology illuminates psychological teachings in the Torah).

The world is very nuanced. Nevertheless, it is still worthwhile to develop a simple, general framework for thinking about a complex topic like modern orthodoxy, and only afterward delving into it with qualifications and details.

About the Author
After earning a physics degree and receiving rabbinical ordination from Rabbi Yisroel Chait, Aaron Zimmer utilized his personal resources to trade commodity futures. His approach was deeply rooted in the conceptual frameworks of physics and the Brisker Method for Talmudic analysis. After an eleven-year career marked by success in commodity trading, Aaron now cohosts a podcast, "Physics to God", with Rabbi Dr. Elie Feder. He resides in Lawrence, New York, along with his wife and their five children.
Related Topics
Related Posts