Dancing this past Simchas Torah to Toras Hashem Temimah, we arrived at the words “eidus Hashem ne’emanah, machkimas pesi” and the following occurred to me:
Elsewhere, the possuk defines a pesi as a “ma’amin l’chol davar,” one who’ll believe anything. Now, it was G.K. Chesterton who famously observed that when one stops believing in G-d, it’s not that henceforth he believes in nothing, but rather that he’ll now believe in anything.
This, then, is Dovid HaMelech’s paean to the Torah — it wises up the pesi. That is to say, Hashem’s testimony teaches the pesi, whose standards of truth are so low and whose inability to think subtly is so great that he’ll believe anything so long as it suits his physical and ego drives, to search for and believe in only that which proves itself to be the truth.
For a living, breathing example of how this works in practice, consider this gem from an interview last week in the Guardian of Dick Dawkins, who, for those thankfully unfamiliar with him, makes a living writing atheistic best-sellers and does a little teaching on the side:
When you think about how fantastically successful the Jewish lobby has been, though, in fact, they are less numerous I am told — religious Jews anyway — than atheists and [yet they] more or less monopolize American foreign policy as far as many people can see. So if atheists could achieve a small fraction of that influence, the world would be a better place.
So there you have it, folks. Meet Richard Dawkins, Oxford don, evolutionary biologist, militant atheist, raving conspiracy theorist. And now, confirmed pesi.