Just as many of us have experienced in our late pre-adolescent years, heightened conscious awareness of our surroundings lead us to perceive that which the subconscious has hitherto kept concealed. One such report is recounted by none other than the renowned psychologist, Dr. Carl G. Jung: “I did sometimes attempt to talk seriously with my father, but encountered an impatience and anxious defensiveness which puzzled me. Not until several years later did I come to understand that my poor father did not dare to think, because he was consumed by inward doubts. He was taking refuge from himself and therefore insisted on blind faith.”  It is almost ironic that the very tool (“faith”) with which individuals pride themselves and their trust, is an unconscious defense mechanism against very real doubts. However, as per the antiquated Judeo-Christian sense of the term, there is no such concept as “faith.” Rather than masking personal doubt, Hebrew and Christian Scriptures have historically used the overly abused term, Emunah (root AMN), to refer to “trust” or “credit.” 
The root AMN is used in various verses throughout the Tora and Prophets to refer to the credibility and verifiable trustworthiness of particular individuals and their actions. For example:
…וְאֶת אֲחִיכֶם הַקָּטֹן תָּבִיאוּ אֵלַי וְיֵאָמְנוּ דִבְרֵיכֶם וְלֹא תָמוּתוּ
“And bring your younger brother to me, and [then] your words will be believed, and you will not die…” (Gen. 42:20).
In what is perhaps the clearest usage of the term, the Queen of Sheba describes faith as that which can be confirmed via witnessing the event. In her confirmation of King Solomon’s grand acts of justice and wisdom, the Queen states:
…וְלֹא הֶאֱמַנְתִּי לַדְּבָרִים עַד אֲשֶׁר בָּאתִי וַתִּרְאֶינָה עֵינַי
“And I did not believe in [these] matters until I came and my eyes saw for themselves”… (1 Kings 10:7).
The prophet Samuel was not believed to have related the word of the Divine until the People saw for themselves that not an iota of his reports was false:
וַיִּגְדַּל שְׁמוּאֵל וַיהוָה הָיָה עִמּוֹ וְלֹא הִפִּיל מִכָּל דְּבָרָיו אָרְצָה. וַיֵּדַע כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל מִדָּן וְעַד בְּאֵר שָׁבַע כִּי נֶאֱמָן שְׁמוּאֵל לְנָבִיא לַיהוָה
“And Samuel grew up, and The Lord was with him, and not an iota of his words were unfulfilled. [And then] all of Israel knew; from Dan until Be’er Sheba, that Samuel was a credible prophet unto The Lord” (1 Sam. 3:19-20).
The People did not trust the prophecy  of Moses until his words were fulfilled; when they witnessed with their emancipation with their very own eyes, and until they saw the Egyptian fleet terminated:
וַיַּרְא יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת מִצְרַיִם מֵת עַל שְׂפַת הַיָּם. וַיַּרְא יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת הַיָּד הַגְּדֹלָה אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה יְהוָה בְּמִצְרַיִם וַיִּירְאוּ הָעָם אֶת יְהוָה וַיַּאֲמִינוּ בַּיהוָה וּבְמֹשֶׁה עַבְדּוֹ
“And Israel saw Egypt dead by the shoreline. And Israel saw the great hand [with which] The Lord acted against Egypt, and the Nation [of Israel] feared The Lord; and they [then] trusted The Lord and Moses his servant” (Exo. 14:30-31).
As found in early Christian literature, the Greek word, pistis, is a cognate form of the word peitheo (to persuade), with the tis suffix to form an abstract noun. It would disappoint much of the orthodox Christian world to have their understandings of faith and belief as two parts of the same principle- confidence in something without evidence, dispelled. According to the Epistle to the Hebrews, the author penned the following definition:
“Εστι δὲ πίστις ἐλπιζομένων ὑπόστασις πραγμάτων ἔλεγχος οὐ βλεπομένων.”
“So the faith of what is being hoped for is a foundation of facts, an evidence of what is not being seen” (Hebrews 11:1).” 
In other words, when a person has faith in something which is being hoped for, it must be founded upon fact- even though the evidence of the facts are not being seen with the eyes. The evidence, then, is eyewitness testimony (marturion); a well-known tool of persuasion,  which is established by the narratives which followed this verse. Faith is never blind, nor is it built or established upon false witness or fantasy.
But these linguistic realizations do not end in the realm of theory and creed. Jewish law also recognizes the independence and objectivity of the Law. Consequently, if an authorized jurist  errs in his judgment, and the Jewish citizen is capable of demonstrating his objectively incorrect axioms of legal reasoning, his ruling is to be discarded. The term to’eh bid’var Mishnah– one who errs in or overlooks a promulgated law,  is an exemplary legal canon of this ilk, whereby the judgment in such a case is null and void. The Palestinian Talmud (Horayot 1§1) cites precedent to affirm the objectivity of the Law outside the scope of interpretive application; even affirming the fallibility of the Jewish Supreme Court: “Could it be that if they (the Court) tell you that right is left and that left is right, that you ought to heed to them? Therefore, the verse (Deu. 17:11) teaches ‘to follow right or left’: [only when] they tell you that right is right and left is left.”
Maimonides  restates the aforementioned idea, going so far as to categorize a follower of the Court, whilst knowing of their error, as a transgressor of the Law: “And he who knows that they (the Court) erred, and acted based on their word… is liable to bring an offering [of transgression]… for he has acted incorrectly in his interpretation of what the Blessed One has stated: ‘according to the Law with which they shall instruct you… [you shall not stray from the matter which they tell you, right or left].’ For he thought that it is proper to follow them, even while they erred and while knowing of their error.”
What is most significant is that the above analysis pertains to authorized members of the highest judicial appeal. All the more so do the above limitations and checks of power apply to contemporary legal councilors, such as rabbis, which have no authorized legal right to issue judgment. No discredit should be given to the thousands of rabbis around the world that deliver to their congregations, support the timorous ones and needy of their locales, and issue proper legal guidance and advice when congregants approach them with such matters. However, a guidance it remains, an opinion it stands; their opinions do not bear the stamp of authority like that of long-forgotten Courts of Israel. In the most humbling of Talmudic passages,  the Talmud recounts two prominent Sages of Israel consulting with others in matters of judgement, admitting to their fallibility and need to reckon beyond their jurisprudential norms: “When a case would come before Rab Huna for judgment, he would gather and bring ten rabbis from the Academy of Rab, He would say: [I do this] so that [only a small part of the responsibility], like a splinter from a beam, will reach us. When one would come before R. Ashe with meat [suspected to be from] an animal with a wound that will cause it to die within twelve months (terefta), he would gather and bring together all the butchers of Mata Meḥasya and consult with them before ruling on the status of the meat. He would say to them: [I do this] so that only a small part of the responsibility, comparable to a splinter from a beam, will reach each of us.”
With all of the above in mind, we may conclude with the following: 1. It’s very easy to lead a life of simplicity and uniformity without acknowledging the flaws of role-models, the nuance of law, and volatility of life dilemmas we come across each day. Blind faith in an “all-knowing” demigod is awfully convenient, especially when disguised as a pious and proper act. However, such individuals must at least acknowledge that their practice is no different than that of the followers of Paul of Tarsus. 2. Blind faith not only has no basis in Scripture, it is antithetical to everything the Prophets of Israel teach and instruct. 3. The greatest Jewish leaders and scholars shared one common trait: humbleness. They acknowledged the fact that no man, no matter how wise, is authorized or capable of delivering final instruction. Just as all are fellows are fallible, our leaders and teachers are as well. But faith presupposes fallibility; it is a function of seeking, interrogating, and striving for the truth, given all available willpower and resources at one’s disposal. May the Creator Almighty grant us just that.
 Jung, C.G. Memories, Dreams, Reflections (Reissue edi.), P. 73.
 In fact, the celebrated grammarian, R. David Qimḥi (Sefer Hashorashim, P.20) renders this root-word in Latin as “credencia”- relating to trust or credibility.
 Based on the rendition provided by Targum Onqelos (ad loc.), the verse intends to relate that the people trusted in Moses’ prophecy. Thus, God informs Moses that eternal trust of the People in his prophecy will occur once they hear the prophecy for themselves. See Exo. 19:9.
 Εστι [is] δὲ [so, then] πίστις [faith- nominative] ἐλπιζομένων [being hoped for- genitive passive participle] ὑπόστασις [substance, foundation- nominative] πραγμάτων [an established fact- genitive noun plural] ἔλεγχος [evidence- nominative noun singular] οὐ [negative particle- not] βλεπομένων [being seen- genitive passive participle].
 Regarding the legal sense of the term, see John 5:34, Luke 22:71, Mark 14:56. See John 19:35, John 21:24, regarding a historical sense of testimony, like that of historians. In an ethical sense of testimony, concerning one’s character, see 3 John 1:12, 1 Timothy 3:7, Titus 1:13.
 Known as Musmakhim. See our previous article on the topic for details: http://polmudica.com/blog/2016/off-the-leash/
 See Sanhedrin 5a, 33a. Maimonides (Perush La’Mishnayot: Bekhorot 4§4) applies this dictum to any ruling after the ratification of the Talmud (c. 500 CE), which explicitly violates a Talmudic ruling:
וכל זה היה קודם חבור הגמרא אבל עכשיו בזמנינו זה א”א להיות כן אלא מעט מזער מפני שהדן שום דבר אם נמצא במה שכתוב בגמרא הפכו ה”ז טועה בדבר משנה
 Perush La’Mishnayot (Horayot 1§1).
 The famous commentator on the Mishnah, R. Obadiah Bertinoro, cites this passage, commenting on the Mishnaic adage (Avot 1§16) “make for yourself a rabbi and escape doubt.” Bertinoro notes that this adage is not meant to bind one to a single rabbinic figure when seeking legal advice:
אם בא דין לפניך ונסתפקת בו, עשה לך רב, והסתלק מן הספק. ולא תפסוק עליו אתה לבדו. כי הא דרבא כי הוי אתי טרפתא לגביה הוי מכניף לכולהו טבחי דמתא מחסיא, אמר, כי היכי דלמטיין שיבא מכשורא