Simple is straightforward. This is what needs to be done and this is how we do it. “Put up and shut up, or get out of the way.” It’s easier and more convenient to get lost in a committee that appreciates the complexity.

The Baal Shem Tov liked simplicity. Simple folk who simply liked G‑d, although they were clueless in all matters of faith and religion and theology. They liked G‑d like a baby likes his father.

The Baal Shem Tov also liked faith, theology and religion. He liked scholars who struggled with faith and intellect, mastering a little bit of each, only to realize how much they now lacked. He wanted that they should remain simple through the process, still be a baby calling for his father.

The simple faith of a sophisticated man has more dimension and a richer texture. A faith that began simple before the intellect kicked in, held onto while the intellect kicked and emerged simple after the tension abated. A simplicity above complexity and permeating the complexity. Because to ignore the complexity is simply simplistic.

A simple person who is delighted with his simple faith is, well, simply simplistic. Once he recognizes his simplicity, he implicitly rejects complexity—which makes the complexity all the more convincing.

So I dare say the Baal Shem Tov would have had no interest in a conscious simplism. I have heard stories of how his successors did not.

Simple faith is not easy. You have to address all of the complexities of faith, reason, life and death that your little brain can fathom. You have to exhaust all of your time, energy and resources in this endeavor. What you have left is, well, faith: unencumbered by intellectual roads not traveled.

Towards this faith the Torah reading (Deuteronomy 18:13) directs us: Tamim tihyeh, which translates awkwardly and unconvincingly to “be wholesome” in your faith. Until we come up with a better word, we’ll call it simple faith. Quite simply.