Early in my makeover process, before I fully verbalized my doubts to my family, I was having a conversation with my brother, and he said something that knocked me clear off my feet. I was just hinting at my inquiries, and he asked me "was Rashi a fool?" He wasn't screaming, he wasn't angry, he was just asking me in genuine interest, if I thought all the brilliant Rabonim that we look up to, of the past three thousand years were wrong. But to me it was a roundhouse kick to the jaw, I was speechless!
For days all I could think about were those words, they reverberated in my head over and over again, "was Rashi a fool?" Maybe I was wrong after all, how could I be smarter than the Rishonim?! It wasn't a revolutionary concept, but the simplicity and starkness of the the question, made it seem like a huge hurdle.
I came to understand though, that the fact that Rashi and everybody else we see as giants, believed in what we now know to be superstition and fairy-tales, doesn't diminish their greatness. If a huge number of Americans, in the 21st century (!) can believe in the impending Rapture, how can we judge people hundreds and thousands of years ago for believing what they did. Science? Science Shmience! If the Pope can go to Africa and declare that condoms don't lower the chances of spreading AIDS/HIV, how can we not forgive people in the Bronze Age, for thinking thunder and lightening was a pissed-off, old man in the heavens.
But that begs the real question, the Pope or for that matter any thinking religious person, should see right through the hog-wash, is it all a huge conspiracy, or just willful ignorance.