Wednesday, May 17, 2017

On Dealing With the 'Hard' Jewish Laws:

Observing [the rituals] has to be rooted in each individual Jews' ABILITY rather than in her WILL.  Only that Jew who is capable of hearing the divine voice of revelation speaking and commanding through a particular law or practice could relate to such a law or practice as an integral meaningful part of his Jewish life rather than as an obsolete ritual demanding rigid, rote obedience.  (Franz Rosenzweig)

On the Hard Questions We Ask About God and tora:

God purposely conceals His true purpose.  In fact, He must occasionally mislead man.  If everything were clear, men would would be automatons, and those least free, most timid and fearful, would be the most "pious".  But evidently God wants only the free to be His.  He must make it difficult, nay impossible to understand His actions, so as to give man the opportunity truly to believe.... So there remains nothing for God but to tempt man, even to deceive him. (Franz Rosenzweig)


LAGoff said...

The only way sinful man can commune with a holy God is through standards*- that were given to us by the Creator Himself, like when He says "Be holy, as I am holy" (Lev.20:26).

* Jewish law, or Halakha, is the collective body of the 613 commandments or mitsvahs from the Tora from a PRACTITIONARY (i.e. how we apply the written Tora) perspective

The role of prophet is only to bring Israel back to Tora

LAGoff said...

An Approach to a 'Hard' Jewish Law

You may want to consider that the Sabbath is not 'all' about rest for man and dignity for man (What if I find dignity and freedom in working and resting whenever I want?)

Perhaps it's also about something else.

It is the only ritual commandment among the 10 commandments and-- as far as I know-- the only ritual commandment (commandments between God and man) the prophets railed against its non-observance.

So perhaps it's the ritual link to the non-ritual (commandments between man and his fellows) side of the commandments (honoring father and mother skirt both sides- remember they are our 'creators' too).


Let's say that I fail at a moral test- which is really a test given by God; therefore I have not only failed myself and the person or society, but I have failed God as well.

I am now naked and ashamed. What do I do? Slough off God and the commandments?

Not so fast.

Perhaps I can redeem myself through a ritual, which is the only ritual- remember- that is in the 10c's and the only ritual that the prophets railed against its non-observance.

What does my moral failure represent? A lack of faith in God. How? Because if I really trusted God, I would have allowed myself to move courageously into the do-the-right-thing zone and let the chips fall where they may. But I didn't, and so I now mourn in my nakedness and shame (dust and ashes).

It is at this vulnerable point-- a point that many defect to Christianity because it holds out a get out of jail free card-- that the Sabbath stands as a sentinel to remind (zakhor!) us that we can return to some semblance of dignity by REDEEMING OUR FAITHLESSNESS IN GOD BY HAVING FAITH IN GOD THROUGH OBSERVANCE (shamor!) OF THE SABBATH, WHICH IS REALLY ONE DAY IN WHICH WE CEASE 'TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS IN ORDER TO RITUALLY SHOW OUR FAITH THAT GOD WILL PROVIDE.

It's as if the coward has a second chance in a simulated area in which to show his courage (i.e. faith).

It is from this simulated moral victory that gives us the rest in order to come back to the real moral world (or at least be able to show our face in it, instead of hiding in shame).

I have still failed morally (the real moral test in the real world), but I have at least stayed within Judaism / the Tora, which has offered me a rest and dignity through a simulated moral test.

So perhaps the Sabbath is as I put it at the top, "All about rest and dignity".