That query is outrageous.
And but, just one up to date Jewish theologian was brave sufficient — or possessing of adequate chutzpah — to ask it.
Professor Rabbi David Weiss Halivni, a theologian and pioneer within the discipline of educational Talmudic scholarship, died this previous Wednesday at age 94. Born in Ukraine, Halivni was raised in Sighet, Romania, the place he studied alongside Elie Wiesel, who was exactly his age. He was ordained as a rabbi at fifteen, and a 12 months later was despatched to Auschwitz and a sequence of different focus camps. He was the one member of his household to outlive.
Rabbi Halivni taught on the Jewish Theological Seminary, after which at Columbia College the place he taught till his retirement. He made aliyah, the place he taught at Hebrew College and Bar Ilan College properly into his nineties. In 2008, Halivni was awarded the Israel Prize for his Talmudic work. and could possibly be discovered on a regular basis on the Nationwide Library.
In Breaking the Tablets: Jewish Theology After the Shoah, God revealed the Divine Presence to the Jewish individuals twice: as soon as at Mount Sinai with the revelation of presence, and as soon as at Auschwitz with the revelation of utter and full absence, during which people got complete and full free will.
However, for me, the best reward of that guide was this instructing, and it has haunted and impressed me.
After the revelation at Mount Sinai, the Israelites waited for Moses to return from the highest of the mountain. It had taken forty days for him to obtain the tablets of the Covenant, and in his delay, the Israelites turned stressed and bored. They turne to Moses’ brother, Aaron, and demand: “Come, make us a god who shall go earlier than us, for that man Moses, who introduced us from the land of Egypt – we have no idea what has occurred to him” (Exodus 32:1).
The Israelites introduced choices to the calf, and so they broke out in spontaneous dance. Moses turned indignant at their apostasy, and in anger, “he hurled the tablets from his palms and shattered them on the foot of the mountain” (Exodus 32:19).
After Moses broke the primary set of Tablets – the set that God had given him – he re-ascended Mount Sinai, renewed the covenant with God, after which bought a second set of Tablets, which he and God had crafted collectively.
Which set was higher?
I do know, I do know: You’d assume that Tablets 2.0 was the improve. That’s our tradition — deliberate obsolescence and consumerist FOMO.
Rabbi Weiss Halivni thought in a different way. He prompt that Moses’ first set of Tablets constituted the entire Torah – a pristine revelation.
The second set of tablets, which God and Moses created collectively, was faulty. The “inaccurate” Torah continued till the time of Ezra the scribe, who tried to restore its deficiencies and omissions. However, even he couldn’t appropriate all of the errors.
What, then, is the duty of the generations? It’s what Weiss Halivni known as tikkun ha-mikra — the continuing job of repairing the textual content, the continual try to revive the pristine sense of God’s revelation, to analyze the Torah anew and to re-discover the phrases of the Dwelling God and to revive its glory.
I contend that the Written Torah was “maculated” by a means of forgetfulness and neglect…and that it’s subsequently in want of a normal restoration so as to “reinstate its glory as within the days of previous.” Right here too I’m nearer to the kabbalistic rendering of the idea of tikkun. In accordance with the Lurianic principle, tikkun olam refers back to the want for repairing a defect within the means of creation itself, not simply an adjustment right here and there of sure flawed particulars.
The reality is: The custom, as now we have inherited it, isn’t excellent. It wants the fixed work of the human interpreter to make it nearer to what it must be. So, too, our talents to grasp it. So, too, the world — damaged, like the primary set of tablets.
In The Ebook and the Sword: an incident at Auschwitz. the place the younger Halivni noticed a guard consuming a sandwich that had been wrapped in a greasy paper, which turned out to be:
a web page of Orach Chaim, a quantity of the Shulhan Aruch, Pesil Balaban’s version. The Balabans started publishing the Shulhan Aruch, the [16th-century] Jewish code of regulation, in Lemberg in 1839. The primary writer was Abraham Balaban, and after his demise he was succeeded by his widow, Pesil. Pesil’s version of the Shulhan Aruch was the most effective; it had all of the commentaries. . . . As a toddler of a poor however scholarly dwelling, I had all the time wished to have her version. . . . Right here, of all locations…below the threatening gaze of the German, a web page from the Shulhan Aruch, fatty spots throughout it, met my eyes.
What occurred? Halvini coaxed the guard to offer him that tattered, sacred piece of paper. He, and others, would collect to review it — a small piece of textual content — within the midst of hell.
That’s religion — the power and the need to take a small, tattered, stained piece of the traditional custom; to create neighborhood round it, even in a spot of nice profanation, and to make it come alive.
My religion is one in every of fixed shattering and restore. I write these phrases, hurriedly, within the aftermath of the capturing on the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois. No, we’re secure nowhere — particularly not in what must be the sacred areas of our civil duties and items — faculties and patriotic shows.
That’s the reason I submit this immediately, and in reminiscence of one of many victims, Jacki Sundheim, who was the occasion and bnai mitzvah coordinator at North Shore Congregation Israel in Glendon, Illinois.
Could the numerous phrases of Torah that she taught in her lifetime rise as much as greet her within the World to Come.