6.30.2005

everybody's waiting


everybody's waiting
Originally uploaded by Emmalen.

a propos of the earlier post:

Rodger Kamenetz, author of books on Jew-Bu spirituality (The Jew in the Lotus, Stalking Elijah), paraphrases a fellow Jewish mystic in one of my favorite metaphors for the interaction between Jewish faith and culture.

Judaism, he says, is like the battered old car we grew up riding, and inherited, and now drive ourselves. It needs spare parts from other vehicles, and it doesn't always run perfectly, but we can't just junk it. It's the way we know how to get around, and we can, with good maps, maintenance, and determination, get anywhere we want in it. This is not a world in which one can simply buy a new spiritual car; having learned to drive a new way, we would have a shiny paint job but no sense of the intimate workings and history of the machine. In the same way, rejecting Judaism for a new faith is foolish: why place oneself deliberately outside the warm embrace of thousands of years and millions of peoples' history?

2 comments:

Kermit said...

I read somewhere that in Judaism, "God is the absolute ruler of the universe, but men and women are free to rebel against his rule". What does that mean (if it's true)?

I consider myself very pro-Jewish, but having been born and raised a Buddhist (I'm an agnostic/rationalist now), I don't know a lot about the details of the Jewish faith...

Rebecca said...

I'm certainly no expert, but a little googling gives me the following, an excerpt from a review of CS Lewis' Mere Christianity:

"With free will, humanity is free to rebel against God by taking the place of Him and believing that perfect joy and peace can be achieved apart from Him. Indeed, throughout history, we can see that humanity has expended colossal effort to make the world perfect apart from God but has failed hopelessly. With free will, humanity is free to rebel against God by taking the place of Him and believing that perfect joy and peace can be achieved apart from Him. Indeed, throughout history, we can see that humanity has expended colossal effort to make the world perfect apart from God but has failed hopelessly. This is due to the fact that God has designed humans such that apart from Him, perfect joy and peace is unattainable."

Bit much but the point is that Jews are, I think, no less into that than Christians (and, I hypothesize, Muslims). It's the sort of nondeterminist stuff that cuts against things like dharma and caste in Eastern religions. Anyway, I don't think Jews have the monopoly--unless there's something I'm missing.