Student Teaching in the New Millenium

Tooth and Nail

In Deuteronomy, Torah on August 4, 2011 at 3:54 am

Rabbi Naftali Reich writes about the faith of the Israelites, and our faith, and subsequent behavior.

My perspective:

Rabbi Reich speaks from an Orthodox perspective. He places emphasis on belief in Hashem (“the name”, an Orthodox appelation for the tetragrammaton, or Adonai).

One of the major features of Judaism is the formless God. The Torah abounds with references to physical aspects of God, like the hand of God. Maimonides tells us that these are allegories and not meant literally for, as Malachi teaches, God is changeless. The sum total of these references in the Torah, if taken literally, would make a very different statement. As the biblical wisdom goes: God, being formless, is therefore changeless. This divorces ethics from what we think a rock or a tree or a garden gnome wants us to do.

What does this mean for those of us who don’t place emphasis on God? This means we can espouse His ideals whether we wish to relate them to Him directly or not. Rabbi Reich’s words are appreciated whether we keep faith with Hashem, or Justice with a capital J or Love with a capital L.

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