Ohio Jewish Chronicle, 1991-09-05, page 01
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\ *i '.,«■ m TTUlfc lot :>V^*> *Th^Ohio Jewish Chronicle . W*?Vl ift»fe5Ci»i«toM«yfrrafer«Ya«> •', 'H* 26BLUIi5751 * i ^Ittges sweepmg Soviet i«S™d Promise, ;:%;Pase2 -r, *... V*. .w iessifu Year*-* .#*** ■ r — ■■<■....J.f ,. i r,,,1,,, „flM>,„,Wy,...^,qMj„t,,„l,|.)> , m.mi, .mm<mi,L.m.**u<,*,J,.> $A •",, page/ essages, i|4SiJidoL v//^ *.«'>< Ohio'Hist.Society Libr 1982 Velma Ave. Columbus, Ohio .% q 3 211 i om lIHBBHHBHHsil APPY NEW YEAR ■ Moy the sound of fhe Shofar herald ^a healthy and prosperous New Year for you We wish __ you a year rjf of peace & 'l^understanding 575S September 9 & 10 HOLIDAY FEATURE Man as Creator — A partner with God By Rabbi Allan Nadler • MONTREAL (JTA) - The Jewish commemoration of historic events center around the rituals of the biblical festivals. In the customs and observances of these holidays, we are expected not merely to remember past events, but, insofar as possible, to re-live and re-create them, making them a permanent part of our • consciousness. On Passover, we consume the matzah — the bread of af- iliction — and actually taste the suffering of the Israelite slaves in the bitterness of the maror. On Sukkot, we physically dwell in booths intended to resemble the frail huts that sheltered our ancestors in the Sinai wilderness. And on the eve of Shavuot, we study Torah all night in an attempt to re-live the revelation at Mount Sinai, Jewish law, then, requires that the commemoration of sacred days constitute, to the degree possible, a concrete, physical re-experiencing' and emulation of the historical event being commemorated. But what of Rosh Hashanah? The Jewish new year, after all, marks the creation of an entire universe out of nothingness. How can we mortals, passive creatures of God's design, hope to even approximate the divine, miraculous event of creation through mere symbolic acts and rituals? Unlike the other biblical festivals commemorating specific historical events, the cosmic significance of Rosh Hashanah seems to defy emulation. Nonetheless, our tradition does in fact mandate that on Rosh Hashanah we engage in an exacting act of creation. For the Jewish New Year marks the beginning of an intensive period of Vshuvah — repentance — which requires that each of us engage in the very arduous task of moral correction, ethical improvement and spiritual renewal. In other words, t'shuvah requires of us an act of personal re-creation. T'shuvah is, in that sense, a human microcosm for the divine creation of the universe. On^the eve of these Days of Awe, we are told that mankind is provided with the opportunity for a clean slate, a fresh start. The doctrine of repentance is rooted in the very optimistic Jewish belief in human resilience, in the ability and opportunity available to man always to correct and renew his existence — i.e., the chance to become re-created. . According to the Lurianic school of Jewish mysticism, the sudden creative feat described in the first verse of Genesis was preceded by a difficult, unreported dramatic act of divine contraction. For in examining the biblical account of Creation, the kabalists were confronted with a dilemma: how could a God who is at once omnipresent and incorporeal, the substratum of all existence, conceive and give birth to a limited, material and corruptible universe? In response to this dilemma, there arose an elaborate cos- mogonic mythology which begins with a process of divine contraction. In order td "make room" for a physical universe, we are told in the metaphorical language of the kabalists, the omnipresent spirit of God had to withdraw into itself so that a separate, corporeal ajid imperfect world could come into existence apart from Him. Similarly, as we approach Rosh Hashanah, we are called upon to place controls and limits upon our egos and our sins, and then to turn inward and engage in an arduous heshbon ha-nefesh, or soul- searching. One of the most important theological doctrines of Rabbinic Judaism is the concept of Imitatio Dei, pr the emulation of God. In' the Talmud; this notion is limited to the realm of ethics — the rabbis instruct us, "Be similar to God: just as God is kind and merciful, so you too be kind and merciful" (Shabbat 133b). The rabbinic understanding even of the Biblical imperative "Be thou holy, for I the Lord atti holy," is limited to areas of personal ethics and sexual morality. But in contemporary rabbinic thought, particularly in the writings of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, the imperative to imitate God is extended to God's first and greatest act — Creation. In part n of his great work of. religious anthropology, "Halachic Man," Rabbi Soloveitchik suggests that acts of human creativity — in Torah study and halachic observance — are sacred acts in which man emulates the greatest attribute of the Creator of heaven and earth. It is through being a bold and creative spirit himself that man truly becomes what our Sages termed "a partner with God in the drama of Creation." Whereas many religions de- see MAN pg. 2
|Title||Ohio Jewish Chronicle, 1991-09-05|
|Subject||Jews -- Ohio -- Periodicals|
|Place||Columbus (Ohio); Franklin County (Ohio)|
|Creator||Ohio Jewish Chronicle|
|Collection||Ohio Jewish Chronicle|
|Submitting Institution||Columbus Jewish Historical Society|
|Rights||This item may have copyright restrictions. Online access is provided for research purposes only. For rights and reproduction requests or more information, go to http://www.ohiohistory.org/images/information|
|File Size||4433 Bytes|
|Title||Ohio Jewish Chronicle, 1991-09-05, page 01|
:>V^*> *Th^Ohio Jewish Chronicle .
W*?Vl ift»fe5Ci»i«toM«yfrrafer«Ya«> •', 'H*
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.w iessifu Year*-* .#*** ■
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