Judaism in Divine communion?

iBrian

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Hope my use of terminology isn't too far out, but does Judaism still see it as being in communion with G!d?

What I was especially thinking upon is that Judaism seems very focussed on the events of the distant past - yet for the past couple of thousand years seems spiritually becalmed?

Yes, there is the continued development of commentary, philosophy, and reflection - but from the outside Judaism itself seems to be waiting to move into another stage of faith, founded upon the rebuilding of the temple?

And if it's not a riotous question to raise, is Judaism too fixated upon the past and where it has been, rather than where it is now and where is it going? Or is this precisely the reason for the diversification of Judaism in relatively recent years?

Ultimately, this thread isn't about condemning Judaism as static, or implying that Jews should become Muslims - at it's heart is simply the perceptions that these are the sort of questions that Judiasm will have had to raise itself.

In which case, I'm curious as to how Judaism answered itself, and how these relate to Judaism's perception of its relationship with G!d nowdays?

I appreciate that this post tries to approach multiple issues, so links may be of particular use here.

And I hope bananabrain appreciates that I'm not trying to get his dander up on purpose. :)
 
Ahh, this is a an excellent question. Judaism does believe that we have a divine convenant with G-d. It is sealed in the flesh of every Jewish male who is circumscised.

In addition, yes some branches of Judaism are perhaps stagnant, but others are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Messiah. A number of biblical prophecies foretelling the "opening of the gates of knowledge(In the 19th century)", the return of the Jews to their homeland, and the arrival of Jewish sects denouncing the oral law, have come true in the last few hundred years.

I personally feel that we may possibly see the arrival of this King among men much sooner then most people think. Basically the world is poised at a crossroads and there are two possible outcomes. One is that mankind destroys himself and this beautiful God-given world of ours. The other is that a Tzadik rises up, and with wisdom and humility heals ancient wounds, brings the Jews out of our exile, restores the temple, and unites the world in the worship of one G-d.

I an many other orthodox Jews feel that the latter is the case without a doubt. So in that sense Judaism is not stagnant at all.

We are an ancient religion steeped in ancient ritual, but our philosophies are incredibly modern. I have studied many religions and none of them have as complex a view of G-d or His relationship with His creation as Judaism. I have seen modern Jews tackle issues of Evolution and Creation with grace and poise and even scientific wisdom to support them. I have seen Chassidic Pracititioners pray in English, and create Reggae music that can stand musicially with the best of the Rasta movement. I have even seen the Jews take back their homeland despite rampant anti-semitism. Make no mistake, Judaism may have a calendar going back 5765 years, but it is as relevant, vibrant, and lively, today as it was at Mount Sinai.
 
I said:
What I was especially thinking upon is that Judaism seems very focussed on the events of the distant past - yet for the past couple of thousand years seems spiritually becalmed?

I don't think the events of the past are simply events of the past, but rather archetypal episodes that help us see our lives through many different lenses, sacred memories that allow for a communal metaphor of existence. On Pesach(Passover) we are supposed to remember how God brought us out of the land of Egypt and in each generation we are told there is a Pharoah. On Purim we remember how Haman was stopped and the Jews were saved from genocide, and in this echoes the true stories of physical salvation from our enemies and the echoed dreams of all the times a Haman could not be stopped in time. On Shabbat we remember the seventh day of creation and also being liberated from Egypt as we ourselves are liberated from the heavy burdens of our materialistic lives. They also tie into the calendrical year. For instance on Hanukah we are gradually lighting more candles as the darkest time of the year approaches. Arthur Waskow wrote a very good book that discusses the calendrical significance of all of the holidays. The calendrical significance of Shabbat is that it is out of time. It is not tied to the cycles of the year but is independent. It is a day of its own.

This type of living also ties into every weekly Torah portion, each of which comes at the same time of year (unless it's for Rosh Chodesh, the head of the month, in which case it'll come over and over.)

Spiritually becalming in Judaism I think happens when someone starts to ignore the lense. They see the trees, the events themselves (which I would argue aren't necessarily and don't have to be historically true anyway) and miss out on what the events symbolize, and when they ignore the way to connect to God in every moment, the mitzvot. For some certain mitzvot won't make sense at all. That's fine. They don't make sense to other people either. That's why there's eco-kashrut and some very religious and spiritual Jews might use the computer on Shabbat. If the myth of commandedness is broken, then there's no reason to do it exactly like Torah says. I say any such Jew seeking spirituality should examine the mitzvot and find what is meaningful to them and how they can renew that which is not.

Yes, there is the continued development of commentary, philosophy, and reflection - but from the outside Judaism itself seems to be waiting to move into another stage of faith, founded upon the rebuilding of the temple?

Only the Orthodox, afaik, but I do think most Jews have at least some sort of utopian ideal for the future. Even if they don't believe it's possible or that it can last, it's still a goal to strive for. And this goal will vary for different people. Some will see it as a time when all can finally recognize the Oneness of creation. Others will see it as a time when nation will not lift up sword against nation and mankind will not learn war anymore. Others might just want things to be a little better than they are now. I have no problem singing Eliyahu HaNavi(a song about Elijah the prophet coming with the moshiach) because I see HaMoshiach as the embodiment of everything humanity has the potential to be if it can overcome its most base aspects. I see HaMoshiach as the potential future evolution of mankind, the next step or the 20th next step that will lead us further beyond these dark ages.

And if it's not a riotous question to raise, is Judaism too fixated upon the past and where it has been, rather than where it is now and where is it going?

Not if you speak to a Renewal or Reconstructionist Jew. These are Renewal's principles:

http://www.aleph.org/principles.html

But in general I think it's still focused on where it's going, just with more emphasis in one place than another. Orthodox Jews may feel completely comfortable with the system they've got, but that doesn't mean they're not doing Tikkun.

Or is this precisely the reason for the diversification of Judaism in relatively recent years?

Diversification happens in Judaism when a brush with contemporary thought breaks a myth for some people. Then everybody scrambles to make sense of it all. Rambam's generation was able to take foreign ideas and show them to be fully in line with Jewish thinking rather than in opposition to Jewish thinking. In a place like America where everybody can have an opinion, there are just going to be more and more answers to the questions. And I think that's a good thing.

In which case, I'm curious as to how Judaism answered itself, and how these relate to Judaism's perception of its relationship with G!d nowdays?

Depends on what type of Judaism. Recon rejects the covenantal relationship as the type of worldview that leads to things like Nazism. But whatever denomination it is, God is present.

I appreciate that this post tries to approach multiple issues, so links may be of particular use here.

I missed this my first time reading through so I will supply a couple more links.
For some modern answers to these questions this is Tikkun, representing the spiritual left (the ask the rabbi article on God is very good and very different from what one would get from an O rabbi. That article also shows a focus on humanity changing and even God changing, or at least different faces of God being revealed for different eras.)

http://www.tikkun.org/

And Arthur Waskow's homepage (he has liberal takes on calendrical events, also shows how some Jews are focused on renewal of tradition)

http://www.shalomctr.org/

Recon FAQ(Recon answers to Jewish relationship with God, meaning of mitzvot, etc.):

http://www.jrf.org/edu/faqs.html

As a demonstration of change, a site with new rituals being created in our times:

http://www.ritualwell.org/index.html

Finnegan's Awakening, a free-flowing article on God by Reb Zalman that mentions Tillich, Watts, and Jesus, as well as some jewish thinkers:

http://www.ohalah.org/rebzalman1.htm

If you only look at one of these, check out God by Michael Lerner in Tikkun. If you only look at two, Tikkun and the FAQ. Three, Tikkun, the FAQ, and Reb Zalman. Four, Tikkun, the Faq, Zalman, and the Shalom Center. All that's left after that is ritual well which really won't tell you much but will show you ritual innovation in action. Baruch Hashem for innovation.

Dauer
 
My post didn't register so this hopefully will.
 
Thanks for the information. :)

I somehow suspect that the most concise Bananabrain explanation of Judaism might be: "Moses...feck, what was that all about?"

:)


What's interesting is how much has come out of the self-examination that comes from that. Saving the Judaism essays from the dying MSN site showed a level of complexity I hadn't even begun to fathom.
 
Make no mistake, Judaism may have a calendar going back 5765 years, but it is as relevant, vibrant, and lively, today as it was at Mount Sinai.
Yes NewAge, I believe this also. Very well said.

I have a couple of more questions for you if you dont mind, when you have time.
When the King comes to you will he be the one responsible for the rebuilding and establishment of the Temple?
Will he also be the one responsible for the return to sacrifice and offering at the temple?

if so, is there any mention of what the first sacrifice will be to make Israel pure in the sense of offering up sacrifice again? and are there any thoughts on how it will be incorporated and taken into the society of today.
I have read some of this in places, but I would appreciate your take on it if you dont mind.


Thank You in advance.
 
Ask away bandit! I have no problem answering any questions that I can, or seeking answers to those questions I cannot. On to your specific questions.

1) It is a belief that the Messiah will restore the temple. This is a very tricky issue, especially because the dome of the rock now occupies the current site of the temple mount. Some Jews believe that G-d wil bring a temple down from the sky. I am a little more pragmatic. Perhaps the Messiah will have a vision as to the location of the ark of the convenant, or other such artifacts from the old temple thereby proving to the world that he is in fact the Messiah. This(or other similar visions/miracles) might be enought to convince Muslims of G-d's wishes for the temple mount.

2) I personally feel that sacrifice might be a thing of the past. When the second temple was destroyed, G-d made it very clear that there are ways to reach Him besides animal sacrifice. G-d gave each and every human being the ability to atone for their own sins by sincerely convening with Him. The temple would be restored for devotion to G-d and for service in His glory, but not(in my opinion) for animal sacrifice.

Another reason I believe this is because there is a belief amongst many Jews that when the Messiah comes he will convince the Jews to become vegetarians. Not only would there be peace amongst men, but peace between men and animals. I believe this would prohibit animal sacrifice.

Hopefully this answers your questions.
 
Thanks NewAge. That is the first time I heard it put that way:) . Maybe God will have an entire city come down from heaven along with the temple.

Another question I have is on the figure here. I believe this is accurate and is this according to the Jewish calendar? which is how many days a year?
Judaism may have a calendar going back 5765 years
Maybe someday we can do a study on the timelines.
 
Dear NewAgeNerd

NewAgeNerd said:
A number of biblical prophecies foretelling the "opening of the gates of knowledge(In the 19th century)", the return of the Jews to their homeland, and the arrival of Jewish sects denouncing the oral law, have come true in the last few hundred years.

Yes fascinating the gates of knowledge opened to the people its great to see this all around.

Blessings in Abundance

Kim xx
 
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