Like all decent people, I feel sick from this dreadful weak in Florida.
Perched at the edge of Shavuot, Jewish thoughts turn to the meaning of ma’amad Har Sinai, the singular event of revelation, as described in Exodus 19. For all its grand drama, the mystical absorption, the thrilling pyrotechnics … is there anything here contemporary heterodox Jews can believe about revelation?
Inspired by the year-long theme of learning about other faith traditions at Ansche Chesed, I set out to find a partner to join me and our Community Chorus Shirei Chesed on a musical exploration of the shared texts – especially the psalms – and to ponder how our different religious traditions manage to draw on seemingly incompatible musical styles while creating a shared spiritual experience.
I am unhesitatingly proud and joyous today, celebrating Yom HaAtzma’ut, the 68th Israel Independence Day, even as it comes amid some hard times for the state and its society.
This week we marked the 157th yahrzeit of one of the most fascinating and forbidding figures in Jewish tradition, R. Menachem Mendel Morgenstern, the Kotzker rebbe [1787-1859]. He is best known in our circles of American Jews through Abraham Joshua Heschel’s writings, especially Passion for Truth, Heschel’s final book, comparing Kotzk with the Danish Christian existentialist Soren Kierkegaard.