Shemot (5762)

Drash Cards for Shemot (5762)

by Marc Mangel

• Today is the yahrzeit of Abraham Joshua Heschel.  He was unique in that he lived prophetic zeal but did not reject observance.

• The central pillar of his theology was divine pathos — God’s need of man (which is a Talmudic idea at least).  Here are some of the things he said

• Of the shoah:  not where was God, but where was man?

• I have gone through the Talmud 4 times. How many times has the Talmud gone through me?

• The Besht brought God to the people and made Jewish life an occasion for exaltation.

• Chadisim was a new approach to the Torah. (It renewed Judaism.)

• When you study Torah, God speaks to you; when you pray, you speak to God.

•His response to Kohelet: How dare one say that life is vanity?

• This is a time for renewal because Orthodoxy sees the Torah = shulchan aruch. Disregard of God and Israel is religious behaviorism

• The Zionist idea did not originate in halacha but in Agada (extra legal body).

• The beginning of piety is compassion.

• Why not insist that banks, factories, and those who deal in real estate require a hecksher?

• Judaism exists only in community.

• There is no anxiety in Judaism about personal salvation. What matters is universal salvation.

• God manifests in events rather than in things.

• Spiritual problems cannot be solved by administrative techniques that consider prayer embarrassing.

• The issue of prayer is not prayer; the issue of prayer is God.

• The fundamental statement about God in Judaism is that God is in search of man, in need of man, concerned about man.

• The prophets had no idea of God. They had understanding of God.

• Nachmonides noted “One can be scoundrel within the letter of  the Torah”

• A person cannot be religious and indifferent to other people’s plight and suffering.

• The four dimensions of Jewish life are 1) teaching, 2) faith, 3) law, and 4) context in which they are carried out.

• The hour calls for the renewal of the antecedents of our faith.

• Faith implies no denial of evil, no disregard of gander, not white-washing of the abominable.  There are many creeds but only one faith.

• We do not communicate with God.  We only make ourselves communicable to God.

• Prophets see man as a partner of God.