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August 27, 1965 - Image 40

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1965-08-27

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::sh's Thought Provoking Book Goodenough's Posthumous 'Psychology of Religious
Reviews Current Challenges to Jewry Experiences' Points to Religious-Secular Blendings


With his newest analyses of
Jewry's position, with emphasis on

American Jewry's current status,
Rabbi David Polish emerges as a
challenger to action who is certain
to cause responsible Jewish
spokesmen to think more seriously
about the prob-
lems that face
Jewry today.
His new book,
"The Higher
Freedom — A
New Turning
Point in Jewish
History," pub-
lished by Quad-
rangle Book s,
Inc. (1 8 0 N.
Wacker Dr.,
Chicago), touches
upon Israel, the
fallacies of na-
tionalism, Jewish
peoplehood and
a score of other
Dr. P-:dish
related subjects.
In the main, it challenges us to
think in terms of continuity that I
will redeem Jewry's claims to be-
ing a hol.. people and will provide
for Israe: the status that dignifies
an historic heritage.
At the very outset, Dr. Polish
calls upon us to look to the rock
whence we were hewn and he
places emphasis on a basic prin-
ciple: " !i ,? moral law is from
God; it is not subject to a popu-
lar referendum. It is important
to know this in an age that will
some day be judged to have been
both mad and savage." And he
commences with a challenge:
"The Jewish people is in dan-
ger of distintegration because
both identity and purpose are
being dissolved. This danger is
all the more acute because vast
segments of the Jewish people
in the free world are unmindful
of the inroads of distintegra-
Taking into account the realism
of the fulfilment of the Zionist
ideal through the establishment of
Israel, and the changes that have
occurred in the structure of Jew-
ish life, Rabbi Polish warns about
the "decline of Jewish vitality"
and of the urgency of the emerg-
ing conditions. Recognizing "the
unprecedented magnitude" of the
work that is in evidence in Israel,
he states that "these very achieve-
ments have brought problems in
their wake." He considers seriously
the religious problems in Israel
and he declares:
"Our objective must not be a
diaspora spiritually dependent
upon the state, nor a state ma-
terially subservient to diaspora
. . . It must be the organic one-
ness of the people of Israel, in ter-
ritory and beyond." He sees the
possibility of the emergence of a
new world structure out of new
configurations and states:
"The concept of diaspora can
be transformed for the first
time in 2,000 years. It need no
longer represent repression and
exile imposed by the restraints
of a hostile world. The creation
of Israel: has annihilated the
pri•ciple of duress in the West-
ern world and replaced it with
a community which chooses its
own form of existence. It
chooses because it is no longer,
in theory or in practice, denied
any other alternative. This rep-
re-cuts an altogether new con-
figuration for the Western Jew,
and it is much more than an in-
tellectual configuration alone.
As a consequence of this, there
now exists both a voluntary
diaspora in the West and an in-
dependent state in Israel. This
is new for world Jewry. It is
new for the world itself. Out of

this new relationship could
emerge a new social pattern for

mankind. In it, one could be
both a national of a given ter-
ritory and a member of a greater
unit, a world structure. He could
be both patriot and world citi-
zen, resident of a homeland and

40—Friday, August 27, 1965

member of a universal com-
In chis fashion, Dr. Polish de-
molishes the dilemma of duality
in citizenship and points to a new
order that can solve problems and
salve consciences. He states also
in relation to the double dilemma:
"Inherent in Zionism—inherent
ir_ Judaism—is the persistent pull
of the Jew in two directions simul-
taneously: the inner pull toward
the people, and the outer pull
into the world. Both of these pulls
are indigenous to Judaism and the
authentic Jew is required to re-
spond to both. When we respond
to either one to the exclusion of
the other, we betray Judaism • . .
If, in abandoning his Judaism, the
Jew retained the prophetic zeal
with which his Jewishness informs
him, his defection might be toler-
ahle. But then he would remain a
Jew! And this would be his per-
sonal paradox. But in the main,
when a Jew feels that he must
sever his bond with Judaism in
order to respond to the world, the
inciting away of his Jewishness
also results in the melting away
of his humanity."
Rabbi Polish's emphasis is
that "Judaism cannot survive
unless the Jew's commitment is
of own choosing, not born
out of compulsion."
"Traditions," he declares, "are
not contrived. They are not even
conceived. They take form amidst
a people's existence."
Turning to the claims of Jewish
liberals that "the Jewish question
will be resolved through the solu-
tion. of more universal problems,"
Rabbi Polish declares that it is
"an egregious mistake which has
frequently led to disastrous re-
sults." that:
"It cannot be stressed too em-
phatically that the Jewish ques-
tion is identified with the world
question, but it is not identical
with it. The uniqueness of the
Jewish people, of its history, of
its situation in the world, dis-
qualifies it for prefabricated reme-
dies. A current example is the
race question in the United States.
Jews must be committed to help-
ing achieve unconditional and total
freedom for the American Negro.
Yet it is highly questionable
whether either the solution or the
defenders—Jew and non-Jew alike
—of complete integration will by
this alone reduce anti-Semitism as
a lateni social and religious force.
Only if they draw the necessary
inferences and apply them equally

to the dangerous position of Jews
m many parts of the world, and
to the dormant feelings about
Jews in the United States, will the
struggle for integration yield

specific results for Jews."

Jewish socialists and commun-
ists, Dr. Polish indicate s,

"quickly learned that some of
the liberal causes of their time
were desirous only of Jews in
their ranks, but not of Jewish
problems on the agenda." But
"Jews flung their Jewish bag-
gage aside in a leap of faith
to the messianic summons of
socialism" while "non-Jewish
socialists steadfastly precluded

and specific Jewish issues as ir-
relevant • . . This is one of the

primary reasons for the growth
of political Zionism. It was a
reaction against the kind of
liberalism that required the
liquidation of the Jewish peo-
ple as a price for 'solving the
Jewish problem.' As a conse-
quence, socialism became trans-
muted into labor Zionism, and
European nationalism into po-
litical Zionism. .. ."
On the question of church and
state, Dr. Polish contends that
"separation" is a misnomer, that
it implies alienation and it also
"implies parallels that do not
meet." He admonishes that "reli-
gionists who would share their
duties with the state will discover
that the state will not be influ-
enced by religion but will shape
it in its own nationalistic image"
and that "for the state to- give
religion its unreserved release
would involve an act of self-limi-

Basic Books (404 Park, S., NY 16) shoulders and leave the deluded ings "is justice, love, kindness,
have just issued, posthumously, in their delusions or forgive them hufnility, and these the prophets

"The Psychology of Religious Ex- their insuperable ignorance, but left to the later rabbis to formu-
periences" by Prof. Erwin R. that we by understanding can and late into laws.
do share in their points of view.
Commenting on the blending of
In this work, Dr. Goodenough, That way, the full life."
religious and secular laws, Dr.
who passed away
Was he cynical, critical or the Goodenough wrote:
two months ago,
more realist when he wrote:
"The rabbis taught this when
clarified myths,
"Legalism has its full value
they laid down one of the chief
creed s, philos-
as a religious pattern only in
principles of rabbinic Judaism:
ophies, new pat-
unified societies, which offer no
`The law of the land is Law.'
divergencies or contradictory

It is especially
interesting that
the late Dr.
Goodenough, who

became world fa-
mous for his en-
cyclopedic work,
"Jewish Symbols
in the Greco-
Roman Period,"
should, as a for-
mer theist, have
written in his•Dr. Goodenough
preface to this book:

"Freud, himself the founder
of a great religious sect, could
typically call all traditional
faiths and, by implication, all
`religion' merely illusion. He was
typical because those practicing
the new way of thinking consid-
ered that they had put away
`religion' as a childish thing

codes. The joy of traditional
Judaism (and joy it is) can be
felt only in a Jewish community
living in collective observance,
for only so does the law present
itself without complications as
really the formulation of one's
social center. Jews who live in
`Jewish quarters' in Alexandria
long before the Christian era
did so by choice, so that to-
gether they could live in the
life of the law. Christians have
done terrible things to Jews in
the ghettos, but Jews themselves
created the ghettos, if not the
locks on them. The only dis-
agreement was about who was to
have the key. Jews of old wanted
to live together because the ben-
efit and peace of legalism can
come only when men are faced
with a single code, unchallenged
by rival codes." .
Indeed, this is realism, and Dr.

when they had discarded Chris-
tian or Jewish theology and
called themselves atheists or Goodenough emphasized that "ev-
agnostics. Meanwhile, in all ery community that wants happi-
fields, but especially in psychol- ness in living by a code must do
ogy, researchers developed vo- the same." Indeed, new ghettos

cabularies and criteria of think-
ing that made a return to the
data of religion increasingly dif-
ficult, and a person trained in
religion has come to sound ama-
teurish when he tries to use the
language of psychology."
And he added that "religion of
one sort or another is one of the
two or three great universal as-
pects of human life. As for its re-
lation to psychology, religion has
been the psychotherapy of all ages,
and no one would dispute that at
least what other people call their
religions have been psychological

need mythology, poetry, music,
philosophy critics, social loyalty
and security, and one man cannot
be creative in all. Here is true
tolerance: not that we shrug our

tation which would be considered
abhorrent. Yet, without such un-
equivocal release, separation of
church and state is partly fiction."
Dr. Polish declares, in his en-
lightening essay on "Peoplehood,"
that "the Jewish people can see
itself as undergoing a redemptive
experience in history and 'serving
a redeeming purpose among men."
His entire work is thought-pro-
voking. It deals with Jewish issues
frankly. It does not pull punches.
It is a major contribution to cur-
rent efforts to solve problems that
have resulted from assimilatory
tendencies that have increased
both as a result of the reality of
Israel's statehood and the emanci-
pationist delusions. It leads in the
proper direction of realism in
facing the facts of life in Jewry's
current experience.

"The Psychology of Religious Ex-
periences"—an enlightening and

thought-provoking work that must
lead to further study of religious
aspects in mankind.

arise all the time, even when old Hebrew Corner
ones are fled from: then, new
ones arise: the rich with the rich:
the less affluent together.
The Mishna states: "There are no
In the matter of Jewish-Chris- more
festive days for Israel than the
of Av and Yom Kippur." The
tian superlegalism, Prof. Good-
Sages said: Yom Kippur is easy to
enough emphasized that what real- understand since it is a day of atone-
ly counted in the prophetic teach- ment and pardon, but why is the fif-

The 15th of Av

New Anti-Semitic Journal
Issued in Casablanca;
Jews Are Slandered

anti-Semitic newspaper, published
by the director of a newspaper
experiences. The 'psychology of re- banned by the government, appear-
ligion,' accordingly, neglected as ed in Morocco Aug. 22.
it is now, remains a crucial part of
The first issue of the new publica-
the study of man."
Aien, "Atiaf," contained articles
The eminent scholar, in a chal-; charging Moroccan Jews in res-

lenging opening chapter, "What Is
Religion?" maintains that "it is
basically man's adjustment to the
tremendum (that which must be
Until man is omniscient, Dr.
Goodenough wrote, he "must live
by religious trust in the patterns
he projects on his curtains, which
means, so far as I can see, that he
will always have to live by re-
ligious faith . . . "
"Religious tolerance," the em-
inent scholar stated "is of the
greatest importance, since to at-
tack other peoples' basic pat-
terns, to destroy their curtains
or to rob them of the right to
explore for themselves, so inun-
dates them with the tremendum
that they become utterly dis-
traught or murderously vindic-
He made the point that "we

That is, Law, the Torah, the holy
law of the Jews, includes the
laws of whichever nation a Jew
may be living in. An observant
Jew considers that his duty to
pay taxes, to serve on the jury,
to vote at elections, and all the
rest are part of his legal obliga-
tion to God, to his religion."
He also made the point that "the
glory of the Hebrew tradition was
its long line of supralegalists, a
line which by means ended with
Jesus, even though it finally crys-
tallized, for most Jews, in the elab-
orate legal formulations of rab-
binic Judaism."
The great Christian scholar, who,
at the time of his death, was pro-
fessor emeritus of religion at Yale
and visiting professor of Mediter-
ranean studies at Brandeis Uni-
versity, left another great work in

= ponsible posts with showing fav-

oritism toward co-religionists.
A prominent article reported on
a Jewish doctor on the staff of a
hospital in a small town, Alcazar-
quivir, in northern Morocco. The
artitcle alleged that the doctor at-
tended only to Jewish patients and
allowed Moslems "to die of their


teenth of Av a day of joy?
One says: For on this day permission
was restored to the tribe of Benjamin
to intermarry with the daughters of the
other tribes, since hitherto the tribe
of Benjamin had committed a dis-
graceful deed — the deed of the Con-
cubine at Gibeah—and the other tribes
decided not to give their daughters in
marriage to the sons of the tribe of
Another sage said: Because on this
day the heat of the sun begins to wane.
On the fifteenth of Av the daughters of
Jerusalem would go out to dance in the
vineyards. Each one would wear white
garments and their garments would be
borrowed — they took them for a day
from. others. Why? "so as not to put
to shame those who had none."
The daughters of Jerusalem would
go forth to dance in the vineyards and
the young men would come too to gaze
at them.
And what did the girls say? Young
man, look at what you are choosing
for yourself. Pay not attention to beau-
ty, pay attention to family for: "Charm
is false and beauty vain but a woman
that feareth the Lord she is to be
Translation of Hebrew column. Pub-
lished by Brit Ivrit Olamit, Jerusalem.

Tr1PP177 71;PrI

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