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September 09, 1977 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1977-09-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

12 Friday, September 9, 1977 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Novel Interpretation of Judaic Practices Are
Detailed for 'Outsiders' and Some 'Insiders'

. \ )

By • ALLEN A. WARSEN
Lionel Blue's "To Heaven
With Scribes and Pha-
risees," subtitled "The Jew-
ish Path to God" (Oxford
University Press) is quan-
titatively small, 109 pages,
but rich qualitatively.

RC

Murray Goldenberg

Herman Jaffee

Souinfield Pd at 13 M.le
_ 646-8484

•,"""\44,44t

We Wish The
Entire Community
A Happy
Healthy & Prosperous

NEW YEAR

AL STEINBERG

353-9000

29300 TELEGRAPH

JUST NOP Th 01 TEL TWELVE

It consists of 10 chapters.
The titles of some read:
"Earning a Living in the
Cosmos," "The Lord of
Hosts in Suburbia," "Holi-
ness in the Kitchen Sink,"
and "The Synagogue, the
Holy Town Hall."
In this book the author en-
deavors to disentangle
"knots" the Pharisees and
rabbis tied "everywhere
and in everything."
The "knots" that seem
nowadays strange to "out-
siders" and some "in-
siders," the author writes,
were familiar to Jesus and
the apostles. Jesus, for in-
stance, "never ate non-
kosher food in his life, and
his clothing could have
passed every test_ in the
kosher-suit laboratory."
These knots or rituals
may appear trivial, but the
scribes used them to "cre-
ate a master plan for right-
eous and holy living."
Included in the master
plan are, of course, the Jew-
ish home and holidays. The
holidays the author inter-
prets humorously and gas-
tronomically: "Passover is
the bread of poverty, with
tears of salt water and the
horseradish of bitterness.
Ruth is cream and cheese-

Our Best Wishes
for a year of
Health, Peace
and
Happiness

AGINS INSURANCE AGENCY

AGINS ESTATE & CORPORATE PLANNERS

nip.

and

and

and

nif.J.

1(9- ene

7111".

n Ag in

sirogin

_Rotuctri

and

M

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Sia#

Celebrating over a half century of insurance service to the community

cake, and the New Year is
the sweetness of apples and
honey. Esther comes with
poppy seed, and the Mac-
cabees with nuts. The de-
lightful litany only halts to
mark the destruction of the
past, or days which com-
memorate the sins of the
present. On these tragic
and sad days there is a
total fast, and the kitchen,
the heart and soul of the
Jewish home, misses a
beat, and a darkness covers
this little world."
A major part of the rab-
binic master plan is de-
voted to the synagogue
whose origin is unknown.
The author, like other schol-
ars, is inclined to believe
that it had its beginning in
Babylonia, perhaps in a sub-
urb of Babylon or a neigh-
boring town where exiles
would gather clandestinely
in an obscure room "to shel-
ter themselves and others
to consider what had gone
before, and to argue out of
the tradition what God re-
quired of them in an alien
environment ; what laws
could still be kept, and
what songs of Zion could
. still be sung on foreign
soil."
Once established the syna-
gogue became "the reli-
gious town hall, - where the
will of God is not only dis-
covered in prayer and argu-
ment, but where it is also
implemented."
Keen is the author's expla-
nation of the Jewish central
prayer, the "Shema,"
which the Jew recites morn-
ing, evening and before
going to sleep. He says it as
he dies.
By reciting the words
"Hear, 0 Israel, the Lord
our God, the Lord is One,"
the Jew affirms that "God
is alive, unique, all-de-
manding, infinitive, and
therefore beyond thought."
And by pronouncing these
words aloud, the Jew de-
clares publicly the truth
and puts "the reality of
God's Kingdom above all
its competitors."

In similar manner the au-
thor interprets the verse
"You shall love the Lord
your God, with all your
heart and with all your
soul, and with all your
might." The expressions
"heart" and "soul" present-
ed no difficulties to the corn-
mentators. The = word
"might" did present rob-
lem. It, therefore, was vari-
ously interpreted. Howeve:: -
"the interpretation that hit
home and which was imple-
mented in daily Jewish life,-
was that it meant 'money,'
i.e. that we should love God
with all our money and our
wealth. Such is the holy
materialism of Judaism.'

Unique is the author's de-
scription of the "Jewish
propensity" to argue. He
claims that it is as old as
the Jewish people and
traces it to Abraham who
argued with God over
Sodom's fate and to Jacob
who struggled with a mes-
senger of God. Indeed, the
word ' Israel means "one
who struggles with God."
The author reminds us that
Moses argued with the chil-
dren of Israel; and they in
turn argued with each
other. Hosea, too, argued
with God pleading for his
people, and the Academies
of Shammai and Hillel were
famous for their argu-
ments. "Rabbis argued -as
to whether a self-winding
watch can be worn on the
Sabbath." And Rabbi Levi
Yitzhok's argument with Al-
mighty God became a liter-
ary classic:

Good morning to - You, .41-
m ighty God,
I, Levi Yitzhok son of Sarah
of Berditchev,
Have come for a judgment
against You,
On behalf of Your people
Israel.

What do you want of Your
people Israel?

The slightest thing, and You
• say,
"Speak to the children of Is=
rael."

Assimilation — a Tragedy?

BSS SOLOMON SCHECHTER

What I understand by
assimilation is loss of ident-
ity. It is this kind of assimi-
lation, with the terrible con-
sequences indicated, that I
dread most — even more

than pogroms.
It is a tragedy to see a
great, ancient people, distin-
guished for its loyalty to its:-
religion, and its devotion to
its sacred law, losir — hou-
sands every. da'.'.

Mr. & Mrs. ,Jakubovk tz
from

JAMIBOWITTS

FISH &
RUSHER POULTRY AMT.

ish All Their Friends and Customers

A Happy & Prosperous

NEW YEAR

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