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August 31, 1984 - Image 33

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-08-31

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

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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INSIGHT

Putting your trust in God

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BY MICHAEL ROSENAK

Special to The Jewish News

Parashat Shoftim seems
God is not so stringent or
particularly pre-occupied remote as to demand that
with public order. It deals His people be only rational,
with justice and courts, immune to anxiety, never
royal law and priestly gifts, wishing to peek behind the
cities of refuge and mobili- veil of destiny. But He does
zation for war. And it takes demand: Be wholehearted
into account how what even then. Stay with Me!
Peter Berger calls the Yet the self-contained
"plausibility structure" of terseness
the verse, five
society may be threatened Hebrew of
words without
by ambiguity: where the "ands" and "buts," suggests
jurisdictions of particular that there is more to it than
courts is nebulous and re- that. Standing there by it-
sponsibility may be shirked self between two references
(hence the law of the be- to the idolatrous abomina-
headed heifer — eglah tion, it reads like a sum-
arufah); or- where personal ming up of what the indi-
aspirations or fears may
make a citizen unfit for
battle.
Parashat
Appropriately,
the
parashat is called Shoftim Shoftim:
("judges") for it is concerned
with magistrates and Deuteronomy
policemen, with maintain- 16:18-21:9.
ing the "sane" world which
the Torah envisions for the Isaiah
achievement of its vision: a 51:12-52:12.
holy people, covenanted to
God.
Most threatening to this
sane world is fear of the fu- vidual is to learn from all
ture, uncertainty. This fear the "law and order" that the
may easily destroy order. It Torah imposes.
First of all, there is what
invites celebrations of the
weird, ritualized intima- we may call the halachic
tions of chaos, recourse to principle. Life is a whole
sorcerers, soothsayers, and all of it should be
ghosts and "familiar "wholehearted with God";
spirits." And flirtation with in all things one should
cosmic chaos leads readily "know" Him, and not make
to moral lawlessness; sooth- matters easy for oneself by
saying and ghostliness to separating life into sacred
child-sacrifice — dreadful and secular domains. That
parents making sons and very unhalachic Jew, Mar-
daughters "to pass through tin Buber, once expressed
the fire."
These, of course, the
Torah condemns as abomi-
nations. And to those temp-
ted to seek guidance beyond
the horizons of order, reas
beyond the realm of
Providence, the Torah
commands sternly: You
shall be. wholehearted
—tamim with the Lord thy
Washington — Congress
Go .
The pshat (plain mean- is having second thoughts
ing) of this verse is clearly about a proposed interna-
indicated by the context. tional Islamic art and cul-
Rashi says it: "Trust in God, ture center that would be
do not try to penetrate the part of the $75 million
future, accept wholehear- museum complex Currently
tedly what He has in store being built underneath the
for you." Or, don't restrict Mall.
A House Appropiations
your loyalty to fair weather,
don't have recourse to dark Committee hai blocked a $5
powers even in black mo- million contribution for the
ments of life. You can't both center from Saudi Arabia
serve God and be served by until hearings can be held to
divinations. Rambam, determine whether the
Sforno and Rashbam point Saudi gift has any strings
out that one may ask attached, Newsweek maga-
prophets about the future, zine reported this week.
or inquire of the mysterious Congressmen are also con-
priestly Urim V'T urnim, or, cerned with potential secu-
we might "go to the rebbe." rity threats to the center,
The Torah provides even for the magazine said.
The center, which was
the extra-normative.
proposed by S. Dillon Rip-
ley, retiring head of the
Smithsonian Institute,
Michael Rosenak is a
would stand adjacent to the
professor of Jewish
museums for African, Near
Education at the Hebrew
Eastern and Asian art. Rip-
University of Jerusalem,
ley has had differences with
where he also, serves on the
Congress over the Smithso-
staff of the Melton Centre
nian's management and key
.for Jewish Education in the
Capitol Hill figures, includ-
Diaspora.: -
.

Friday, August 31, 1964

the halachic principle well
when he pointed out that
the Hebrew language has
no word for "religion" be-
cause God will not let him-
self be "bought off" with one
aspect of life. He wants the
whole human being. So, not
all is fair in love and war
and "business is not busi-
ness" when it is theft.
And then, we are bidden
not only to serve God in all
things, but -we are also
commanded to serve only
God, not powers of nature
and not instruments of cul-
ture and not needs or
achievements or even
ideals. Being wholehearted
with God, paradoxically,
must mean that you can't
trust your insights and
visions absolutely because
only God is absolute. Or, if
you must be single-minded
— and when it comes to
serving God you must be un-
less you want merely "reli-
gious" social convention —
be naive, innocent. Be a
dweller in tents like that ish
tam, Jacob, who studied
Torah in the tents of Shem
and Eber while Esau was
out hunting, killing, mak-
ing friends and influencing
people. For you can't study
Torah, which is perfect
(t'mima) and thus embraces
all wisdom, and think you
know • it all. There, in that
confining tent, the un-
limited search is the way of
wholeness.

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Copyright 1984, National
Hauurah Committee

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NEWS

co

-

Proposed DC Islamic
center subject of; dispute

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f,e .( CE!

WIC

ing Rep. Sidney Yates of Il-
linois, are demanding a
more precise description of
the Islamic center's func-
tions before any money is
released, according to
Newsweek. Also, some
Smithsonian curators are ,
concerned that representa-
tives of other faiths will now
demand equal treatment.

-

WJC approves
Lutheran view
of Martin Luther

.

Budapest — A senior offi-
cial of the World Jewish
Congress, Dr. Gerhart M.
Riegner, told the World As-
sembly of the Lutheran
World Federation here ear-
lier this month that world
Jewry received with satis-
faction the forceful rejection
by Lutheran theologians of
Martin Luther's anti-
Jewish 'teachings and re-
marks. Riegner's statement
marked the first• time a
non-Christian had ever ad-
dressed the Assembly.



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