Jewish Law: A Collaboration Of God And Humans
Parshat Ki Tissa:
Numbers 19: 1-22;
I Kings 18:1-39.
n this week's Torah portion, Moses
destroys both the golden calf idol
demanded by the people and
made by Aaron and the first
"Tablets of Testimony (Proof)" written
by God Himself.
The destruction of the golden calf
and Moses' insistence that the people lit-
erally "drink it" (Exodus 32:20) may
symbolize that a belief system and stan-
dards of behavior concocted solely by
human beings are by their very nature
limited and, therefore, flawed. Humans,
subject to physical needs and limitations
(as symbolized by "the drinking"), of
necessity will create standards that are
limited, subjective and relative.
On the other hand, "the tablets were
the work of God and the writing was the
writing of God ..." (Exodus 32:16) and
Eliezer Cohen is rabbi of
Congregation Or Chaelash.
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beginning on page 65.
ADAT SHALOM SYNAGOGUE
29901 Middlebelt, Farmington Hills, 48334, (248) 851-
5100. Rabbis: Daniel Nevins, Herbert Yoskowitz. Cantor:
Howard Glantz. Rabbi emeritus: Efry Spectre. Cantor
emeritus: Larry Vieder. Services: Friday 6 p.m.;
Saturday 9 a.m., 6:30 p.m.; weekdays 7:30 a.m., 6
p.m.; Sunday 8:30 a.m. Bat mitzvah of Victoria
Greenstein, daughter of Annette and Herman
AHAVAS ISRAEL (GRAND RAPIDS)
2727 Michigan St. SE, Grand Rapids, 49506-1297,
(616) 949-2840. Rabbi: David J.B. Krishef. Cantor:
Stuart R. Rapaport. Services: Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday, 7:30 a.m.; Friday, 7 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30
31840 W. Seven Mile, Livonia, (248) 477-8974. Cantor:
David Gutman. President: Larry Stein. Vice presidents:
Martin Diskin, Al Gittleman. Services: Friday 8 p.m.;
Saturday 9 a.m.
CONGREGATION BETH AHM
5075 W. Maple, West Bloomfield, 48322, (248) 851-
6880. Rabbi: Charles Popky. Ritual director: Joseph
Mermelstein. Rabbi emeritus: A. Irving Schnipper.
Cantor Emeritus: Shabtai Ackerman. Services: Friday 6
p.m.; Saturday 9:30 a.m., 6:15 p.m.; weekdays 7 a.m.,
7 p.m.; Sundays and civic holidays: 8:15 a.m., 5 p.m.
represented imposed Divine standards,
ing, relevant, vital document by which
thus denying man his autonomy, self-
hundreds of generations of Jews in every
reliance and responsibility.
conceivable time, place and condition
Consequently, Moses is told to "carve,
could live their lives.
yourself, two tablets of stone, like the
Even God, Himself, can be "out-
first ones that you broke" (Exodus 34:1),
voted" by the rabbis in their decisions.
To replace the first tablets, and upon
But such God-given authority that these
which God will again write the Ten
deciders of Jewish law wield is reserved
only for those who are quali-
It seems that the first set of
fied. They must have the ulti-
tablets were never meant to be
mate in knowledge and an
used, for it's clear from
expertise in Jewish tradition
Deuteronomy 10: 1-6 that only
and in the whole body of
for the second set was Moses
Halachah; they must be truly
told to make the Ark to con-
committed to observing and
tain them. These second
preserving the Torah way of
tablets were a combined effort,
life; and they must be those
a partnership between God
exemplars who by their
and the man, Moses. These
behavior inspire the trust of
tablets symbolize the need for
those in their generation who
both Divine and human input
are fully committed to the
in the creation of a living
observance of the Torah.
Torah to guide our lives.
Special to the
This exclusive reliance
This joint effort of the
upon human beings to inter-
Divine together with the
pret, apply and transmit the
human is. seen as the paradigm
Torah makes it easy to under-
for the oral tradition ( Torah She'b'al Peh)
stand why, in the absence of one central
and the resultant body of Jewish law,
authority, disputes arise.
Thus, a whole range of acceptable
It is this interpretation, application
positions may exist on any given ques-
and extension of the Divine principles
tion of Jewish law — again, assuming
and elements of the Torah by human
the deciders are qmlified.
beings that make the Torah itself a liv-
Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, the pre-emi-
BETH ISRAEL (FLINT)
G-5240 Calkins Road, Flint, 48532, (810) 732-6310.
Cantor emeritus: Sholom Kalib. President: Leonard
Meizlish. Services: Saturday 9:30 a.m., 6 p.m.; week-
days 7:30 a.m., 6 p.m.; Sunday and legal holidays 8
a.m., 6 p.m. Ivriah religious school (810) 732-6312.
BETH ISRAEL (ANN ARBOR)
2000 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, 48104, (734) 665-
9897. Rabbi: Robert Dobrusin. Services: Friday 6 p.m.;
Saturday 9:30 a.m.; weekdays 7:30 p.m.; Sunday 5
CONGREGATION BETH SHALOM
14601 W. Lincoln, Oak Park, 48237, (248) 547-7970.
Rabbi: David A. Nelson. Cantor: Samuel L. Greenbaum.
Ritual director: Rev. Samuel Semp. Services: Friday 6
p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m., 6:45 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m., 5
p.m.; weekdays 7 a.m., 6:30 p.m.
BETH TEPHILATH MOSES
146 South Ave., Mt. Clemens, 48043, (810) 465-0641.
Services: weekdays 7:15 a.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.;
Sunday 8 a.m.
Allen. Ritual director: Dr. Martin Herman. President: Dr.
Ellen Kahn. Services: Saturday 8:30 a.m.
CONGREGATION SHAAREY ZEDEK
Rabbis: Joseph H. Krakoff, Jonathan E. Berkun. Rabbi
emeritus: Irwin Groner. Cantor: Chaim Najman. Ritual
director: Leonard Gutman.
Southfield: 27375 Bell Road, Southfield, 48034, (248)
357-5544. Services: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 7:30
a.m.; Monday, Thursday 7:15 a.m.; daily 6 p.m.; Friday
6 p.m.; Saturday 8:45 a.m., 6 p.m.; Sunday 8:45 a.m.
West Bloomfield, B'nai Israel Center: 4200 Walnut
Lake Road, West Bloomfield, 48323-2772, (248) 357-
5544. Services: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 7:15 a.m.;
Monday, Thursday 7 a.m.; daily 6 p.m.; Friday 6 p.m.;
Saturday 9 a.m., 6 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m.
2300 Center Ave., Bay City, 48708; (989) 893-7811.
Cantor: Daniel Gale. President: Dr. Jonathan Abramson.
Services: Saturday 9:30 a.m. A liberal, egalitarian con-
gregation serving the tri-cities area. Religious and
Hebrew education programs for children and adults.
CONGREGATION B'NAI MOSHE
6800 Drake, West Bloomfield, 48322, (248) 788-0600.
Rabbi: Elliot Pachter. Cantor: Earl Berris. Services:
Friday 6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m., 6:15 p.m.; Monday-
Thursday 7 a.m., 6 p.m.; Friday 7 a.m.; Sunday and
legal holidays 9 a.m.; Sunday 6 p.m. Bar mitzvah of
Samuel Brown, son of Tami and Rick Brown.
ISAAC AGREE DOWNTOWN
1457 Griswold, Detroit, 48226, (313) 961-9328.
Chazan: Cantor Usher Adler. Baal Kriah: Rabbi Craig
207 Grandview Parkway, #209, Traverse City, 49684,
(231) 929-4330. Rabbi: Stacie Bahle. Year round
Shabbat services, holidays, education.
GROSSE POINTE JEWISH COUNCIL
(313) 882-6700. Rabbi: Nicholas Behrmann. Cantorial
soloist: Bryant Frank.
P.O. Box 130014, Ann Arbor, 48103, (734) 996-3524 or
nent decider of Jewish law in America in
the last generation, himself wrote in the
introduction to his collected halachic
decisions, Egros Moshe:"... the true
halachic decision is that which appears
to the sage, after toil and effort to clarify
the law in the Talmud and relevant
sources according to his own ability with
seriousness and awe of God: Thus he
should render his decision — nay, he is
obligated to render his decision."
Thus, Halachah is the product of
generation upon generation of human
intellectual endeavor applied to every
conceivable reality that has confronted
the Jewish people throughout history. It
is human understanding and application
of the Divine principles inherent in the
Torah that make Torah itself the nexus
of God and His human creatures. 0
Would it have been possible for
Torah and its application to be
wholly Divine? Why is "revealed
truth" the only absolute? How can
man presume to "speak for God"?
Do Jewish tradition and practice
995-1963. Rev. Lauren Zinn. Services: Friday 6:15, fol-
lowing dinner. Jewish Roots with. Interfaith Wings holds
bi-monthly Shabbat dinner, services, kids' programs,
family school and Hebrew school for all ages.
AGUDAS YISROEL MOGEN
15751 W. Lincoln, Southfield, 48075, (248) 552-1971.
Rabbis: Dov Loketch, Asher Eisenberger. President:
ANN ARBOR CHABAD HOUSE
715 Hill St., Ann Arbor, 48104, (734) 995-3276. Rabbi:
Aharon Goldstein. Services: Friday at sundown;
Saturday 9:45 a.m., 20 min. before sundown; week-
days 7:30 a.m.; Sunday 9 a.m. Times for weekdays and
Sunday are for the academic year.
ANN ARBOR ORTHODOX MINYAN
1429 Hill St, Ann Arbor, 48014. Rabbi: Rod Giogower.
Services: Friday at sundown; Saturday 9:30 a.m. and
20 minutes before sundown; weekdays during the aca-
demic year 7:30 a.m.; Sunday 9 a.m.
BAIS CHABAD OF FARMINGTON
32000 Middlebelt, Farmington Hills, 48334, (248) 855-
2910. Rabbi: Chaim Bergstein. Services: Friday sun-
down; Saturday 9:30 a.m.; Sunday 8:30 a.m.; week-
days 6:50 a.m.
BAIS CHABAD OF NORTH OAK
P 1 l5401 W. 10 Mile, Oak Park, 48237, (248) 872-8878.
a bbi: Shea Werner.
aYNAGOGUES on page 64