Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Humility Of The Journey

I just downloaded this lovely article "The Humility Of The Journey" about one Orthodox rabbi's decision to a Rabbinical Association fellowship that included Reform and Conservative rabbis. In this short piece he writes:
The Torah commands us not to make an idol. An idol, explains the Mei haShiloach, is something which is carved in stone or cast in iron. It has very exact dimensions and clear boundaries; it is solid and unchanging. Don’t make your understanding of Torah into an idol, warns the Mei haShiloach. Don’t reduce Torah to a clear, static and unequivocal package that you can carry around on your shoulder. Never think that your present understanding of Torah is the full and final authorized version.

And why not? Because, according to Rav Mordechai Yosef of Izbich, the author of the Mei haShiloach, God gave us only a partial glimpse of his truth when he revealed the Torah at Sinai, in order that we spend our lives in an eternal search for additional pieces of the puzzle. God wants us to be on a quest, to be involved in a process. We must never rest on our laurels, must never let the Torah become static. The Torah that we know, Torat Haim, the Torah of life, is to always be alive, to always be dynamic, growing and developing. When we think we know it all and there is nothing more to learn, we have reduced our Torah to an idol, a mere graven image. Paradoxically, when we think we have it all, that is when we have lost it all.

I find these words capture very beautifully one the most attractive things I experience in the Talmud.

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