Sago Boulevard

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Forests and Trees

Abu Gingy writes that "Orthodox Judaism only sustains itself by missing the forest for the trees". What he means, of course, is that Orthodox Judaism is so preoccupied with minutiae that it misses "the big picture". "One can easily spend his entire life marveling over the great edifice of Jewish law", says Gingy, "without ever having asked the tough questions on life."

I discussed some of these issues in a previous post. As I mentioned in my comment to Gingy's blog:
The Books of Job and Kohelet, as well as the countless midrashim on them, are filled with basic questions about the relationship between Man and God. A good part of Deuteronomy is devoted to providing a metaphysical context for the other four books.

I could go on and give example after example of biblical, rabbinic, medieval, and liturgical texts that either explicitly or implicitly struggle with fundamental issues of faith. Enough books have been written on the subject to cover almost anything I may write here. For now, I'll leave it at this: Those who are predisposed against Orthodox Judaism (or traditional religion, in general) are likely not to be satisfied with whatever they find in its sacred texts. If you want to see what's really there, on the other hand, go and look for it. "From there you will seek the Lord, your God, and you shall find Him, if you search after Him with all your heart and all your soul" (Deut. 4:29).