rhu: (torah)
I first encountered the word "orthoprax" back in high school, as referring to one who observes the commandments but whose beliefs are not orthodox. I liked the word, because it helped me define who I wanted to be, and also how I see Judaism: "Deed, not creed" as they say. The Talmud says in the name of God: "Better that they should forget Me and keep My commandments than the other way around." After all, in Hebrew the expression we use to describe someone is shomer mitzvot, one who observes (or safeguards) the commandments.

Cut for length. )

So I reject the idea that orthopraxy is the antithesis of proper Jewish behaviour. I argue that it is, in fact, the only proper standard of halachic Judaism.
rhu: (torah)
I first encountered the word "orthoprax" back in high school, as referring to one who observes the commandments but whose beliefs are not orthodox. I liked the word, because it helped me define who I wanted to be, and also how I see Judaism: "Deed, not creed" as they say. The Talmud says in the name of God: "Better that they should forget Me and keep My commandments than the other way around." After all, in Hebrew the expression we use to describe someone is shomer mitzvot, one who observes (or safeguards) the commandments.

Cut for length. )

So I reject the idea that orthopraxy is the antithesis of proper Jewish behaviour. I argue that it is, in fact, the only proper standard of halachic Judaism.
rhu: (torah)
We're a little over a month into the season of the Late Arvit service at my shul. (Once DST ends, the afternoon/evening service is too early for many people, so we have a second, late minyan at 9pm Mon-Thu for the evening service.) I try to go regularly to this service, and I've been pondering it recently. Cut for length. )
rhu: (torah)
We're a little over a month into the season of the Late Arvit service at my shul. (Once DST ends, the afternoon/evening service is too early for many people, so we have a second, late minyan at 9pm Mon-Thu for the evening service.) I try to go regularly to this service, and I've been pondering it recently. Cut for length. )
rhu: (torah)
On the Unprovable Nature of God

(Note: Although this essay is occasionally whimsical, and is presented slightly tongue-in-cheek, I am serious about the underlying approach to the problems of theodicy and the question of faith in an unprovable God, which, I contend, are one another's converse.)

The problem of theodicy is as ancient as the belief in God. Abraham asked, "Shall not the Judge of the world rule justly?" The Psalmist asked, "O God, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked exult?" Many pages of the Talmud are devoted to answering the question of why sometimes the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer.

Waiting for Gödel, or, A little mathematical notation can obscure attempts to plumb even the most profound truths ) A hidden God may result in the right balance of number of mitzvot and value of mitzvot. This could explain theodicy, and also would explain why "If God exists, why wouldn't God make God's existence known?"
rhu: (torah)
On the Unprovable Nature of God

(Note: Although this essay is occasionally whimsical, and is presented slightly tongue-in-cheek, I am serious about the underlying approach to the problems of theodicy and the question of faith in an unprovable God, which, I contend, are one another's converse.)

The problem of theodicy is as ancient as the belief in God. Abraham asked, "Shall not the Judge of the world rule justly?" The Psalmist asked, "O God, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked exult?" Many pages of the Talmud are devoted to answering the question of why sometimes the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer.

Waiting for Gödel, or, A little mathematical notation can obscure attempts to plumb even the most profound truths ) A hidden God may result in the right balance of number of mitzvot and value of mitzvot. This could explain theodicy, and also would explain why "If God exists, why wouldn't God make God's existence known?"
rhu: (torah)
Back in college, I thought I was tremendously clever one year when I sent out hand-calligraphed cards that read: "May the holiday season fill your soul with the spirit of bloody guerrilla warfare against the forces of religious homogenization."

My goal was to emphasize the dual irony that, while Chanukah celebrates a military victory against those who would strip us of our Jewishness, many people lump it in with the Christmas message of "Peace on Earth".

I don't think we can joke about that irony any more. The events of the past decade have reminded us of how easy it is for people to delude themselves into thinking that God wants them to kill.

Some thoughts on defending our conscience. )

And so we walk a tightrope. On the one hand, Chanukah is essentially about maintaining our distinct religious identity, and not being "like everyone else" --- not by force, and not by persuasion. But there are dangers in letting that strong religious identity turn into such certainty in our faith that we would sacrifice others for it.
rhu: (torah)
Back in college, I thought I was tremendously clever one year when I sent out hand-calligraphed cards that read: "May the holiday season fill your soul with the spirit of bloody guerrilla warfare against the forces of religious homogenization."

My goal was to emphasize the dual irony that, while Chanukah celebrates a military victory against those who would strip us of our Jewishness, many people lump it in with the Christmas message of "Peace on Earth".

I don't think we can joke about that irony any more. The events of the past decade have reminded us of how easy it is for people to delude themselves into thinking that God wants them to kill.

Some thoughts on defending our conscience. )

And so we walk a tightrope. On the one hand, Chanukah is essentially about maintaining our distinct religious identity, and not being "like everyone else" --- not by force, and not by persuasion. But there are dangers in letting that strong religious identity turn into such certainty in our faith that we would sacrifice others for it.
rhu: (torah)
Last winter, I started to write a series of posts tagged "what I believe". (I didn't get very far before life intervened.) In a comment to the last post, [livejournal.com profile] jtidwell asked, "How do you feel about rationality as a foundation for belief?" I owe her an answer.

Cut for length )
rhu: (torah)
Last winter, I started to write a series of posts tagged "what I believe". (I didn't get very far before life intervened.) In a comment to the last post, [livejournal.com profile] jtidwell asked, "How do you feel about rationality as a foundation for belief?" I owe her an answer.

Cut for length )
rhu: (torah)

"I believe in God"

So what does it mean for me to believe in God? Once again, this will be a post mainly about terms, since "God" isn't really that well-defined a word.

Cut for length )
rhu: (torah)

"I believe in God"

So what does it mean for me to believe in God? Once again, this will be a post mainly about terms, since "God" isn't really that well-defined a word.

Cut for length )
rhu: (Default)

What do I mean by "I Believe"?

I've titled this series "What I Believe" so I should start out by defining what I mean by this.

Cut for length )
rhu: (Default)

What do I mean by "I Believe"?

I've titled this series "What I Believe" so I should start out by defining what I mean by this.

Cut for length )

Profile

rhu: (Default)
Andrew M. Greene

January 2013

S M T W T F S
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags