Galus vs. Israel in relation to Tanakh's 'Primary History'

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Galus vs. Israel in relation to Tanakh's 'Primary History'

Postby LAGoff » Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:33 pm

How do you Jews who have lived both in Israel and in galus feel/felt about living in galus in relation to living in Israel, from a religio-spiritual perspective?

I ask because I have been reading about how the narrative from Genesis to Kings (called the 'Primary History', which ends in defeat) is presented as the basis for everything that follows it in Tanakh and was written to encourage a dispossessed, dispersed, and demoralized group (Judaites/Jews) to survive. (See the article 'A Nation Conceived in Defeat' at http://azure.org.il/include/print.php?id=553)

For example, in reading many Psalms, I see that they are from a galus-friendly perspective. Perhaps I am so conditioned to being a member of 'A Nation Conceived in Defeat' that I can't conceive of being any other way? Or perhaps living in Israel is almost like living in galus and I wouldn't feel much different than I do living in L.A.?
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Re: Galus vs. Israel in relation to Tanakh's 'Primary Histor

Postby David_L » Fri Feb 20, 2015 8:22 pm

This isn't an answer to your question, but I'm a little disturbed by the viewpoint of the author of that article, Jacob L. Wright.

Here's an interview with him dated August 19, 2013, in which he says: "The Torah is not divine. HaShem is, and "hu Ehad [He is One]." Is the Torah authoritative? Absolutely. But is it divine? No."
https://kavvanah.wordpress.com/2013/08/ ... niversity/

Is that consistent with Orthodox Judaism?
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Re: Galus vs. Israel in relation to Tanakh's 'Primary Histor

Postby rivka » Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:05 pm

Most would said definitely not.

Some at the most modern end of Modern Orthodoxy (the end rapidly moving away from Orthodox norms in many ways) would probably disagree.
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Re: Galus vs. Israel in relation to Tanakh's 'Primary Histor

Postby David_L » Sun Feb 22, 2015 5:28 pm

After reading that entire interview by Wright, it's not clear to me what his viewpoint is.

Another statement he makes is "First, most of us in the field are completely convinced that the Torah, and with it, the rest of the Tanakh, is a work of many generations of authors." That's obviously at odds with the Orthodox credo that the Torah was "dictated, word for word," by G-d to Moses.

He also refers multiple times to Jews who "worship the Torah", but he doesn't explain what that means.
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Re: Galus vs. Israel in relation to Tanakh's 'Primary Histor

Postby LAGoff » Tue Mar 03, 2015 8:43 pm

David_L wrote:This isn't an answer to your question, but I'm a little disturbed by the viewpoint of the author of that article, Jacob L. Wright.

Here's an interview with him dated August 19, 2013, in which he says: "The Torah is not divine. HaShem is, and "hu Ehad [He is One]." Is the Torah authoritative? Absolutely. But is it divine? No."
https://kavvanah.wordpress.com/2013/08/ ... niversity/

Is that consistent with Orthodox Judaism?


Thanks for cluing me in to that interview.
I don't see his statement as controversial (if it is controversial in the Orthodox Judaism world, then I shudder at the Tora-olatry it implies).
Wright said: “The Torah is not divine. HaShem is, and “hu Ehad.” Is the Torah authoritative? Absolutely. But is it divine? No.”
If he is saying that the ‘One’ (hu Echad) here (in the Shma) means that God is the only one who is divine, then, to me, that is actually a refreshing way of putting it, and certainly the opposite of controversial.
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Re: Galus vs. Israel in relation to Tanakh's 'Primary Histor

Postby David_L » Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:11 am

I don't know what you mean by "Tora-olatry".

Here's a followup article in which Wright adds some more comments:
http://finkorswim.com/2013/08/21/can-on ... riticism/#

The problem with Wright's statements are that he seems to reject the Orthodox belief that the Torah was given, word for word, by G-d to Moses.
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Re: Galus vs. Israel in relation to Tanakh's 'Primary Histor

Postby LAGoff » Thu Mar 05, 2015 7:18 am

David_L wrote:I don't know what you mean by "Tora-olatry".

Here's a followup article in which Wright adds some more comments:
http://finkorswim.com/2013/08/21/can-on ... riticism/#

The problem with Wright's statements are that he seems to reject the Orthodox belief that the Torah was given, word for word, by G-d to Moses.


Thanks.
I was going by what you posted here: "... in which he says: "The Torah is not divine. HaShem is, and "hu Ehad [He is One]." Is the Torah authoritative? Absolutely. But is it divine? No."

I assume that you were offended by Wright saying that the Tora is not divine. Therefore, I was offended because
I feel that only God is divine-- i.e. God is One-- i.e. there is only one divinity (God, not Tora).
So I assumed you feel that Tora is divine, and since my definition of 'divine' is that there is only room for One (only God is divine), I put the word idolatry to to the position that Tora is divine- hence my use of the term Tora-olatry .
Carification would be appreciated, as I would like to remove many Orthodox Jews from my Tora-olatry category. I assume it hinges on the definition of divine. But if you do see the Tora as divine, I would like to really get into this. Do you mean that since the Tora is the will of God, and His will and He (or He and His will) are not separate, therefore the Tora is also one with God, and that which is one with God is also God?
I have problems with this and perhaps we can explore this, if this is your view.
Perhaps you can clear that up? And of course I'd like to know how the worshipping the Tora statement made by Wright fits in with seeing the Tora as divine? What does one mean by divine? What does one mean by the Tora is divine? Is it ok to worship something (the Tora) that is divine? Is there a less confusing word for this we can use other than divine?
Perhaps it's all just semantics and we just have to define our terms.
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Re: Galus vs. Israel in relation to Tanakh's 'Primary Histor

Postby David_L » Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:30 pm

To say that the Torah is divine simply means that the words it contain came directly from G-d. So a Torah scroll is treated with great respect. We give similar respect to other items that contain Scriptural verses, written by hand according to precise standards, such as tefillin, mezuzos, and megillos (like the scroll containing the Book of Esther that's publicly read last night and today on Purim). We don't "worship" those items; we show reverence for their contents, for what they represent.

It's hard for me to discern Wright's exact views because some of his statements are vague, but he appears to reject the belief that the Torah comes from G-d. He instead believes that it was written by various people. For that reason, I'm reluctant to trust his opinions on matters of Judaism.
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Re: Galus vs. Israel in relation to Tanakh's 'Primary Histor

Postby LAGoff » Fri Mar 06, 2015 5:46 am

Evidently, he seems to be saying that some Jews "...fail to make a distinction between God and the Torah, and much of the fear of biblical criticism grows out of failure to distinguish between the two.)"

I haven't talked with Orthodox Jews enough to know if the first part of the quote is true;
and I don't see how the fear of biblical criticism would make one "fail to make a distinction between God and the Tora."

Maybe you can comment on whether you've detected these two phenomena he detects in some Jews.
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Re: Galus vs. Israel in relation to Tanakh's 'Primary Histor

Postby David_L » Fri Mar 06, 2015 4:13 pm

As I stated above, my belief and understanding is that the Torah is the word of G-d. It's how He has communicated to us (i.e., the Jewish people), how we're supposed to conduct our lives. I don't know how to state that any more clearly.

I know that many Jews don't believe that, or don't understand it.

Maybe Jews who don't believe in G-d, but need a rationale for using the Torah in prayer services, treat the Torah as an "idol" to be worshipped? That's only speculation. I've mostly given up on trying to understand why non-religious Jews perform religious rituals.
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