19 Dec Spiritual growth-level three
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s notion of “divine pathos,” God’s emotional involvement in the life of his people, became critical to my understanding of the Old Testament. Heschel wrote that we should live in radical amazement—looking at the world in such a way that we take nothing for granted.
Martin Buber explored communication by defining two fundamental relationships: “I-It” and “I-Thou.” In I-Thou relationships, one fully engages with the other in authentic dialogue. Buber experienced the I-Thou relationship in the depth of his encounter with God and his fellow-man.
Franz Rosenzweig wrote that Judaism consists of a personal, existential decision in which a Jew not only connects to God, but to the entire covenantal group of Israel. Through observance, a Jew participates in the great dance that evokes the mystery of Israel’s election. Despite knowing that following the law entails more than dry legalism, I had no desire to immerse myself on this level.
On this point, I could relate to nonobservant Martin Buber who believed that the soul of Judaism rests in the righteous faith of the patriarchs long before the law was given.