Friday, July 03, 2015

The Famine

Over the course of the past week, my FB feed and E-mail Inbox have exploded with fevered and feverish discussions of Open Orthodoxy vs. Modern Orthodoxy; Reactions to Gay Marriage; Ordination of Women as Orthodox Rabbis and more. There are cries for schism and/or reform. Learned Discussions mix with Ignorant Discussions. Absolute Truth Claims (as to the Torah) clash headlong with Absolute Truth Claims (that each person creates his/her own Truth), On my FB feed, the discussions are Judaism is this or that.

One thing is missing.

No one, absolutely no one talks about God, the Giver of the Torah; not those who ostensibly represent the Torah and Tradition and certainly not those demanding that the Torah put the lie to itself in order to accommodate their desires and personal convictions. We are bidden to live in order to serve God. Service of the Holy One, blessed be He means trying to live according to His Will. This is no mean task, and must be rooted in the sincere, complex study of Torah.

However, first and foremost, the entire enterprise MUST be enveloped in intellectual and spiritual humility, in a tangible, palpable aura of יראת שמים. It must be predicated upon our willingness to accept the Yoke of Heaven, even if it is inconvenient, beyond our comprehension or even painful. The absence of the Fear of Heaven, on both sides, leads to Self Worship, and Self-Worship is a form of Foreign Worship--to עבודה זרה - which is the polar opposite of עבודת השם.

The Aramaic Targum on the Book of Ruth opens by saying that there will be ten serious famines prior to the coming of the Messiah. The last one will fulfill the vision of the prophet Amos (who lived not far from where I presently sit): הנה ימים באים נאם אדני יהוה והשלחתי רעב בארץ לא רעב ללחם ולא צמא למים כי אם לשמע את דברי ד or : 'Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but for hearing the words of God' (Amos 8, 11).

Apparently, judging from my Inbox and Facebook feed, far too many people are tragically unaware just how famished they are.