Friday, June 17, 2005

British Chief Rabbi Sacks on Universalism

"Nor does a faith need to speak in universal terms to communicate universally. Quite to the contrary: our uniqueness is our universality. It was Shakespeare's use of sixteenth century Elizabethan English that allowed him to write poetry and drama that speak across almost all boundaries of culture. It was Beethoven's
development of the specific conventions of symphonic form that enabled him to write music that will never cease to move the human heart. It is by being true to our differences that we make our unique contribution to the collective project of human existence on earth. There is no other way. If the Hebrew Bible taught only this, it would be sufficient. I call Judaism 'the counter-voice in conversation of mankind."

I especially have in mind on Beethoven. Rav Kook on the poetry of law, of how for those who write and appreciate poetry, the 'rules' -so necessary for the poetry to be beautiful - as well as poetry at all- are simply part of it. Rav Kook compares this to Halacha of course (quotes from jerome Gellman's essay on Tshuva in the Jewish Action Reader).

His "Dignity of Difference" is monumental in the few pages it actually takes up. Definitely worth the (little) money, jewish or not, secular or not. It's spans politics, Globalism, religion, etc. Here is a supplemental essay from the Chief Rabbis website, mostly for the "religious" sections of the book.


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