28 December 2007

Rabbi Kushner on God

A quote from the book To Life: A Celebration of Jewish Being and Thinking:
Theology plays a relatively minor role in Judaism compared to other religions, as Rabbi Harold S. Kushner explains.

"God is important [in Judaism]; talking about God is not all that important. But this is mostly because statements about God are not really so much about God as they are about us.

To say that God heals the sick is not a statement about what activities fill God's schedule. It is a way of saying that when we have been sick and we recover, we have experienced God in our lives (not His face but His works).

To say that God forgives is not a comment on God's emotional state but a recognition of our own ability to feel cleansed of guilt because God is real in the world.

To say that God hears prayer does not describe God's auditory system. It answers the question of whether or not praying is a waste of time.

Statements about God, then, do not describe God (how could we ever dare to do that?) They describe how we and our world are different because of God...

While we cannot see God directly, we can see God-in-action. We can see the difference God makes as He passes through the world.

Just as we cannot see the wind, but can only see things blown by the wind and know that the wind is real and powerful...just as we cannot see love, but can see people behaving differently, being braver and more caring because they love, so we cannot see God. We can only see His aftereffects."
Shabbat Shalom.

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