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kowalskil



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Join date : 2013-05-16
Location : Fort Lee, NJ, USA

PostSubject: God's commandments are ...   Tue Aug 19, 2014 11:24 pm

Who is the author of Mitzvah? asked Rabbi Herman E Schaalman, in (1). According to some people, he wrote, "the authority of the 'commandment' resides in the people;" they claim that mitzvot are the customs created by our sages. Such an answer would be sufficient, he continues, if "Jews were like any other people." Why is it so? In which way are Jews different? Unfortunately, this question is not answered by the Rabbi, to my satisfaction. He refers to the Hebrew language, with which I am not familiar.

But I do know how Spinoza, a 17th century Jewish theologian (2), would answer this question. Spinoza wrote: "By God's direction I mean the fixed and unchanging order of Nature ... so it is the same thing whether we say that all things happen according to Nature's laws or that they are regulated by God's decree and direction." Spinoza would say that people are part of nature, and that desirable ways of behavior, described by sages, were also described by God. Many theological contradictions would disappear if Spinoza's defintion of God were universally accepted. Do you agree?

Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)

References
1) "Gates of Mitzvah: A Guide to the Jewish Life Cycle;" edited by Simeon J. Maslin, Central Conference of American Rabbis, New York, 1979
 2) Steven Nadler, "Judging Spinoza," The New York Times, Opinion Pages, May 25 2014.
Also in http://opinionator blogs.nytimes.com/2014/05/25/judging-spinoza/
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: God's commandments are ...   Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:29 pm

Coincidentally, a friend just posted a link to this article:
Why Baruch Spinoza is still excommunicated

Spinoza may have been Jewish by birth, but he was deemed a heretic and his views still do not reflect traditional Judaism to this day. You may be interested in the views of Reconstructionist Judaism which rejects belief in Jewish exceptionalism.
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kowalskil



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PostSubject: Re: God's commandments are ...   Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:51 pm

Debbie B. wrote:
Coincidentally, a friend just posted a link to this article:

Thank you for replying, Debbie. Yes I am interested "in the views of Reconstructionist Judaism which rejects belief in Jewish exceptionalism." Please elaborate, or send me a link.

Ludwik Kowalski

kowalskiL@mail.montclaair.edu
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: God's commandments are ...   Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:28 pm

I have friends who are passionate about Reconstructionist Judaism (one even runs a foundation for Reconstructionist Judaism that sponsors lectures and other kinds of Jewish education), but it is not a type of Judaism that appeals to me. I put the link to the Wikipedia page on the words "Reconstructionist Judaism" in my previous reply. A quick Google search gave me these two informative links:
Reconstructionism FAQ
BBC Judaism: Reconstructionist
The webpages look interesting, but I cannot vouch for them since I have not read them carefully, nor can I judge them for accuracy since am I not particularly knowledgable about Reconstructionist Judaism.
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kowalskil



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PostSubject: Re: God's commandments are ...   Mon Sep 01, 2014 12:09 am

Thank you for the prompt reply, Debbie.

Ludwik Kowalski, see Wikipedia
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