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08/09/2022 02:28:08 PM

Aug9

Reflecting important pivot points in Jewish history

This year my column will reflect important pivot points in Jewish history. As a congregation we are turning 40 this year. As a people we are quite a bit older. Nevertheless, the pivoting of centuries past can offer us perspective on our present and future.
 
We begin with what might be argued the first Jewish event in history, the call of God to Abraham. Approximately 4500 years ago, the Torah tells us that God told Abraham to leave his native land and begin a new people with a new faith in the Land of Canaan. There is no historical evidence that any of this occurred but there is a general understanding among historians that the narrative in the Torah has an aroma of the authentic. By that I mean that there was a mass migration of people from the East to the West, just as Abraham and his family illustrated.
 
The story in the Torah is myth not fact. This does not mean it is the opposite of fact but rather that its existence points to a higher truth: Somehow a certain nation, early in its history, adopted a world view different from its environment. To put it another way, the main issue is not that God called to Abraham but rather that Abraham said yes.
 
Next week we will explore more the question of how Abraham came to understand his role in the future of his people and the transformation of his world.

Sun, February 5 2023 14 Sh'vat 5783