Monday, September 12, 2011

To everything a season

Former New York Mayor Giuliani read from Ecclesiastes at the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan yesterday.
To everything there is a season, and
a time to every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born, and
a time to die;
a time to plant, and
a time to pluck up
that which is planted;

A time to kill, and
a time to heal...
As always, these wise words again offered some small measure of consolation (bordering on resignation). Mr. Giuliani attributed them to God. Jennifer Hecht points out that their author was in fact a Hellenized Jew of the 3d century BCE named Koheleth, who "doubted every aspect of religion."

But what else is new? As my colleague Rabbi Rami Shapiro says, not only is Judaism without belief in God possible, but he's seen it done. Himself.
The existence of “Judaism” only requires people willing to fill the meme “Judaism” with ideas that matter to them, demand that their ideas are somehow “Jewish,” and then spend their lives arguing in defense of them. This can even be done—and I am a prime example—when you know the entire enterprise is a literary creation fashioned and refashioned by thousands of Jews over millennia. 
A time to believe, a time to doubt, a time to think, a time to play...

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