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Rabbi's Week in Review - 11/13/2023

11/13/2023 03:08:54 PM

Nov13

At our Shabbat study, worship and brunch at the house last Saturday, I discussed the Halakhah, the Jewish law, surrounding war. One of the sources I cited was the Jerusalem Talmud (not to be confused with the Babylonian Talmud). The excerpt relating to war reads as follows:

“And one shall stand before Eleazar the Priest, who shall inquire of them by the judgment of Urim before G-d” (Bamidbar/Numbers 27:21). The verse shows that when Israel goes out to war, the court above sits to decide whether they are to be victorious or defeated (Jerusalem Talmud 2:3).

The ensuing discussion ranged from the idea of what sort of war would pass muster with the court above — G-d. Maybe it suggests that we need to go to war with proper moral justification. Maybe it means that, whatever our reason for going to war, there is no guarantee of a good outcome, regardless of whether it is with proper moral purpose.

The passage quoted from Talmud also promotes further inquiry into the nature of G-d. Do we think G-d is on our side always — i.e., G-d’s chosen people? What would G-d consider to be proper moral justification? Does G-d stay out of it altogether, abdicating to our free will imbued to us by G-d? And, yes, who or what is G-d, and do we live in a world devoid of G-d? (Oh … also, why does the rabbi use a hyphen instead of just using the letter “o”?)

While this is not the first time we at Kol Ami have addressed the big G-d questions, there seems to be a keen interest in this moment to renew the conversation. Look for our next time to study together on Saturday, December 2, to enter into more engaging G-d talk. Skeptics are welcome.

Fri, June 14 2024 8 Sivan 5784