Friday, November 11, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Last week we explained the First Principle: God's existence.
The second principle of Jewish faith asserts that "God is One".
Maimonides explains: "He is not "one", like a species (=category) which comprises many individual", as when we say "one" book.
"He is not like a physical thing, which can be divided into parts and dimensions", like a book, which is comprised of pages, cover, ink, etc. "He is one with a kind of Unity which is unique, exclusive of God".
ALL other nations and civilizations in antiquity, conceived the existence and coexistence of several gods, because they saw in nature forces that evidently oppose each other. Life and death, good and evil, light and darkness, etc. Their reasoning was that multiple gods must be responsible for the diversity and opposite powers of 'natural ' forces.
We Jews believe that there are no other powers independent from, or beyond God's control. Rabi Yehuda haLevi explains in the Kuzari that this is why the word "Elokim" (Almighty) is written in the Plural: to express that all powers in the universe, all forces, depend on One source: God Almighty.
Abraham Abinu's idea of ONE (and "invisible") God, revolutionized humanity in many ways. Not just as an arithmetic reduction of gods, but mainly because of the moral implications of it.
Let me explain: Conceiving the existence of more than one God, represents an open invitation for moral relativism. One God is worshiped by waging war, the other, by peace. One by love, the other by murder. One by drunkenness, the other by sobriety, etc. Nothing is morally right or wrong in itself. The morality of one's actions depends on the god one would worship today.
"One" God, means, among other things, moral clarity. There is ONE and ABSOLUTE set of moral behavior, coming from ONE God.
Monotheism, leaves no room for moral blurriness.
(to be continued...)
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Raphael Meldola (1754-1828), was the son of Moses Hezekiah Meldola (1725-1791), professor of Oriental languages in Paris. Raphael was born in Leghorn (Livorno), Italy in 1754. He received a thorough university training, both in theological and in secular branches, and displayed such remarkable talents that when only fifteen years old he was permitted to take his seat in the rabbinical college and received his rabbinical ordination from the famous Chida (Rabbi Chayim Yosef David Azulai, z"l).
In the following Rabbinical Responsa, rabbi Meldola criticizes all those who are not careful to read the Tora or the Tefila, without knowing and without applying the laws of Hebrew grammar (diqduq). In the Hebrew section of the Responsa, he also criticizes those who pretend that correct Hebrew reading pertain to the area of Minhagim, and therefore, don't see the correct reading of the Tora as absolutely mandatory. It is a worth reading text for all those interested in Hebrew grammar and its application in Jewish Liturgy.
“it is incontrovertible evident that the Torah or Divine Law, which is read in every Synagogue in the world throughout tho year, as also our Forms of Prayers which we address to God must be read correctly and distinctly according to the principles of Grammar, vowel points, &c, as the Prophet Nehemiah expresses, chap. viii., v. 8," So they read in the book in the law of God, distinctly, and gave the sense and caused them to understand the reading." Agreeably to the greatest Authorities, both, ancient; and modern,'as Talmud, Maimonides, Shulchanaruhk, or the Code of our holy Laws, &c. and 'which has been strictly observed by all our fathers from the lime of our great Lawgiver to the present day....”