The Power of Why (Va’etchanan 5776) — August 20, 2016

CLICK HERE for the commentary by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.

question marksOne of Rabbi Sacks central themes is the importance of seeking meaning. In this parsha, Moses begins laying out a cohesive vision of Judaism’s meaning.

Rabbi Sacks identifies a number of elements of Judaism’s meaning — I saw the following as the main elements in his telling:

  1. Narrative of redemption and justice
  2. Revelation as law – a blueprint for society
  3. God is the God of all humanity
  4. Be true to your faith and a blessing to others regardless of their faith
  5. Freedom based on love for the other
  6. Establishing social justice

What are your thoughts about the key teachings of Judaism?

Rabbi Sacks, as he has done elsewhere, makes claims about the uniqueness of Judaism and the specialness of the Jewish experience. Does this make you uncomfortable? We live in a world were the other Abrahamic religions emphasize the universality of their message. Judaism lives in a peculiar tension between the experience of a tribal history and identity inspired by a universal vision. How does that work or not work for you?