“The stories in the Talmud reveal an imaginative richness and a striking sense of an ongoing task of narration as a crucial part of the interpretation and preservation of a treasured culture.”
Parallel lives, chiastic stories, and wondering Jews.
The idea of “arguing” with G-d is a central part of Judaism. We are not meant to be robots, not meant to passively watch as Hashem’s plan plays itself out. We are meant to take initiative – fight the trend, push the limits. Become a partner in fixing the world.
So God shows up and asks if you want 613 Laws. The Jews took all of them. According to the story, they did not ask why. But if ancient Jewry was anything like my relatives, I’ll never believe it. The Jews I know would never settle for anything without asking why.
I am not going to use this space to lecture you on the things you must do this year on Rosh Hashanah – the commitments you must make to God, the prayers you must sing, the blessings you must recite. The traditions of this holiday are numerous, and for many of us, perhaps even a [...]