Saturday, May 23, 2009

Climbing the rungs with Martin Buber

I took my coffee this morning on my beautiful front patio, with a cool May breeze ruffling the delicate pink roses that Bill suggests I might want to prune ("It's the kind of thing a retired person might do. You can find information on the Internet on when and how to prune").

I don't actually have a front patio. I am extending my newly discovered sunroom/foyer to the outside, which feels a lot like creating outdoor housing with my sister Marguerite when I was a kid. So I drag my UD rocking chair outside to the sidewalk leading up to the front stoop. I'm thinking a cafe bistro set might be just the ticket for spring-a-fying my oratory.

My reading material today was Martin Buber's Ten Rungs: Hasidic Sayings. I was listing the book for Pious Ladies Bookmobile. What a wonderful find!

Why do we say "Our God and the God of our fathers?"

There are 2 kinds of people who believe in God. One believes because he has taken over the faith of his fathers, and his faith is strong. The other has arrived at faith through thinking and studying. The difference between them is this:

The advantage of the first is, that no matter what arguments may be brought against it, his faith cannot be shaken; his faith is firm because it was taken over from his fathers. But there is a flaw. He has faith only in response to the command of a man, and he has acquired it without studying and thinking for himself.

The advantage of the second is that, because he found God through much thinking, he has arrived at a faith of his own. But here too there is a flaw: it is easy to shake his faith by refuting it through evidence.

But the person who invites both kinds of faith is invincible. And so we say "Our God" with reference to our studies, and "God of our fathers" with an eye toward tradition.

The same interpretation has been given to our saying, "God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob," and not "God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," for this indicates that Isaac and Jacob did not merely take over the tradition of Abraham, they themselves searched for God.
- The rung of God and man

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