Reprise of Midrash Rabba 39:1

That which is between is that which binds; a bond which holds, heals; and gives unity, meaning. It is also that which separates, which divides; a barrier between. Being in the middle, it is that which is remote from both, beyond reach; in-between.

A "sign" is between. It is the bond which binds, the barrier which separates, and the in-between. A sign embraces, rejects, and is beyond reach; simultaneously.

"It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever" (Ex. 31:17).

Me ... you ... and the sign, in-between. [1]

Emil Fackenheim has been an 'ot, a living sign, in-between history, amcha (the ordinary Jew), and the sources of Jewish tradition. While his contribution to the field of philosophy, especially to Hegel studies, has been of capital importance, [2] his contribution to the field of Jewish theology, properly speaking, has been to speak the theology of the common Jew -- to other Jews and to the world. Fackenheim has the philosophic tools to create a properly philosophical theology but he has chosen not to make that his task. Rather, his mission has been to adopt the non-systematic mode of midrash, combine it with the phenomenological method of philosophy and, then, to express the powerfully partisan and ofttimes confused theology of amcha.[3]

The transforming event of the modern period for the common Jew -- but also for philosophers, theologians, ethicists, historians, politicians, doctors, lawyers and, indeed, for everyone -- has been the shoah. [4] Every attempt on our part to comprehend the shoah fails, for the shoah cannot be "overcome," as Fackenheim has so clearly expressed it. [5] This is a history that cannot be fully digested. However, as Fackenheim has also said, nothing may be immune to history. Therefore, as Jews, as people, and as scholars, we must derive some insights about human, Jewish, and divine existence from the shoah.

The main insight Fackenheim draws from the shoah is the principle of resistance. He has taught that resistance is an ontological category, part of the structure of human being in the world. And, he has preached that resistance is the only ethical Jewish and non-Jewish response to the shoah:

For if the wonder in which philosophy originates is turned into paralyzing horror by the "humanly impossible" crime of the criminals, its paralysis is mended by the wonder at the the victims who resisted a crime to which resistance itself was "humanly impossible." [6]

The evil of the Holocaust world ... is philosophically intelligible after Auschwitz only in the exact sense in which it was already understood in Auschwitz -- and Buchenwald, Lublin, and the Warsaw Ghetto -- by the resisting victims themselves.... No deeper or more ultimate grasp is possible for philosophical thought that comes, or ever will come, after the event. This grasp -- theirs no less than ours -- is epistemologically ultimate.... Resistance in that extremity was a way of being. For our thought now, it is an ontological category. [7]

The chief corollary of the principle of resistance is that one must avoid the escapism of trying to rise above the events in order to analyze them; rather, one must place oneself with the resisting victims. One must focus on them as they saw themselves, acknowledging the fulness of the assault on them and condemning, not analyzing, it. One must never allow the perpetrators to be portrayed as victims of social forces, or mass hysteria, or anything else; rather, one must stand in solidarity with, and in awe of, the resisting victims. [8]

It follows from the principle of resistance and the corollary of solidarity with the victims that we must lead a life of tikkun, of resistance which, itself, must be rooted in action, not just in thought. For a Jew, this means four things: (1) A Jew must resist by not giving Hitler a posthumous victory. Rather, Jews must always remain faithful to their identity as Jews. This is Fackenheim's famous "614th Commandment." [9] (2) "Jews, after the Holocaust, ... must be Zionist on behalf not only of themselves but also of the whole post-Holocaust world." [10] They must affirm the State of Israel, in its very Jewishness, and defend the uniqueness of Jewish existence everywhere. (3) Jews must share tikkun with Christians, trying to reestablish the trust that has been ruptured. [11] And (4), all humans must live a tikkun of total resistance to evil -- not dialogical openness, but uncompromising and complete opposition to evil, no matter how radical. [12]

In all this, Emil Fackenheim has been an ´ot, a living sign, in-between history, amcha, humanity in general, and the sources of Jewish tradition.

The interpreter (Latin, interpres) is one who stands between the offers and negotiates the price (Latin, inter + pretium), or one who mediates between the parties (Latin, inter + partes). The interpreter is an intermediary, an agent; hence, a spokesperson, ambassador, or one who expounds a text, dream, law, or omen. [13]

Emil Fackenheim has also been an interpres, one who stands between the philosophical and Jewish traditions, in all their depth and history, and the intelligent reader. Not a chapter goes by without a reference to the midrash, the Talmud, Maimonides, the liturgy, Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, and to many other Jewish sources. Further, not a page goes by without invoking Hegel, Kant, Decartes, Adorno, Heidegger, Spinoza, and many other philosophic sources. Nor has Fackenheim neglected Christian thinkers: Kierkegaard, Bonhoeffer, Barth, and other Christian sources. To be sure, the victims and the perpetrators, too, have also figured into the inter + partes, the interplay between sources of which Fackenheim has proven himself a learned and critical master interpreter.


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It is, however, as a theological thinker that Fackenheim's enterprise has, in my opinion, foundered. Consider the task of the theologian and Fackenheim's role in its light: [14]

"To be a theologian is to be on the boundary." -- Fackenheim has done this.

"To be a theologian is to be a voice for the tradition . It is to speak its words, to teach its message, and to embody its authority." -- Fackenheim has done this, too.

"To be a theologian is to speak for one's fellow human beings , for we are infinite in our complexity, suffering, and ecstasy. It is to have listened to joy, confusion, and despair. It is to have heard praise, rage, and helplessness." -- Fackenheim passes this test, too.

"To be a theologian is to speak the 'ought.' It is not enough to explain, to explicate, and to exegete. It is to make a prior commitment to formulating a vision, and to preaching that vision as an ideal towards which humanity should, indeed must, strive." -- In this, too, Fackenheim has succeeded. However: "To be a theologian is also to speak for God . It is to have a personal rapport with God, to have a sense of responsibility for God and for how God is understood and related to by our fellow human beings. It is to mediate between God, as one understands God, and those who listen. It is to create an echo of God in the other.

"To be a theologian is to defend God, to put back together the pieces of broken awareness and shattered relationship. Great is the suffering of our fellow human beings, and deep is the estrangement between them and God. The theologian must be a healer of that relationship, a binder of wounds, one who comforts." -- Here, Fackenheim has, in my mind, failed, for amcha asks the question, "Where was God during the shoah?" and Fackenheim's attempts at an answer are not adequate. His response on the subject of theodicy is equivocal.

Among modern thinkers, Fackenheim engages Martin Buber most profoundly on the subject of the shoah and God. On the one hand, Fackenheim approvingly cites Buber's question:

In this our time, one asks again and again: how is a Jewish life still possible after Auschwitz? I would like to frame this question more correctly: how is a life with God still possible in a time in which there is an Auschwitz? ... One can still "believe" in a God who allowed those things to happen, but how can one still speak to Him? Can one still hear His word? ... Dare we recommend to the survivors of Auschwitz, the Job of the gas chambers: "Call on Him, for He is kind, for His mercy endureth forever?" [15]

Indeed, this question forms the refrain of Fackenheim's work on the Tanakh and haunts his efforts to deal with the traditional Jewish calendar and liturgy: "How can we recommend to the survivors that they recite Hallel and similar psalms and prayers of praise?" [16]

On the other hand, Fackenheim cites and forcefully rejects Buber's theodicy:

Buber: "In this condition we await His voice, whether it come out of the storm or the stillness that follows it. And although His coming manifestation may resemble no earlier one, we shall nevertheless recognize again our cruel and merciful God." [17]

Fackenheim: "... I find Buber's 'eclipse of God' insufficient in response to the Holocaust. Still less adequate to me is a divine 'cruelty' -- if connected with the Holocaust." [18]

Fackenheim rejects Buber on two grounds: First, Buber only calls speech to and from God into question, and not all significant speech; [19] and second, Buber's call to the survivors did not include the children of survivors and subsequent generations. [20]

There are good reasons for rejecting Buber's eclipse theodicy, the most cogent being that, while it is a beautiful metaphor for the loyalty of the people to God in spite of the historical facts and while it follows the biblical metaphor of God hiding God's Face, [21] the eclipse of God or the hiding of God's Face is not a substantive response to the problem of theodicy; it is not an intellectually satisfying answer. For, how does God hiding God's Face answer the question of injustice committed by the divine? How can God being in eclipse resolve the problem of God's abandonment of the people to evil and destruction? Rather, eclipse and hiding are ways of saying that we do not really know why God did this act. They are beautiful images which allow us to hide behind our lack of adequate answer. The weight of these images alone does not make the solution they propose to the theodical question intellectually clear or spiritually profound. [22]

Fackenheim, however, does not really reject Buber's eclipse theodicy. In fact, when he comes to propose his own theodicy, Fackenheim does not stray far from Buber's position though he does include later generations. In the closing pages of What is Judaism, Fackenheim returns to the title of his earlier Jewish essay, God's Presence in History, and proposes his own answer to the theodical question. [23] He proposes that "God is the eternal before and after." He reminds us that those murdered at Auschwitz cannot be [ongoing] witnesses to God because they have been murdered and hence, as the midrash suggests, God ceased to be God in Auschwitz. Then, invoking the hiding of God's Face, Fackenheim, citing Rabbi Kalonymos Shapira, writes:

He hides His weeping in the inner chamber, for just as God is infinite so His pain is infinite, and this, were it to touch the world, would destroy it. Is it still possible for a Jew to break through to the divine hiddenness, so as to share His pain? ... How is it possible to go on to the next line, od avinu chai, "our Father still lives"? It is possible and actual because, even then, the bond between the divine intimacy and the divine infinity was not completely broken; because God so loved the world that He hid the infinity of His pain from it lest it be destroyed... [24]

But, how is this an answer to amcha's question, "Where was God during the shoah?" How does saying that God hid God's infinite pain lest God do something even worse to the world provide an answer to the anguished cry of the people, then and now? Furthermore, this answer -- that God's own suffering somehow mitigates God's previous unacceptable action -- is familiar from Moltmann and, in both a Jewish and a Christian context, is wholly unsatisfactory for, why should God's post facto pain alleviate the seriousness of God's previous deeds and, why should that comfort amcha?[25]

In yet another attempt to approach this searing issue, Fackenheim points to texts which rupture our theological complacency, such as the first chapters of Lamentations and Psalm 44, [26] though there are others he could have cited such as Psalms 83 and 109. These he contrasts forcefully with texts which bespeak joy and gratitude, such the verses from Hallel (specifically, Psalm 118) and Psalm 121 though, again, there are many more. [27] But, when he raises Buber's question in his own form -- "When was it right to compose - is it right to recite - Psalms 121 and 118? When to compose, to recite, Psalm 44?" -- Fackenheim avoids the question. He does suggest that Psalm 118 be recited on Yom ha-´Atsma'ut (Israeli Independence Day) sotto voce [28] and he has noted that his father recited Ps. 37:25 -- "I was young and now I am old, and I have never seen a righteous man forsaken or his children begging for bread" which is part of the Birkat ha-Mazon (Grace after Meals) -- sotto voce though Fackenheim himself recites it out loud. [29] However, Fackenheim does not propose a systematic answer to the liturgical embodiment of the theodical problem. Perhaps more important, Fackenheim does not even entertain a proposition for when to recite Psalm 44, or any other rupturing liturgy. If praise, perhaps, must be tempered in the aftermath of the shoah, when does amcha express its anger?

In short, Fackenheim has not proposed a better alternative to Buber's "eclipse of God" in his reliance on Rabbi Shapira nor has he answered Buber's question about prayer. Neither the theological nor the liturgical problem has been solved, as near as I can tell.


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The seeds for a renewed theology, one which will offer a better answer than Buber-Fackenheim to the theodical question, as well as respond to the liturgical problem, are to be found in the thinking of both men.

"'Who is a Jew? One who testifies against the idols." [30] The beginning of a post-shoah answer must, therefore, come from resisting the idol of escape, from testifying against the idol of denial. This means that a Jew must admit that the shoah, as an act of divine Providence, is unacceptable, that the shoah is unjustified. A Jew must start from the premise of Job that, because of God's covenant with humanity, God simply may not commit injustice. Hence, any injustice, especially of the dimension of the shoah, must be just that: injustice committed by God. We do not know why God does what God does, but we are forbidden to rationalize it. We are forbidden to testify idolatrously that injustice was God's will, however inscrutable. [31] To claim that God acted unjustly and is hiding God's own pain, or to assert that history eluded God for a moment because God was in eclipse, is to commit exactly this act of idolatry. Rather, "'Truth has legs' but 'the seal of the Holy One, blessed be He, is truth." [32] It is better to speak the truth -- and, deep down, amcha knows this is the truth -- that, if there is a God of Jewish history, the shoah was an unjust act.

This stance of unremitting truth leaves us in the position of Job: angry with God; accepting of God, but outraged by God's acts. Together with Job, we do not reject God, or God's providential action in Jewish history, but we do not agree with it. As Fackenheim himself has so powerfully written: [33]

The facts themselves are outrageous; it is they that must speak through our language. And this is possible only if one's feelings are subject to disciplined restraint. The language necessary, then, is one of sober, restrained, but at the same time unyielding outrage.

We owe it to the dead, to the survivors, to Jewish history, to the justice principles of the covenant, indeed to God Godself, to speak with "sober, restrained, but at the same time unyielding, outrage." A theology that does anything else is shallow, false to the covenant, false to amcha, and indeed false to God. "Indeed -- to go to the core -- no road leads to any post-Holocaust theology, Jewish or Christian, from a theology armed with apriori immunity to each and every event that might threaten it." [34]

How, then, shall we proceed? We must begin by avoiding the idolatry of denial and of evasion. We must admit the truth to ourselves and to God: the shoah was unjustifiable, ethically and theologically. It was a terror perpetrated upon us, by God. We, amcha, reject the thesis that God, in God's Providence, allowed the shoah to happen in order to punish us for our sins: For what sin can one and one-half million children be a punishment?! We reject, too, the thesis that God was acting thoughtlessly, hiding God's Face or pain, or in eclipse. Our God is active in our personal and national lives. We also reject the idea that God allowed the shoah so as to create the State of Israel: That would hardly be a reasonable or ethical exchange. We, therefore, say that we do not know the reasons for the terror of the shoah, but we do know that it was a terror, within the scope of God's Providence, and we admit this to ourselves and before God even as we tremble at such an admission.

Elsewhere, working with the data from child abuse, I suggested that "abuse" is violent action against another which is disproportionate to all reason and justice. I, then, suggested that, perhaps, one should call God's action in allowing the shoah "abusive." [35] In the years since I published that thesis, I have come to realize that the language, while accurate, appears to very many people as too strong. [36] I do not, therefore, insist on my terminology. But the point remains: God's actions in the shoah, direct or indirect, are unacceptable under the terms of God's covenant with us. They are, as Buber put it, the act of "our cruel and merciful God." [37]

Mai nafka minah? What practical consequences does this admission of injustice by God have? It means, first, that we must study, again and again, the texts of outrage. We must read these texts with the shoah in mind, for we are, as Fackenheim has clearly noted, "the children of Job," [38] the heirs to the shoah. The most powerful of these texts is, in my opinion, Psalm 44, the text of national outrage par excellence . I have written about this text and composed a midrash on it. [39] I urge every attentive reader to study this text and then to read it out loud, not with the pious voice of the sweet singer of Israel but with the outrage that cries out from that text. One should, then, study the medieval poems that pick up the theme of outrage against God by allusion to this Psalm. And the secular modern poems on this theme. There are many more such texts: Psalm 88, a deep expression of undiluted depression; Psalm 109, a poem of curses against a personal enemy; Psalm 83, a call for revenge against national enemies; the lines of anger appended to the Birkat Hamazon in the Pesach Seder; and many more. [40] No course on the shoah should be complete without the study of these texts of outrage.

Second, we must find a way to pray these texts. It is not enough only to study; a religious person must address God. A spiritual person must bring his or her outrage into the Presence of God. It is not enough to learn; we must address God directly on the subject of God's complicity in the shoah. We must find liturgical methods and language for expressing our outrage directly to God. This is not easy, nor is it pleasant. This is not religion for those who wish to be comfortable. This is no opiate of the masses. This is not "Tradition" in some nostalgic Hollywood religion. Addressing God in a way that states our outrage is serious. Challenging God on a matter of God's justice is a grave matter. Still, we owe it to God, to the Jewish people, and to ourselves to do this. We owe it to amcha: the dead, the survivors, and the heirs to do this. Philosophy does not go far enough; living in the Presence of God requires a tikkun of address. [41]

One could begin by reading Psalm 44 out loud, in all its outrage, as part of a Yom Hashoah service. One might even have two readers, one reading Psalm 44 and another reading a selection from Elie Wiesel or Primo Levi. One could also use this Psalm on Tish´a B'av. Alternatively, one might use Psalm 124 which is really a song for survivors.

One could also find and use in prayer the medieval and modern poems that express outrage at God's acts in Jewish history.

One could also compose prayers, not poems but prayers, for personal and communal use which embody our deep sense of betrayal mixed with trust.

Finally, one could insert short modifications into the traditional rabbinic liturgy. Orthodox Jews will resist this as unauthorized tampering with the prayerbook but, after the shoah, even our liturgy might be usefully reconsidered. [42]

The answer to Fackenheim's question, "When to compose, to recite, Psalm 44?" [43] then, is: Yes, there is a time to compose a theology of protest, and to compose and use a liturgy of protest. There can be no other way. We have no choice if we are to be faithful to God and the tradition, to the dead and the living.

However, this theology and this liturgy of protest cannot be our only address to God. We must also be able to follow the path of praise and blessing. In response to Fackenheim's question, "When was it right to compose -- is it right to recite -- Psalms 121 and 118?" [44] and in response to Buber's question, "Dare we recommend to the survivors of Auschwitz, the Job of the gas chambers: 'Call on Him, for He is kind, for His mercy endureth forever'?" we respond: Yes, we must be able to praise God and also to protest to God, but we do not do both at once. We alternate praise and protest, for just as there is "a time to plant, and a time to uproot that which is planted ... a time to break down, and a time to build ... a time to rend, and a time to sew" (Eccl. 3:2-7), so to there is a time to praise and a time to protest. [45]

Accepting a theology of protest and using a liturgy of outrage is difficult but it is a true and faithful way of staying in the Presence of God and still confronting the theodical dilemma of the Jewish people after the shoah. In this, theological and liturgical protest becomes itself a form of, and a part of, a tikkun, of Fackenheim's ontological category of resistance.

Reprise of Midrash Rabba 39:1

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Scripture is silent on the question of why Abraham left his homeland, family, and religion, and followed God. The rabbis try to fill this gap at the beginning of the midrash on Lekh Lekha :

Rabbi Yitshak said: This is like a person who was going from place to place and saw a palace that was in flames. He said to himself, "Can one say that this palace has no leader?!" The master of the palace looked down on him and said, "I am the master of the palace." So it was with our father, Abraham. When he said to himself, "Can one say that the world has no leader?!" the Holy One, blessed he He, looked down on him and said, "I am the Master of the world."

As the commentators point out, this is a strange midrash. One would have expected the usual cosmological argument for the existence of God: that the beauty and order of the world implies a Being Who orders it, that design implies a Designer. That, however, is not the argument here. Rather, the argument put forth in the midrash is that destruction of perfectly good property implies an owner who permits it; put theologically, that disorder implies a Power that allows disorder. We might call this "the counter-cosmological argument for the existence of God" or "the argument for God's existence from destructiveness." It is the argument from the destructive potential of the divine, not the one from the ordering potential of the divine that, according to Rabbi Yitshak, motivated Abraham to believe in God enough to leave his homeland, family, and religion, and follow God into the unknown. [46]

The argument is passing strange, but not to the children of Job. As heirs of the shoah, we are close to this midrash. Its lesson is not, as Fackenheim has noted: "If the house has an owner, why does He not put the fire out? Perhaps He can and yet will. Perhaps He cannot or will not. But if He cannot or will not, a Jew today must do what he can to put the fire out himself." [47] The lesson of this midrash is not auto-emancipation; it is not self-determination. Rather, the lesson of this midrash is that even desolation betrays the Presence of God, that even divine destructiveness can lead to faith. To this I, a post-shoah Jew standing firmly in the tradition of my ancestors, would add: When God's destructiveness is dealt with properly, through honest confrontation and liturgical protest, only then is one led to a deep faith rooted not in reason and order but in the courage of protest which grows out of destructiveness.

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[*] This was delivered as a paper at a conference in Jerusalem honoring Emil Fackenheim on his 85th birthday, June 2001.

 The Philosopher as Witness: Fackenheim and Responses to the Holocaust, edited by M. Morgan and B. Pollack (Albany: SUNY Press, 2008): 105-16.

[1] Adapted from D. Blumenthal, Facing the Abusing God: A Theology of Protest (Louisville, KY, Westminster / John Knox: 1993) -- hereinafter: Facing -- 57.

[2] Fackenheim extends Hegel's attempt to force history into philosophy to include both the shoah and the state of Israel though I am not really qualified to comment on that in depth.

[3] E. Fackenheim, What Is Judaism (Syracuse, NY, Syracuse University Press: 1987) -- hereinafter: WIJ -- 15.

[4] For many years I used the word "holocaust" to designate the destruction of European Jewry during the Second World War. I have since been persuaded that "holocaust" should not be used for two reasons: First, it bears the additional meaning of 'a whole burnt offering,' which is certainly not the theological overtone to be sounded in this context. And second, the destruction of European Jewry happened to Jews and, hence, it is they who should have the sad honor of naming this event with a Hebrew term. The word "shoah" has been used for a long time in Hebrew to denote the catastrophe to Jewry during World War II and has even been adopted by many non-Jews as the proper designation. I now adopt this usage and acknowledge my debt to Professor Jean Halpérin of Geneva and Fribourg for the insight.

It is my practice to capitalize only nouns referring to God, together with nouns usually capitalized in English. This is a theological-grammatical commitment to the sovereignty of God. Thus, I spell "messiah," "temple," etc. To infuse literature with ethics, I especially do not capitalize "nazi," "führer," "fatherland," "third reich," "national socialist," "final solution," "shoah," "holocaust," etc. except in quotations. I am indebted to Hana Goldman, a plucky ten year old, who defied her teachers by refusing to capitalize "nazi," thereby setting an example for all of us.

[5] E. Fackenheim, To Mend the World (Bloomington, IN, Indiana University Press: 1982; second edition: 1994) -- hereinafter: Mend -- 135.

[6] Mend, Preface to the Second Edition, xxv.

[7] Mend, 248, italics original.

[8] Mend, 225-49.

[9] E. Fackenheim, God's Presence in History (New York, New York University Press: 1970). See also WIJ, 46, on fidelity to Jewish existence.

[10] Mend, 303. See also WIJ, chap. 11.

[11] Mend, 306. See also E. Fackenheim, The Jewish Bible after the Holocaust (Bloomington, IN, Indiana University Press: 1990) -- hereinafter: JBible -- chap. 4 and 100-3 where Fackenheim extends this principle to Germans.

[12] Mend, 319. See also WIJ, chap. 8.

[13] Facing, 237.

[14] What follows is an inter-text between Facing, 3-5, italics original, and this article.

[15] M. Buber, At the Turning (New York, Farrar, Straus, and Young: 1952) -- hereinafter: Turning -- 61, cited in Mend, 196, italics original.

[16] All of JBible is devoted to this question. See 110, n. 33: "Buber's question will inform the whole rest of this book..."

[17] Turning, 62, cited in Mend, 197. This is the basis of Buber's theodicy of the "eclipse of God" which is, like all eclipses, followed by a reappearance (see M. Buber, Eclipse of God [New York, Harper and Row: 1952]).

[18] JBible, 110, n. 3.

[19] Mend, 197.

[20] JBible, 26.

[21] It is my custom to use egalitarian language even when referring to God, except in liturgy or in quotations. On capitalizing words referring to God, see above, n. 3.

[22] For critiques of Buber's "eclipse of God," see A. Cohen, The Natural and Supernatural Jew (New York: 1962) 153-55, and E. Kaufman, Contemporary Jewish Philosophies (New York, The Reconstructionist Press: 1976) 75.

[23] WIJ, 287-91.

[24] WIJ, 291, italics original. Note the conscious echo of John 3:16.

[25] For a summary statement and refutation of the classical theodical arguments, see Facing, 165-66.

[26] Mend, 250-51, and JBible, 55, respectively.

[27] JBible, 98.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Speech delivered at Emory University, n.d., 15.

[30] WIJ, 121.

[31] We are certainly forbidden to claim that any historical act is outside God's Providence, as secularists and certain liberal Jews do when they claim either that there is no God or that God is not active in history. Such a claim is a clearly heretical.

[32] Aleph-Bet of Rabbi Akiva, second version, Batei Midrashot, ed. A. J. Wertheimer (Jerusalem, Ktab Wasepher: 1968) 2:404 and Talmud, Shabbat 55a, cited in Facing, 237.

[33] Mend, 28, italics added.

[34] JBible, 24, italics original.

[35] See Facing, passim, especially chapters 15-17.

[36] See my website <www.emory.edu/ UDR/BLUMENTHAL> under "Articles" for my work on the debate over these issues.

[37] Turning, 62, cited in Mend, 197.

[38] JBible, especially 92-94.

[39] Facing, 85-110, with separate commentaries which interpret, extend, and read against the text.

[40] See A. Laytner, Arguing with God: A Jewish Tradition (Northvale, NJ, Jason Aronson: 1990).

[41] For examples of what follows, see Facing, chapter 18.

[42] In Facing, 286-97, I made suggestions for such short insertions. They were based on the halakhic rule that, if one has done wrong, one must ask forgiveness of the person one has wronged. This is called teshuva. By extension, since the shoah was unjustified and hence wrong, God ought to ask forgiveness of the Jewish people in some way. I, then, formulated that halakhic insight into short liturgical insertions. Orthodox colleagues have resisted the theology of teshuva as applied to God and have resisted even more the modifications of the liturgy. Non-orthodox colleagues have resisted both the theology and the liturgy I have created mostly because they prefer a God Who is less engaged, less active, and more of an abstract Force or Power behind the universe. See my website on this, especially "Theodicy: Dissonance in Theory and Praxis."

[43] JBible, 98.

[44] Ibid.

[45] I have called this acting seriatim and have utilized the image of sailing into the wind. See Facing, chapter 5 and, in more detail, on my website.

[46] See the commentary of Zeev Wolf ben Yisrael Iser Einhorn, ad loc: "The matter of the analogy is that one who sees a beautiful and orderly building understands and admits that this palace has a master and that it was built by a wise artist. But, when ones sees a palace in flames, then one thinks that the master has abandoned the palace -- until the master says, 'I am the master of the palace and it is by my intent that it is burning.' So the world testifies of itself that there is a preexisting Creator Who leads it in wisdom and grace. But, when the Creator saw that the wicked were destroying the world; that ruin and devastation were burning like a fire to ruin and devastate [everything] at the time of the flood and the tower of Babel -- from this Abraham's mind was confused [so that he thought] that the Master of the world had deserted it and that the He did not, God forbid, want humanity to worship Him. Then, the Holy One, blessed be He, revealed Himself to him and said, 'I am the Master of the world and it is with intention that this destruction and punishment is happening.'" This contrasts with Rashi, ad loc, who seems to have missed the point.

[47] WIJ, Epilogue, 292.

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