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THE PRIOR CONDITIONS OF THE MEETING BETWEEN MAN AND GOD© Part 1 By: Dr. Zadok Krouz

מאת: krouz zadokיהדות01/03/20111219 צפיות שתף בטוויטר |   שתף בפייסבוק

By: Dr. Zadok Krouz _______________________________________________________________

God always loves only whom and what he loves, but his love is distinguished from an "all-love" only by a Not-Yet: apart from what he already loves, God loves everything, only not yet.  His love roams the world with an ever-fresh drive. It is always and wholly of today, but all the dead past and future will one day be devoured in this victorious today.  This love is the eternal victory over death.

______________________________________________________________

Franz Rosenzweig, Star 165

INTRODUCTION

God is concealed behind His own creations and His laws.

Rosenzweig noted that God hides behind His creation and His laws, thereby keeping man from knowing the purpose of His rules and actions.  He gives man obstacles to recognizing Him.  This makes for a complex and fascinating relationship.

Prior to the act of creation, God was a hidden, silent God who related to neither man nor the world.  This God served idolatry as an assumption fixed in structure and form.  Therefore, Rosenzweig states, "God was not given the significance of the God of truth but rather of false gods" (Naharayim 239).

With the act of creation, God begins to be revealed, a "beginning of knowledge" (Star 173).  But the "beginning of knowledge," according to Rosenzweig, is not knowledge of the purpose of His acts and laws, for "silence is praise unto Thee" (Ps. 65:2), "for there is not a word in my tongue" (Ps. 139:4), "truly my soul waiteth upon God" (Ps. 62:2), "but is knowledge of his love for man which fills man's soul with certainty and as to a soul which is loved.  Thus, "we know about everything but not in the same degree" (Star 212-213, Naharayim 224).

"God created, that is the novelty.  The nut, as it were, was broken.  What we knew of God before this was of a hidden God, who hid himself and his life within his mythic sphere, in a fortress… this God, of which we knew what we knew, ceased to exist.  The God of creation is the beginning" (Star 199)…  "A beginning of knowledge without bringing everything to a conclusion in it" (Star 199, 173).

Maimonides, in The Guide to the Perplexed, explains why man is limited in knowing the purpose of the laws and acts of God.  Knowing about God, Maimonides states, is knowing that you know nothing about Him.  Events should not be attributed to God, for that is the way of nature, amplifying the simple Godly essence, turning a subject to subjects or events; amplifying His attributes amplifies God's essence.  We draw the attributes from human experience, and there is no comparison between the creator and the created.  Yet, Maimonides attributes to God, following Rabbenu Bahchia's definition (Havot HaLevovot Ch. 6), action, and he endeavors to prove that these attributes of action do not comprise amplification.  Also, he permits negative attributes, which God does not possess, for behind the negative lies a positive perfection, the same attributes on a higher form.

In Chapter 70, explaining the word "chariot," Maimonides states:  "As the rider rests on the chariot, separated and outside, so is God outside the world, separated and above it.  And just as the rider uses the animal as the tool and moves it, so does God activate the upper sphere… and by his hand turns the entire world, and the upper sphere is nothing but God's tool, for He causes the whole world to move, moving with the movement of the upper sphere, which surrounds the entire world, activated by God."2  "Master of the Universe, Who reigned before any form was created… will reign alone."3  Rosenzweig strengthens the explanation of Maimonides:  "Even by the recognized cunning knowledge of thought, we can comprehend nothing more in God…" (Naharayim 225).

God hides behind His creations and His laws and thereby safeguards the knowledge of the purpose of His laws and acts.  Man, therefore, finds it difficult to recognize Him, making the relationship complex and wonderful.  But Rosenzweig does not keep man bewildered by the booming silence as does Martin Heidegger.  Rather, he opens for man the "beginning of knowledge" deep in man in order to know God.  Heidegger maintains that you have no choice but to live, though the single reason for your living is to run towards the possibility of death (Vorlaufen in die Moglichkeit des Todes").  Man dies because he knows of his death, and he lives within that consciousness.  Therefore, our existence is existence towards death, in his words: "eigententliches sein zum Tode."  Contrary to Rosenzweig, who attempts to disclose to man the ideal solution to the fear of death and cessation in the love of God, Heidegger's thought plumbs the depths of death, according to Heidegger, is in man's being concentrated in it and not in his deviating from this reality.  The entire validity and significance of the possibility of death, according to Heidegger, is in man's being concentrated in it and not in his deviating from this reality, towards God, as Rosenzweig holds.  Our existence is a race (Vorlaufen), whose purpose is death; existence is tragic and fearful.  At the moment we are born we receive the death sentence; there is no alternative.  The fact that we now live and exist means that we shall die sooner or later.  And where were we before birth?  Where shall we go after death?  Heidegger answers simply since we see the vision of all this in existence, since it is before it and after it, that is, before birth and after death, with us, there is nothing (Being 296).  We live by chance, at a time and place not chosen by us (Being 345).

This knowledge or "beginning of knowledge" draws universal significance from the fact that it is neither rational nor theoretical.  It does not relate to the reality of God or to his laws. It is knowledge that does not know it: For God is above all knowledge, definition and likeness; nevertheless, there is nothing more certain than the knowledge of God, a fact which makes the relationship wonderful and concrete (Naharayim 223-224,239).

This important point will be elaborated in the discussion on faith in the chapter dealing with man's meeting with God. In that chapter, I shall attempt to explain the paradox of a hidden but revealed God. "The beginning of knowledge" is God revealing Himself but also hiding his essence, i.e., the purpose of his laws and acts. Rosenzweig states this clearly: "The subject matter of art two of The Star of Redemption is to show how and when the distant God approaches, and how and when the nearby God is made distant" (Naharayim 228).

Thus, man can meet with God, though God hides behind the creation and its laws in order to test mankind and to distinguish between them It is as if God hides from man the way He governs and acts and makes it difficult for an to recognize Him in order that man can believe in Him and freely and willingly deposit himself in God's hand.

Man alone is responsible for the prior conditions.

Several conditions must occur before man can meet with God and man alone is responsible for realizing these conditions. He, man, determines if the meeting will ever occur.

Man's desire and ability is given special attention by Rosenzweig in his explanation of the commandments in his article "The Builders": "Not on our will but on our ability does the matter hinge..." (Naharayim 88; compare Sacred Fragments 183). The ground-tone of man's ability underlies his entire Jewish perception and certainly his approach to the experience of the meeting between man and his God.

Man's wanting to meet God does not insure his accomplishing His will. "The principal element is that through his ability, that will be done what he will do..." Similarly, "...it is not for our will or our knowledge to overcome our ability for it, and only it, chooses" (Naharayim 89). This choice of Rosenzweig results from freedom. Freedom is one of the central elements of existential philosophy. Will and ability are products of freedom in existentialist thought in distinction from Idealism, which places freedom in the creative spirit of man and Rationalism which bases it on the intellectual consciousness of the world. The existentialist wants to acquire for man and freedom designed for God. According to this theory, free man is a creature composed of good and bad, truth and falsehood. He alone gives significance to the world and reason to existence. He condemns or negates the world and proclaims its negation and insignificance. Man alone can pass judgment on that which is existing and found in the world. According to Sartre, man did not attain his freedom from external factors; man is free by nature. Freedom is a weighty decree which man cannot nullify. He has no choice but to be free (see L'Existentialism 64). Death alone releases him from freedom. Man is its prisoner as long as he lives and nothing during man's life can remove it from him (L'Etre 77). In man, the chosen ability determines what will be done without involving the will. Therefore, whether the meeting occurs depends on this ability, which rests in the soul of man. This soul includes defiance, pride and humility.

Rosenzweig explains the combination of these constituent elements in the soul: "...it (pride) now becomes the first to emerge from the interior of the self to the exterior...The defiant pride of free will had amalgamated the existing character into a self" (Star 200). Rosenzweig explains that several of the forces which make man silently independent are revolt and imagination. Revolt: rebelliousness, conduct which repulses the decree of one who commands disobedience as in the incident of Adam and Eve. "They rebelled and grieved the Almighty."1 Imagination, whose origin is from the Greek daimon, satan, evil spirit, the devil, the evil inclination, in the sense of evil spirit.

            To say I am proud indicates that I have an independent essence which emerges from my internal singular unity of my free will.  I can be proud of this, for it is mine and I acted to cause it; it did not result due to some other external cause, but rather solely from the inner strength of my ability.

            Only ability demands that man act; it is the essence of his independence, the truth found deep inside his existential soul: "… the act- the act of jumping… jumps and moves to the spark from I must to I can" (Naharayim 89).  The pride in man’s soul is proud of this truth.  The responsibility and determination of ability is realized vigorously even when Rosenzweig discusses redemption of the world, in any event in the first stage, as the work of man and his will (Star 236-281).  In summary, man determines, which means that each act of truth must result from an individual’s ability buried deep in his soul and his total seriousness; otherwise, Rosenzweig maintains, man will make of himself a lie: "… and falsehood in performance is the dangerous lie… that performed should not respond" (Naharayim 90).  "Truth becomes certain when it is appropriated by the individual, when it is verified in the person’s life experience.  It is then a truth for which one must live…" (Sacred Fragments 179).  Thus, man meeting his God is an act of ability and not just of will.

            Rosenzweig holds that the Jewishness of each Jew is subject to his decision and determination, and that the major decision comes when he meets, or does not meet, with God.  This view, beyond history and time, is tied to the ever-present longing for eternity, and possibly results from the Rosenzweig’s personal life. He also chose, at one of the crucial moments in his spiritual life, Judaism.  Characteristic to his perception was his answer to the question of whether he uses the phylacteries.  He responded: not yet (Briefe 428).  One can understand that he "still" cannot.  It was similar with regard to writing on the Sabbath, which at a particular moment, as a result of various forces, he decided to refrain from doing, and succeeds in not writing on the Sabbath (Briefe 593).  "He kept a kosher kitchen, but he ate non-kosher meals outside his home at a particular period in his life.  He wrote to his wife: ‘We want to build a house and not a ghetto.  Every Jew can eat at our home; but we also want to eat at the home of a Christian friend when invited to dine.’  On the other hand, he demanded a non-Jewish friend who stayed with him on the Sabbath not to use the telephone.  To one of his friends he wrote: ‘Wait for the moment of desire in your life, in which the new and the strange will be natural and close to you.’  Also, Friday evening without Kiddush (sacramental blessing of the Sabbath) could be at the beginning of Friday evening, when you invite a friend to dinner and conversation."2  Rosenzweig sees in the a bility of the individual a source of responsibility and means to determine in all his deeds and actions.  He transfers this from the individual to the Jewish people, stating: "When you are a Jew, I am God, and when you are not, it is as if I am not God" (Star 203).  When you are a Jew in your acts with Me with all your ability, then I am an existing God.  The saying is well known: in the next world they will not ask me why I was not someone, but they will ask me why was I not Zusia (myself)?

            Each and every person has a special talent, buried in him, which only he, through his ability, can realize.  Man’s meeting with God is one of a thousand possibilities with which man is bestowed by God; only through his ability can he make that meeting occur.  Nothing else can fulfill it.  Man’s ability makes him choose and creates responsibility (Star 208).  This responsibility is one of the prime marks of recognition of existentialism: man bears responsibility always, even when he does not know why. The concept of responsibility fills an honored role in the existentialist philosophy of Sartre, Heidegger and others. We are responsible because of the freedom engulfed in us. We are responsible for everything other than responsibility itself since we are the reason for our existence. We are abandoned in the world, forced to bear the yoke of responsibility without being able or having the possibility of being freed of it. We are responsible even for the lack of exercising responsibility. One who flees from responsibility flees because he chooses to. Heidegger maintains that the need to emerge from isolation is the push which frees one from the concrete responsibility of free choice, individually, from the knowing silence of man in his private world (Being 127; L'Etre 641).

Rosenzweig's allegorical interpretation of the Song of Songs clarifies in a more concrete manner how man is responsible and determines whether a meeting with God will occur. In the beginning, man cannot meet God, nor does he desire the meeting: "I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on?" (Song 5:3). Man is unable. He understands well, possibly in his sub-conscious, that opening the door is likely to raise many obligations and responsibilities and even a change in his way of life. This cognition frightens him, and he manufactures reasons not to open the door, such as: "I have washed my feet, how shall I defile them?" (Song 5:3).

Eventually, he decides to meet God, but he is not certain that he can do it: "I shall rise please" (Song 3:6). This man cannot sleep; he rises from his bed and takes the initiative: "I shall go to town, to the market and streets--I seek that which loved my soul" (Song 3:2). He sought love in every place and corner, requested it but did not find it. "We found the guards who wander throughout town -- did you see that which loved my soul? (Song 3:3). He does not give up, but he gathers his strength and continues to search, following up every possibility.

The soul did not yet take full advantage of its potential. It wants very much and does what it can to fulfill its goal, and its hour arrives. "I almost passed it until I found that which loved my soul! I grasped it and did not let it go until they brought it to the house of my mother and my parent's room" (Song 3:4). That is success! A success which required all of a soul's ability to meet that which loved his soul, everything being dependent on him alone, only on the eternal ability and the individual, enormous efforts of man..

Man determining the meeting is not sagacious; rather, he is naive, like a person unashamed, unfrustrated, uncalculating and without mental obstructions This is the man who God loves. The New Zohar states: "God said to man, until now I had tried by toil, from here on, you will" (Gen. 5). God tried by the toil of choosing to love man to a certain point, from there on many must desire it to the extent of his ability, and only by this pure ability will he attain God and build his personal path, for "The end of all the sons is to be builders" (Naharayim 89). So Rosenzweig asserts, and he brings the Talmudic Brachot 64a saying: "Don't read 'your sons'3 (in Hebrew - "Bonayich") but 'your builders'" ("Bonayich") (Naharayim 90). So, too, man will determine in his way the manner and form of the meeting with his God, a determination containing the spirit of spontaneous Hasidism. The Hasidic movement was referred to as the "insurrection of the common people." The mutiny rebelled against the strict values of the Yeshiva students (Beth Y'Israel 77--85; Ashcoli 86-93). This perception was explained in Rosenzweig's letters in the arable of the landscape and the road. At the time of the completion of the Talmud, Judaism had one common path. There were also small paths and alleys and bridges, but essentially there was  one road, one Jewish tradition. This road has not existed for 150 years. "

Though the path of pious Judaism remains, it ceased to be the primary way. At the most, it is one of many paths. There remains only the one common landscape, which is the aspiration for the reign of the commandments. Possibly, there will again be one path, or a network of paths leading in one direction, but that time has not yet come, and we can only guess what will bring it to us. Each and every one of us must pave his particular road and prepare it for future generations. Each day each of us does his own Shulhan Aruch, his own way of life (Briefe 426). Being made in the image of God, man must adapt his way; like God, man, too, must toil and cooperate with God in bringing about the meeting with Him. ("...to simulate the acts of God,"4 which summarizes his break book, Morei Nevuchim) And "if he did, he is blessed, and if not, he is not (yet) blessed." (Ps. Midrash on chapter 53)

THE CONDITIONS

A. The Exclusive Characteristics

Only the gifted meet God

He must learn the meeting with God through arduous intellectual and spiritual study and discipline.

Exclusivity is a prior condition of the revelation of God. If this condition is fulfilled along with the other conditions, there is a possibility that God will be revealed. To Rosenzweig, exclusivity means genius of the genius or, phrased differently, the gift of the gifted (Star 23). This exclusivity is explained using the example of art, which prepared man for the meeting with his God:

If there were no cobblers, men would walk barefoot, but they would still

walk. But if there were no artists, mankind would be a cripple. For then it

would lack that language prior to revelation whose existence alone makes it

possible for revelation one day to enter time as a historical revelation and

there to prove itself something that has already been from of aye. (Star 221)

This exclusivity is also a property of prophecy, which also has prior conditions that enable the prophet to communicate with his God. But there is a substantial qualitative difference between prophecy and revelation as Rosenzweig knows it. It is true that prophecy comes from the word "to prophesy," a thing (utterance of the lips) which is a sort of conversation as revelation shows, yet there are any differences.  Only Moses merited speaking with God without an angel as intermediary, as it is said "mouth to mouth I shall speak.."(Num. 12:8) and "God spoke to Moses face to face" (Exo. 33:11) "and the similitude of the Lord shall be behold" (Num. 12:8), meaning that it is not parable but he

sees completely and without enigma. The other prophets see in dreams, in night visions and in the daytime when they slumber ["in a vision to him I shall make myself known, in a dream I shall speak..."(Num. 12:6)] The prophet perceives via parable, and immediately solves the arable in a vision of prophecy and knows what it is. An example is the seething vessel and almond stick that Jeremiah saw (Jer. 1:11,13). In revelation, everyone can speak with God when his time comes. The prophet does not mediate between God and man, he does not receive revelation in order to pass it on; rather, the voice of God sounds forth directly from within Him, God speaks as "I" directly from within Him" (Compare, Star 210). Prophecy is designed to mend society. Elijah the prophet and the students of Elisha acted to distance the people from the false god and bring them to serve God and obey the Torah. They show Ahab the path he should follow in order to vanquish his enemies.

Revelation primarily comes to transform the individual in the bountifulness of the love of the Creator and only thereafter does redemption of the world follow, though on a different plane and manner than that of prophecy. Revelation as seen by Rosenzweig is not an adjustment of the people enthralled from the beginning by idolatry, but is for man as individual, to adjust this soul and grant him certainty--love, God and the closeness of God.

Prophecy obfuscates the lucidity of man--his thoughts are ravaged, as it is said of Abraham: "And fear and darkness fall on him" (Gen. 15:12). In revelation, man's mind is clear; he hears God and answers the command of his love like man speaking to man. Most of the prophets were not particularly excited about bringing the word of God to their people. On the contrary, the prophets fought with the spirit of prophecy which rose and were vanquished by it against their will. Often, the prophets became wretched because of it, Jeremiah among them. Revelation, though, is a great benefit to man in which God flooded the soul of many with love of the security of support, and the soul is blissful in gaining the love of the lover. "Prophecy is found only in a sagacious, heroic and distinguished person."5  Maimonides quotes this Talmudic saying to teach that there is a need for perfection in attributes and learning.

Only the skilled or gifted meet God. The meeting is not intended for all mankind, but for the individual, not for everybody, and not to everybody equally, but to those whom God arbitrarily chooses: "For God will always love him and that which He loves.."  (Star 221, 197-198) This arbitrariness does not result from pressure or force of the tendency to proclaim himself. "The love of God loves who it will love and wherever it will love.. no permission is given for any question to be asked, since questions often receive answers, for he, the questioner who imagines that God's love abandoned him, will be loved by God" (Star 197).

The "gift of the gifted" ultimately comes to everyone. Thus, Rosenzweig instructs us that God's love is acquired in the course of time, and it will come in time to everybody. We are upset by the "muscle display" of this love at the meeting of man and God, which muscularity chooses the gifted before others. Rosenzweig responds: you have no right to ask questions, your turn will also come. Today you feel ignored and abandoned, but God will love you also. During the course of eternity, then, each and every one of us will attain the gifted status and subsequently God's love because "love is nothing but God 'not yet' loving everybody except for those whom he already loves" (Star 197-198).

In effect, Rosenzweig does not provide a recipe to instruct one how to become one of the happy-chosen of God who has gained God's love. He only says to us 'not yet'. Each person at some time in his life can meet God, experiencing pure love, "for man comes from God, and his end is with God" (Naharayim 147-148).

Being "gifted" is a process created in man's life by the choice of God with the steadfast effort of the chosen. "The genius is not born a genius..." (Star 223). The gifted, chosen by God individually must gain the meeting with God, "for no existing genius is stopped…(for) when the genius awakens, the opus (the artistic creation) too begins to appear" (Star 223). The gifted must try to endeavor to improve by means of spiritual and mental studies and discipline: "...(the gifted must) improve himself...for man is not ready, he neither sees nor hears; how will he attain God's love?" (Star 200).

Man's closed world, a property of the creation of man, states Rosenzweig, must be opened initially in order that he hear the word of God and see the brightness of his light (Star 187,200). Mentioning the verb "study," Rosenzweig suggests that learning results from mental and spiritual studies.6  The source of hearing of the word of God is through an internal mental-spiritual process and not via a mechanical act, physical as it may be. The gifted, being a chosen gifted, des not complete his toil; he is only beginning the task for which he was chosen: the meeting with God. "God said to man, until now I had tried by toil, from here on, you will" (Zohar, Gen. 5: ).

Rosenzweig believes that the gifted person must improve himself before receiving the love of God. But in what way or manner can man reach the goal set for him--the meeting with God? Because man, the fruit of the period of creation, of the act, "is made"; "mythic man, is man belonging to the language of the indicative, the one sided-monologue. He is an introvert, and cannot yet open his mouth; he fears that God will not respond with his love to his confession. But can this state of introversion show signs of life at the coming of come communication with God? In any event, Rosenzweig is of the opinion that this situation must be resolved by the act of opening his closed heart in order that man "learn" to hear the word of God and see the brightness of his light" (Star 200).

The function of art in preparing mankind to meet with God.

Rosenzweig attempts to answer the question by pointing to art's role in preparing mankind for revelation, the meeting of man with God. Without the artist, mankind was defective, lacking pre-revelation speech whose reality alone allows the time-historic revelation.

Revelation does not originate in the concept of creation; rather they are coeval. For Rosenzweig, revelation occurs unaided as in creation, emerging from the pre-aesthetic layer, private, individualistic, sleeping in man. "When the genius awakens, the opus (the artistic creation) too begins to appear" (Star 223). In other words, the completed artistic creation assumes a process of alienation of man from himself when that human wholeness foregoes itself in favor of a something (upon the arrival of the image of God in man who now stands opposite) which it itself does not consider to have proceeded from within it, but which it appears to confront and to inspire with life and spirit by giving itself away to it" (Star 223).

Genius and opus (the artistic creation) have a common source, but the difference is that the soul of the opus is an enormous, magnificent revelation, completed forever. In creation, man is silent, lacking a voice to respond, and revelation ends his slumber. Man responds with a reply of confession. In the act "let us create man in our image, after our likeness..." (Gen. 1:26), God made man supreme by favoring him, turning man into a being of enormous potential, with a sense of conscious spirit, self-determination and self-criticism, talented and powerful; his position was only slightly lower than that of God (Ps 8:6).

"Image is not a facial expression, but a semblance of the acts of God. As God knows and understands, so, too, does man, whom He gave wisdom to know and feel His love, and as God supplies food for all, so man loves, feeds his family, servants and animals, and as the creator built the world and planted and founded the terrestrial portions and the seas, so, too, man can build, plant, found and create. These traits, indicates Rabbi Donolo Shabtai Ben Avraham,((913- 982  ) in his work "The meaning of man is created in out image" [perush naaseh adam b'tzalmenu]" at page 8, signify truly the biblical phrase that man is created in the image of God.7

Rosenzweig reminds us that the origin of the material which became inspired, the image in dynamic activity, comes from the "whole man" (Naharayim 215) of "absolute empiricism" the man who is able to experience the absolute God, his final self and the world. Although whole man is also absolute, this absoluteness does not cause him to be swallowed up without God's end being achieved, i.e. in his opus, the meeting with God.

Each side maintains its special character, and each speaks freely. The opus or "the image" arouses the love of man. As creator, the images rise from him, via freedom's path, to space. Along the way, man raises his image, containing the divine, to the space of his soul - his internal world. The genius governs the images that rose from within him, for God already chose him, and he will not abandon his chosen: "..for no existing genius is stopped...(for) when the genius awakes, the opus too begins to appear (Star 223).

The creator is engulfed in love, which penetrates freely due to the knowledge and inspiration of that which is within ('his image'). A strengthening of the character of the personality occurs with the expression of the opus. Art, narrowly defined as the ability to create, does not arise from the wealth of the creative reality. In addition, perseverance is required; in Rosenzweig's words, diligence and observation are understood as mental, internal, spiritual perfection attained through study. Rosenzweig notes that "whoever relies solely on the former (inspiration) and expects everything from it is liable to experience what befell the young Spitteler, who did not dare to carry out the concept of his first opus for a full decade because he thought that had to come 'by itself' just like the conception" (Star 224).

When Rosenzweig states "...when the genius awakes, the opus too begins to appear..", the meaning of awakes is this: the beginning of all diligence. Diligence is dedication of the genius burning with self-sacrifice, altering the man in him from pre-opus (the whole, pre-aesthetic) to that of creator. He must immerse himself in that lonely detail resting before him, for only the toil of shaping, the "toil of love" of freshness brings the creator to inner self-consciousness- the art in inspiration (Star 224). This awareness testifies to his dynamic existence, his genius as well as the act of creation.

Rosenzweig uses terms and examples from the world of artistic literature to teach the reader. Rosenzweig was influenced by stories of the gods, heroic poetry, that formed the basis for creative works through the generations, such as the Iliad and Odyssey. The lyric quality of opening the soul, and in Rosenzweig's case, disclosing the soul, is characteristic of artistic literature of feeling and experiences of the artist.

The artistic act is not technical execution of the picture created in his vision, but a primary process no less than the vision of the picture itself. The picture of the "model" is formed in the soul of the genius and from this soul the inspired picture arises. Rosenzweig refers to this as the most living revelation of God, and emphasizes that this process requires diligent study. In this regard, Mahnonides writes in the Mishneh Torah8 

What is the way to love and fear? When man will observe in his acts and

wonderful, enormous creations and see in them his wisdom that cannot be

measured and has no end, he will immediately love and honor and adorn and

long a great longing to know the great God...

Both Maimonides and Rosenzweig point out that man must observe to realize the love of God, but Rosenzweig went further in presenting a meeting of man with his God as present, what Maimonides did not dare do, for, according to Maimonides, prophecy (revelation of God to Man) requires a natural talent and specific preparation, each of which Moses possessed. Not everyone can attain the perfection of Moses (see The Guide 2:36).

Rosenzweig writes that the act of observation deepens with the basic phenomena of the cosmos which surrounds "the model" of the artist (Star 226). Observation brought Abraham to recognize the Creator, though not yet to meet him. The path of Abraham the artist are similar; each uses mental observation to attain closeness with God. This process is continuous and epic, the continuousness being called diligent observation (perseverance) by Rosenzweig. Continuousness is the requisite condition for the study of any art, as anyone who attempted to study art at some time in his life well knows. Since steadfastness and continuing observation and concentration are not common in our culture, Rosenzweig believes that only few have this trait, which results, as stated above, in the individual's meeting with "the model" of his work (Star 224). Indeed, without discipline, man cannot wait until "awakening the rejoicing of life" (Star 223).

In his article "New Thinking," Rosenzweig emphasizes that man must study until his hour of readiness arrives (Naharayim 229). Preparation of the gifted for the meeting with God is not granted as an act of grace. Belief is not an act of grace, and the gifted does not come to believe because of this grace. The artist constructs his framework of observation during the course of lyric and epic time, and he is not born with an advantage of belief.

According to Rosenzweig, man does not start to learn art directly or via a simple program, in particular since the goal is a picture which he cannot touch and feel; instead, the study is indirect, as it were, by "dealing with matters of content in their sweeping exposition, and it is not for nothing that one speaks of 'epic scope'…" Man must learn many other things - and frequently things which do not seem relevant, prior to commencing study of observation, concentration and discipline and the precision of art. "But content is not meant as something antedating the opus; on the contrary, it is only that which is all contained within the work itself" (Star 223).

The artist is not born an artist, or is the genius born a genius, nor is the poet born with feelings and experiences of poetic effusions of sentient experiences. Discipline is necessary for the artist to create a living picture. When Michelangelo completed his sculpture of Moses, he hit it with a hammer, demanding that it speak; the creation became real and living. The crack in Moses's leg remains today for us to see (Lapid's Guide 65).

The discipline required is not limited to a specific artistic activity (however many hours a day it is performed), but of discipline in the entirety of the individual's life, twenty-four hours a day. The absence of discipline in one's life results in an absence of observation and concentration, and man is thus unable to see any order or hope in involving himself with his surrounds. Self-sacrifice for the sake of "aesthetic inspiration) (Star 222) is most difficult, and the average person cannot acquire the requisite patience, observation and concentration. Contemporary man today, created in God's image, thinks that he loses something - time - if he does not do something quickly, yet he does not know what to do in the free time given him.

"But as artist, it [genius] must sacrifice itself to them (the external figures], passionately unmindful of self. Genius must renounce its integrity precisely for the sake of that which it is and which it seeks to become, namely: "originator" (Star 222-224). If art is not a matter of substantial importance, the student will ever study it. At best, he will be an exceptional amateur, but he will not be an artist. Self-sacrifice demands the dedication and strictness the artist invests in order to create the picture".. only so that he will cease to see it" (Star 222). Cease to see the erroneous "impression of nature" in order to make room for the sparkle of the vision which, according to Rosenzweig, is living and stands before him - inspiration. Therefore, the genius is "self-dedication of the genius..." (Star 224).

One who seeks to be drenched in the solitariness of concentration and observation knows the difficulty of attaining it. He will begin to feel uneasy, nervous and anxious.[ix]   In using art as a preface to revelation, Rosenzweig seeks to convince the reader that all the efforts of his love are bound for failure, if he will not attempt with all his power to develop his entire personality to the extend of an artist skilled and gifted, who combines the aesthetic art, the plastic art of the lyrical, the epic and music (Star 221-229).

Art thus becomes a special category of the world of revealed faith, not in the sense that religious revelatory faith transforms art, but as Fritz Kauffman phrased it: "The relationship between art to religion is realized precisely in that the aesthetic experience and the aesthetic design can be seen as preliminary levels of the religious position" (Das Reich des Schinen 182).

Art, being rooted in the mythic picture of the world, is in reality executed in it - emerging from this self-seclusion for the meeting between men. Art will thus be a condition and primary image of revelation. Rosenzweig paves the way by disclosing the mutual and supportive communication of the mythic 'elements' to the 'track' of revelation. Music's rhythm, for example, helps us to feel the "revelation" of time-flow in a wink:

This inspiring of the detail is the achievement of harmony. In

rhythm, the individual moment forms but a mute link in the whole;

harmony provides it with sound and life at the same time. It makes

it sonant in the first place and inspires it, giving it pitch, and

both at once, quite like the revelation which endows the mute self

with speech and soul at once." (Star 228)

Every man has the option to wait until God calls him to be gifted. We must not lose hope that our time will come, for we, too, shall gain God's love. However, the man chosen to bear God's love is obligated and required to study long and hard to ready himself for the lofty goal of meeting with God.

Art becomes a special category of the world of revelatory belief and its primary image and endeavors to let man emerge from his self-seclusion for the meeting with God and to prepare him for his link with his fellow man. Art is an image of the uniqueness and foundation of the gifted, an initial condition for the meeting between man and God.

LIST OF SOURCE MATERIAL ABBREVIATIONS

Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time. Trans. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson. New York: Harper, 1962.

Being

Rosenzweig, Franz. Briefe [Letters]. Unter Mitwirkung von E. Simon ausgehwelt und hg. von. E. Rosenzweig [With the cooperation of E. Simon, selected and revised by E. Rosenzweig]. Berlin: Abkurzung, Br., 1935.

Briefe

Buber, Martin. "The Foundation of Hasidism." Beth Y'Israel b'Poland [Jews in Poland]. Jerusalem: Dept. of Zionist Org., 1954. 77-85.

Beth Y'Israel

Kauffman, Fritz. Das Reich des Schinen [The Kingdom of the Beautiful]. Berlin: Judischer Verlag, 1920.

Das Reich des Schinen

Bahchia, ben Yosef ibn P'kuda (Rabbenu). Hovot HaLevovot [Duties of the Heart]. Trans. Yehuda ibn Tivon. Naples: Depyre, 1890.

Hovot HaLevovot

Lapid, Yosef. Lapid's Guide. 10th ed., Jerusalem: Shkmona (1982).

Lapid's Guide

Sartre, Jean-Paul. L'Etre et le niant [Being and Nothingness]. Paris: Gallimard, 1948.

L'Etre

------. L'Existentialisme est un Humanisme [Existentialism and Humanism]. 2nd ed. Jerusalem: Carmel, 1990.

L'Existentialisme

Rosenzweig, Franz. Naharayim [Selected Writings of Franz Rosenzweig]. Trans. Yehoshua Amir. Jerusalem: Bialik Inst., 1977.

Naharayim

Rosenzweig, Franz. The Star of Redemption. 2d ed. Trans. William W. Hallo. New York: U of Notre Dame P, 1985.

Star

Gillman, Neil. Sacred Fragments: Recovering Theology for the Modern Jew. New York, Philadelphia: Jewish Publ. Soc., 1990. 178-183.

Sacred Fragments

Zohar, The New. Defier, 1591.

The New Zohar

Zohar, 2d ed. Jerusalem: Mossad H’Rav Kook, 1956.

Zohar


1 Moshe ben Maimon, Morei Nevuchim, ed. Shmuel Ibn Tibon, ch 2. Sec. 29.

2 S. H. Bergman. Introduction. Naharayim by Franz Rosenzweig 7-11.  See also Franz Rosenzweig. Briefe. 428.

3 "Ye are the children of the Lord your God" (Deut. 14:2). Compare Avot3A and Isa. 54:13: "And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of the children."

4 Moshe ben Maimon, Morei Nevuchima, ed. Shmuel Ibn Tibon, Ch. 53.

5 Moshe ben Maimon, Morei Nevuchim, ed. Shmuel Ibn Tibon,  Pt. 2, Ch. 32 and 45.

6 The perfection related to is related to understanding the pure essence of God, but instead is a means (and not an explanation) of arriving at the meeting with God

7 See, also, The New Zohar, Gen. 5; Rabbi Ovadish Sforno (1475-1550) on Gen. 1:27

8 Laws of the Foundation of the Torah, chapter 2, law 1.

9 See James Hewitt, Nature's Way with Tension, See also Lundberg, G., Human Values Research

 





 
     
     
     
   
 
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