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The Prior Conditions of The Meeting Between Man and God © Part 2 By: Dr. Zadok Krouz PhD

מאת: krouz zadokיהדות01/03/20111289 צפיות שתף בטוויטר |   שתף בפייסבוק

Dr. Zadok Krouz, PhD

B. The Characteristics of the Command

The second condition for the meeting is the commandment to love God. When man learns to love God, non-egotistically, God can then respond.

In order to clarify the second condition, the following table is instructive. It presents the place of the command "you will love" alongside indicative verbs, and emphasizes the resulting significance. It will also assist in our understanding of Rosenzweig's intentions in his discussion of the meeting between God and man.

Table 1 Table of Verbs

Verb

Tense

Trait

Nexus

Objective

Subjective

Feeling

Created (Gen. 1:1)

Past

Indicative Impersonal- ‘that one’

Creation

*

-

-

Hovers (Gen 1:2)

Present

“ ”

Creation

*

-

-

Let there bea (Gen. 1:3)

Future (command)

Sudden Command

Creation

*

-

-

Let us make (Gen 1:26)

Future

Indicative Monologue

Creation

-

*

-

You will love (Deut, 6:5)

(God’sb command)

Past (present)

Speaking to someone

Revelation

-

*

Shame Uncertainty (the beginning)

I sinnedc (Ps. 2:5)

(response of the soul)

Past (present)

Dialogue (“T” & “You”)

Revelation (of Godd)

-

*

Faith Total Certainty. God exists. Happinesse (the end)

Notes to the Table

a) For the first time, among the past and resent tenses and the quiescent indicative comes suddenly the command: "let there be". "Yehi" is the shortened from of "ye'heye". "Vehi mah veyehi ma"  (2 Sam. 18:23), meaning: “There will be what there will be," or "what will be, will be."

b) The significance of 'you will love' is inherent in the command or the language of command. The imperative is decreed from the word command, which is an order and decree: "For whereas he obeyed the command" (Hosea 5:11) or "He commanded Aaron and his sons" (Lev. 6:2); "As God commanded him, so he did" (Gen. VI, 22). See Even Shushan, 1125.

c) This is the response of the soul to God's command "love me" (Star 209--210). Response here means confession. The complete verse is: "I have sinned, I acknowledge to you, and my iniquity I do not hide", meaning I was a sinner (past); the soul paves the way to the declaration 'I sin' (present) (Star 214).

d) "I sinned" bears significance beyond that of being only confession; there is also acknowledgement of God. "There is in this confession more than confession itself for the sin.. it is already acknowledgement of God.. if you acknowledge me, I am God" (Star 212). More on this, later in this chapter.

e) Certainty which results from the confirmed reality of revelation: "As if God whispers in the ear of the soul "I forgive', I am yours" (Star 213). This is the end of the command "you will love", man, having come, responded to the command, passes from shame to happiness, from uncertainty to the total certainty of pure love.

Explanation of the Table

The verbs "created" and "hover" are the first indicative verbs appearing in the Torah. Indicative means announcement, statement story, a sort of declaration of thought. The way of the indicative is the form of the verb in the past, present and future tenses -- I wrote (in Hebrew ), I write, he will write, as opposed to that of the infinitive -- to write , to write, or the imperative write!

The function of the indicative is to present an idea or fact whose content does not require a special reason to distinguish it from "an interrogatory", a "proclamatory sentence" or "conditional sentence." These verbs are objective, lacking inclination and biased feeling; they are "quiescent", therefore, they are expressed with the meaning and intention of "that one" or one seen from afar (Star 187). With these verbs, God speaks to Himself. The "impersonal" voice is third person, the ground from which grew the "I" and the "you". The voice of the he-she-it is the voice of the one created: "I called you by name" is the ground from which sprung "you are mine" or the I-Thou of revelation. It is like a renewed birth, what was already born is born anew as a revealed entity. For, as Rosenzweig writes, "the lover who says 'Thou are mine' to the beloved is aware of having begotten the beloved in his love...For that which is grounded in a past is, in its presentness too, a visible reality (of the living dialogue of I and Thou), and not merely internal" (see Star 215).  Rosenzweig then defines the he-she-it and I-Thou r "I called you by name" and "You are mine" as "a relationship in the world of things"(Star 215).

Let there be ("yehi"): For the first time in the Torah, among all the past and present tenses of indicative statements appears, suddenly, the imperative: Let there be. The verb is presented, in Rosenzweig's words, "with the suddenness of the imperative." "Yehi" is the shortened form of "ye'heye," whih is the future tense, though stated in the manner of the imperative (and therefore, though not in the grammatical sense, it is not indicative; "Yehi is an objective verb; that is, it is unrelated to personal involvement, and thus is spoken in the impersonal. But with this verb God speaks to Himself. It is impersonal speech of God, but His words re not yet heard, as if someone were speaking in the "impersonal" and not, he, himself. He does not yet speak himself, his essence does not speak.

Let us make: For the first time in the Torah, an objective law is breached. And from the mouth which alone speaks, for the first time in creation is heard not the "impersonal" but the first person "I", and even "you" together with the

"I and you." However, here the "I" speaks to himself in the "I" of "Let us make." Rosenzweig states that the verb 'let us make' is not objective. For the first time in the story o creation we hear, not the "impersonal" language, but the clear and directed language of "I" placed in the future. Yet, God still is speaking to Himself.

You will love: "Ahav" is the word used in the Torah. "You will love the Almighty, your God, with all you heart and all your soul...” (Deut. 6:5). Instead of "you will love," it could have been "Love me!" The form is pure imperative and thus the language of I you for the imperative is the grammatical form which always contains both in tandem. Grammatically, the verb "veahavtah" is stated in the past tense, but has the clear meaning of pure present tense, such as “love me!" at this very moment.

This command completes what has already commenced. "That which sounded in advance out of that all-embracing, lonely, monologic "let us" of God at the creation of man reaches its fulfillment in the I and You of the imperative of revelation." We now understand that the verb "veahavtah" has no relationship to the indicative nor to the terminology of objective creation, for it is directed to "you" and not to "that one." Everything belongs to a more advanced stage of revelation.

With "veahavtah," God reveals himself to man only as a beginning of the way. And why is there, in this, revelation? Now the subject has a direct case - the nominative rather than the accusative case (Star 137, 210 217). The noun turns from object to subject and is no longer a thing among things. It is something individual (Das Man), or rather someone individual. The meaning of "Das man" from which results "the independent essence" (“eigenes selbsi”), that is, “being as its experience" ("eigentliches Dasein") is the mode of being of the existentialist.[i]

Rosenzweig calls the level of the imperative a sphere of hearing and absorption only -- God speaks to something; it is only a silent obedience to the demand of love. The soul is prevented from responding to the love. Why? It results from the uncertainty and doubt of what the response of God will be. The soul knows nothing of its fate and asks, "What shall I answer to the demand for love? I am enveloped in the disgrace of past sin, and maybe God will not accept my apology, my confession, and will not return l love for love notwithstanding his demand that I love." At this point, God has not yet proclaimed "I love you" (Star 212).

The soul of man remains silent, ashamed for its earlier transgression which permits not a moment's peace. Lacking all trust, confidence and certainty of the fate of God's declaration, the soul becomes depressed and gloomy. This situation is concluded from the lack of certainty, qualms and doubt which eat away at every part of the soul and from the will and courage to acquire the love of God, for the soul must be saved from the shame of the past sin. All this worried the soul, which is helpless, depressed and fearful (Star 210-211). Lacking the faith that God will forgive him, he becomes melancholic (*in deepest darkness") (Star 211). The bothersome condition spreads throughout his soul, which flutters trembling, in a world of silence. It is traumatized and filled with self-loathing. This is based on Star, page 211, "The mouth has to acknowledge its past and still present weakness by wishing to acknowledge its already present and future bliss," and, on page 215, "Individually experienced belief had already found within itself the highest bliss destined for it. Now it also finds the highest certainty possible for it... Now it knows: it need but stretch out its right hand in order to feel God's right hand coming to meet it." It follows the command in bewilderment, seized by the suffering of his past sin, and seeks God's assistance to gain respite.

And suddenly, the radical, psychic "shock" comes as does the shout, a massive burst of feeling -- the soul dares to admit its "frailty." It says, "I have sinned," and confesses its present sin. There is no longer a past sin. The soul say, "I was a sinner," and now, "I am a sinner,"changing from the past to the present tense. In this manner the soul overcomes shame and insecurity, and becomes confident that God will forgive it as if he had said, "I forgive." The dialogue is realized. "I have sinned" should be read "I am a sinner," with 'I' being the basic word of the dialogue"... (for) God speaks as 'I' directly from within him...Only an 'I' and not a 'he', can pronounce the imperative of love…” (Star 210). This stage marks the admission of real love, whole love, the end of the command "you will love" and its perfection. Since the imperative "love me" in fact cannot remain imperative alone because a response is required, Rosenzweig maintains that the obedience to the commandment cannot remain mute. Therefore, the commandment can be seen as complete only with a response, the first stage being "I sinned." It is true that, theoretically, the commandment is only the first part which states "love me", but, as noted above, practically speaking, it can be seen as complete only when the response is given, thus effectuating the commandment, ,and not letting it remain in empty space. The soul, at the last stage of the prior conditions,  is on its path to attaining the happiness of being loved.

The above table and subsequent explanation depict the place of the commandment "you will love" and several focal points of the commandment.

These foci serve as a basis for the detailed discussion of the second condition to man's meeting his God.

The discussion of the characteristics of the commandment will be divided into a number of sections:

1.       Investigation of the parts of the commandment; "you will love" in its total    construction.

2.       Time within which the commandment is valid.

3.      The subjective side of the command.

4.       Its singularity in comparison with other commandments.

5.      Can love be commanded?


[i] Martin Heidegger, Sein und Zeit, 282,219-226: "Der traditionelle Wahrbeitsbegriff und Seine ontologischen Fundsmente." See also, "Investigation", 22-24, 39-40.

LIST OF SOURCE MATERIAL ABBREVIATIONS

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

Star

 





 
     
     
     
   
 
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