The term Rationalist Judaism has been clanking around the Internet and Orthodox Jewish conversation for a while now. It’s not quite a movement, but there are some very strong contemporary voices behind Rationalist Judaism. Many people think the term is an oxymoron. Others think it is intellectually dishonest. Yet others think it is heresy. But without a working definition or at least a framework to understand what we are talking about, any conversation about Rationalist Judaism will result in people talking past one another and miscommunication.
Sometimes we have trouble related to the ancient story of the Exodus. If you’ve ever wondered if the story has lessons for us in 2013 this is the class for you.
Please enjoy this class on the Exodus story. It presents the story through a R’ Hirschian lens to make the story of the Exodus relevant to a modern Passover celebration. Feel free to leave any questions in the comments.
This class is appropriate for all levels of observance, experience, and interest.
I know many people who are uncomfortable with anything remotely German. They do not buy products from Germany, they would never visit for recreation, and they have a general distaste for the German language. I understand these people. I am not one of them.
It can be difficult to let go of the feelings that associate the Holocaust to Nazis and Nazis to Germans. For some, it is disrespectful to those who perished in the Holocaust to treat Germans like everybody else. I am not judging these people. At all.
As I said, I am not one of these people. It could be that I had no family who fell victim to the Nazis so it is less personal for me. I like to think that I should bear no resentment towards grandchildren and great-grandchildren of murderers. After all, they committed no crime. The physical land caused us no harm and the people who caused the harm are long gone. It seems that hatred towards present day Germany is irrational at best.
But again, I can understand this irrational belief.
In fact, when I think of Frankfurt or Germany my mind immediately turns toward R’ Hirsch and then to the incredible legacy of German Torah and Judaism stretching back to the first exile 2500 years ago.
Just because I have positive feelings towards modern Germany does not mean that the recent significance of the place is lost on me. I felt a particularly strong stirring inside me as our El Al jet raced down the runway and took off towards Israel. The surge of emotion that I felt brought tears to my eyes. It relates to Pesach and I think provides us a nice message as we begin this year’s Pesach celebration.