Top critical review
lots to learn
on 27 January 2014
I have long been interested in liturgical history and development so it has been interesting to delve into the liturgy of another religion, Judaism. In the past, I did so via a liberal book on fasts and festivals. This book is orthodox so a little more difficult for me.
When we pray for things, are we expecting God to change everything or to change us? We need to be involved in the act of prayer. Reading from a prayer book does not mean that one is praying. Water, pools, springs and pools are often a symbol for that to which we return for refreshment in prayer. In contrast to the sometimes long-winded intercessions in Sunday church services: "it is forbidden to ask for the fulfillment of personal (physical) needs," on the Sabbath.
Contrary to those who claim to know the Jewish background to the parable of the Good Samaritan: Even the High Priest, who was forbidden any contact with the dead, unable even to take part in the burial of his own parents, was required to defile him¬self to perform this hesed shel emet if he came upon an unburied corpse. The greatest expression of God's loving kindness is therefore what He can do for the dead.
“The only places where prayer is forbidden are places identified with idolatry or sexual lewdness….” However, Rabbi Lionel blue testified as to the effects of prayer in a gay sauna in Amsterdam. Either god is everywhere or he is not.
Sound wisdom about weddings – the first blessing is not about the fulfilment of two people’s needs against the world.
A corrective to Zionism when it is solely political: Physical possession of Eretz- Yisrael and a love for the land are, in themselves, not enough to assure national survival and growth. There must be a spiritual dimension to Jewish life in the holy land. It is in this context that we can turn to the popular meaning of the verse that "man does not live by bread /alone."
There must be exceptions in times of extreme hardship but not here: Since a blessing for food is a formula for receiving God's permission to eat the food, and since per¬mission to eat the forbidden food has already been denied by God, to go ahead and eat it and then thank Him shows only defiance and contempt.
There is a ruling about what to do after making a mistake when praying silently from memory – you have to go back to a certain part of the prayer. I tend to think that God knows what we are saying anyway.