Rethinking Jewish Faith: The Child of a Survivor Responds

By Steven L. Jacobs | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Covenant: Involuntary? Voluntary? Nonexistent?

The notion of Brith or "covenant" that has remained as the very essence of Israel's faith and relationship between itself and its God must now be re-thought and redefined in light of the Shoah. A violated but never abrogated Torahitic understanding of covenant makes sense only in relationship to that God who acts in history. Why bother with any other? Covenant with God, whereby both God and Israel agree to certain stipulations in order to maintain harmony and equilibrium is no longer logical nor desirable outside of such historically traditional ways of thinking, nor has it ever been. Irving "Yitz" Greenberg's "voluntary covenant" becomes an option only for those who wish to enter into it-as does its opposite, a rejection of the entire enterprise. 1 The Shoah forces us to confront reality on a starkly tragic plane whether we wish to do so or not. Therefore, we can no longer trust in our supposed covenantal relationship with God to keep the enemy from crouching at our door, to use the biblicalprophetic metaphor. Nor can God, however we choose to understand Him or Her, trust us not to act in ways that would prove either a one-time or perpetual violation of sacred trusts as regards the living things of our earthly home. If we are now to enter into religiously sensitive and renewable covenants, they must be with each other as individuals, as communities, as nation-states. Humanity having now actualized and demonstrated the potential to destroy larger and larger groups, we Jews having now been the recipients of such destruction, together, we must guard against repetition by our continual willingness to engage in dialogue, despite our differences, even with those whose value systems we fundamentally reject. Historically and contemporarily, Russians and Americans, Jewish and Christians, Jews and Jews, Jews and Arabs, Jews and Palestinians, Jews and Germans, 2 Christians and Christians, Christians and Arabs, must, in fact, enter


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Rethinking Jewish Faith: The Child of a Survivor Responds


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 151

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?