Magazine article Tikkun

The Tsunami

Magazine article Tikkun

The Tsunami

Article excerpt

Last January, I was asked to represent the Jewish community on CNN's Larry King Show. As part of a roundtable of world religious leaders speaking about our traditions' perspectives on the moral meaning of the tsunami, I discussed my Tikkun Mail article, "Where was God in the Tsunami?"

Tikkun Mail is read by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Many of the people who both read the original tsunami article and who watched me discuss its details on television responded favorably to my point that our conceptions of God have evolved over the course of history, and that today we need to let go of anachronistic ideas such as the tsunami being a punishment for our sins by a big-man-in-Heaven, judgmental, authoritarian God. Similarly, many viewers felt engaged by my description of God as the Force of Healing and Transformation in the universe, and my claim that seeing God as an "all-powerful, all-knowing superman" has deeper roots in Greek than in Judeo-Christian theology (without denying that there have been periods in which Greek thought became hegemonic in shaping Jewish and Christian theology).

In both Judaism and Christianity, there are examples of God as the opposite of all-powerful: God as suffering with human beings. In Judaism, this is expressed in the rabbinic notion of the Shechinab, or divine female presence, going into Exile with the Jewish people. (Earlier Biblical strands of God's vulnerability are demonstrated best by my teacher Abraham Joshua Heschel in his essay on "The Theology of Pathos" in his celebrated book, The Prophets. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.