1040.00 MAN IS NOT ALONE, BUT ESSENTIALLY ON HIS OWN (pps.159-160)
hard cover page 159
Man is not alone in the cosmos, but in his own sphere man is indeed currently essentially on his own. Rather than being despondent that some cherished idols of dependency have proven fragile, man’s spirit should be exhilarated. He should be uplifted by the awesome potential he has been given in trust; by the confidence placed in him by his Deity; by the magnitude of his personal freedom.589
When on his own, man is truly an extension of, and in the image of, the Divine. As the Divine is free, so is man.
Man’s mission is to approach the spiritual heights; to put man in a position to someday grasp the stars. The Divine has given him the blessing/curse of a base of freedom from which to make his quest. Only from this base of freedom does man have the chance of becoming wholly holy. Only when a truly free man accepts upon himself the ol malchuth Shamayim (“yoke of heaven”) of the Covenant of Abraham and the Covenant of Sinai is the purity of na-ase ve-nishma (“we will agree to obey, and then we shall hear your directives”) fully reaffirmed.590
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589 The theme of man depending on himself, while maintaining his belief in God, is, of course, not brand-new in Judaism. The entire Megillat Esther is a case in point of Jews apparently even stretching beyond the limits of Halachah to protect their people in what is, in retrospect, sanctified by the Jewish historic consciousness.
Cf. Tillich, The Eternal Now, p. 17.
590 Title of a book by A. J. Heschel (Jewish Publication Society. 1951).
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