30.02 Elaboration (pps.20-31)
hard cover page 31
A variation on this theme is the response that posits a “dynamic tension” existing between the Jew’s faith in God and the searing problem of evil, the Jew maintaining both simultaneosly.111
The early Hasidic master Levi Yitzhak of Berdiczev once interrupted the sacred Yom Kippur service in order to protest that, whereas kings of flesh and blood protected their peoples, Israel was not protected by her King in heaven. Having made his protest, he recited the Kaddish, which begins with these words: “Extolled and hallowed be the name of God throughout the world.”112 The Jew has found it possible to simultaneously protest and praise.
Often the religious response will take the following form: One or more of the theodicies noted above will be cited, possibly in hybrid form, and the inquirer will be advised that any logical or emotional gaps must be bridged by “faith in God.” This response claims to provide an intellectual solution to the problem of theodicy, but in reality is effectively hinged on the “faith in God” defense. A thousand partial intellectual responses still do not equal one complete intellectual response. A panoply of partial solutions do not add up to one satisfying solution. In this case the whole is less than the sum of its parts. And bridging the shortcomings of a rational and reasoned response with “faith in God” is in reality dependent entirely on “faith.” And after all, “is not faith what religion is all about?” Yes, and no. Yes, for Western religion must ultimately rest on at least one leap of faith; but no. blind faith is not the end-all of religion, particularly Judaism.
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111 See also Greenberg, “Cloud of Smoke, Pillar of Fire.”
112 Fackenheim, God’s Presence in History, p. 76.
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