800.33 Freedom and Responsibility/Selfhood (p.117)

hard cover page 117

arrow_up.gif freedom arrow_right.gif arrow_up.gif responsinility and arrow_up.gif self-hood:479

Eliezer Berkovits writes:

The God who calls man to responsibility is the guarantor of his freedom to act responsibly. As man accepts responsibility, he enters upon his God-given heritage of freedom. Or as the rabbis read it: “Freedom~on the Tablets.” Granting him freedom and calling him to responsibility, God has expressed his confidence in his creature, man. This, notwithstanding man’s disappointing performance in history, freedom remains for the Jew the foundation of his optimism.480

Man finds the meaning of his human existence in his capacity for decision, in his freedom of choice. It is a dreadful freedom, for it also means responsibility, but without it man would be as nothing.

Thus, man’s freedom is linked to man’s needs for privacy, responsibility, and selfhood. This multifaceted correlation may be traced back to the dynamic of knowledgelpotential chosen by man at Eden.482

——————- NOTES ——————-

479 See Sartre, “Existentialism and Humanism,” in Frazier, Issues in Religion, p. 356. “. . . man is condemned to be free. Condemned, because he did not create himself, yet is nevertheless at liberty, and from the moment that he is thrown into this world he is responsible for everything he does.”

480 Berkovits, Faith after the Holocaust, p. 61.

481 Herberg, Judaism and Modern Man, p. 13.

482 Note Soloveitchik, “The Lonely Man of Faith.” “For the sake of clarification of the double equation humanity = dignity and dignity = glorymajesty, it is necessary to add another thought. There is no dignity without responsibility.”

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