900.14b Proportionality (pps.139-140)
hard cover page 140
der our formulation, where Hester Panim is increasing as man’s knowledge is increasing, a high level of Hester Panim is treated as an exception only in pre-churban II (destruction of the Second Temple) times.544 In the post-churban II era, we would treat it as increasingly the rule.545 This approach parallels the views of Soloveitchik and Lamm, among others.
In the Second Temple siege, God did not show up, like the cavalry in the last scene of a Western movie, to save the day. God had, as it were, withdrawn, become more hidden, so as to give humans more freedom.
The Second Destruction means the end of prophecy: direct revelation is inappropriate in a world where God is not manifest.
Historical existence has been stripped of sacral implication for more than two centuries.
Rabbi Eleazar lamented that. ever since the destruction of the Temple , the gates of prayer were closed, and only those of tears were still open. In earlier Jewish experiences the divine self concealment had only been partial and temporary. Now it seemed otherwise. Now Rabbi Eleazar was forced to say: “Since the day of the destruction of the Temple , a wall of iron separates Israel from her Father in heaven.”
-T. B. Berachot549
The period of openly revealed miracles ended with Esther and Mordechai. A new emphasis was added to Jewish history. We had to find God’s hand not in the splitting sea or heavenly fire, but in everyday events.
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544 See Fackenhaim, God’s Presence in History, p. 4. “In a well-known Midrash it is asserted that what Ezekiel once saw in heaven was far less than what all of Israel once saw on earth. . . . In the sharpest possible contrast, the Israelites at the Red Sea had no need to ask which one was the King: ‘As soon as they saw Him, they recognized Him, and they all opened their mouths and said, “This is my God, and I will glorify Him” ‘ (Exod. 15:2). Even the lowliest maidservant at the Red Sea saw what Isaiah. Ezekiel, and all the other prophets never saw.”
545 See Maccoby, “Christianity’s Break With Judaism,” p. 4 1. “. . .rabbinic Judaism, unlike the Pseudepigrapha, has come to terms with the ending of prophetic inspiration. . . . the Pseudepigrapha themselves testify to the end of prophecy; otherwise why should they adopt the name of prophets of the past rather than prophesying in the names of their true authors?”
Cf. ibid. “Rabbinic Judaism acknowledges that prophecy has ended, but does not regard this as wholly a loss. Now begins the age of the rabbiâ€”in his way as considerable a figure as the prophet. . . .when Rabbi Eliezer tried to decide a halakhic matter by appeal to a voice from Heaven, he was sharply declared out of order, as was Rabbi Johanan ben Dahabai when he attempted to introduce legal rulings heard from ministering angels ‘behind the Cur- tain.’ ”
546 Fackenheim, To Mend the World, p. 196.
547. Greenberg, Perspectives: Voluntary Covenant, p. 7. More accurately, prophecy ended with the beginning of the Second Temple period.
548. Cohen, The Tremendum, p. 43.
549 T. B. Berachot 32b.
550 Resisei Laylah (probably by Zadok ha-Kohen of Lublin) chap. 56, as cited in Scherrnan, “An Overview: The Period and the Miracle,” p. xxxv.
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