Isaiah Berlin and Kant

Isaiah Berlin and Kant

Oct 21, 1995 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Bereishit

I like Isaiah Berlin’s favorite quotation from Kant: “Out of timber so crooked as that from which man is made nothing entirely straight can be built.”

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The Profundity of Genesis

The Profundity of Genesis

Oct 1, 1994 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Bereishit

The Torah’s story of creation is not intended as a scientific treatise, worthy of equal time with Darwin’s theory of evolution in the curriculum of our public schools. The notes it strikes in its sparse and majestic narrative offer us an orientation to the Torah’s entire religious worldview and value system. Creation is taken up first not because the subject has chronological priority but rather to ground basic religious beliefs in the very nature of things. And I would argue that their power is quite independent of the scientific context in which they were first enunciated.

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Back to the Beginning

Back to the Beginning

Oct 9, 1993 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Bereishit

Back to the beginning! Without losing a step, we move from the death of Moses back to the story of creation. Israel circles the Torah much as the earth does the sun, with Simhat Torah to mark the moment when one cycle ends and the next begins. From its light we draw our wisdom, our identity, our cohesion as a people. To hear it read weekly in the synagogue is to keep the experience of Sinai alive. But we need to prepare ourselves or else the power of the event will elude us. Hence, the study of the parasha should be the religious curriculum of our week.

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Bereishit

Bereishit

Jan 1, 1980

5 Thus said God the Lord,
Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
Who spread out the earth and what it brings forth,
Who gave breath to the people upon it
And life to those who walk thereon:

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Bereishit

Bereishit

Jan 1, 1980

1 When God began to create heaven and earth — 2 the earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water — 3 God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

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