Saturday, July 5, 2008

Judaism as Math.

I had a revelation while working at the tea shop today. Yes, it was inspired by some things I was reading in Hartman's book that I mentioned in this post. I'm pretty sure this is nothing new, but it makes sense to me.

Judaism is like mathematics -- 99 percent of people need a personal application for it to resonate. 

You know what I mean, right? When I was in school, I loved math. I was the secretary of the math club, for Pete's sake! But the only reason I loved it was because I had professors who managed to offer me examples and applications that made the math make sense. Most people take math all through elementary and high school and by the time we hit Algebra we're all irritated because it's difficult to see these equations and formulas and theories applied in real life, and most teachers are so settled on the idea that math is what it is, that when asked how something relates, you're simply relayed the rules and told to apply them because that's how the forefathers of mathematics found things.

Judaism is very much the same way -- in both the circles of people who deny Judaism's authority and those who praise and represent it. On one end you have the people who are so fed up with trying to get how it applies to their life and what they personally believe that they just grow to deny the authority of Judaism. Then on the other end you have those who end up simply relating back to the rabbis who made the rulings authoritative without really stopping to think how it might apply personally.

And this, this is the problem with Judaism. Does that make sense? I need to elaborate more on this idea, definitely. But I think that thinking of Judaism like mathematics I've found something that makes sense to me. Does it make sense to you?

Shabbat shalom, friends and readers, and Happy Fourth of July!