March 15, 2012
Rabbi Heschel's Rhetoric of Revelation
Yehudah Mirsky, Jewish Ideas Daily
Standing at Sinai, "All the people were seeing the thunder" (Exodus 20:15), seeing the sounds. The word "revelation" would be somewhat misleading, since nothing was unveiled: The mountain was wreathed in cloud and smoke. But God spoke, in words and images, in the hope that the people were listening.
The Torah was given, as the world was created, in and through language; and language, in order to communicate—in order to be language at all—must be human. That is a paradox at the core of revelation. Torah is both the junction of God and humanity and the record of disjuncture (the whole and the broken Tablets, both in the Ark), a channel of infinite communication and a vessel of infinite longing. It is at once the world made by God,...
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