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Reconstructing for Tomorrow: God and Metaphor

We are not solely rational creatures, but also at the same time spiritual. One can be spiritual and at the same time not forego the rational…we can do a dance between them.

stream in forest

In our final conversation with Rabbi Deborah Waxman, we looked at new Reconstructionist approaches to God and the language of the divine, framed by a recorded interview with Rabbi Toba Spitzer. We examined how metaphors for God can enrich or frustrate one’s relationship with the divine, as metaphors that present an all-powerful, all-knowing God (such as “King,” “The Almighty,” or a heavenly parent) can leave Jews unfulfilled or in skeptical disbelief. Rabbi Toba explored how moving away from a set of metaphors based in hierarchies toward a new “spiritual language” creates possibilites for the development of God language that “speak[s] to our own experience and understanding.” We discussed how alternate metaphors, including water, place (makom), and wind/breath/spirit (ruach), can express the “breadth of our experience” with God.   

Resources

God in Metaphor: A Guide for the Perplexed by Rabbi Toba Spitzer

God & Metaphor by Rabbi Toba Spitzer

Awakening the Heart by Arthur Green, as referenced in Rabbi Deborah Waxman’s essay above

The Reconstructionist Network