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Reconstructing for Tomorrow: God and Metaphor

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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

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