Sunday, November 21, 2010

U.S. Secret Service: Insensitive to Jewish Culture?

On Thursday November 18, 2010 I was interviewed at my residence by two special agents of the U.S. Secret Service.  The agents' concerns were raised by a blog post I had published that criticized and expressed my anger about President Obama's health care reform legislation.  Does anger with the president necessarily negate a deep fondness for the man and fundamental support for his policies?

In the Jewish tradition it is accepted practice for the disgruntled Jew to argue with God, to take Him to task.  Yes, the Jew is that brazen -- or blasphemous.  The never-ending contest between man and God is the subject of a book, Arguing with God: A Jewish Tradition by Anson Laytner.

Arguing With God: A Jewish Tradition provides a much needed scriptural and historical basis for a theology of protest. After the Shoah, and in a world where new violence is all too frequent, some find the accepted ways of thinking about and dealing with God inadequate. Laytner provides another option for those who find the other models of faith inadequate or impossible. He grounds his work in scripture and in tradition, showing that arguing with God does not represent such a radical break from the past. It also rooted in the idea that we must defend those who are unjustly suffering, and this is a much needed ethic in our world. Whether or not you end up pursuing this tradition yourself, Laytner's book is a must for anyone interested in exploring ways of thinking about God and being religious in a world of suffering.

This work shows that there is a long Jewish tradition of addressing, and contending with G-d. In face of the evils of the world the Jew is not simply silent and accepting but dares to question G-d. This is true in the Psalms, and in Job as it is later true with Rabbi Yitzhak Levi of Berditchev, and l'havdil Elie Weisel.

The profound idea that one comes closer to G-d, even when one dares to challenge G-d is one central theme of this very important work. Reading it one understands how one can remain a believing Jew while crying out against the evils of the world, and asking G-d, "Why?"

As I've said numerous times before, violence is for goyim.  I would like to add: So is silence in the face of a perceived wrong.  The Jew will vent his fury on God himself, if he believes the divine "Commander-in-Chief" is wrong.

1 comment:

Gary Freedman said...

Is the Secret Service insensitive to Jewish culture?

That question is screaming for an answer!