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166 SHOFAR Summer 1996 Vol. 14, No.4 ment of human wholeness that leads to a purging of those "desecrations brought about by human sin" (p. 111). Thus ritual, theosophy, and expiation become one through the simulation of death, a simulated death induced by the love of God itself. To use Fishbane's formulation, this practice demonstrates how a simulation of death-in-love was enacted in Jewish ritual as a way of" [i]ntegrating a manyrological 'configuration' into one's imagination" (p. 104). Such analyses do not make for easy reading, but they are well wonh the effon. Indeed, without such an understanding of the love for God in the Jewish tradition, one is hard-pressed to explain the centrality of love in the liturgy. The daily liturgy not only incorporates the great biblical exhonation to love the Lord with all of one's hean, soul, and might, but introduces it with a blessing on God's love. By positioning this blessing about God's love before the Shema"s demand to love God, the point is made that we are to love the god who loved us first. Since love is best aroused by the awareness of being loved, the commandment to love God becomes liturgically an act of reciprocity-"the love of the lover," to use Rosenzweig's expression. Indeed, it is God's love of Israel that produces a God-loving Israel. Thus the blessing goes on to entreat God to render one capable of returning the love. This book shows exactly how that was done in the history ofJewish spirituality. Any syllabus on the history of Jewish spirituality that includes this book will be the richer for it. Reuven Kimelman Brandeis University The Ethics of Responsibility: Pluralistic Approaches to Conventional Ethics, by Walter S. Wurzburger. Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1994. 156 pp. $20.00. Nothing is more welcome in the field ofJewish studies than a book which helps clarify the nature of traditional Judaism. We have lived with so many definitions that have been supplied by other faiths that we are filled with pleasure when a book appears and attempts to comprehend Judaism with devotion and knowledge. I do not mean that knowledge follows devotion, or that devotion follows knowledge. I take the conjunction seriously and speak of companionship. This is a book that has arisen from a life of study and practice, from a Harvard-trained philosopher and a rabbi ofgreat distinction. We might wonder how this amalgam ever took Book Reviews 167 place, but it did, and it produced one of the greatest thinkers in modern Judaism, a close associate of the late Joseph Soloveitchik, and in many ways a spiritual colleague of Hayyim ofVololzhyn and the Gaon of ViIna. Yes, in this book we approach the writings of an extraordinary believer and thinker. In his introductory words, Walter Wurzburger states precisely what he sets out to do: "It is generally assumed that traditional]udaism constitutes a pure legalistic religion that revolves exclusively around obedience to Halakhah. In this book, I hope to dispel this misconception and demonstrate that Jewish piety involves more than meticulous adherence to the various rules and norms of religious law, it also demands the cultivation of an ethical personality." These last words are deeply significant. They reveal the source of the book. These words remind us of Kant's remarks in his conclusion to the Critique of]udgment. There Kant indicated that the realization of the moral law demands the cultivation of the moral person. Without this person, the moral law is an empty theoretical expression. I doubt if Wurzburger would follow Kant too far in this direction. In fact, this emphasis on the person produced a Fichte and a Hegel. It was against this Kantian change that Isaac Breuer, a devoted Kantian, wrote his study of Rudolf Stammler and confirmed the sanctity of the divine revelation. We do not face an either/or situation. Wurzburger continues his remarks, saying that "from my perspective, Halakhah represents not merely the way of God-that is, a divinely revealed body of laws, it also functions as a way to God, leading not necessarily to mystical union with Him...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 166-169
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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