Abstract

Martin Buber’s appreciation of Jewish ritual has often been misunderstood and criticized. His debate with Franz Rosenzweig over the difference between “law” and “commandment” sometimes suggests that he has rejected ritual practice altogether. That conclusion is unwarranted. This study investigates his understanding of rituals associated with what he calls “the idea of Zion” but which could more accurately be termed the “myth of Zion.” Buber thinks of Zion as an ideal and task established by ancient Israel’s encounter with divinity. Buber's treatment of that myth, of rituals such as the establishment of altars, the prayer for rain, and the mishnaic description of the Temple ceremony of the First Fruits show that he uses lessons taught by myths and rituals to initiate a new meeting with the divine through reflecting on group identity and its obligations and through recognizing the disjunction between reality and an ideal.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 28-49
Launched on MUSE
2016-07-30
Open Access
No
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