Thomas Ramey Watson

Excellent Hanukah Insights

Rabbi Michael Melchior writes:

Judaism, like all religions, embodies a very delicate balance between the particular and the universal.

When being faithful to this balance, we can contribute to a better world.

But when distorting this balance, we will contribute to endangering the future and the hopes of humankind.

I believe that those who have created priorities where love of the land supersedes love of man and of peace are distorting the Torah.

I believe that those who censor the Torah of such concepts as the natural morality of man, as the belief that God has created every human being in His image, and as the basic human right to respect and dignity which stems from this belief, are desecrating the Holy name of God.

I believe in a Judaism which is great, broad, and inclusive.

I am committed to the ruling of our great teacher the Rambam (Maimonides) who states, when it comes down to a conflict of priorities where saving human life is at stake, “and you shall observe my laws and my statutes, which when a man performs, he shall live by them (Leviticus 18, 4) – live and not die by them, because the statutes of the Torah are not vengeance in the world but mercy, loving kindness and peace.” This is not an abstract principle meant for festive speeches at inter-religious gatherings but a binding legal and moral guideline, which has dominated Jewish thinking since we received the Torah at Mount Sinai.

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