inloggen
×

Mijn Crescas

Inloggen met gebruikersnaam & wachtwoord






Zonder wachtwoord snel inloggen?

Columns

Weblogs disclaimer

Nathan Lopes Cardozo

Rabbijn Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo (1946) werd geboren in Amsterdam en woont sinds 1977 in Israël. Als kind van een Portugees-Joodse vader en een niet-Joodse moeder heeft hij een lange weg afgelegd. Op zijn 16e is hij ‘uitgekomen’ (Joods geworden) bij Chacham Salomon Rodrigues Pereira. Jaren later haalde hij zijn rabbijnentitel aan de orthodoxe Gateshead Yeshiva. In Jeruzalem richtte hij de David Cardozo Academy op. Rabbijn Lopes Cardozo publiceert regelmatig en neemt daarbij geen blad voor de mond.

vrijdag 21 juni 2019

Part 2 of ‘My Struggle with Persuasion and the Truth Concerning other Religions’. Ten questions for Rabbi Cardozo by Rav Ari Ze'ev Schwartz. For question 10 Part 1, see here.

Question 10, Part 2:
In your writings, you quote both rabbis and philosophers. On the one hand, you draw your insights from great rabbis such as the Rambam, the Kotzker Rebbe, Rav Kook, Rav Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Rav Eliezer Berkovits. On the other hand, you seem to equally find inspiration from great philosophers such as Baruch Spinoza, Emmanuel Levinas, Franz Rosenzweig, and Martin Buber. Rabbis tend to focus on loyalty to tradition, while philosophers seem to feel freer to question and seek truth regardless of tradition. Rav Cardozo, do you see yourself more as a rabbi, or as a philosopher? And part two of this question: Do you think that having the official title of "Rabbi Cardozo" suppresses your true thoughts, or does it rather help to express them?

Nathan Lopes Cardozo: Now, I'm going to make an unexpected switch. I know that I'm running the risk of having some readers not understand what I'm trying to get at, having them accuse me of arrogance, and even infuriating them. Still, I'll take that risk for reasons that I will try to explain.

I often wonder how I would have done had I been the pope. Yes, that's a strange question to ask. But I believe I would have done pretty well. The reason is obvious. There is no greater spiritual business opportunity than the papacy. The Catholic Church consists of 1.2 billion people spread throughout the world. When you follow the life of Pope John Paul II (1920-2005), you can see how great is the power of speech and how many people you can bring into "the faith." John Paul was larger than life and possessed unusual charisma. He was known as "the flying pope," because much of his time was spent in airplanes that took him to every corner of the world to preach the gospel. When you watch the massive Masses he conducted, where a gathering of a million – largely consisting of young people – was considered a small crowd, or if you see what happened at St. Peter's Square in Rome when he appeared for the first time as pope, or how millions of people including non-Catholics came to bid him farewell after he died, you are utterly astonished by the outpouring of religious spontaneity, emotional responses, and spiritual upheaval.

This is unprecedented. The same seems to happen with the current Pope Francis. He, too, has a great deal of charisma; and his humility and desire to live an austere life makes him extremely popular and influential.

One must realize that the pontificate was originally founded on the position of the Kohein Gadol (High Priest) in the days of the Temple in Yerushalayim. Later on, the Church disconnected it from the position of High Priest and transferred it to Paul in the New Testament. So that's really a later invention to avoid admitting that the papacy has its roots in Judaism, and is an attempt to reject Judaism in its entirety. While the High Priest was to primarily serve the Jewish people, the truth is that his task was to serve all of humankind, since the Temple was to be a place where all the nations of the world could worship God (Yeshayahu 56: 6-7); and it was the Kohein Gadol who stood at the center of the Temple service.

However blasphemous this may sound, the Kohein Gadol was to be the original pope. Basically, the papacy is a Jewish function, tasked not with the mission of spreading the gospel, but rather promulgating monotheism, morality and the Torah, as far as it is applicable to the non-Jewish world. I therefore claim that, while I doubt I have the charisma of John Paul II, or of Francis, I could have done a reasonable job as a Jewish pope. And so could other rabbis.

In fact, I can think of rabbis of the past and present who could have done a much better job than I could ever do: Maimonides, Rav Kook, Rav Abraham Joshua Heschel and, lehavdil ben chayim lechayim, Rav Yitz Greenberg, one of the most important Orthodox rabbis in the United States and, sadly, almost completely unknown in Israel. (By the way, Rav Kook was a Kohein, and so is Rav Greenberg. I, however, am not!)

Although I am not a follower of Chabad, I believe that the last Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson z"l, would have been an excellent candidate. While he was a fervent traditionalist, he possessed a messianic and universal vision in which Judaism would play an important role in the future. Not only did he build the largest Jewish outreach program worldwide, which despite its shortcomings was and is remarkably successful even after his passing, but his shlichim (emissaries) are to be found in every corner of the world. (Not much different from the Catholic Church, but on a much smaller scale!) Moreover, he constantly emphasized the need to make contact with the non-Jewish world and promulgate "the seven mitzvot of Noach," as expressed by the sages in the Talmud and by Maimonides (Sanhedrin 56a-60b, and Rambam's Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Melachim 8:10; 10:12). These laws may be called the "Ten Commandments" for the non-Jewish world. They are the basis of all monotheistic morality and played an enormous role in the development of international law. (See the works of the great non-Jewish jurists: Hugo Grotius's De Jure Belli ac Pacis, 1625, and John Selden's De Jure Naturali et Gentium Juxta Disciplinam Ebraeorum, 1640). The Rebbe asked President Ronald Reagan to publicly emphasize these seven commandments, which the president did on April 4, 1982, in celebration of the Rebbe's 80th birthday.



However, the truth is that over time the Kohein Gadol was unable to do the job. There are several reasons for this.

Firstly, the position of High Priest was compromised in the days after Yehudah the Maccabee, when it was taken over by the Hasmonean dynasty in defiance of Jewish law. After the Roman conquest (63 BCE), and especially during Herod's rule (37-4 BCE), the position of Kohein Gadol deteriorated and ultimately became a political tool in the hands of the Romans. It later fell into the hands of the Sadducees who rejected the Oral Law, after which the sages of Israel denied it any authority.

Secondly, convincing the non-Jews to accept pure monotheism was a very difficult, if not impossible, task. It required enormous manpower and power of persuasion, which the Jews were unable to provide. The non-Jewish, hedonistic world was deeply committed to idol worship. It just could not buy into pure, uncompromising monotheism. Nor were they ready to accept the moral values taught by the Torah, because they were deeply rooted in unethical practices including (possible) child sacrifices and other abominable rituals.

Thirdly, the Jews themselves had great difficulty extricating themselves from every form of idolatry and immoral practice, and they just could not muster the strength to take up this task of spreading monotheism and morality with the High Priest at its center. They also suffered from severe infighting and consequently didn't have the time or energy to turn outward and focus on the non-Jewish world.

Somewhere along the way, we Jews lost the plot and left it to the non-Jews and the Church to take over. Instead of the High Priest or the chief rabbi becoming the pope, the task was left to a non-Jew. This is not a kind of "replacement theology" – as the Church wanted to see it – by which the Jews stopped being the Chosen People, but a "theology of missed opportunity."

There may however be another primary reason why the task of High Priest fell into the hands of the pope. As mentioned before, the hedonistic world just could not fully accept monotheism and its ethical values. It was still too grounded in modes of idol-worship and immoral practices. The famous concept of Maimonides in relation to sacrifices in the Temple is that one cannot just go from one extreme to the other overnight and completely abolish sacrifices, which the (non-)Jewish world was originally used to as a major expression of religiosity. Based on this concept, a compromise to human weakness was necessary, and sacrifices were still permitted, but this time in the service of God (see A Guide for the Perplexed, 3:32), with the hope that one day it would just vanish.

One could argue that Catholicism is built on the Maimonidean concept of compromise due to human weakness. It provided and still provides a compromised kind of monotheism, which includes ideas such as the trinity and incarnation.

It was therefore not possible for the Kohein Gadol to take on the task of what would later be the pope's, since there was one thing that Judaism could never compromise on and that was unadulterated monotheism. To put it differently: Judaism could never allow a compromised monotheism, even as an intermediate stage, and even if it was due to human weakness. It may have permitted this (according to Maimonides) with the sacrifices, but not with something as fundamental as monotheism. So it had to leave this to the Church and the papacy, until the Church would grow out of these beliefs and practices. I would even argue that "this was from God" (Tehillim 118:23). And so it fell into the hands of the Catholic Church and the pope, with the hope that one day they would grow out of these ideas (I think there are already signs of this) and would give up on these beliefs.

Then, the papacy would return to its original task, which means returning to its full glory by way of the High Priest. In other words: The pope is a compromised and diluted Kohein Gadol; and once the Church purifies itself from its weaknesses, it will have to return this task to the real High Priest in Yerushalayim.

This is closely related to the fact that—to use an expression by Rabbi Yitz Greenberg—we may be living (since the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel) in the third epoch of Jewish history, which requires a new approach to religion, Halacha, and our attitude toward gentiles. It seems that the Lubavitcher Rebbe was aware of this, at least to a certain degree. (For a comprehensive overview of Rabbi Greenberg's ideas, see A Torah Giant: The Intellectual Legacy of Rabbi Dr. Irving (Yitz) Greenberg, ed. Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, Ktav-Urim Publications, Jerusalem/New York, 2018. See also LeNevuchei HaDor by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook.)

It is important to mention that whether there will indeed be a third Temple built on the Temple Mount is a matter of debate. It may be a metaphysical concept with no physical manifestation (See Rabbi Ovadia Sforno on Shemot 25:9 s.v. ve-chein ta'asu). Whether this will affect the position of the Kohein Gadol is unclear. That position may slowly transform into the role of the Mashiach. But we'll have to leave that discussion for another time.

Well, I still have not answered all your questions, so we'll continue next week.

Delen |

Uw reactie:

vul de beveiligings-code in
aug 2019When Times Change, Jewish Education Changes
aug 2019The Sweetening of the Divine Word
aug 2019A Command to Cancel the Commandments Tolerating Heresy
jul 2019Life: The Courage to Say 'Li'
jul 2019The Divine Insanity of Halachic Chess
jul 2019Limmud
jun 2019The Embarrassment and Honor of Being Called a Rabbi, and Third-Epoch Halacha
jun 2019The High Priest, the Pope and I
jun 2019My Struggle with Persuasion and the Truth Concerning other Religions
jun 2019Is the Torah Divine? Thoughts for Shavuot on Combustibility
mei 2019A Vote of Confidence
mei 2019To Madonna
mei 2019On Music Baths And Art As Religious Protest
mei 2019Yom Ha’atzmauth The Eternal Marriage
mei 2019My Chareidi and Modern Orthodox Struggles Question 9, Part Two
apr 2019Bread is an Arrogant Matza
apr 2019Question 9 My Chareidi and Modern Orthodox Struggles Part One
apr 2019The Israeli Elections Radical Otherness
mrt 2019Faith and Freedom The Passover Haggadah of Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Berkovits
mrt 2019Thoughts to Reject Purim
mrt 2019My Hardship with Honest Teaching And Its Privilege
mrt 2019My Controversy with the Mainstream Orthodox Community – Part 2
mrt 2019My Controversy with the Mainstream Orthodox Community – Part 1
feb 2019My Fascination with the Chaotic World of the Talmud Ten Questions for Rabbi Lopes Cardozo
feb 2019The Kotzker, Spinoza and I Ten Questions for Rabbi Cardozo
feb 2019The Sanctity of Shabbat Yes to the Ayalon Bridge, No to the Eurovision Song Contest
feb 2019My Search for and Momentary Loss of God
jan 2019Why I (Refuse to) Pray Ten Questions for Rabbi Cardozo
jan 2019Torah Reaches Beyond the Boundaries of Strict Halacha
dec 2018An interview with Rabbi Cardozo: Taking issue
dec 2018Parashat Miketz The Pain of Being a Tzaddik
nov 2018Parashat Vayeshev Divine Emanations, Chanuka and the Future of the State of Israel
nov 2018Parashat Vayishlach Amalek, Jewish Injustice, Converts and a Warning to the Chief Rabbinate
nov 2018Parashat Vayetze Be Fearful of Religion (1)
nov 2018Parashat Toldot Admitting A Mistake: Even God Does
nov 2018Pittsburgh - In Memory of Its Victims Faith, Death and Frontal Encounter (A Short Insight while on the ...
okt 2018The Curse of Religious Boredom
okt 2018Parashat Noach
okt 2018Introduction to Torah Torah: The Unavoidable and Disturbing Text
sep 2018Simchat Torah: The Unapproachable Text
sep 2018Simchat Torah Technology and the Outdated Torah Scroll
sep 2018Rosh HaShana: Fairy Tales and Humor
aug 2018Rosh HaShanah: What Really Counts
aug 2018The Joy of Saying: I am Sorry The Portuguese Spanish Selichot
aug 2018Parashat Shoftim Surround Yourself with Cleanliness
aug 2018Achieving Unity While Remaining Divided
jul 2018Tish'a B'Av – The Ninth of Av Who Needs the Temple?
jul 2018The Controversy Surrounding My Louis Jacobs Memorial Lecture
jun 2018Scandalous Halachic Decisions Ethiopians and Wine
jun 2018Parashat Chukat The Curse of Religious Coercion
jun 2018Conversion An Open Letter to Israel’s Chief Rabbis
jun 2018Parashat Behaalotecha Theocracy, Democracy, and Halacha *
mei 2018Why a Second Day Yom Tov? The Incomparable Greatness of the Land of Israel
mei 2018Atheism: Belief in the Unbelievable I have tried to be an atheist, but skepticism always got in the way
mei 2018Parshat Bechukotai To Have or to Be, That Is the Question
mei 2018Sefirat HaOmer The Secret to Human and Rabbinical Autonomy
apr 2018The Tragedy and the Challenge A Forgotten Mission
apr 2018Seventy Years of an Unyielding 3,330-Year Marriage Yom Ha'atzmaut
apr 2018Yom HaShoa – Jewish Life or Just Israeli Life? Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai or A.B. Yehoshua?
mrt 2018The Great Mystery: Why Karpas?
mrt 2018Plato’s Haggada in the “Dialogues”
mrt 2018An Open Letter to Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and the Charedi Leadership
mrt 2018Collapsed Halacha and Moshe’s Mask
mrt 2018Megillat Esther and the Nervous-Syndrome Chess Game
feb 2018Conversion and the Birth of Amalek A Warning to the Chief Rabbinate
feb 2018Finding One's Neshome (1) Franz Rosenzweig and the Berliner Shtiebel
feb 2018The Enduring Preciousness of the Secular Jew *
feb 2018The Challenge of Yitro Would Yóu Convert?
jan 2018Parshat BeShalach Jewish Self Delusion
jan 2018Circumcision: Why Risk Your Child's Well-Being? A Call to All Israelis.
jan 2018Moses The Successful Failure
jan 2018Jesus, a Warning to Our Rabbis
dec 2017Halacha Means Full Liberty To Be Secular Would Be Hell: Everything Would Be Forbidden
dec 2017Soul Jews and Halachic Jews
dec 2017Codifying Jewish Law is Not Authentic
dec 2017Jewish Law (Halacha) as Rebellion
nov 2017Be Fearful of Religion Parashat VaYetze
nov 2017The Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu
nov 2017The Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu
nov 2017The Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu Lectures and the Academy
okt 2017The Wonder of Judaism The Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu
okt 2017Freud’s Subconscious Discovery of God
okt 2017Afterthoughts on Simchat Torah: The Unbending Sefer Torah
okt 2017Sukkot Is a State of Mind Nakedness and a Desert Full of Snakes
okt 2017Afterthoughts on Yom Kippur Ultimate Love and the Danger of Religious Exhaustion*
sep 2017An Open Letter to My Synagogue The Curse of Indifference
sep 2017Embryonic Judaism The Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu
sep 2017The Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu Tentative Thoughts Toward a Jewish Religious Renaissance
aug 2017The Turmoil in the USA
aug 2017Jewish Law (Halacha) as Rebellion (2)
aug 2017Jewish Law (Halacha) as Rebellion
jul 2017In Defense of Rabbi Dweck and Orthodox Judaism An Open Letter to Rabbi S. F. Zimmerman, Rav of Gateshead, ...
jun 2017The Waters of Strife The Devastation of Religious Coercion Parshat Chukat
jun 2017A Modern Day Inquisition Rabbi Joseph Dweck The Tragic Story of Rabbinical Small-mindedness
jun 2017Speaking Lashon Hara about the World
jun 2017The Holocaust: Divine Retribution?
mei 2017The Desert and the Wandering Divine Word
mei 2017The Ban on Circumcision Blatant Anti-Semitism and Ignorance
mei 2017Kohanim: The Challenge of Educational Dissent
mei 2017Are We Really Living at the Dawn of the Redemption? Afterthoughts on Yom Ha’atzmaut
apr 2017Boredom and the Immature Elderly
apr 2017Pesach: God’s Sporadic Presence and Overwhelming Absence in Human History
mrt 2017Parshat Vayikra The Trouble with Sacrifices Why Spinoza’s Ethics Were Not Given at Sinai
mrt 2017Johann Sebastian Bach and the Tent of Meeting
mrt 2017An open letter to Rabbi Cardozo in response to his article on Rav Soloveitchik Rabbi J.B. Soloveitchik ...
mrt 2017Purim and the Challenge of the Holocaust
mrt 2017Thoughts to reject For the Early Connoisseur Purim
feb 2017Sinai Now!
feb 2017Parashat Yitro Racism and the Wisdom of a Gentile
feb 2017The Genius and Limitations of Rabbi Joseph Ber Soloveitchik z”l
feb 2017The Chief Rabbinate and Its Disgrace Who Is an Exceptionally Great Sage?
jan 2017The Unknowable, Loving and Aggravating God “I am as I shall be” (*Shemot* 3:14)
jan 2017Rabbinical Tyranny and Freedom of Thought
jan 2017Calling for Religious Unity Only Leads to Division The Need for Personal Conscience
jan 2017Syria and the Scandal of our (Orthodox) Synagogues
dec 2016Divine Emanations, Cause and Effect, and Chanukah
dec 2016God is not a “what,” nor a “when”, and not even a “who” God and the Fires
dec 2016God and The Fires “Because of Our Sins, This Has Befallen Us?”
dec 2016The Purpose of Sefer Bereishit The Abuse of Halacha: Keeping Halacha under Control Part 2
nov 2016The Abuse of Halacha: Keeping Halacha Under Control Part 1
nov 2016Walking Mountains, Shabbat and the Buddha
nov 2016The Curse of Religious Boredom
nov 2016Torah: The Unavoidable and Disturbing Text
okt 2016Torah from Heaven The Deliberately Flawed Divine Torah The Theology of the Halachic Loophole
okt 2016Approaching Tragedy with Joy
okt 2016Yom Kippur: Who is Able to Eat?
sep 2016Do We Dare to Blow the Shofar?
sep 2016Against Indifference Prayer for the World
sep 2016God Does Not Exist So Let Us Serve Him! For Poets, Musicians, Artists and Deep Souls
sep 2016For Poets, Musicians, Artists and Deep Souls The Hopelessness of Dogma and the Beauty of faith
sep 2016Let Us Violate Shabbat So As To Sanctify It The Holy Day and the Tel Aviv Railway
aug 2016Wanted: Rabbis with Knives between Their Teeth The Need for a Genuine Upheaval
aug 2016A Slap in the Face to the Holy One Blessed Be He?
aug 2016Rabbinic Despair and Simple Courage
aug 2016The Chaos Theory of Halacha
jul 2016How the Mighty Have Fallen On Joy and Jealousy
jul 2016Faith is the Joy of Religious Doubt and Uncertainty
jun 2016The Kotel Have We Gone Mad? A Call to All Denominations and Other “Holy” Warriors
jun 2016Israel, the American Elections and the Turmoil in Our World A Parable
jun 2016Shavuot Would You Convert? Like Yitro?
jun 2016Orthodox Rabbi Teaching Halakha Beyond the Shulkhan Arukh, Judaism Beyond the Commandments
mei 2016Parshat Bechukotai The Miracle of Satisfaction
mei 2016Sefirat HaOmer: What Really Counts
mei 2016An Unyielding Marriage of 3500+ Years Yom Ha’atzmauth
mei 2016Yom Hashoa The Quest for Authenticity Rembrandt and the Holocaust
apr 2016Blessed Are Those Who Eat Chametz!
apr 2016Plato’s Advice: Do Not Read The Haggada!
apr 2016The True Art of Sport: Game or Torture?
apr 2016Are You Really Eating Kosher? On Camouflage, Hypocrisy and Hiding behind the Kashrut Laws
mrt 2016The Making of an Enemy The Birth of Amalek
mrt 2016Purim, God’s Hidden Face, and the Advantage of a Permanent Job
mrt 2016The Hazard of Fluency
mrt 2016Rabbinical Courage and the Frozen Text
feb 2016Have Some Pity on the Anti-Semite!
feb 2016Shut Down the Kotel!
feb 2016A Remorseless Judaism
feb 2016Milk and Meat: The Dangerous Mixture
jan 2016Halacha as the Art of Playing Chess Divine Insanity
jan 2016Am I Still Orthodox? Answer to a Jerusalem Rabbi
jan 2016The Desecration of Halacha
jan 2016The Threat of Freedom
dec 2015Amsterdam Spinoza Symposium It Is Time to Lift the Ban
dec 2015Arguing Against Oneself: Joseph’s Self-Revenge
dec 2015Needed: Redemptive Halakha How Halakha Must Transcend Itself
dec 2015Chanukah: Hypocrisy or Authenticity
nov 2015A Prophetic View: The Gentile Aliyah Epidemic
nov 2015Oh, that I Could Take Off My Kippah!
nov 2015Admitting A Mistake: Even God Does
nov 2015 How Old Would You Be If You Did Not Know How Old You Are?
okt 2015The Religious Scandal of Akeidat Yitzchak and the Tragic God
okt 2015Israel: The Blessing of Insecurity
okt 2015God, Where are You? An open letter
okt 2015Simchat Torah: Rush or Stagnation
sep 2015The Trouble with Kal Nidrei We Are All Marranos
sep 2015Rosh Hashana Is Judaism Your Supreme Passion? (1)
sep 2015Courage, Rabbis, Courage! The Need For Mass Conversion
aug 2015Conversion and Annie Fischer’s Interpretation of Schumann’s Klavierkonzert in A Minor
aug 2015Conversion Is Not About Halacha
aug 2015The Immortal Highway
aug 2015Marriage: The Courage to Say ‘Li’
jul 2015Torah: Hearing the Divine Voice at Sinai Now
jul 2015The Temple Is of Little Importance, It Is the Eye of the Needle That Counts
jul 2015The Supreme Court of the United States, Same-Sex Marriage and Other Prohibitions
jul 2015Faith Means Joyful Uncertainty
jun 2015Religion is Dangerous; Plato, Halacha and Dreams
jun 2015The Dangling Bridges of Halacha Making rules where rules should not exist
jun 2015Bold Ideas: Take the Bike or Tram, Get a Free Coffee, and Observe Shabbat! (1)
jun 2015Halacha: The Disturbing Search for God
mei 2015Make Anti-Semitism a Source of Jewish Pride
mei 2015Shavuot, The Wonder and Glow of God’s Word
jul 2014De paradox van ‘Wie is een Jood’
mei 2014Joden, Sisyphus en Sport – (Met enige ironie!)
mei 2014God is aan het verhuizen
apr 2014Seideravond: karpas en de veelkleurige mantel
feb 2014Groots denken omtrent het jodendom
dec 2013The Abuse of Halacha
nov 2013Limmoed en het orthodoxe fiasco