Monday, May 26, 2014

Responsibility and Freedom in Judaism

In relation to my article "Response-able", here is an interesting take on responsibility from a traditional Jewish perspective, especially as this is clarified in the Jewish calendar:

"Passover, as just about everyone knows, celebrates the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery. While Shavuot, as fewer people realize, commemorates the Giving of the Law on Mount Sinai, arguably one of the most important events in human history....

Most important, the freedom of Passover without the law of Sinai would bring chaos. A society of only freedom and no rules would have no norms for behavior, no distinctions between right and wrong, and couldn't enforce such conventions even if it had them. A society controlled by pharaoh-like, state-declared law, on the other hand, would not give citizens the freedom that Passover—and, incidentally, the Declaration of Independence—proclaim to be our birthright, an endowment each person receives from the Creator....

Together Passover and Shavuot also teach that accepting the Ten Commandments at Sinai endowed the world with a sense of purpose and destiny. That acts as a guide for how to use freedom. The Passover story makes clear that God did not liberate the Jewish people merely to free them from bondage. God emancipated the Israelites to serve God in the desert, accept the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, and then strive to live them out in their daily lives."

The full article is here: