Tuesday, 6 January 2015
Not in Heaven: The Nature and Function of Halakha,
Eliezer Berkovits, Ktav, 1983, page 1-2
Here, Berkovits points to the function of 'halakha' - Jewish law - or, more literally, "the walking", how to do it.
Halakha is the bridge over which the Torah moves from the written word into the living deed. It is handed down from generation to generation and accompanies the Written Torah along its journey of realisation in the innumerable concrete situations through which the Jewish people passes in the course of its history.
Since we are all alive in our specific times and contexts, there is no such thing as life in general. Halakha must therefore re-bridge the gap between theory and practice for each generation. Perhaps never more so that in our days, as Berkovits says:
The Torah has to become effective anew in the midst of revolutionary changes in the world situation as well as in the condition of the Jewish people. There has never been greater need for Halakha's creative wisdom of Torah-application to the daily realities of human existence than in our day.
Does that make sense?