For the Love of Israel and the Jewish People
Essays and Studies on Israel, Jews and Judaism
By Nathan Lopes Cardozo
Urim Publications, 2008, 328 pages
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - August 17, 2010
This volume contains 58 essays, studies, and lectures delivered over several years by the well-known and respected rabbi who is the founder and dean of the David Cardozo Academy, which is dedicated to recapturing the ideals of Judaism based on classical Jewish sources. The rabbi spices his writings with modern writers, both Jewish and non-Jewish.
He recognizes, among a host of other things, that while Jews were exiled from the Land of Israel, the land integrated, became part of the Jews, and remained with them wherever they traveled throughout the world. He quotes Heinrich Heine who recognized that Jewish survival occurred because the Jews had a "portable fatherhood." When they were exiled from Israel, they carried with them a spiritual item that assured their survival, the Torah. Thus Jews survived because of the land and the Torah within them.
He offers a metaphor. Israel, unlike Egypt, which is watered by the Nile, depends on rain from heaven. So, too, Jews depend upon divine instruction, the Torah from heaven. He also compares the relationship of the Jew to Israel to the relationship of spouses in a good marriage.
Jews must do all they can today to assure that the State of Israel survives. The far right in Israel is increasing in numbers and may ultimately take control of the land, but they divorced themselves from secular studies and do not know the things they must know to assure the State's survival. Modern Orthodox Jews must find a way to help them learn these skills. He deplores the disrespect that various Jewish groups have for one another.
He asks many thought-provoking and interesting questions, such as the following. What right do parents have to circumcise their eight-day-old boy and enter him without his consent into Judaism? How and why did the religious parties in Israel fail? Why do many Jews who do not accept many Jewish ideas and principle still observe Jewish practices?