The Biblical Outlook
Topics in Jewish Philosophy
By Rabbi Shlomo Polachek
Penina Press, 2012, 463 pages
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - September 5, 2012
Rabbi Polachek offers readers his views of Jewish philosophy based solely on his reading of the Hebrew Bible along with some of his understandings of these passages in the Talmud. He does not include the views of Judaism's philosophers. He has 3680 footnotes, virtually all referring to biblical passages.
He discusses God's attributes such as God's eternal existence, omnipotence, wisdom, knowledge, mercy, and holiness; how God is involved in, rules, and supervises heaven and earth; divine revelations to many biblical persons since Adam and Eve; God's demands (where Polachek has 1430 notes) which "are binding for all times"; rewards and punishments (with 914 notes) which "apply to all mankind" and "are expressed within the framework of the revival of the dead"; repentance, atonement, and forgiveness where Polachek discusses overcoming sin; prayer where God "tends to answer the prayers of the righteous and the needy"; God's intervention in history; examples of divine actions on earth; and the end of days when: "Wicked people will be destroyed and salvation will come to the righteous."
In short, Polachek understands that God is involved in everything that occurs in heaven and on earth, has revealed divine requirements, and will reward those who obey and punish those who do not. He also understands that people can have a relationship with God and even obtain God's help through prayer.