The Midrash: A Model for God's Voice in a Secular Society

A Jewish Perspective

in European Judaism
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  • 1 University of Haifa, Israel
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Abstract

The challenges of faith moved from battling scientific perceptions to struggling with post-modern despair, rooted in a pessimistic reduction of humanity to power structures. Midrash, as a mode of charitable reading of scriptures, offers a model for wider commitment to charitable conversation with the other. Applying a Midrashic approach towards both texts and people means seeking good intentions and ethical potential in the words, deeds and thoughts of the other. Thus, trust and commitment to Midrashic dialogue is the leap of faith, arching over the seemingly forced understanding of humanity as mainly concerned with the construction of power structures. Noting that committed adherents of a religion are nurtured with the will and capacity to perform charitable reading of scriptures, but at the same time are exposed to the danger of being trapped in their distinct semantic networks, this article offers a continuous dialectic tension, moving back and forth between committed charitable reading and self-criticism.

Contributor Notes

Moshe Lavee teaches Rabbinics and directs the eLijah-Lab and BSc programme in Digital Humanities at the University of Haifa. His research deals with identity and gender in rabbinic literature and Aggadic Midrash in the Cairo Genizah. Moshe is involved in various inter-and intra-faith dialogue circles. His academic book The Rabbinic Conversion of Judaism was published in 2018, and his poetry book, Yet Between Thy Teeth, is due to be published in 2020.

European Judaism

A Journal for the New Europe

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