Tradition

‘One’ semantically represents the One God, the mystical One and Monism. However, in its detailed examination of the term ‘One,’ Hassidic philosophy finds that this term lacks a certain resilience and is not as watertight as the formulators of Hassidic thought would like. In their attempt to describe a higher and more consummate Oneness that they feel is the particular nature of the unio-mystica and also of Redemption. Moreover, as the idea of the ‘One God’ is the basis for ‘Monotheism,’ it is understandably a term, that although from a mystical perspective is interpreted as being beyond division, the mystical tradition feels that the idea has been misused and/or misunderstood as a description of the ‘One God of the world’ as opposed to the Monistic and mystical realisation of the Oneness of all Existence. Therefore, the term ‘Only’ is generally used in an attempt to describe the type of Oneness that expresses the mystical reality of there ‘Only’ being God.

Manifestly, an abyss separates the modernist form the traditionalist in their respective views of Torah. But an abyss, no matter how broad and deep, is a cleft in the earth's surface. the walls to either side will be of similar composition; they will be joined by a common ground below and may be even further united by a bridge from above. So, though the tradition and the modernist differ over Torah, both revere it, each after his own understanding and fashion; or to look to it for guidance and inspiration. And both stand on the same ground, are made of the same stuff, and surmount their disagreements in arches of shared purpose.

The salvation of Judaism cannot come either from Orthodoxy or from Reform. Orthodoxy is altogether out of keeping with the march of human thought. It has no regard for the world view of the contemporary mind. Nothing can be more repugnant to the thinking man of today than the fundamental doctrine of Orthodoxy, which is that tradition is infallible. Such infallibility could be believed in as long as the human mind thought of God and revelation in semi-mythological terms. Then it was conceivable that a quasi-human being could hand down laws and histories in articulate form. Being derived from a supramundane source, these laws and histories, together with the ideas based on them, could not but be regarded as free from all the errors and shortcomings of the human mind. Whenever a tradition contradicts some facts too patent to be denied, or falls below some accepted moral standard, resort is had to artificial interpretations that flout all canons of history and exegesis. The doctrine of infallibility rules out of court all research and criticism, and demands implicit faith in the truth of whatever has come down from the past. It precludes all conscious development in thought and practice and deprives Judaism of the power to survive in an environment that permits of free contact with non-Jewish civilizations.

There are, no doubt, a few who manage to acquire a high degree of modern culture and even to achieve distinction in some branches of modern knowledge without finding themselves intellectually at variance with Orthodoxy. They belong to those who see no need for welding tradition and experience into a unitary organised mental background. They willingly subscribe to the medieval principle that Torah and philosophy have nothing to do with each other, because it saves them a great deal of mental bother. But such is only a small eddy in the main current of Jewish life.

Nineteenth-century Reform in German had aimed at the following three objectives: (1) the substitution of a rationalist attitude to tradition for the on based on unquestioning faith, (2) the elimination of those religious observances and prayers which emphasised the particularistic aspect of Judaism, and (3) the shifting of emphasis from the legalistic to the prophetic aspect of Judaism. To counteract that threefold program, Orthodoxy proposed a program of its own, which called for the following: (1) faith in the supernatural origin of the written and oral Torah, (2) maintenance of all traditional observances and forms of worship, and (3) the continuance of the study of Torah in the traditional sprit. This program was intended to rule out any possibility of compromising with modernism. In practice, however, Orthodoxy did not shut out completely all tendencies that conflicted with tradition.

Modesty is the decoration of poverty, thanks-giving is the decoration of affluence and wealth. Patience and endurance are the ornaments and decorations of calamities and distress. Humility is the decoration of lineage, and eloquence is the decoration of speech. Committing to memory is the decoration of tradition (hadīth), and bowing the shoulders is the decoration of knowledge. Decency and good morale is the decoration of the mind, and a smiling face is the decoration of munifence and generiosity. Not boasting of doing favours is the decoration of good deeds, and humility is the decoration of service. Spending less is the decoration of contentment, and abondoning the meaningless and unnecessary things is the decoration of abstention and fear of God.

Why is the relational view difficult for many educators?

The relational view is hard for some American thinkers to accept because the Western tradition puts such great emphasis on individualism. In that tradition, it is almost instinctive to regard virtues as personal possessions, hard-won through a grueling process of character building. John Dewey rejected this view and urged us to consider virtues as “working adaptations of personal capacities with environing forces”. Care theorists expand this Deweyan insight and emphasize the role of our partners in interaction as a central factor in “environing forces.” We recognize moral interdependence. How good (or bad) I can be depends in substantial part on how you treat me. Acknowledging our moral interdependence means rejecting Kant’s claim that it is contradictory to make our ourselves responsible for another’s moral perfection. Care theorists insist that we must, indeed, accept such responsibility. Without imposing my values on an other, I must realize that my treatment of him may deeply affect the way he behaves in the world. Although no individual can escape responsibility for his own actions, neither can the community that produced him escape its part in making him what he has become.

I regard it as a duty which I owed, not just to my people, but also to my profession, to the practice of law, and to the justice for all mankind, to cry out against this discrimination which is essentially unjust and opposed to the whole basis of the attitude towards justice which is part of the tradition of legal training in this country. I believed that in taking up a stand against this injustice I was upholding the dignity of what should be an honorable profession.

A free society is a society in which all traditions have equal rights and equal access to the centers of power. A tradition receives these rights not because the importance the cash value, as it were) it has for outsiders but because it gives meaning to the lives of those who participate in it.

Traditions are neither good nor bad, they simply are... Rationality is not an arbiter of traditions; it is itself a tradition or an aspect of a tradition.

Results from a given approach are "facts" as long as the approach fits the group or the tradition that is being addressed.

Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own… Everyone when they are young knows what their destiny is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible… Everything depends on which path you take… Everything in life has its price… Everyone's looking for the perfect teacher, but although their teachings might be divine, teachers are all too human, and that's something people find all too hard to accept. Don't confuse the teacher with the lesson, the ritual with the ecstasy, the transmitter of the symbol with the symbol itself. The Tradition is linked to our encounter with the forces of life and not with the people who bring this about. But we are weak: we ask the Mother to send us guides, and all she sends are signs to the road we need to follow… Everything has changed; it's just that we can't see it… Everything on earth is being continuously transformed, because the earth is alive... and it has a soul. We are part of that soul, so we rarely recognize that it is working for us.... we continue to change as change is the nature of man. No one is just this way. That is who they are today - it will not be who they are tomorrow.

Here is an old tradition badly in need of return: You have to earn your way into politics. You should go have a life, build a string of accomplishments, then enter public service.

In the world today many people think that one can do without religion, and that they themselves have outgrown religion by reason of their evolution. Many have no religious belief, and therefore the world has never been in a more chaotic condition. No doubt one finds in tradition and in history that in the name of religion the selfishness and ignorance of mankind have been given free reign. This is the reason why man, revolting against this state of things, has forsaken religion and forgotten that spirit which, in the name of religion, has also played its part in the world.

Seven marks characterize the clod and seven the wise man. The wise man does not speak before one who is greater than he in wisdom and he does not break in upon the speech of his fellow. He is not hasty to answer. He asks what is relevant and answers according to the Halakah. He speaks on the first point first and on the last point last. Where he has heard no tradition he says, "I have not heard"; and he agrees to what is true. The opposites of these attributes are the marks of the clod.

Rabbi Akiva said: “Jesting and frivolity lead a man towards promiscuity. Tradition is a safeguarding fence around the Torah. Tithes are a fence to wealth. Vows a fence to abstinence. Silence is a fence to wisdom.”

Open Letter to the Holy Father. I take the liberty to write to You again… I can’t imagine that any other person in the world would have Your courage, Your credibility, as well as Your personal talent and God's grace to be able to speak up against an old tradition [of parents beating their children]… I am asking You again to make an appeal to all parents urging them to no longer beat their children, and to tell them that it is highly dangerous. If the Church continues to ignore the new scientific information and to stay silent about this issue in spite of the lessons of Jesus, who else can be asked to open the parents’ eyes in order to prevent the blind escalation of violence? I am sure that if my letters succeed to reach You personally You will not stay indifferent to the knowledge they are trying to pass on to you. With my most profound respect, Alice Miller.

No practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.

This is the way things go in philosophy. There are traditions and winds of doctrine and many seem shut into the tradition in which they have been brought up. There is vital need of communication. I may remark here, incidentally, that I have found European philosophers more shut into their traditions than Americans. This is not a matter of virtue of American thinkers but of historical circumstances. They have had to learn and assimilate until it came about that they could strike out on the paths which appealed to them. Such independence was not always welcomed abroad when it occurred. This, I think, happened in the case of pragmatism and, in some measure, with realism. And, then, curiously enough, when what was regarded as a stalemate in the realistic movement occurred—how justifiable remains to be seen—a new kind of colonialism manifested itself in the United States. One soon heard only of analysis a la Moore, of Wittgenstein, and of logical positivism. This to be followed by existentialism. I do not say this attitude was universal. There remained many Deweyites and the study of Peirce increased. But I had to work rather alone. I continued to circle around perceiving, evolutionary levels, double knowledge of the mind-brain functioning and humanism. That is the way things go and one must have what has been called intestinal fortitude. I think the situation is somewhat altering and more of an international equilibrium is getting established. But what I call journalistic philosophy still echoes the period of neo-colonialism. Literary critics, whose philosophy is second-hand, mouth the accepted terms. And I find that many young philosophers in the United States seem to have little knowledge of past developments. In their eyes, one must be analytic, or a logical positivist or a defender of ordinary language.

The faery tradition is about spiritual forces, natural forces, embodied as beings that live in the land. If we want to be whole and healthy, we should know more about them, have a better relationship with them. And this is exactly what the old Irish faery tradition us: how to relate to these beings.