Tracing the progress of mankind in the ascending path of civilization, and moral and intellectual culture, our fathers found that the divine ordinance of government, in every stage of ascent, was adjustable on principles of the common reason to the actual condition of a people, and always had for its objects, in the benevolent councils of the divine wisdom, the happiness, the expansion, the security, the elevation of society, and the redemption of man. They sought in vain for any title of authority of man over man, except of superior capacity and higher morality.
Man strives for reconciliation with God – could he aspire to anything higher? Since identity with God is a paradoxical notion, reconciliation with Him remains man’s only goal because it represents no less than his redemption from the conflicting forces within his own nature.
The crying need of the nation is not for better morals, cheaper bread, temperance, liberty, culture, redemption of fallen sisters and brothers, nor the grace, love and fellowship of the Trinity, but simply for enough money.
For it is not ordained for the Spiritual Man that, finding his high realm, he shall enter altogether there, and pass out of the vision of mankind. It is true that he dwells in heaven, but he also dwells on earth. He has angels and archangels, the hosts of the just made perfect, for his familiar friends, but he has at the same time found a new kinship with the prone children of men, who stumble and sin in the dark. Finding sinlessness, he finds also that the world’s sin and shame are his, not to share, but to atone; finding kinship with angels, he likewise finds his part in the toil of angels, the toil for the redemption of the world.
The ethos of redemption is realized in self-mastery, by means of temperance, that is, continence of desires.
The man who no longer expects miraculous changes either from a revolution or from an economic plan is not obliged to resign himself to the unjustifiable. It is because he likes individual human beings, participates in communities, and respects the truth, that he refuses to surrender his soul to an abstract ideal of humanity, a tyrannical party, and an absurd scholasticism. . . If tolerance is born of doubt, let us teach everyone to doubt all the models and utopias, to challenge all the prophets of redemption and the heralds of catastrophe. If they can abolish fanaticism, let us pray for the advent of the skeptics.
There is always another country and always another place. There is always another name and another face. And the name and the face are you, and you The name and the face, and the stream you gaze into Will show the adoring face, show the lips that lift to you As you lean with the implacable thirst of self, As you lean to the image which is yourself, To set the lip to lip, fix eye on bulging eye, To drink not of the stream but of your deep identity, But water is water and it flows, Under the image on the water the water coils and goes And its own beginning and its end only the water knows. There are many countries and the rivers in them -Cumberland, Tennessee, Ohio, Colorado, Pecos, Little Big Horn, And Roll, Missouri, roll. But there is only water in them. And in the new country and in the new, place The eyes of the new friend will reflect the new face And his mouth will speak to frame The syllables of the new name And the name is you and is the agitation of the air And is the wind and the wind runs and the wind is everywhere. The name and the face are you. And they are you. Are new. For they have been dipped in the healing flood. For they have been dipped in the redeeming blood. For they have been dipped in Time And Time is only beginnings Time is only and always beginnings And is the redemption of our crime And is our Saviour's priceless blood. For Time is always the new place, And no-place. For Time is always the new name and the new face, And no-name and no-face. For Time is motion For Time is innocence For Time is West.
Send forth Thy messenger, Thy interpreter, And let him do wonders with signs and happenings, To cleanse us this night from scandal and defamation! Great God, boundless and unsearchable, Thy righteousness is like mighty mountains, Thy judgments are like the great deep. Bare to Thee and spied out is the heart’s imagination and secret, Lo, shaped in iniquity, how shall man justify the evil of his work? Can the grains of his dust justify it that were accounted vanity even while he was still in being? How then after he has perished and every element passed back to its source, When he is driven like chaff before the wind and like smoke from the lattice? Who shall stand up for Thy people, and who set them free? If for decision Thou shouldst draw nigh them, and if for judgment Thou shouldst take them, Then judge them, I pray Thee, by Thy righteousness, And reprove them not according to Thy wrath. For what is the weak that he should contend with the mighty, And how can dry stubble stand in the flame? Lo, as the flower fadeth and the wind flitteth by like a shadow, So flesh from spirit is rent asunder; If then Thou wilt stir up chastisement, There is no way of deliverance shouldst Thou press hard; For the worker is sluggish, And the day short and the work abundant.
GOD AND ISRAEL - God: Though bereaved and in mourning, why sit thus in tears? Shall thy spirit surrender its hopes to its fears? Though the end has been long and no light yet appears, Hope on, hapless one, a while longer. I will send thee an angel My path to prepare, On the brow of Mount Zion thy King to declare, The Lord ever regnant shall reign again there, Thy King, O proclaim, comes to Zion. Israel: How long, O my God, shall I wait Thee in vain? How long shall Thy people in exile remain? Shall the sheep ever shorn never utter their pain But dumbly through all go on waiting? p. 23 God: Have faith, hapless one, I will pardon and free, Not always shalt thou be abhorrent to Me, But be Mine e’en as I shall return unto thee, ’Tis yet but a little space longer. Israel: How long till the turn of my fate shall draw near, How long ere the sealed and the closed be made clear, And the palace of strangers a roof shall appear? God: Hope on for a shelter and refuge. With healing shall yet thy entreaties be graced, As when Caphtor was crushed shalt thou triumph re-taste, And the flowers cast off shall re-bloom in the waste, Hope on but a little space longer. Israel: My people of yore ’neath one people was drowned, But from Egypt or Babel deliverance found, But now we are hopelessly compassed around By four birds of prey grim and speckled. They have eaten my flesh, yet to leave me are loath. p. 24 God: The Rock you must trust to remember His oath, Your lover that went shall return to His troth, Hope on, hapless one, a whit longer.
My heart craves to praise Thee, But I am unable. Would my understanding Were as spacious as Solomon’s. Without it my wisdom As yet ill suffices For expounding Thy wonders And Thy deeds of beneficence Wrought for me and all mankind. Without Thee all’s hopeless, And where is the rock Sustaining, suspending The weight of the world? I am as one orphaned; Nay, on Thee I am cast. What then can I do But look to Thee, wait on Thee, In whose hand is the spirit Of all that is living, In whose hand is the breath Of all the creation?
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Our Sages were enemies of ignorance. They regarded education, intellectual enlightenment, and the acquisition of knowledge as the first of all moral commandments. They viewed the dissemination of intellectual enlightenment among all classes of the population as the prime concern of the nation, and the training of a child's mind as the first and most sacred duty of fatherhood. They considered it a matter of conscience for every Jewish father to see that his child should not remain a boor and am ha'arets; no Jewish child must be allowed to grow up as an ignorant, uneducated person.
The basic mood of the future might well be one of confidence in the continuing revelation that takes place in and through the Earth. If the dynamics of the Universe from the beginning shaped the course of the heavens, lighted the Sun, and formed the Earth, if this same dynamism brought forth the continents and seas and atmosphere, if it awakened life in the primordial cell and then brought into being the unnumbered variety of living beings, and finally brought us into being and guided us safely through the turbulent centuries, there is reason to believe that this same guiding process is precisely what has awakened in us our present understanding of ourselves and our relation to this stupendous process. Sensitized to such guidance from the very structure and functioning of the Universe, we can have confidence in the future that awaits the human venture.