On Seeking God
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Egalitarianism must become an “inescapable horizon” in the progressive halachic Jewish world, not because it stands alone within the halacha, but because it embodies an expression of our highest value: ‘Yirat Shamayim.’
Typically translated as ‘Fear of Heaven’ in the context of confronting a situation with seriousness and integrity, Yirat Shamayim should be experienced as a charge to the human community that wishes to stand in awe of God – not to sit down and wait for a Divine voice, but to actively seek the Awe of God.
This is a rejection of the “lo bashamayim hi” approach to halachah that ultimately creates a human legal system which excludes God’s voice. Conservative Judaism and all its close cousins are called to exercise a holy perogative with prudence and integrity.
God’s will might be, as Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan (and Kevin Smith in “Dogma”) suggested, what holy people say it is. But that needs to be reversible as well. WE must make sure we are thinking about God when we put words in Her mouth.