Rav Kook, or Why Some Jews Don't Hate Us As Much
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06-04-2016, 05:15 PM
Rav Kook, or Why Some Jews Don't Hate Us As Much
Long ago, when I was a kabbalist, I ran across the name of Abraham Isaac Kook, an Ashkenazi Orthodox rabbi. Didn't pay him much mind at the time. From time to time, I do a bit of research since I have (in my opinion) a better perspective. I found some very old papers I wrote, and one had some writings about Kook.*

I found it was something from Wikipedia that I had copied down. It reads:
Wikipedia Wrote:Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, first Chief Rabbi of the Jewish community in Palestine, held that atheists were not actually denying God: rather, they were denying one of man's many images of God. Since any man-made image of God can be considered an idol, Kook held that, in practice, one could consider atheists as helping true religion burn away false images of God, thus in the end serving the purpose of true monotheism.
(The page for Atheism and religion

I remember reading a few things, specifically a lecture by Rav Hillel Rachmani in which he explains this. The idea is that we atheists don't actually disbelieve in God, it's just that we have destroyed an image of God. (Kabbalists have lots of references to images of Ayn Sof.) Further, we're doing the world more positive than negative. If we continue to find faults with their gods, we "[force] the religious man to find a more complex and deeper perception of God." (Rachmani)

This is in line with kabbalah teachings. It teaches when someone has an idea or perception of God, that person has limited God and has therefore limited/redefined God. With that in mind, that person is not following the actual God, just that image.

Obviously, I no longer believe in any of that, nor do I think we're furthering the cause of monotheism. I'd like people to discuss this idea that we're actually doing the world more good. We probably won't agree with Rav Kook's reasoning. But is there even a tiny chance we are helping them?

*Yes, I think it's funny his name is Kook!
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06-04-2016, 10:07 PM
RE: Rav Kook, or Why Some Jews Don't Hate Us As Much
I've never studied Kabbalah, but I think you’re really onto something here. It echos what I've been taught. I might disagree that any Jews hate atheists at all, especially considering what a huge % of the Jewish community is secular agnostic, and the fact that atheism is not at odds with Judaism. Before I came to the forum, I had wondered if Jews were known to debate atheists or protest against them in any way. I found one debate with a Reform Rabbi, David Wolpe, and that’s really all I could find. The hate-fest seems to be between atheists and Christians, and atheists and Muslims.

When I personally look at atheism, I see it as a huge positive, not a negative. I don't think there's an official Jewish position on the subject, but I am applying the Jewish theology that I’ve been taught to arrive at that conclusion.

But regarding the main idea of your post, I tend to agree that Atheism is a step in the right direction toward eliminating idolatry. Atheists that have Christian backgrounds have removed an idolatrous concept of G-d and there is no requirement of a belief in G-d that they must step into. I sometimes wonder if atheism might be the doorway to the “universal understanding of G-d” that is spoken about as a requirement for Messiah. Non Jews seem to have no concept of the Jewish understanding of G-d to appreciate how it looks from my position, but the view is pretty clear from where I’m standing. Atheism doesn’t present a threat to Jewish goals, and may very well actually assist the Jewish agenda in being realized.
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06-04-2016, 10:14 PM
RE: Rav Kook, or Why Some Jews Don't Hate Us As Much
(06-04-2016 05:15 PM)Clockwork Wrote:  Long ago, when I was a kabbalist, ...

Tell Girly more of this kaballah.

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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06-04-2016, 10:44 PM
RE: Rav Kook, or Why Some Jews Don't Hate Us As Much
(06-04-2016 10:07 PM)Aliza Wrote:  I've never studied Kabbalah, but I think you’re really onto something here. It echos what I've been taught. I might disagree that any Jews hate atheists at all, especially considering what a huge % of the Jewish community is secular agnostic, and the fact that atheism is not at odds with Judaism. Before I came to the forum, I had wondered if Jews were known to debate atheists or protest against them in any way. I found one debate with a Reform Rabbi, David Wolpe, and that’s really all I could find. The hate-fest seems to be between atheists and Christians, and atheists and Muslims.

When I personally look at atheism, I see it as a huge positive, not a negative. I don't think there's an official Jewish position on the subject, but I am applying the Jewish theology that I’ve been taught to arrive at that conclusion.

But regarding the main idea of your post, I tend to agree that Atheism is a step in the right direction toward eliminating idolatry. Atheists that have Christian backgrounds have removed an idolatrous concept of G-d and there is no requirement of a belief in G-d that they must step into. I sometimes wonder if atheism might be the doorway to the “universal understanding of G-d” that is spoken about as a requirement for Messiah. Non Jews seem to have no concept of the Jewish understanding of G-d to appreciate how it looks from my position, but the view is pretty clear from where I’m standing. Atheism doesn’t present a threat to Jewish goals, and may very well actually assist the Jewish agenda in being realized.

I really like Judaism and also Buddhism. The only 2 religions I respect. I don't agree with some aspects of both religions but I can respect them.

Religion is bullshit. The winner of the last person to post wins thread.Yes
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06-04-2016, 11:00 PM
RE: Rav Kook, or Why Some Jews Don't Hate Us As Much
(06-04-2016 10:14 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(06-04-2016 05:15 PM)Clockwork Wrote:  Long ago, when I was a kabbalist, ...

Tell Girly more of this kaballah.
I'll type more tomorrow when I'm on my laptop. First of all, ignore anything from Rav Berg. That's a Hollywood version to take money. They wear red bracelets; kabbalists don't wear or have symbols. (Maybe that's from Judaism. Can you help, Aliza?)

It's an unconventional view of the Torah, derived from Judaism. I was actually a kabbalist who was Christian at the time. There is Christian kabbalah, but it's different than the "normal" or Jewish kabbalah. The idea is that we attempt to learn the nature of the universe and existence itself, learn the true nature and purpose of humanity, discover the physical and spiritual place of yourself and humans, and other subjects. If I remember correctly, the idea of the Big Bang was first out forward by a kabbalist. Don't quote me on that.

Usually a kabbalist will make references to Ein/Ayn Sof, which means infinity, infinite one, endless one. That was what we refer to as God before it manifested itself prior to Creation. The spiritual imprint was put into us so that we attain a deeper connection with Ein Sof. On paper, it's drawn as the Tree of Life. There are ten sephiroth (also sefirot), or emanations of Ein Sof. They are interconnected, showing paths of study and self reflection. The top is Keter, the Crown, which is the only one not part of the body, but above it. It goes down to Malkuth, the one that reminds us we are part of physical creation.

It requires lots of study and research, mostly the Torah. So you'd study the Tanakh and rabbinical papers. You'd refer to the Zohar so many times. Names like Isaac the Blind were common in writings. One of the little things is that the first character in Genesis is longer than usual. To most kabbalists, that means that an extreme amount of time occurred before "the beginning."
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06-04-2016, 11:02 PM
Rav Kook, or Why Some Jews Don't Hate Us As Much
Aliza, the part about some Jews hating us was just a bit of fun. Sorry if it came off otherwise.
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07-04-2016, 12:25 AM
RE: Rav Kook, or Why Some Jews Don't Hate Us As Much
If there exists at least one Jewish hatter then it is trivially true that some Jews hat us.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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07-04-2016, 05:42 AM
RE: Rav Kook, or Why Some Jews Don't Hate Us As Much
Well, I'm annoyed by Kook's condescension towards atheists. I am never in the mood for a theist to pat me on the head and assure me that I'm valuable because I'm doing god's work. Let their god do its own work.

I'd like to say I'm astounded by the arrogance of the claim that his god concept will be the last one standing, but that is also typical of theists.

I think that it is useful to poke holes in god concepts, yes. Disagree vehemently that after all the holes are poked there will be a viable god concept left.
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07-04-2016, 12:54 PM
RE: Rav Kook, or Why Some Jews Don't Hate Us As Much
(06-04-2016 11:00 PM)Clockwork Wrote:  I'll type more tomorrow when I'm on my laptop. First of all, ignore anything from Rav Berg. That's a Hollywood version to take money. They wear red bracelets; kabbalists don't wear or have symbols. (Maybe that's from Judaism. Can you help, Aliza?)

Oh, no, actually, we do wear red bracelets. Usually they're just red strings tied around the wrist. I have a few. They're not like rosaries, in that they don't serve a religious function. It's like wearing a cross on a necklace. It doesn't do anything, but it makes the wearer feel more connected to the community.

(06-04-2016 11:00 PM)Clockwork Wrote:  It's an unconventional view of the Torah, derived from Judaism. I was actually a kabbalist who was Christian at the time. There is Christian kabbalah, but it's different than the "normal" or Jewish kabbalah. The idea is that we attempt to learn the nature of the universe and existence itself, learn the true nature and purpose of humanity, discover the physical and spiritual place of yourself and humans, and other subjects. If I remember correctly, the idea of the Big Bang was first out forward by a kabbalist. Don't quote me on that.

I guess Kaballah can be viewed as unconventional, but I think of it more as being a valid aspect of Judaism that is only studied by top notch Jewish scholars and therefore gets less attention from plebeians such as myself.

*** Yes, Christian evangelicals who are stalking this forum and reading these posts. I am allowed to learn Kaballah. ***

You can and should be quoted. About 500 years ago, a Kabbalist calculated the age of the universe as being some 14.8 billion years old. He wasn't so much commenting on the method in which the universe was created as much as he was acknowledging the time that has elapsed since the universe was created. He also went so far as to provide a time when the universe would expire. I don't think he was the first to acknowledge that the universe is very, very old, either.

(06-04-2016 11:00 PM)Clockwork Wrote:  One of the little things is that the first character in Genesis is longer than usual. To most kabbalists, that means that an extreme amount of time occurred before "the beginning."

That's a great example of how Kabbalists process information. It's more than just the physical words of the Torah, but how words are presented, the order of the words, and their numeral counts. Another Kabbalistic view is that the letter beit at the beginning of the Torah is shaped in such a way as to promise man that everything after the instant of creation can be known, but anything before that instant of creation is forever hidden from us.
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07-04-2016, 01:43 PM
RE: Rav Kook, or Why Some Jews Don't Hate Us As Much
(06-04-2016 05:15 PM)Clockwork Wrote:  Long ago, when I was a kabbalist, I ran across the name of Abraham Isaac Kook, an Ashkenazi Orthodox rabbi. Didn't pay him much mind at the time. From time to time, I do a bit of research since I have (in my opinion) a better perspective. I found some very old papers I wrote, and one had some writings about Kook.*

I found it was something from Wikipedia that I had copied down. It reads:
Wikipedia Wrote:Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, first Chief Rabbi of the Jewish community in Palestine, held that atheists were not actually denying God: rather, they were denying one of man's many images of God. Since any man-made image of God can be considered an idol, Kook held that, in practice, one could consider atheists as helping true religion burn away false images of God, thus in the end serving the purpose of true monotheism.
(The page for Atheism and religion

I remember reading a few things, specifically a lecture by Rav Hillel Rachmani in which he explains this. The idea is that we atheists don't actually disbelieve in God, it's just that we have destroyed an image of God. (Kabbalists have lots of references to images of Ayn Sof.) Further, we're doing the world more positive than negative. If we continue to find faults with their gods, we "[force] the religious man to find a more complex and deeper perception of God." (Rachmani)

This is in line with kabbalah teachings. It teaches when someone has an idea or perception of God, that person has limited God and has therefore limited/redefined God. With that in mind, that person is not following the actual God, just that image.

Obviously, I no longer believe in any of that, nor do I think we're furthering the cause of monotheism. I'd like people to discuss this idea that we're actually doing the world more good. We probably won't agree with Rav Kook's reasoning. But is there even a tiny chance we are helping them?

*Yes, I think it's funny his name is Kook!

True monotheism. Laugh out loadLaugh out loadLaugh out load

And how would we ever arrive at what the True Scotsman is?

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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