The people of Israel, according to Jewish tradition, are not the authors of the Torah. Rather, the Torah is the author of the people. As a covenant between God and humankind, the Torah is what brought the people into being. Moreover, despite the fact that the people have often violated the commanding voice of this text, it created the specific and unique identity of the Jewish nation.
Judaism is about an upheaval in the soul and the need to break with all sorts of idols. It is about living with spiritual trepidation in which man realizes that he was created from dust but has the ability to reach Heaven. Whether or not man succeeds will depend on his willingness to stand in awe.
This is the great challenge facing today’s halachic authorities: are their decisions made in a sterile vacuum in which every surprise is ignored and even suppressed? Or, are they made to stimulate a religious condition in which man will live in great awe, will grow, and will feel Halacha’s inner spirit? Are today’s rulings transformative, or do they promote stagnation? Shall we have prophetic Halacha, or petty Halacha?
One of the most challenging aspects of religious life is how to relate to the concept of revelation. The uncompromising claim by Judaism that the Torah is not a book written by man, but is the result of the most famous disclosure of God’s will to man,
One of man’s strongest longings today is the need for authenticity. We want to be ourselves, or to become ourselves. We admire children’s spontaneity, because they do not yet know how they “ought to be.”