Thursday, February 28, 2008

A personal relationship with God

One of the hallmarks of Evangelical Christianity, or at least as I understand it, is a personal relationship with God. I believe that in Judaism this is also something that exists, though I believe it is the Chassidim that focus on it more than other streams of Judaism.

What I don't recall is anything of this type of thought among Chazal. Is it my ignorance, or is it really the case? I recall places where Chazal address the relationship of God to the community of Jews, and there are certainly many biblical and post-biblical stories of individuals who have a close relationship with God, but I can't think of a place where regular people are told that each of us can have this special, close relationship.


Blogger -suitepotato- said...

I can't remember myself, but I'm hardly a talmid hacham either so for whatever that's worth...

Actually, Catholicism isn't big on a personal relationship either, not officially, so it's more of the farther removed Protestant splits.

You know, it would be suggested to me that mussar should imply a personal relationship as really, whose disapproval should you fear more for doing wrong things?

I'm going to have to review more. One more reason to bust the piggy bank and start browsing the Art Scroll site in earnest...

February 28, 2008 2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that's about right. Chazal stressed you loving and fearing God, but didn't get much into God loving you as an individual. Which gave a great opening for Jesus to invent the idea of a personal relationship with god and how much he loves you. Thats probably one of the biggest selling points of xtianity. I guess Chassidism /Mysticism went there a little bit with the whole 'dveykus' thing, and also the 'tzaddik/rebbe' concept, which explains the popularity of those movements too somewhat. I guess we litvaks/yekkes just have to accept that we have been deprived of a loving personal relationship with an incomprehensible imaginary something. Oh well.

February 28, 2008 9:36 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

Not at all. What do you think "Lonely Man of Faith" and "Halachik Man" are all about? When one despairs of finding things outside of chassidut, first instinct should always be to check with the Rav.

March 01, 2008 10:06 AM  

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