Accidental Oops-es of God?

The following is from “For Arnold Jacob Wolf’s Festschrift” Gabbai Seth Fishman (BLOG Editor)

Reb Zalman says:

“In the early 1960’s, before I had fully realized I was a post-Triumphalist, I wrote a sliding scale concerning participation in other religions and Kashrut / degrees of permittedness from a Jewish perspective.

“For example, it had Sufism on the same level as eating a salad in a non Kosher restaurant served on a glass or paper plate and Satanism on the same level as eating pork on Yom Kippur. Non-iconic forms of Vedanta, Quakerism and Buddhism came out closer to the Kosher side, like a vegetable soup in regular china with non kosher flatware, while high iconic Christianity and Hinduism were more like eating non-kosher beef.  It was a pretty good attempt that still may have some mileage in it for triumphalist restorationists.

“Then and now, I believed in the workings of Divine Providence, in the way Hassidism teach it, Hashgachah pratit / a specific Divine Providence, one that ordains even how a leaf falls.

“So I had to also entertain the idea that this same Divine Providence had produced a Buddha, a Lao Tzu.

“Could I say that just as we consider our own Rebbes to be N’shamot Klaliyot / exalted souls encompassing the souls of many, that these were not the same?  Were they just accidental oops-es of God?

“Then, this led me to also ask, ‘What about the Nazarene Chassidim who followed their rebbe Jesus?  Did not the Bratzlaver believe in a rebbe who no longer lived on Earth?’

“For me, it was a Prigogine dissipative structure.  {NOTE:  By this phrase, Reb Zalman is saying that his holding onto the notion of Divine Providence in his belief system had a widespread influence on his thought in other areas.  Gabbai Seth}  My restoration theology started to break down and it began to reorganize itself on another level…

“Continuing and participating in the evolving process of our Torah I saw that I had changed from one who advocated restoration to one who espoused instead renewal, an ongoing process of staying at the growing edge of the Tree of Life, both juicy and in touch with the environment.

“I no longer saw the world in sectarian – ideological terms. I had been initiated into being an organismic braincell of the global brain, a Gaian who is a Jew.

Melekh ha’olam now has a meaning grounded in my perception of concrete organismic reality. From that perspective I did no longer expect that we would ultimately triumph over others at the end of history and gloat over them as if to say – see you were wrong all along and ever since Sinai we were right.”

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