Quotes by Israel Shenker

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America has a way of inventing tradition each morning and erasing the past by nightfall, and thehold of ancient custom is endangered by a thousand cicumstances. more...

In the Bible, fate was often presented as the handmaiden of morality: sin was succeeded by misfortune, righteousness by prosperity, with reward and punishment instrumental in persuading man to obey divine commandments. more...

At Vatican Council II, one dissenting Roman Catholic theologian declared: "Yes, the Bible says "Be fruitful and multiply," but that was when the population was two per square world. more...

God's greatest blessing is children. The only problem is that you have to support them. It's a problem, not a disadvantage. more...

A [Jewish] woman could not divorce her husband, but she could petition for divorce, and the religious courts could force him to grant the divorce on grounds of impotence, denial of conjugal rights, or unreasonable restriction of her freedom-for example, preventing her from attending funerals or wedding parties. more...

It was God who dictated what man should believe and do, leaving man the freedom to accept or scoff, to obey or disregard. more...

Fundamentalists are less concerned to be systematic and rational than to be humble and faithful, accepting God's commandments because they come from God, not because they proceed from common sense or sophisticated reason. more...

Embracing and rejecting tradition, bound and liberated by faith, torn between obscurantism and reason, self-assured and self-critical, they were a kaleidoscope of fragments, positions held and abandoned, images formed and shattered, God-fearing Jew, God-denying Jew, passionate and indifferent, hero and villain, yea-sayer, nay-sayer. more...

Yiddish has a down-to-earth quality that makes it remote from high-flown rhetoric, and it has a catch-as-catch-can charm derived from its stunning variety-of syntax, spelling, pronunciation, and vocabulary-from region to region. more...

A second-century rabbi said that if 999 angels gave a bad account of a man and one angel reported favorably, God would hear the one angel; even if 999 parts of that one angel's report were unfavorable, God would hearken to the favorable part. more...

The unlettered man who prayed to his maker would be heard; the pedant reciting a faultless invocation would be ignored. more...

Monotheism owes its existence not to philosophic speculation about the nature of reality or knowledge or virtue, but to acceptance of reality identified with a supreme being. more...

The [Jewish] Sabbath was not intended to be simply a desert of prohibitions, but rather an oasis for moral restoration and seemly pleasure-one was to eat, drink, even be merry. more...

In Jewish tradition, death-defying devotion to scholarship was the stuff of saintliness. more...

At first sin was as fragile as a spiders thread, and finally as stout as a ship's hawser; sin arrived as a passerby, next lingered for a moment, then came as a visitor, and finally became master of the house. more...

The suggestion that Jews were selected from among all nations of the earth to be God's chosen people suggested a kind of group arrogance, especially when the good news was first reported by Jews. However, the choice was interpreted not as tribute to superior virtue but as divine challenge. more...

Theology emerged not as a course of knowledge but as a feast of homily and imagination and exaggeration in which every man could find his image and his portion. And yet there were limits. more...

One rabbi compared wise men studying the law to children tossing a ball to one another: a first sage said the meaning was this, another said the meaning was that, one gave his opinion, another begged to differ. more...

Jews are a singular confusion - difficult to define, awkward to describe, impossible to understand. All the virtues, all the vices, every pleasure, every pain - nothing is spared them. more...

Writing is an affair of yearning for great voyages and hauling on frayed ropes. more...

America has a way of inventing tradition each morning and erasing the past by nightfall, and the hold of ancient custom is endangered by a thousand circumstances. more...

At Vatican Council II, one dissenting Roman Catholic theologian declared: Yes, the Bible says 'Be fruitful and multiply,' but that was when the population was two per square world. more...

A [Jewish] woman could not divorce her husband, but she could petition for divorce, and the religious courts could force him to grant the divorce on grounds of impotence, denial of conjugal rights, or unreasonable restriction of her freedom - for example, preventing her from attending funerals or wedding parties. more...

Embracing and rejecting tradition, bound and liberated by faith, torn between obscurantism and reason, self-assured and self-critical, they were a kaleidoscope of fragments, positions held and abandoned, images formed and shattered, God-fearing Jew, Goddenying Jew, passionate and indifferent, hero and villain, yea-sayer, nay-sayer. more...

Yiddish has a down-to-earth quality that makes it remote from high-flown rhetoric, and it has a catchas-catch-can charm derived from its stunning variety - of syntax, spelling, pronunciation, and vocabulary - from region to region. more...

The [Jewish] Sabbath was not intended to be simply a desert of prohibitions, but rather an oasis for moral restoration and seemly pleasure - one was to eat, drink, even be merry. more...

At first sin was as fragile as a spider's thread, and finally as stout as a ship's hawser; sin arrived as a passerby, next lingered for a moment, then came as a visitor, and finally became master of the house. more...


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