Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Intellectual development and spiritual development

Today is the 21st day of Iyar, 5771/ 36 days of Omer (5 weeks, 1 day)

Maimonides tells us that we should care for the intellectual development of our children, instructing them in the principles of our faith. For Maimonides, intellectual development, is a prerequisite and the key for the right spiritual development.
"We must teach our children that God is One, which means among other things, that we must not serve or consider the existence of any other supernatural power. God Almighty is the only one to Whom we should direct our prayers...."
"Then, we teach them that God Almighty does not posses a body, and that there is no resemblance whatsoever between Him and His creatures."
"We should expect our children to challenge this last assumption, because in the Torah and Prophets there are verses which seemingly imply that God has a body (=the Torah mentions: "the Hand of God; and God saw; and God appeared, etc."). We must clarify to them that certain words in the Torah should be understood in a metaphorical way. And certain terms should be understood as mere homonyms (=words that are written the same way, but have a different meaning)..."
"Our children should learn to follow the teachings of the Oral Law, found among other books in the "Targum Onkelos" (=the official Jewish translation of the Torah--to Aramaic-- written almost 2000 years ago, which Maimonides considered an integral part of the Jewish Oral Law or Torah shebe'alpe)"


Adapted from MORE NEBUKHIM, Section 1, Chapter 35 -36.

Click HERE to watch Benjamin Netanyahu, addressing the US Congress (May 24th, 2011)