Friday, December 24, 2021

Biblical Theology of Rabbi Emanuel Rackman

 But one writer raised a significant issue and I share his question and my answer to it with the readership of Hirhurim around Rabbi Rackman’s yartzeit. He asked me a question about Rabbi Rackman’s biblical theology and raised the possibility that Rabbi Rackman was a technical heretic in that he did not believe in the Torah being revealed by God at Sinai to Moses (Torah miSinai). In truth, I had never spoken to Rabbi Rackman about the issue raised by this writer, although I had myself seen the view of Rabbi Rackman and been troubled by it. In a symposium in Commentary in 1966 entitled “The State of Jewish Belief”, Rabbi Emanuel Rackman wrote:

The most definitive record of God’s encounters with man is contained in the Pentatuch. Much of it may have been written by people in different times, but at one point in history God not only made the people of Israel aware of his immediacy, but caused Moses to write the eternal evidence of the covenant between Him and His people. (Commentary, August, 1966 at page 128)
The sanctity of the Pentatuch does not derive from God’s authorship of all of it, but rather from the fact that God’s is the final version. The final writing by Moses has the stamp of divinity-the kiss of immortality. (Judaism, Spring 1969, page 153)

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