Monday, June 25, 2007

Jonathan Kirsch

I arrived in Scottsdale for the convention in the middle of the keynote speaker dinner Sunday night, so I was a little dazed and confused (not to mention hungry and jetlagged). So, I apologize for not posting about Jonathan Kirsch earlier and for how sketchy this report will be. I invite (really beg) someone to write a more complete summary!

Jonathan did phone in a greeting on the June 17 podcast - click on posts in the "listen in" box to the right and then select the June 17 selection to hear him.

His talk was called "Animal skins and God's bones: how the making and keeping of books has enriched the world and ensured the survival of the Jewish people"

He began his talk by explaining that the designation "people of the book" was a Muslim reference to both Jews and Christians. Jews embody the principle by not only reading books, but creating and interpreting them.

Although we received the Torah from the mouth of God, we were only able to "access" it by Moses' efforts - through his hand. In this way, human hands finish God's creative work of the Torah.

Kirsch also gave a wonderful little drash (I didn't catch the reference) that if the heaven's were parchment, the blades of grass brushes, and the oceans ink it would still not be enough the describe the wonders of the Torah.

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