Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Bloghead asks, Ha'aretz delivers

Just last week, Bloghead asked, 'Who is Rav Shagar?' Today, Ha'aretz has a full-blown feature on the man they call "the most prominent theologian of the religious-Zionist 'New Age':
In contrast to the aversion generally expressed by the religious world for postmodernism, Shagar's point of departure is that the shattering of human ideologies expressed by postmodernism enables greater freedom, from which it is possible to attain a higher religious sublimity, even mysticism.
"Postmodernism releases us from the mechanical regularity of human reality, and mysticism also views this human regularity as a restriction from which one must free oneself. On the other hand, the postmodernist freedom itself can become a stumbling block, what Sartre calls the `prison of freedom,' when it leads to nihilism. This is where mystical freedom comes in by giving meaning even within a postmodern world. In this state, faith is free of the ordinary distress that obstructs people from attaining faith, the distress of lack of freedom that is associated with religion."
While it holds to elitist academic standards, his Yeshiva, apparently, encourages students to discuss how the Gemara makes them 'feel,' runs workshops in 'movement,' meditation and creative writing, and holds sessions every Thursday night where student speak, sing and dance. I find it amusing that Rav Shagar feels the need to add, "This is not a bunch of confused and deluded individuals. These are responsible people"!

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