Contemporary Jews often find meaning in Judaism's family and communal orientation, its beautiful rituals, its enriching culture, its sense of ethnic rootedness, and its moral values. For the classical Jewish tradition, however, all of these features of Judaism depend on a belief in God. Since many modern Jews do not know what to make of that belief, it is often ignored. They may be inspired by Judaism's high regard for education and its passion for justice, but their belief in God rests on childhood images of the Almighty. They are often embarrassed and uneasy, for they sense that their attachment to Judaism may be based upon intellectual quicksand. Motivated by just such feelings, Rabbi Elliot Dorff probes what we as adults can know about God through human reason, human and Divine words, and human and Divine action. Without assuming a background in philosophy, he skillfully takes us through some of the major philosophical options and conundrums in using each of these sources of knowledge about God and the images of God that result.
With remarkable clarity and inspiring honesty, Rabbi Dorff's exploration results in a vibrant Jewish faith, one that takes due regard for both the emotional and intellectual sides of our being. Dorff's own personal quest, artfully woven throughout this spiritually uplifting volume, aids the reader to make his or her own Judaism emotionally satisfying and intellectually sound. The result is a Judaism that can be for the modern reader what it is for the author: the product of a love of God 'with all one's heart, with all one's soul, and with all one's might.'
Elliot N. Dorff was ordained a rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1970 and earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia University in 1971. Since then he has directed the rabbinical and master's programs at the University of Judaism, where he is currently rector and professor of philosophy.