28 Pages

Part III, Chapter Two: The Rays, or the Eternal Way – Movement from Created World to Soul

I. THE ETERNITY OF REALIZATION The first chapter of Part III began with a discussion of the apparent absurdity of the theologically believed claim that God can be tempted. Rosenzweig's discussion made for our present purposes two critical points. First, this assertion is the conceptual foundation of all religious prayer. Second, this claim can be grasped only by a kind of holistic thinking that transcends both scientific-logical thinking about elements and theologic-text-oriented thinking about courses. Furthermore, we saw that this final kind of thought is a form of midrash focused for its text on liturgy rather than holy scriptures. This final conclusion suggests that Rosenzweig's thinking at this point is caught in a vicious circle. On one hand, to understand how God can be tempted requires that we understand communal prayer, but the conceptual key to understanding communal prayer is grasping how God can be tempted. This implicit circle in Rosenzweig's argument in the introduction to Part III leads him to begin this second chapter ofthe final part of the Star with the judgment that no human beings can understand the ways of the creator until they are revealed by the kingly messiah (koniglicher Messias) at the end of days. In other words, we have now reached the limits of every possible kind of human thought. Communal liturgy points to the final understanding of what Hegel called absolutely everything. However, it only points to this understanding; it no more achieves it than logic can grasp the course of creation and grammar can grasp the whole. The problem is that while we can grasp that there is an ideal limit to all human and worldly processes, we can know practically nothing about them, and this level of understanding is not sufficient to have clear answers to our reasoned questions.