“At the core of Jewish faith is the idea of covenant, the mutual commitment between God and the people Israel. But the covenant embodies a specific tension. One the one hand, it is immune to history. Its text, the Torah, and the way of life it commands, are Divine, eternal, immutable, unchanging. On the other hand, the covenant is realised in history… Judaism is thus a metahistorical and historical faith, peculiarly poised between timelessness and time.”
“The affirmation of Jewish life after the Holocaust is itself is testimony that the covenant survives and that the voice of God continues to be heard, however obliquely and obscurely by the contemporary heirs of those who stood at Sinai.”
“Secular and liberal Jews are part of the covenant, participants in Judaism’s bonds of collective responsibility, to be related to with love, dignity, and respect. This offends the modern self, which demands to be respected not for what it is but for what it believes and does. It is, in terms of modern consciousness, an imperfect solution. But perfect solutions are not to be found this side of the messianic time.”
“What is the secret of Jewish survival?.. Faith suggests an answer. At Sinai, Israel and God entered into a solemn and mutually binding pledge: the covenant. Israel would dedicate itself to God. God, in turn, would protect Israel. The Jewish people would exist, in Jeremiah’s words, as long as the sun and the stars and the waves roared in the sea. Israel would be God’s witness, and their eternity would mirror His. Jews survived for a simple reason. Interwoven in our history was something larger than history: Divine Providence.”
“A covenant is what turns love into law, and law into love.”
“To enter into a covenant, like deciding to marry or have a child, is to take a risk, an act of faith in an unknown, unknowable future.”
“Covenant is the politics of quest: for the promised land, the place of freedom, the society that honours the dignity of all.”
“Those bound by a covenant, voluntarily undertake to share a fate. They choose to link their destinies together. They accept responsibilities to and for one another. Covenants redeem the solitude of the ‘lonely crowd’.”
“Covenant is a binding commitment, entered into by two or more parties, to work and care for one another while respecting the freedom, integrity and difference of each. Covenant is politics without power, economics without self-interest. What difference does it make? For one thing, it gets us to think about the common good, the good of all-of-us-together.”