“Chokhmah is the truth we discover; Torah is the truth we inherit. Chokhmah is the shared heritage of mankind; Torah is the particular heritage of the Jewish people. Chokhmah is the world of ‘is’, of fact; Torah is the world of ‘ought’, of command. Chokhmah is where we encounter God through creation; Torah is how we hear God through revelation. The two are not equal in their significance to Jews – Torah is holy in a way chokhmah cannot be – yet both are significant, for if we are to apply Torah to the world, we must understand the world to which it applies. Because the God of creation is also the God of revelation, there is ultimate harmony between them, even thought, given the imperfections in our understanding of both, it may not be evident at any given moment. There must, I believe, be an ongoing conversation between them, for otherwise Torah will remain a closed system with no grip, no purchase, no influence, on the world outside its walls. ”
“If we are to apply Torah to the world, we must understand the world. We need a new generation of Jews committed to the dialogue between sacred and secular if Judaism is the engage with the world and its challenges. ”
“Chokhmah is the truth we discover; Torah is the truth we inherit. Chokhmah is the universal heritage of humankind; Torah is the specific heritage of Israel. Chokhmah is what we attain by being in the image of God; Torah is what guides Jews as the people of God. Chokhmah is acquired by seeing and reasoning; Torah is received by listening and responding. Chokhmah tells us what is; Torah tells us what ought to be. Chokhmah is about facts; Torah is about commands. Chokhmah yields descriptive, scientific laws; Torah yields prescriptive, behavioural laws. Chokhmah is about creation; Torah is about revelation. ”
“Without Torah we cannot understand the Jewish story. But without chokhmah we cannot understand the human story. ”
“We cannot apply Torah to the world unless we understand the world. ”
“A Judaism divorced from society will be a Judaism unable to influence society. It will live and thrive and flourish behind high walls within its own defensive space, but it will not speak to those who wrestle with the very realities - poverty, disease, injustice, inequality and other assaults on human dignity - to which Torah was directed in the first place. ”
“Torah and chokhmah must be reunited if Judaism is to recover its ability to speak to the world without fear of the world. ”
“I have argued for a Judaism that has the courage to engage with the world and its challenges. Faith begets confidence which creates courage. That is how Jews lived in the past and should live in the future. ”