A Narrative of Hope

“One of the paradoxes of Judaism is that, though it is a religion of commands (mitzvot), biblical Hebrew contains no word that means ‘to obey’. Instead it uses the word shema, which means to hear, to understand and to respond – to listen in the fullest range of senses. I believe that God is summoning us to a new act of listening, going back to the sources of our faith and hearing in them something we missed before, because we did not face these challenges, this configuration of dilemmas before. In religions of revelation, discoveries are rediscoveries, a discernment of something that was always there but not necessarily audible from where our ancestors stood. God’s word is for all time, but our act of listening is of this time; and the challenge is to discern within that word, as it speaks to us now, a narrative of hope.”

The Dignity of Difference, p. 19