Thursday, June 15, 2006

Dear Rami

Dear Rami,

I just found your website (www.rabbirami.com) and read most of what you had posted there. It was very irritating. I know you say you are a rabbi but I am not sure. I think you should stop using the title rabbi. Then we won’t have to take you seriously anymore.

X

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Dear X

You don’t have to take me seriously, but I worked hard to become a rabbi, and I have no intension of dropping the title.

In fact I love being a rabbi, just as I love being a Jew; though I admit to pushing the limits of both. And in the spirit of doing just that, let me share a couple of thoughts your email sparked in me.

A rabbi is a master of Torah, God’s revelation to Moses and through Moses to the world. The heart of that revelation is what I call the Jewish Creed:

Hear O Israel, YAH is our God, YAH is one. Love YAH with all your heart, with every breath, with all you have and are (Deuteronomy 6:4-5); and Love your neighbor (Leviticus 19:18) and the stranger (Leviticus 19:34) as yourself.

[I use the Name YAH (as in Hallelu-YAH, praise YAH) rather than Adonai/Lord to avoid the patriarchal and hierarchical dualism associated with the more classic LORD. The Hebrew is best understood as the verb TO BE. God is the is-ing of reality.]

A Jew is someone devoted to this Creed who continually strives to deepen her capacity to listen and love, and uses the tools Judaism offers as her primary means for doing so. A rabbi is someone whose life is devoted to facilitating this deepening in both others and him/herself.

Of course these are not standard definitions, but they work for me, and I thought I would share them with you. Thanks for the opportunity to comment on this. Feel free to ignore my thoughts if you wish.

5 comments:

Rachel said...

A Jew is someone devoted to this Creed who continually strives to deepen her capacity to listen and love, and uses the tools Judaism offers as her primary means for doing so. A rabbi is someone whose life is devoted to facilitating this deepening in both others and him/herself.

Well-said!

I hope that, in the fullness of time, I can and will live up to both of these definitions. :-)

Peter Schogol said...

I would not be of a mind to take X seriously. Drive-by snipes from anonymous critics weigh less than air.

I would, however, have been most curious as to why X and his legion of imaginary friends ["we"] didn't think you were a rabbi!

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Frenchsheepdog said...
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Frenchsheepdog said...

I Love Toto because it is informal and reminds me what it feels like to actually spend a little time with Rami. His "official" writing is more serious and academic in tone. In the blog, he can be profound, hilarious, in-your-face, jocular, sacrilegious, sentimental or a wise ass. For me, that "faciliates the deepening," which makes Rami a rabbi. (I eagerly await the podcasts.)