Monday, April 10, 2006

The Parable of the 3 Jews

Once there were three Jews who went off into the world to make their fortunes. The first Jew wrapped himself in straw, the second wrapped himself in wood, and the third in brick, and for a time they were all very happy.

But, presently, came along a wolf. The straw, and the wood could not withstand the wolf's arguments, and the Jews who relied upon them were quickly gobbled up. Only the Jew who surrounded himself with brick was able to survive.

In the parabale the straw represents supernatural claims, and the wood represents ahistorical claims. For a long time, Jews were content to make and rely upon both, but gradually, gradualy, the discoveries of science, archeology, linguistics and history have made many of those claims unteneable. The mistake many Jews make is imagning those supernatural and ahistorical claims are essential to Judaism. But, by definition, can something esential to Judaism be false? Only the theological claims, the bricks, are essential. If a claim of ours has been trumped and proven false by science or one of the other disciplines, isn't that conclusive proof that the defeated claim is not fundemental? And, if it isn't fundemental we should be pleased to see it go. More wheat, less chaff.

There's no reason to cling sentimentaly to ideas that are wrong.

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