web analytics
July 26, 2014 / 28 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Reflections On A Time For Change: A Book By Asher Keren


Beres-Louis-Rene

Modern civilization has a terrible momentum, a frighteningly breathless rhythm that prods us all to forget what is genuinely important. “The end of all this delirium,” wrote the philosopher Jacques Maritain, “is to prevent man from remembering G-d.” An important new book by Israeli thinker Asher Keren, “A Time For Change,” reflects similar concerns.

The author, who works as a scientist and adviser in Israel’s biotechnology industry, is deeply distressed by the “dissonance of a fragmented Jewish world composed of fragmented individuals….” He recognizes that we Jews have lost our “inner selves” – a recognition that falls comprehensively into the critiques of mass society offered by Emerson, Ibsen, Ortega y’ Gasset, Kierkegaard, Hesse and Jung. He persuasively urges a renewed sense of balance. This can happen, we are instructed, only when “our sun, Jewish law, Halacha, truly reflects our inner being.”

Asher Keren is a distinguished thinker; his book is manifestly learned and his analyses are bold and creative. Unafraid to offend, he understands how far we have all come from living in harmony with our natural and inborn disposition. As Jews, our task is to remember G-d at all times, but before this can happen, we must first learn to be at peace with ourselves, to live and love and coexist according to “our internal essence.”

“A Time For Change” is not an easy read. On the contrary, it requires considerable diligence and intellectual energy. But it is well worth the effort because it contains a message that must be heard. Keren is assuredly correct that a Jewish embrace of “relativistic ideology” will be lethal, and that the Jewish state is always the individual Jew (authentic or inauthentic) in macrocosm. When we lose our path as individual Jews, so, too, does the State of Israel lose its way. Scrutinizing today’s Jewish world, the author considers the “various intellectual stances” that affect this world and that can help to restore a moment in time when human beauty was “a reflection of a much deeper aspect of the soul.”

We have, we learn from this challenging volume, a decidedly existential freedom – a “choice to either enhance or to devastate G-d’s creation.” In losing our own inner balance, we have also forfeited our personal sense of holiness. Living in a wider world that confuses images for reality – a world in which “the camera has replaced the pen” – we Jews are reminded of many responsibilities to restore sacredness – to ourselves as individuals and to the State of Israel.

Recalling the Hassidic concept of “avoda b’gashmiyut” (worship of G-d through the corporeal), Asher Keren understands that the World To Come must be reached through THIS world, and that this means adding holiness to all of one’s actions.

“In all your ways shall you know Him” (Proverbs 3:6). It is not the Jew’s task to disavow his natural human impulses, but rather to transform these impulses into what is good and what is sacred.

True communion with G-d is the heart of Keren’s call for Jewish authenticity and Israeli survival. Once again, the imperiled Jewish people are perched close to the abyss, and once again we should not be lulled into taking Jewish life for granted. The rebirth of Israel offers us all a special opportunity to reconcile history and potential, but first we must understand that the Torah of Exile is not without merit, and that the Exilic experience is now necessarily complementary to the ingathered Jews in Israel. All that is worthy and important to the Jew and the Jewish state has a common source; that is, the individual Jew’s connection with G-d. A good place to start, says Keren, is with an awareness that each person contains a spark of divinity, and that all humankind was created in the Divine Image.

There is considerable wisdom in A Time For Change, especially in the author’s insightful linkages of individual Jewish destiny with the destiny of the Jewish state. The author informs us that the return to the Land of Israel can mean a return to Prophecy – to a situation wherein each individual can commune with G-d directly. Jewish nationhood is, of course, absolutely required, but it is also not sufficient. We, the Jewish People, have a “unique mission.” The Temple is once again within our sights, a distinct cause for celebration, but it still remains to be rebuilt.

“A Time For Change” considers a very wide range of fascinating subjects – perhaps an entire spectrum of our Jewish world. Such ambition offers the reader many meaningful benefits, but it also leaves him or her a bit overwhelmed. Asher Keren has contributed a commendable tour de force, but the sweep is sometimes so wide that more intense and detailed investigations are of necessity left out. All things considered, however, the author has certainly produced a most impressive book on the Jewish condition, one well-worth reading. It will be published shortly by Gefen Publishers.

LOUIS RENE BERES (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is Strategic and Military Affairs Columnist for The Jewish Press.

About the Author: Louis René Beres, strategic and military affairs columnist for The Jewish Press, is professor of Political Science at Purdue University. Educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971), he lectures and publishes widely on international relations and international law and is the author of ten major books in the field. In Israel, Professor Beres was chair of Project Daniel.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Reflections On A Time For Change: A Book By Asher Keren”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
John Kerry
Entire Israeli Cabinet Rejects Kerry’s Proposed Ceasefire, Talks Continue
Latest Indepth Stories
Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett

Because let’s face it: Hamas obviously can’t defeat the IDF in the field, soldier against soldier

Shimon Peres meets with the family of fallen IDF soldier Max Steinberg.

As Peres retires, Israel fights sour legacy: Insistence on setting policy in line with hopes, rather than with reality.

Keeping-Jerusalem

Our capital was not arbitrarily chosen, as capitals of some other nations were.

UNHRC High Commissioner Navi Pillay accuses the IDF of possible war crimes in Gaza again, cutting slack to Hamas.

There is much I can write you about what is going here, but I am wondering what I should not write. I will start by imagining that I am you, sitting at home in the Los Angeles area and flipping back and forth between the weather, traffic reports, the Ukraine, Mexican illegals and Gaza. No […]

Should Jews in Europe take more responsibility in self-defense of community and property?

It is time for a total military siege on Gaza; Nothing should enter the Gaza Strip.

Germany’s The Jewish Faith newspaper ominously noted, “We Jews are in for a war after the war.”

The truth is we seldom explore with kids what prayer is supposed to be about.

Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.

So on the one hand Secretary Kerry makes no bones about who is at fault for the current hostilities: he clearly blames Hamas.

King Solomon said it long ago: “Cast your bread upon the waters” because you don’t know when you’ll hit something. Our job is to do.

The anti-Israel camp does not need to win America fully to its side. Merely to neutralize it would radically alter the balance of power and put Israel in great jeopardy.

More Articles from Louis Rene Beres
Louis Rene Beres

President Obama’s core argument on a Middle East peace process is still founded on incorrect assumptions.

Louis Rene Beres

Once upon a time in America, every adult could recite at least some Spenglerian theory of decline.

President Obama’s core argument is still founded on incorrect assumptions.

Specific strategic lessons from the Bar Kokhba rebellion.

Still facing an effectively unhindered nuclear threat from Iran, Israel will soon need to choose between two strategic options.

For states, as for individuals, fear and reality go together naturally.

So much of the struggle between Israel and the Arabs continues to concern space.

An undifferentiated or across-the-board commitment to nuclear ambiguity could prove harmful to Israel’s’s overall security.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/reflections-on-a-time-for-change-a-book-by-asher-keren/2004/10/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: