His book, The Biblical View of Man (Urim Publications), develops from a simple thesis, namely that the Torah is not a theology, but rather a book about man, specifically a guide for man in light of God. In other words, does the Torah focus on the nature and being of God and ask us to contemplate it? No. The Torah says the opposite – that we couldn’t possible fathom God. Rather the Torah gives us mitzvos and guidance so that “God’s holiness become[s] man’s morality.”
This is a simple yet sweeping and groundbreaking concept. I doubt may of us have thought of the Torah in these terms before. It leads to several important conclusions and observations that Rabbi Adler touches upon in the book.
I’ll present you with just one:
The greatest moment of revelation in our People’s history was at Mt. Sinai, but how is that revelation manifested? Yes, with thunder and lightning and smoke, but ultimately, and most importantly, through the giving of the Torah. When Hashem “reveals” Himself to the Jewish people he chooses to do so by giving them mitzvos for man to observe.
Some of the passages in the book can be difficult to read, and others require re-reading to understand. Almost every page merits a pause after reading to allow the reader to absorb what Rabbi Adler has said.
But don’t let that deter you. The serious reader, and the one who would like to grow in Judaism and understanding of the Torah and what it asks of us, will do well to pick up The Biblical View of Man, clear a couple of hours, and relax with it in a comfortable seat, under a warm lamp.
About the Author: Shlomo Greenwald is associate editor of The Jewish Press.
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