Samuel David Luzzatto AKA the Shadal (1800 -1865) lived in Trieste, Italy
- Why did G-d create man alone first, and only after some time create woman?
- Is there value to the experience of being alone?
The covenantal faith community, in contradistinction to the natural work community, interprets the divine pronouncement "It is not good for man to be alone" not in utilitarian but in ontological terms: it is not good for man to be lonely (not alone) with emphasis placed upon "to be"... Adam the second must quest for a different kind of community... His quest is for a new kind of fellowship which one finds in the existential community. There, not only hands are joined, but experiences as well; there, one hears not only the rhythmic sound of the production line, but also the rhythmic beats of hearts. (The Lonely Man of Faith, pp. 26-28)
Adam the second is a profound man, and therefore also a lonely man. The community which he establishes is, therefore, existentially far more significant. That community is also more demanding: in order to benefit from social relations, one must also sacrifice. For this reason, Adam the second must sacrifice so that Chava, his life-mate, may be fashioned: he must give up a rib. The partnership that he creates with Chava, which is the archetype for the community that he creates, is profound and meaningful. Spiritual and sensitive people create more meaningful social connections. (R' Chaim Navon, The Individual and Society, Yeshivat Har Etzion)
The synagogue served to maintain society precisely where and to the extent that it avoided all social motives... At the climax of Jewish public devotions, on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, when the likelihood is greatest that the individual will turn his thoughts away from his selfish motives and social ambitions, he is likely to be absorbed almost completely in his society-congregation. This experience of coalescence, though it is temporary, is not likely to go without effect. The internal cohesiveness of the Jewish community was undoubtedly nourished by the depth of the religious experience of the ever-recurring ritual... Only where religion lives on its own independent resources - man facing God - is it unconsciously and paradoxically also transformed into an all-important social preservative. (Jacob Katz, Tradition and Crisis, pp. 181-182)
- What do sources 3-5 tell us about the features of a spiritual community, or what you need to build spiritual community?
Case Study: Esther
The relationship between the Jewish people and its individual members is different than the relationship between any other national group and its constituents. All other national groups only bestow upon their individual members the external aspect of their essence. But the essence itself each person draws from the all-inclusive soul, from the soul of God, without the intermediation of the group... This is not the case regarding Israel. The soul of the individuals is drawn from ... the community, the community bestowing a soul upon the individuals. One who considers severing himself from the people must sever his soul from the source of its vitality. Therefore each individual Jew is greatly in need of the community. He will always offer his life so that he should not be torn from the people, because his soul and self-perfection require that of him. (Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook, Orot, p. 144)
There is a person who sings the song of his soul. He finds everything, his complete spiritual satisfaction, within his soul.
There is a person who sings the song of the nation. He steps forward from his private soul, which he finds narrow and uncivilized. He yearns for the heights. He clings with a sensitive love to the entirety of the Jewish nation and sings its song. He shares in its pains, is joyful in its hopes, speaks with exalted and pure thoughts regarding its past and its future, investigates its inner spiritual nature with love and a wise heart.
There is a person whose soul is so broad that it expands beyond the border of Israel. It sings the song of humanity. This soul constantly grows broader with the exalted totality of humanity and its glorious image. He yearns for humanity’s general enlightenment. He looks forward to its supernal perfection. From this source of life, he draws all of his thoughts and insights, his ideals and visions.
And there is a person who rises even higher until he unites with all existence, with all creatures, and with all worlds. And with all of them, he sings. This is the person who, engaged in the Chapter of Song every day, is assured that he is a child of the World-to-Come.
And there is a person who rises with all these songs together in one ensemble so that they all give forth their voices, they all sing their songs sweetly, each supplies its fellow with fullness and life: the voice of happiness and joy, the voice of rejoicing and tunefulness, the voice of merriment and the voice of holiness.
The song of the soul, the song of the nation, the song of humanity, the song of the world—they all mix together with this person at every moment and at all times.
And this simplicity in its fullness rises to become a song of holiness, the song of God, the song that is simple, doubled, tripled, quadrupled, the song of songs of Solomon—of the king who is characterized by completeness and peace.
Orot Hakodesh II, p. 444