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A Discussion of Messianic Judaism, the Emerging Messianic Jewish Paradigm, and Related Leadership Issues from the Preoccupied Mind of Rabbi Stuart Dauermann, PhD.

All Contents ©2004-2007 Stuart Dauermann - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Friday, October 01, 2004

The Holographic Model of Messianic Jewish Spirituality

According to the website http://hyperphysics.phy.gsu.edu "Every part of a hologram contains an image of the whole object. You can cut off the corner of a hologram and see the entire image through it. For every viewing angle you see the image in a different perspective, as you would a real object. Each piece of a hologram contains a particular perspective of the image, but it includes the entire object." These properties are also found in Messianic Jewish spirituality

The Holographic Model of Messianic Jewish Spirituality recognizes that every aspect of Jewish life is a window through which the entire system can be seen/experienced. One can and should see/experience the whole in the parts, and the parts in the whole .

In the Spiritual Life Concentration of Messianic Jewish Theological Institute, we identify six major facets of Messianic Jewish spirituality. However, the Holographic Model of Messianic Jewish Spirituality is operational and valid even for those communities/people who construe these facets differently.

Messianic Jewish spirituality is organic and holistic rather than mechanical. As a living organic reality, each aspect of Messianic Jewish spiritual life carries the DNA of the whole, and therefore, to change the metaphor, it is only natural that each of its aspects provides a window to the whole, just as the whole embodies all the parts.

Abraham Joshua Heschel, of Blessed Memory, speaks of the relationship between the parts and the whole in his masterpiece, "God In Search of Man."

"There is a sure way of missing the meaning of the law by either atomization or generalization, by seeing the parts without the whole or by seeing the whole without the parts.

"It is impossible to understand the significance of single acts, detached from the total character of a life in which they are set. Acts are components of a whole and derive their character from the structure of the whole. There is an intimate relation between all acts and experiences of a person. Yet just as the parts are determined by the whole, the whole is determined by the parts. Consequently, the amputation of one part may affect the integrity of the entire structure, unless that part has outlived its vital role in the organic body of the whole.

"Some people are so occupied collecting shreds and patches of the law, that they hardly think of weaving the pattern of the whole; other are so enchanted by the glamor of generalities, by the image of ideals, that while their eyes fly up, their actions remain below.

"What we must try to avoid is not only the failure to observe a single mitzvah, but the loss of the whole, the loss of belonging to the spiritual order of Jewish living. The order of Jewish living is meant to be, not a set of rituals but an order of all man’s existence, shaping all his traits, interests and dispositions; not so much the performance of single acts, the taking of a step now and then, as the pursuit of a way, being on the way; not so much the acts of fulfilling as the state of being committed to the task, the belonging to an order in which single deeds, aggregates of religious feeling, sporadic sentiments, moral episodes become part of a complete pattern.

"It is a distortion to reduce Judaism to a cult or system of ceremonies. The Torah is both the detail and the whole. As time and space are presupposed in any perception, so is the totality of life implied in every act of piety. There is an objective coherence that holds all episodes together. A man ma commit a crime now and teach mathematics effortlessly an hour later. But when a man prays, all he has done in his life enters his prayer" [From Heschel, Abraham Joshua, God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism. New York: Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1955, as quoted in Rothschild, Fritz, ed., "Between God and Man: An Interpretation of Judaism from the Writings of Abraham J. Heschel." New York: the Free Press, 1997:159-160].