One Generation Encounters the Next

This morning I read the following extract from an essay by Martin Buber entitled, ‘Teaching and Deed’ (an essay in which Buber is fairly clear that deeds must have the underpinning of learning):

In Jewry, the way which leads to that promised time, the way of man’s contribution to ultimate fulfilment, is trodden whenever one generation encounters the next, whenever the generation which has reached its full development transmits the teachings to the generation which is still in the process of developing, so that the teachings spontaneously waken to new life in the new generation. (Martin Buber, Israel and the World, p. 142)

It was in response to our Kabbalat Torah service. I felt it important to acknowledge that this new generation, still in the process of developing, was able to speak from the bimah about – spirituality, freedom and responsibility, love (gay and straight), gender issues and body image, freedom of religion, fundamentalism and radicalisation, antisemitism, self-identity and growing up, and freedom of speech. It really felt like teachings were spontaneously waking to new life…

Buber concludes his essay:

In order that they may live and bring forth life, generations must continue to meet, and the teachings assume the form of a human link, awakening and activating our common bond with our Father. The spark that leaps from him who teaches to him who learns rekindles a spark of that fire which lifted the mountain of revelation “to the very heart of heaven.”

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