Thursday, June 04, 2009

God Looks for a Wrestling Match

In an essay from her newest book For the Love of God (which I reviewed for Shofar a while back), Alicia Suskin Ostriker writes:

Open disclosure: I write as a Jew, a woman, a wife and mother, a third-generation lefty, a feminist, a poet. And I write as a reader, for whom words are primary—even sacred—realities. The Hebrew Bible marks, for me, the point in Western culture where human life, human language, and the human experience of the divine, most fully converge. I can learn from it. I can wrestle with it. It fights back, and we both grow stronger. It is both a primary source of my most strongly held values and a source of much that I deplore and struggle against. I believe that the Bible, and God in the Bible, want to be wrestled with. This is how they stay alive. This is why the sages say, "There is always another interpretation."

For me, apart from my lifelong fascination with Torah, Ostriker's work is where it all began. She is one of the most magnificent and compelling writers out there when it comes to dealing with the Hebrew bible in the context of poetry, story, and philosophy. I think I have always loved most the idea of wrestling with God--of a God who truly wants to be wrestled with, rather than blindly and uncritically obeyed.


Casey said...

Well when you phrase it like that...


Anonymous said...

Great post!