Selected Topics from: S. Schechter, Aspects of Rabbinic Theology
The Kingdom of God--Invisible:
The Shema' as the Acceptance of the Kingdom of God
- "Kingdom of Heaven" and "Kingdom of God" are identical terms.
"Heaven" is a name of God, not an afterlife destination.
- Kingdom = Kingship
- Ideal (related to eschatological hopes)
- "Invisihble Kingdom of God" = religious devotion.
Love of God
- Should be complete and unconditional, for its own sake, with no extraneous motives.
The Yoke of Torah
- Viewed as source and condition for freedom
- Ultimate expression of love of God is martyrdom.
- Example of Rabbi Akiva:
- Recitation of Shema'.
- Not motivated by expectation of reward in afterlife.
- Martyrdom viewed as privilege: "Chastisements of love."
- No reward for righteousness expected in this world.
Fear of God as an expression of Love
- Esoteric doctrine, little known about its content.
- Was apparently not a rebellion against rabbinic "legalism," but an outgrowth of it.
Pursued by same rabbis who are active in "orthodox" religious areas.
- Avoidance of
- Excessive concern with importance of individual