(Eighth in a series summarizing the book Halachic Man – Part Two: The power of creativity)
The process of innovation that comes out of Torah study extends to the practical realm. Interpretation is not just an intellectual and theoretical exercise. The vision of a better world as primary in the learner’s consciousness has an important impact. Halacha always reflects a longing to change the face of reality.
A practical vision of the future extends even where one would not expect it to. The stories of our forefathers portend future events. Promises given by God provide norms for behavior. The creation story calls upon us to engage in renewal and creativity. God even left some of creation a little bit flawed so that we would refine and perfect it, so that human beings could pick up from where God left off.
The creative process of halacha is steeped in language, argumentation and rules of logic. I am most creative when I’m asked challenging questions or hear an opposing view. Sometimes the process of writing itself stimulates my thoughts as I ask myself: What does this essentially mean? What am I trying to say?
I don’t get so excited about argumentation as I do about deeper insights. I’m not a person of analysis but of synthesis.
It’s easier perhaps to draw clear lines of debate and toss ideas back and forth as to why this way of looking at it makes more sense or why that reason is compelling. Everyone enjoys a good debate. It’s more subtle to explore the depth of things and to draw connecting lines. It seems less popular. But it is who I am, and I’m always seeking “synthesis” people.
My only question is: Is there anything I can do that would motivate the reader to ask challenging questions? How can I encourage you to share your perspective in a way that will broaden and deepen my own?