Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “We do not believe in astrology, however…”

 

Rabbi Steinsaltz writes:

“The saying “Life, sons, and livelihood, these do not depend on a man’s worth, but on the stars” appears not only to be remote from our experience, but also simply not correct.

It seems to be based on the assumption, which we reject, that the arrangement of the stars at a man’s birth determines the course of his life.

Since we do not believe in astrology, the saying is apparently lacking in significance for us.

In fact, however, it is a special case, an imagery concept that possesses far more content than is apparent in its literal meaning.

In terms of contemporary culture, this particular saying would probably be expressed thus:

“Sons, life, and livelihood [or, in more abstract terms, the ups and downs of life] are not contingent on a man’s worth or virtue, but are dependent on the laws of nature [or on the same general causality that operates throughout the world].”

Thus, when the abstract content of the imagery concept is extracted, it is revealed as neither strange nor remote, but familiar and pertinent. 

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz in “The Imagery Concept” in The Strife of the Spirit

Comments are closed.