September 17, 2019

hE AIN'T YOUR MOM:

The relational religion of Martin Buber: Behind the man's life's work is a broken-hearted child. (Jeffrey Johnson September 17, 2019, The Christian Century)

Behind Buber's life's work, which at its core still seems aimed at young people, is a brokenhearted child. His parents separated when he was three, and his mother left him without saying goodbye. Paul Mendes-Flohr describes the child looking out from a second-floor window at the figure of his mother walking away, without a wave, to elope with a Russian military officer.

Near the end of his life, Buber re­called feeling an "infinite sense of deprivation and loss" when an older neighbor girl told him bluntly that his mother was not coming back to him. He recalled the pain of hearing the girl's words, and he admitted that the shock of that experience never left him: "Whatever I have learned in the course of my life about the meaning of meeting and dialogue be­tween people springs from that moment when I was four."

Even when Buber was addressing the political and geopolitical forces of his age, the sadness of this event reappeared, especially when the topic intersected with existential concerns. For example, in a paper he wrote in 1933, Buber ob­served that Jews of the world were lost. Modern society had fragmented them so that they were no longer guided by "the heartbeat of a living Jewish community," and the norms and strictures of Rabbinic Judaism were not enough to guide and encourage them. Jewish community must be re­newed. Buber wrote, "It is up to us to make the world reliable again for the children. It depends on us to say to them and ourselves: Don't worry. Mother is here."

He should have become a Catholic.  They offer you Mary.

Posted by at September 17, 2019 12:00 AM

  

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