8 November 2020

Rabbi Lord Sacks

I was shocked so suddenly to read of the death of one of our most distinguished Chief Rabbis. 

Lord Sacks was quintessentially English. He was a man of high culture who had a gentle facility for elegant expression which is all too rare. 

Far beyond the trite phrase "a public intellectual", he was learned. 

He once protested, after a British court had purported to set aside a requirement of Jewish law which it held to be subordinate to the law of these islands: "An English court has declared this rule racist, and since this is an essential element of Jewish law, it is in effect declaring Judaism racist." 

Jews have sometimes been hotly criticised for putting Religion before Nationality. What a very perverse criticism. Putting God and Faith first is, on the contrary, an imperative which we share with them; for us, as much as for them, our allegiance to our Faith takes precedence ... every day of the week ... in the good times and no less during the pestilences ... over terrestrial allegiances. 

In the Divine Office of the Latin Church, we have recently read the story of the Maccabees: accounted blessed martyrs among Christians every bit as much as among Jews, whose precious relics are venerated at the heart of Catholic Rome. Many English priests will, this very morning, have read, during their Requiem for those killed in War, the succinct and pointed Reading from II Maccabees.

As these martyrs taught us by their costly witness to the Torah, who in their time had not yet become Incarnate, Faith, and the observances which articulate and make it actual, come before the enactments of secular regimes. 

A very, very, long way before. Would that all Catholics understood this.

O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God; how unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways.


Frederick Jones said...

There was a time when the only religious witness on "Thought for the Day" was provided by Rabbi Sachs and his predecessor Rabbi Jacobovits.

Sprouting Thomas said...

I always had a very great respect for Lord Sacks. He seemed the very figure in our modern city of what the Religious Man and teacher should be. May God rest him.

dunstan said...

Rowan Williams argued in terms of the primacy of religion over nationality in advocating a place for sharia law in the British legal system twelve years ago and he was surely right to do so for just this reason. However, modern Judaism (since 1949) is now a nationality as well as a religion which complicates the issue to say the least. Many Jewish leaders, Lord Sacks among them, treated Jeremy Corbyn as the reincarnation of Antiochus Epiphanes threatening to leave the country if a Labour government were elected on the grounds that they feared persecution whereas Corbyn's argument was with the State of Israel, not the Jewish religion. It is sad that, brilliant and learned though he was, Lord Sacks was unwilling to recognise that distinction.
Fr S. Heans

pdm said...

in Nuntio Catholico scripsi rei publicae imperare non licere ut matrionia a Martio ad Iulium non celebrentur, atque questus sum quod episcopi nostri non effecerunt ut viri et mulieres, qui ad matrimonium hac aestate parati erant, teste laico nuptiis iungantur; id quod legibus canonicis permittitur, si nemo clericus infra unum mensem adhiberi potest. itaque spero eiusmodi viros mulieresque ius sacramenta capiendi, quod omnes Catholici habent, sic exercituros, si iterum omnia clausa erunt. sic enim amicos Americanos hortatus sum, qui iungi non potuerant, nisi hoc ius tenaces ab episcopo flagitassent. ( https://catholicherald.co.uk/letters-the-church-and-the-next-lockdown/ ).

stephen cooper said...

To be fair, I do not know much about him.

I do know he was never famous for campaigning for the aborted children of England, at a time when every year, while the old scholar was enjoying the meager but not completely inconsequential fruits of being a "wise old man", the death rate for those beloved innocent children was very high. I do not remember that he ever did a single brave thing about that.

When we reread the history of ancient Israel and of ancient Judah, we are often astonished at how many kings lacked good advisors.

When I die, I hope that I will not have to apologize to millions (today) or billions (a few decades from now) of babies who were aborted because I was too cowardly to speak out clearly against abortion. Among those babies are many souls who would have been greater saints in this world than any saint you or me have ever met....
if they had not been aborted, while poor old men like Sacks remained more or less on the sidelines ...

for such a loss, what can be anything like restoration of what used to be????

The same goes for the evildoers on the Christian side. May God forgive the friends of abortionists like poor "Father" Bergoglio, and may God forgive us all for speaking words of praise for old men who were afraid to speak out against the evil of our day.

As I always do, I ask my fellow Christians to pray to God for the souls of those who have been incorrectly declared Saints by old men who should know better.
I know how little many of those falsely celebrated people cared about the holy innocents of our day, killed because they were small and helpless, and unloved, killed before they saw the light of day, never to look into the eyes of a human mother or father.