Sacred Attune­ment: A Jew­ish Theology

Michael Fish­bane
  • Review
By – January 16, 2012

Michael Fish­bane is a not­ed schol­ar of Bible and midrash, known for his sub­tle read­ings of Jew­ish texts. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, his most orig­i­nal insights in this book trans­late the major modes of tra­di­tion­al inter­pre­ta­tion into spir­i­tu­al dis­ci­plines. Peshat, derash, remez, and sod rep­re­sent four dif­fer­ent ways of being attuned” to the world around us, and to the ways our expe­ri­ences unlock a divine real­i­ty in our lives. Fish­bane does not demon­strate per se that spe­cif­ic inter­pre­tive moves” on bib­li­cal texts yield spe­cif­ic spir­i­tu­al insights or lessons. Rather, the four modes of inter­pre­ta­tion are unique­ly Jew­ish ways of train­ing our­selves to pay attention. 

Fish­bane is at his strongest as he elab­o­rates this Jew­ish hermeneu­ti­cal the­ol­o­gy.” He attempts to treat the rest of Judaism in a par­al­lel fash­ion—halacha, prayer, com­mu­ni­ty, the State of Israel. In these sec­tions his work is less orig­i­nal, less fresh. Fish­bane grounds all his thoughts in a com­pelling vision of the uni­ty of the­o­log­i­cal per­cep­tion and human action. End­notes, index.

Jonathan Spi­ra-Savett is a rab­bi and teen edu­ca­tor. He is the rab­bi at Tem­ple Beth Abra­ham in Nashua, NH. His work focus­es on civic edu­ca­tion and youth phil­an­thropy, and he has taught his­to­ry, lit­er­a­ture, and envi­ron­men­tal stud­ies in addi­tion to tra­di­tion­al Jew­ish texts.

Discussion Questions