(1873-1956). Rabbi Leo Baeck was a great Jewish theologian
. He was a student of Hermann Cohen
, a neo-Kantian
who saw Judaism
as ethical monotheism. Cohen’s was a philosophical God, not a personal one. For Baeck, God was very personal, with a commanding presence, only we had to decide what those commandments were for ourselves. Baeck’s sense of God gave him great courage.
He needed it. He refused to leave sick and dying survivors of the concentration camp at Theresienstadt where he was an inmate. While at the camp he organized classes for the other prisoners. The camp was liberated in early May 1945. The Russian army handed over the Nazi guards to the Jewish
inmates who planned to kill them. Baeck argued with them not to kill because in doing so they would lose their own humanity.
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Excerpted from The 158-Pound Marriage
By John Irving
3:13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.