Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Quote of the day

"Marriage is that relationship between man and woman under whose shadow alone there can be true reverence for the mystery, dignity and sacredness of life. Scripture represents marriage not merely as a Mosaic ordinance, but as part of the scheme of Creation, intended for all humanity. Its sacredness thus goes back to the very birth of man.

"They do less than justice to this Divine institution who view it in no other light than as a civil contract. There is a vital difference between a marriage and a contract. In a contract the mutual rights and obligations are the result of an agreement, and their selection and formulation may flow from the momentary whim of the parties. In the marriage relation, however, such rights and obligations are high above the arbitrary will of both husband and wife; they are determined and imposed by Religion as well as by the Civil Law. The failure of the contract view to bring out this higher sphere of duty and conscience, which is of the very essence of marriage, led a philosopher like Hegel to denounce that view as a Schaendlichkeit [shamefulness]."

Rabbi Joseph H. Hertz, Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, "Foreword to Seder Nashim," 1936.

Rabbi Hertz was my great-great uncle.