Touring With Lévy a Dizzying Experience
by Marc Ballon, Senior Writer,
The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles
Date: Saturday, April 8, 2006.
Time: 9 a.m.
Place: The Beverly Hills Hotel lobby.
I have come to this palace of privilege to meet Bernard-Henri Lévy, France’s philosophy king, the author of 30 books, including best sellers “American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville,” released earlier this year, and “Who Killed Daniel Pearl?” (Melville House, 2003).
“I believe [being an agnostic] is one of the best ways to be a Jew,” he says. “Jewishness is an experience of the nonevidence of God. That’s one of the main differences between Judaism and other faiths.
The Jewish faith, the Jewish relationship to God, is the one most aware of [God’s] absence sometimes, the silence often.
If you read really the prophets of the Bible, you’ll find that their main experience isn’t one of the warm presence of God, but of the despairing absence of it.”
Passionate Jews like himself need not believe in God to embrace the bedrock Jewish value of tikkun olam.