[Introduction by Mel Scult: I think we are all surprised when great people turn out to be like the rest of us. Here is a very ordinary day in the life of Mordecai Kaplan . He was impatient with himself because of something he could not find and was also suffering from the annoyance of a bad tooth ache. What interests me is that Kaplan cannot help but think in transcendent categories. He opens this daily report by saying that even though the divine should help us endure the worst that can befall us he often doesn’t endure his trials as well as he might. Rabbi Kaplan we welcome you to the human race.]
Wed. January 25, 1950 read more »
I often speak of religion as that which enables a person to be and do his best and to bear the worst that may befall him. If trying to be and do one's best is religion, I can say I have some religion, but if bearing the worst that may befall one is religion, I have mighty little of it. It doesn't take much to upset me, although I try to control myself. I say this apropos of the way I have been behaving the last two days.
Monday July 13, 1936 read more »
The main difficulty in effecting the transition from the anthropomorphic to a rational conception of God could be overcome, it seems to me, by the following approach: accustom yourself to the thought that the reality of God cannot be grasped by any effort at visualization.
January 29, 1935 read more »
How little the Seminary authorities have any idea of the religious unrest among the very men who are studying for the rabbinate! Could they imagine for a moment that in a class at the Seminary there could go on the kind of discussion that went on during the hour in Homiletics this afternoon. In discussing the outline I had given them on "Humanism is not enough" I was bombarded with questions as to why I insist upon retaining the name of God in the ethical pattern of thought. The usual arguments about the misconceptions in the minds of those who hear it used were advanced with a great deal of clarity and force by the best men in the class.
[Though Reconstructionist Jews aren't famous for attesting to miracles, I don't know how else to describe this: Mordecai Kaplan has registered at this web site and posted an article. Wow! :> Dr. Mel Scult, Kaplan's biographer, has already posted a comment. Ed.]
January 22, 1939.
It seems to be that unless we can identify some basis for faith within accessible experience of the average person, life is bound to lose all worth and meaning. read more »
The fact is that before a person can have faith in human life as a whole he must first have faith in himself. We put the cart before the horse if we want to find reason for faith in mankind before we have cultivated any genuine ground for faith in ourselves. The problem of faith can be met only if we go about it the other way around. If upon looking into our own souls we become aware of something in us which, if universalized, would render life as a whole worthwhile, then we cannot be mistaken. The only thing of which that can be true is love and good will.