By Jay M .Harris
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Extra info for Association for Jewish studies 2000-2001- 25
Kant,CritiqueofJudgment,pp. 76-77. 19. ,p. 93. 20. ,p. 95. JOSEPH SOLOVEITCHIK ANDIMMANUEL KANT 11 The predicatedon halakhah:thatis, laws,precepts,andall of theirparticulars. In contrast,an aestheticunderstanding mitzvahdoes not referthe halakhicmindto a set of externalgoods andgoals. Mitzvotandsense impressionspoint Rather,it remainsentirelyself-referential. It is quite fromdivinewill andintelligence. Indeed,KantbringsGod (qua idea of 21. SeeSoloveitchik, Halakhic Mind,p. 98. mi-sham," Man,p. 65;"U-viqashtem p.
38. KANT ANDIMMANUEL JOSEPH SOLOVEITCHIK 9 SabbathandYomKippurare Clearly,thispassageshowsa generalaestheticism. In fact,this description of beauty. Kantdistinguished philosophical is the facultyby which and Reason. They buttools plurality,totality,causality)correspond of by whichthe mindorganizesthe manifold sense impressioninto an ordered whole. Lastly,Reasonpositsthese orderedimpressionsunderthe overarching ideationalpostulatesof God, world,and soul. In eithercase,the ideasof Reasonalongwiththe subsistfirst and foremostin a self-contained conceptsof the Understanding cognitivesystemof internalreference.
First one accepts divine law under compulsion and then accepts it as if it were equal to one's own creative reason. 39I do not want to make too much of this argumentexcept to note how this bald appeal to halakhic pleasure smoothes the divide between ethics and aesthetics. No appeals are made to external standardslike God or the Good. The normative demand to perform halakhic duties li-shemah resonates with the pleasure one takes in performingbeautiful acts that transcendrational purpose. This may representa ta 'am, a reason for observing mitzvot.