Kingdom of Priests

There seem to be two kinds of religious people (along with countless other distinctions you could make). One kind finds the outré aspects of his faith uncomfortable to contemplate and seeks strategies for explaining them away, or disregarding them altogether. He respects the authority of secular thought, perhaps too much. The other delights in those same aspects, finding in them one of the great charms of trying to adhere in the modern world to an ancient system of belief. He suspects that secular wisdom may not exhaust the body of possible knowledge about this mysterious world, and finds the esoteric and imponderable to be something like a finger pointing to the existence of realms beyond our mundane reality.

Take the idea that somehow the stars play a role in governing the world — the basis of astrology — a role given to them by God and fully capable of being overriden by Him. Over Shabbat, I noticed a passage in the first blessing before the Shema that I had never thought about before. It was right there, concealed in plain sight in a pretty prominent place in the Siddur, the Jewish prayer book (in Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’s translation):

Good are the radiant stars our God created,
He formed them with knowledge,
understanding and deliberation.
He gave them strength and might
to rule throughout the world.

There’s much else in classical Jewish texts that echoes and expands on this idea, which delights me. For example, in a basic and classic work such as Moshe Chaim Luzzatto‘s The Way of God, you’ll find a chapter devoted to explaining “The Influence of the Stars.” Anyway, that would indicate what category of religious person I fall into. What about you? 
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