The universe was created or it always was.
That got Spinoza excommunicated.
And, it can’t be six earth days. That’s poetry, not physics.
The revelation of Torah on Mt. Sinai – all dictated in advance?
So was it all prophecy?
Is it reasonable to expect the people to be a nation of priests with all that that connotes?
Take the Ten Commandments and their ultimate meaning.
Why for Rosh Hashanah the trilogy of Malchuyot — sovereignty; Zichronot – Remembrance of the great figures that created and molded the people; and Shofarot – the power of Shofar to inspire the people to not neglect Torah and the Way but to enable it to come in every generation.
Let’s start with sovereignty. God cannot be visualized for it is infinite. Thus, Maimonides and the Thirteen Principles of Faith whereby God is described as best man can do.
Start with what we can understand; namely, God’s gift of sovereignty. Through all the years of broken Kingdom after Solomon, north and south, loss of ten tribes, Kingdom of Judea the survivor but even there majority of time idolatrous, failed to obey prophets. They played the power game. This was very dangerous for a buffer state re: alliances with Egypt and Babylon against entreaties of Jeremiah.
That’s where George Washington got the mantra for original United States of no entangling alliances – from Judea and Jeremiah and in essence the first President was a good Jew without portfolio.
What of God?
What did he do with sovereignty?
Delegated it to the Jewish people, that they should be sovereign; that their social structure should be that of king if they desire, but the king has limited power. His prize possession must be a Torah.
He must serve the people and not be master.
And, of course history is one of violation of this principle.
Let’s go to II Kings and see how the history unfolds and the gross idolatry of most kings.
Just go to the Haftorahs (which should be studied in historical order). For therein lies the history with all its abominations and they should be taught so folks can better understand real world mess- ups than the hope that the people will all be virtuous and near perfect.
As example, start with Haftorah for Shabbat Shekalim:
Athaliah, daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, married Jehoram, King of Judah, and brought worship of Baal to Judah. The Hertz Chumash has it that when Jehoram died she was queen-mother and when her son died by Jehu’s hand as part of the restoration of Judah she would have had to yield her position to her son’s widow so she didn’t want that so she murdered her grandchildren and ascended to the throne herself. Only one grandson Jehoash or Joash was saved by an aunt who was married to Jehoiada, the High Priest, who taught Joash the right way and that was the one revolution in Judah’s history where a ruler was killed and a time of return to God and Torah ensued but that was short-lived and the struggles re the high places for idol worship were suppressed by Hezekiah, renewed by Manasseh and another Haftorah shows the great Passover by Manasseh’s grandson Josiah.
Now note the Athaliah episode is II Kings chapter XI verse 17 to chapter XII verse 17.
Now forward to the Haftorah for Passover, second Day, II Kings chapter 23 verses 1 – 9 and skips to verses 21 – 25.
This commemorates the Great Passover after King Josiah’s Reformation, in the 18th year of his reign given as 621 BCE, during restoration of the Temple a Torah scroll was found – remember now, Josiah was Manasseh’s grandson whose reign of 55 years had been gross apostasy and knowledge of Torah had been forgotten even by Hilkiah the then High Priest. And Josiah purged the kingdom of the idolatry and brought the Kohens back to do their function and all in all a big clean up job and that’s the great Passover read on the Pesach 2nd day.
And so the story of Judah was failure interrupted on occasion by bright interludes.
And of course it came to a barbaric end with Rome.
Had kings always understood their limited role with governing the sovereign people with the social order being private property, free market capitalism, people encouraged to produce wealth with commerce among all so that all shared in their production and consumption under freedom’s mantle…
…with the rights enshrined in the U.S. constitution’s Bill of Rights as being the guidelines for a happy, prosperous, stable society wherein freedom reigns.
But looking around us,
As Israel is surrounded by enemies and U.S. is being consumed by internal enemies.
Contributor – The Bunny Rabbit