27 Well I know how defiant and stiffnecked you are: even now, while I am still alive in your midst, you have been defiant toward the Lord; how much more, then, when I am dead! 28 Gather to me all the elders of your tribes and your officials, that I may speak all these words to them and that I may call heaven and earth to witness against them. 29 For I know that, when I am dead, you will act wickedly and turn away from the path that I enjoined upon you, and that in time to come misfortune will befall you for having done evil in the sight of the Lord and vexed Him by your deeds.
So just whose fault is it anyway? Yes, we are stiff-necked, stubborn, arrogant, and prone to act wickedly. This this simple question arises - well, why pick us then? There's an inherent flaw in the system. We're supposed to follow G"d's laws so that we may prosper, you we seem to be born with the tendency to do the opposite. G"d, couldn't you have made us a little less stubborn?
The cynic in me would say the G"d is a sadist, and made the system work this way so that G"d would have plenty of opportunities to inflict punishments up;on us for our misdeeds. That is not, of course, the G"d we are supposed to have. Or is it? Remember those self-descriptive words - gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, forgiving iniquities, yet visiting punishment for sins upon subsequent generations.
It's not at all surprising that many turned to the different understanding of G"d promulgated by Christianity. After all, it's so much easier to deal with. You are flawed and have original sin. A physical manifestation of G"d was sacrificed to atone for these sins for all time. See how much easier that is - if you can get past that "physical manifestation of G"d" thing.
Christianity also has a much better system of apologetics. Not that Judaism is lacking in such, but we're more willing to live with and accept theological inconsistencies, so we have less of a need for apologetics.
We just accept the fact that, even though we are stiff-necked, stubborn, arrogant, and prone to misdeeds, we also have a covenant with G"d, and should strive to follow G"ds ways. We accept that we will often fail, and that there will be consequences for that. In many ways, it's a rather realistic approach to life (of course, this is sort of a chicken-egg question. How much of what we believe influences what happens in our lives?)
Yeah, it's a flawed system in many ways. Flawed as we are, seems like just what we need.
Shabbat Shalom and Shanah Tovah,
©2010 by Adrian A. Durlester
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