Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Ki Teitzei

Deuteronomy 21:10–25:19

Rabbi Lewis Eron for Jewish Reconstructionist Communities

It Just Isn't So!

There comes a point in the life of all faithful Jews when we face the fact that what the Torah says, just isn't so. This does not occur when we see the differences between the ancient understanding of the origins and structures of the physical world and contemporary scientific knowledge. The Torah is not a science text book, but uses the knowledge of its time to illustrate the various ways in which God, the Creator, interacts with creation. Nor does it happen when we first note the differences between the Torah's use of history and modern academic historical work and journalistic reporting. The Torah's concern is not objective reporting but rather is interested in using historical events to describe the evolving relationship between God and God's people, Israel.

The fundamental challenge takes place when we discover that the way in which the Torah orders its world does not correspond to the way in which we experience our world. In the world described by the Torah those loyal to the Covenant and strive to fulfill its holy directives are promised success, security and long years. But in our world, those promises are rarely, if ever kept. What we see in our live-a-day world is that all too often the saintly receive no rewards, people of faith fail to obtain material gifts, and the blessings of health, happiness, prosperity and longevity are not guaranteed to any human being no matter how righteous that soul may be. Theologians describe this challenge to faith as the question of theodicy, God's justice.

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