It’s Not So Bad To Be Human

One of the most insidious trends in Judaism, and I think it has analogs in other religions as well, is called דעת תורה, Das Torah.  It literally means “knowledge of (from within) the Torah”, but the idea is that one can find the answer to absolutely everything through correct understanding of Torah.

The result, as we too often see in the religious political parties in Israel, is often the ridiculous claim that this or that party is, authentically, “God’s party” (a frightening parallel is that Hizbollah, the terrorist organization occupying southern Lebanon, literally means “The Party Of God”).  The fallacy is that Torah study and halachic analysis will, infallibly, yield a divinely-mandated policy or decision.

As a believing Jew, I absolutely believe that our Torah is, indeed, all-inclusive.  Yes, that wisdom is embedded within Torah.  But I also believe, equally strongly, that God, in His Infinite Mercy, כי לעולם חסדו, Ki L’Olam Chasdo, because His love endures forever, intentionally does not give us all the keys.  There is some knowledge that is just inaccessible to humanity–in fact, there is infinitely more that we’ll never know that which we will.  Otherwise, we’d lose the most precious gift that God grants us, the ability to earn our rewards through having the courage to make free choices, בחירה, bechira.

To the contrary, our tradition teaches us that no human will ever be perfect and infallible. To our glory, even our greatest prophet and teacher, Moses, the Torah-Giver himself, remains firmly grounded in humanity, perfectly balanced, like all of us, between good and evil, between right and wrong.

And that’s not so bad.

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