Tuesday, October 28, 2014

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Leah Asks a Great Question

    
 by Reb Gutman Locks    ​

   Leah Asks a Great Question

 

Question:  (Gutman, you wrote that all people are the children of G-d, but) "I thought that the Torah says that Jews are Hashem's children. All are creations of Hashem, but Jews are His children."

 

Gutman's response: The Torah is an amazing source of information. It says many things, but some things are not so entirely clear. That's why there is a saying, "When you have two Jews, you have at least three opinions."

     The Torah specifically writes that the Jews are G-d's children.[i] It says this only about the Jews.

     However, there is a gemora (Talmud)[ii] that tells a story about a time when the local gentile rulers made a harsh decree against the Jewish people. The Jews went to them to try to have the decree removed. They said, "Why are you decreeing against the Jewish people, don't we all have the same Father in Heaven?" So we see that the Jews there taught that not only the Jewish people are the children of G-d.

     But there is another gemora [iii] that tells the story of G-d telling the gentiles how good the Jews are and the gentiles responding, "You are saying that because the Jews are Your children! Obviously, a father defends his children." So we see here that the gentiles in this story say that only the Jews are G-d's children.

     One could argue that the Torah calls the Jewish people G-d's bechor (first-born), and obviously you cannot have a "firstborn," unless there are also other children in the family. But Chassidus teaches that indeed if you only have one son, he is your bechor.

     Rabbi Akiva points out that all mankind is blessed to be made in the image of Hashem, and the Jews are even more blessed to be the children of Hashem.[iv] Apparently, he holds that only the Jews are His children.

     On and on, we can find many sources that support the fact that only the Jews are His children, and we can find other sources to support the opinion that all people are His children, that He is the Father of all.

     To further complicate the issue, sometimes the creator of an object, be it an invention, a completely new style of music, or whatever, will be called the father of that creation. This is a common usage of the word "father." So, since Hashem is the Creator of all, often He is called the Father of all.

     But the fact is, the Torah (Five books of Moshe) only specifies that the Jewish people have the treasured title, the children of G-d. 

     In such cases, I usually ask at least two renowned Torah scholars what is the Torah's position on this matter. As often happens, one scholar told me that surely, "Only the Jewish people are G-d's children", and the other renowned scholar told me, "Surely, all people are G-d's children."

      Thanks for the great question, Leah.

     



[i] Exodus 4:21

[ii] Tanis

[iii] Avoda Zara

[iv] Ethics of the Fathers 3:14

2 comments:

Leah said...

Awwwww, thanks for posting my question!!! I am grateful to be in the time and place of understanding that I am located at right now. I do, of course, want more knowledge and understand that I must continue to study and learn for it.
I am, however, grateful because I accept your answer as it is and it is the answer. Meaning, I used to be closure oriented. "What, but wait, what is THE answer. There has to be only one answer! How could he say that two, (or more ;)) say such and such, and there answers are so different?"
Well, I can smile at this answer and say, "Ahh, ok, I get it and it's fine."
Again, thank you for answering and posting. :)

Anonymous said...

Reb Gutman and Leah:

As a non-Jew created in the
image of our Creator we have
to ask ourselves in what likeness
are we to be in His image?

If we do justice, love mercy and
walk humbly before our Creator, then
it would seem that we are His children.

michael/usa

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