In my post here at TOI, I have responded to the findings in the book “The Chosen few” that
“Voluntary diaspora of the Jews in search of worldwide opportunities in crafts, trade, commerce, moneylending, banking, finance, and medicine and slow but significant process of conversion out of Judaism, which caused a significant drop in the Jewish population during the first half of the first millennium” I suggested the following spiritual (not economic one) explanation to this “conversion out of Judaism”:
“The Jews had taken upon themselves the mission of the Chosen freely without the fear of being punished for not taken it. Since then, the Jews followed the same intellectual-freedom-based approach – some of them decide freely to continue the mission of the Chosen, and some decide to quit”.
A very honorable Rabbi disagreed with this explanation. He thinks that was not a part of the ultimate plan of God – rather it is the biggest tragedy and calamity, and is really a sad part of Jewish history.
However, there is no word “tragedy” in the God’s language – this word belongs to the human language. Only the humans describe their history in terms of human’s feelings such as tragedy, comedy, drama … since God created us the humans with such attributes.
But we are trying to figure out the logic of God in doing everything He has done, and the only tool available to do that is the Torah since it is only God’s own thoughts, as we the Jews believe, available for analysis. And in the Torah, there are no actions which are described with human attributes. In the Torah, everything what is happening is happening on purpose, and the purpose is to create a better world along the lines of God’s design. The Noah flood is not a tragedy – it is a demolition of a variant of a “better world” God tested and didn’t like, and we see the God’s logic in this. The Sodom/Gomorra destruction is not a tragedy – it is a God’s action to define Right and Wrong in His better world, and we see the God’s logic in this as well.
I am researching the God’s logic in the long after-Torah history of the Jewish people. Of course, the fact that many Jews left our tribe out of purely economic or fear-based reasons is a tragedy for us the Jews. But it is not a tragedy for God – for Him that is a trial step in building His better world. What might be the God’s logic in this trial step?
I asked the Rabbi to try to read the “God’s mind” and consider the following possibilities:
- May it be that God is testing the number of the Chosen at the level of about 15 million as the best number to work on the mission of the Chosen – to be the example for the others in building a better world – because a significantly larger tribe would be too diverse and not able to create a clearly understandable example?
- May it be that God wants all who are born to Jewish families to choose themselves whether they want to be with the Chosen and do difficult work to be the true example in building a better world – those who fill it would be really difficult for them to do the work of the Chosen allowed (and may be encouraged) to leave voluntarily?
- May it be that God sends some of the Chosen to work among the non-Jews to be there an example in building a better world?
- May it be that God sends some of the non-Chosen people (Gentiles) to the Jewish tribe through intermarriages – those who are indeed spiritually ready to join the mission of the Chosen?
In response the Rabbi provided the following positive passage from Talmud:
“In Berakhot 32b, the Talmud says, “Everything is in the hands of heaven, aside for the fear of heaven”. In other words, everything is Godly ordained and planned, except for man’s individual acceptance of the mission of God and observing His directives. While God mapped out the entire structure and sequence of the worlds existence, he gave man free choice to choose as he pleases, and to decide for himself whether he will work on fulfilling his mission or not”.
That is a very positive passage. However, it is a general one. The problem is in defining the mission and who is defining it.
Let’s consider for example the case of the Jew Aaron Jean-Marie Lustiger who converted to Catholicism and became a French Catholic Cardinal. His biography indicates that he tried to teach his parishioners the Torah-based moral/ethical values in Catholically-shaped observance rituals. Could we accept his choice as fulfilling his God’s Jewish mission as defined by him individually, or should we condemn his choice as betrayal of his Jewish mission as the “common wisdom” may tell as?
… We are still looking for the answer.