Some think that G^d needs them. That’s the way they can feel connected.
However, that smells after idol worship. Moody idols that need to be pacified to do us favors. G^d doesn’t need us. We need G^d.
And how could we ever think that the King would be pleased with our support if we don’t care about His children?
And people are not like G^d. They need us. Abraham knew that when he and Sarah hurried to prepare a meal for three transients. He sprang into action to provide foods and drinks, while, at the time, he was talking to G^d! G^d can wait. He won’t get hunger-pains or a heatstroke.
A special case of modern idolatry is ignoring people assuming that would please G^d. Very religious people (they think) who kiss the mezuzah three times but fail to see the person behind them who gets the door in his face.
Worse is hurting people on purpose from the excuse that those must be G^d-haters. They’re blind to their own hatred. A common condition.
Prioritizing people over G^d is for the saintly, not for the less religious.
Actually, radically secular Jews generally are better at loving people than the average religious fanatic. So, in G^d’s eyes, they are better Jews!
On top of this, don’t blame the secular for not being religious. Reb Shlomo Carlebach explained: If the restaurant is good, people will come and eat. Meaning: If there are still irreligious Jews around, we, the religious, are doing something wrong. Not only does our way of worshipping not attract them. We actually repulse them. If anyone bears responsibility for widespread non-observance, it’s the observant.
On top of all of this, when religious people hurt others, they degrade G^d’s Name in this world. People will be abhorred. Who would want to be like them? Is this G^d’s wish? Degrading G^d’s Name is the worst sin there is.
And G^d always sides with the pursued. Even when the pursuer is saintly and the victim a villain. I’d rather have G^d on my side.
So, don’t feel shy about putting G^d on hold while taking care of people. He couldn’t be more pleased. Like He said: If only people would forget Me but keep the Commandments. Humanistic Judaism could only have been invented by people who don’t know Orthodox Judaism, with its large humanistic component.
Written in honor of my monumental brother Theo, supposedly completely secular all his life, angry at G^d for abandoning us during the Holocaust, telling his wife on his deathbed they’ll meet again, and he’ll wait for her. His whole life, he’s been a fortress of generosity and integrity, reliability and solidarity, and deep humility and lightly sarcastic humor. Kudos to him!