G^d has no needs—most of us do
Famous is the story about a Jew who found it difficult to fast. His rabbi advised him to speak with the locally most righteous person. But, the latter had no idea how he could help.
I never fasted in my life! You never fasted in your life? You follow Jewish Law, no? Of course, I do. So, don’t you fast on the day we mourn the destruction of the Temple? No, I don’t. But Jewish Law prescribes fasting! That could be, but on that day, I simply cannot eat. What about Yom Kippur? Then, I’m too busy with important matters to think of eating.
Chief Rabbi Kook asks how it can say that in the future, Commandments will be abolished. G^d gave them for eternity! He answers that, in the future, we will keep the Commandments eagerly, without obligation.
All the Sages agree that, when we weren’t quite ready for the giving of the Ten Commandments, Moses asked and got it postponed for a day. How come? Duty-binding at will? No, the Torah is not a Liability. That’s how we can say on the Commemorative (not-postponed) Festival that it’s the Day of the Gift of our Torah: Then, we understood it’s a Gift (per R’ Zev Leff).
My best friend told me 41 years ago that if you don’t like to live a life with Commandments and Injunctions, obey them from your heart’s desire. As soon as you want to obey, the shoulds and shoulndn’ts have fallen away.
Let me talk, for a moment, to those who are worried that this would diminish their Heavenly reward (yet, they should leave that to G^d and not serve Him as slaves who obey their masters for reward). True, those doing Commandments they are obligated in receive more reward than those not obligated. But, certainly, no one can receive more reward than those serving G^d from love and not from fear or greed.
This dovetails very nicely with the idea that G^d doesn’t need us to act in any way. His Torah is only a Guide to the Perplexed. If you know always exactly what is the most moral and beneficial, you don’t need Advice.
The Torah is to help us to be our best, to have the best life which could be.
When G^d told Abraham about Sodom, he didn’t need Abraham’s opinion. And his opposition was also no surprise to the One Who is beyond time and knows everything. Rather, He heard from him exactly what His next Thought was, as He wanted to hear. He wanted to team up with him.
When G^d orders something bad, He gives us a chance to oppose it, to act and pray against, for evil to be taken away. G^d could do it all on His Own. He doesn’t need our opinions or actions. But, he gives us an opportunity to do part of perfecting the world so that He can reward us for that.
One of the meanings of Him creating us in His image and of that He loves us is that He gave us brains and acts in ways that we can understand. If we don’t understand, He wants us to think and learn harder. Not everything is that obvious. But also, not everything is good in the world. Yet, we can understand why we were put in an unfinished world—to help.
What, for instance, if something happened already and looks really bad, like human death? We could understand that in the past, it would have been a disaster had everyone stayed alive. Many in the West, now with a double lifespan, are part of the ‘sandwich generation,’ having to take care of both their parents and kids. It’s not easy. But, once we are able to heal and prevent all illnesses, and stop, reverse, and prevent aging, physical immortality will happen, death will end, just like the Sages told us already.
We are invited to team up with G^d. Those of us who, on our own, can love all people, always be moral, and build our best lives, that’s OK too. As long as we merit His generosity. But, in the name of ‘religion,’ trying to ‘pacify’ or ‘help’ G^d, as if He’s a moody idol (you guessed it) is idolatry.
Since G^d is all about giving, to walk with Him, we need to be super generous. But, since we are human, we need to take care of our own basic needs first. Unless we found equals partners. Several people bigheartedly, each taking care of each other also lack nothing.
There are endless levels on which we may serve G^d. Not, insufficiently, borderline, minimally, eagerly, enthusiastically, intently, beautified, etc.
G^d has no needs. But, most of us do. So, His wishes only are to help us.
There are no contradictions between Orthodox Judaism on the one hand and Selfishness, Atheism, Humanism, and Empirical Sciences on the other. Incongruities only arise when other belief systems contaminated Judaism.
Actually, being an Orthodox Jews is the easiest. The easiest against burnout (Shabbat). The easiest to find great minds as role models (Jewish teachers, literature). The easiest to find and correct character flaws.
You shouldn’t agree with all of the above. If you do, you probably misread what I wrote. You’re supposed to be upset by it. If you left Orthodoxy, I say that you may not have had to do so. If you stayed, I tell you that you could be committing idolatry. And for everyone, I equate moral Atheism with Orthodoxy. (Only, what if you received your character traits, like humility, from religious grownups? How will you ensure that your youths and students have the same fine qualities?) Unless you’re an Angel already.