A few years ago I was teaching a class on the weekly Torah Portion about Noah.
A student interrupted the lecture and said, “I’m an anthropology major and I’ve studied ancient societies and cultures from all over the world. Virtually all of them have folktales of a deluge or flood story. This myth about Noah and his Ark is just another example of Man’s propensity to make up ‘flood stories.’
After pausing a moment to consider his comment, I said, “Did you ever stop to think that all these societies might be remembering a singular historical event?”
Two people can look at the exact same event and perceive two different realities.
Our Torah tradition teaches that when God created the universe, He held back, or restricted His Light (tzimtzum) in order to make a “place” for the world to exist. The Hebrew word for world is “Olam” עולם , which is derived from the root meaning “hidden.” In other words, for the world as we know it to exist, God must remain “hidden.” Why was this necessary?
God created the world so that Humanity could receive the ultimate pleasure from God which is a relationship with Him. Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto in “Derech HaShem” (The Way of God) teaches us that for our relationship with God to be most pleasurable it must be something we choose to earn rather than having it forced upon us. God hides Himself, as it were, in our world to give us the opportunity to choose to see His Hand in every moment of our lives, or to attribute everything to Nature.
This is the essence of the Torah concept of FREE WILL – בחירה חופשית
Most people think “Free Will” means a license to choose to do whatever we want. However the Hebrew words mean “Freedom to Choose.” The word “Bechira” literally means ‘select’ or ‘elect.” In fact the modern Hebrew word for “elections” is “bechirot.” In an election you are choosing between two candidates who represent two different world views.
The Torah teaches us that we have the opportunity and obligation to “vote” every moment of every day. Will we see God’s Hand in our daily struggles and feel His Providence, or will we attribute our failures and success to “chance” or “the strength of our own hands.” Will we see God’s Hand in the miracle of the birth of a baby, or will we “vote” for Nature?
Is the Torah a man-made book of mythological stories of floods and frogs, or is it the revealed Truth of the Creator of the Universe? Two world views. It’s up to each of us to vote every moment of every day.
6 thoughts on “Confirmations and Elections! – The most important vote you cast every day…”
I enjoyed your mini but edifying explanations of the essence of the community with our God or if you like that of the world view.
Thank you Ana for your remark and thank you also for your support. It means so much!
My vote will be for the candidate who protects the unborn, not a man who supports abortion!
Thank you for clarifying what I’ve thought about the flood stories for a long time, as well as the freedom to choose a relationship with our Creator.
I love the explanation of the flood story to your student. Such wisdom! May we all have eyes to see His hand in all things.
Thank you for this viiewpoint! Our church studies the Bible verse by verse, Genesis to Revelation, then back again. Adding new information gleaned from true informative sources. We found this to be a truly good way to view our choices/way of life! Thank you!!