Vayeschanan: Chapter 4 verse 19: Hashem is Universal: How We Worship Differs

The Shikkerdovid always wondered about the righteus Buddist, the charitable Christian, the ethical Muslim.   SD alway felt on a viceral level that Hashem gave each group of people a method of worship.   We eat latkes on Hanuka, Italians eat Fish on Christmas, yet the values of ethics, piety and charity  and educaton are common.  The SD always looked for some basis of this idea.   The SD saw a potential glimpse of it in the verse ‘

“Lest you  lift your eyes to the heaven, see the sun, the moon and the starts, which the Lord your Gd assigned to all peoples under Heaven, and be drawn away to prostrate yourselves and worship them”

Initially, the SD read this pasuk as we are not allowed to do these acts, but for other peoples, the acts  are appropropriate and given by Hashem to other peoples as modes of Worship.

Rashi gives a glimmer of hope but quickly takes it away. Rashi says “to light or illuminate  them.” That sounds positive, but he then says,  Hashem does not prevent them from erring in their erronous ways.  ”

Rashi quotes the Talmud Avodah Zarah 55a  which gives a horrible story. A certain locale needs rain. The idol in a Temple comes to someone in a dream and tells them to slaughter a man.  A man is slaughtered.  The  Talmud cites the above pasuk which indicates that this is folly and Hashem provided the rain to remove or remove them from the world.

The SD does not really understand this.  Someone has a dream and based on that dream a man is slaughtered.  Clearly this is not normal operating procedure. Clearly this is not the law, rather a desperate crazy person working outside  of normal behavior. The SD would like to make a distinction   The Talmud says, based on a dream they “slaughter an man”. It does not say they “slaughter a man to the sun, the stars or the moon.” or pursuant to normal   customary practice, the sun gd the rain gd required it. It is a dream that inspires this crazy act.

The SD would like to concentrate on the beginning of the Rashi. Hashem gave the sun and moon to illuminate the people. He gave them the sun for them to worship in their way.  If some go a little crazy, if some have crazy dreams and act on it, that is not dispositive of all.  The SD would like to hope that you could read the Rashi in two parts.  The first part is the normal, regular, good, pious people. They worship the sun and derive inspiration to act justly.  The second half of the Rashi are those who dont really have belief. They act out of desperation.  They act irrationally based upon irrational dreams. Their act is to satiate their own needs. Not serve Hashem.

Therefore, when we see the rightious Baptist, Lutheran, Hindu, Buddist and Muslim we can say: we all worship Hashem. Just in different ways.

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2 Responses to Vayeschanan: Chapter 4 verse 19: Hashem is Universal: How We Worship Differs

  1. Jeremy says:

    Awesome!!! Great Torah as always.

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