These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

כי תבא, ki tavo

Posted on September 20, 2011 by Avi Strausberg

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the skies will be copper

parshat ki tavo, in which God reveals His master plan of divine reward and punishment, is a doozy to read.  and by doozy, i mean incredibly difficult and theologically challenging.  God unleases a litany of curses that will befall the israelites if they fail to obey the covenant.  and lest you think “hey, this curse isn’t so bad.  i can take it,” there’s at least 20 other horrifying consequences from which to choose.  your carcass might be come birdfood, you may end up eating your young, you may even wake up to a world where the earth is iron and sand rains down from copper skies.

i know there are different models out there on parenting and discipline but this is pretty extreme even for tough love.  and this mode of relating to God is just not doing it for me.  i choose the God whose ways, in which i aspire to walk, are those of generosity and compassion.  a God who extends a hand to those who are less fortunate, who strives to see himself in the stranger, and who is continuously working towards a more perfect existence.  that is the God i have come to know and that is the God i will follow into this new promised land.

this god of violence
who takes delight in terror
you, i do not know

thankfully, there’s something for everyone in the Torah,