Let My People Know

"No matter how sincerely one endeavors to rebel against the Divine, God continues to give life and is not in the least offended"

The truth of the matter is that God gives, but does not receive.

He influences and is not influenced.

He acts but is not acted upon. 

It is not a matter of the size or importance of anything, but rather of different worlds.

God does not belong to anything knowable, nor can He be said even to exist in terms of the ordinary realm of things. 

For example: a person performs an act, good or bad.

It can only be done with the cooperation of the Divine, because of the Divine force in him and the action of the laws of nature. 

Someone desecrates the Sabbath, let us say. 

It is done as part of, and within the framework of, a cosmos maintained by Divine power in all its details. 

All the laws continue to operate, unaffected by the person's breaking the Sabbath rule. 

God is oblivious. 

No matter how sincerely one endeavors to rebel against the Divine, God continues to give life and, altogether, is not in the least offended. 

To be sure, there may be reactions to such a rebellion as part of the laws of life and the world. 

What is more, a person can flourish even in sin, so that, it would seem, what we call the Divine indifference has moral implications.

Nevertheless, we do speak of the anger of God or of the fact that He is made joyful by something that happens in the world of men. 

Or as Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai said about some unlucky person: "He acts thus and is hated by God, and I do not like him." 

This is the sort of statement that hints at more than it states. 

That which is not known definitely, but guessed at as a result of circumstances, is that a certain peron is "hated" by God— and this is meant in the same way, the same anthropomorphic image, as saying, for instance, that nature hates a vacuum. 

It is an image, and the meaning of it is simply that I don't like someone. 

It does not intend to convey a Divine sentiment. 

Nature, or God, does not love or hate anyone. 

When I say that God likes or dislikes a person, I am really describing the way this person relates to things of the world.

The anthropomorphic image, however, has its own necessity, its own emotional logic. 

When God is described as being furious with someone and binding the heavens with His wrath, the same forceful expressiveness cannot be achieved by an abstract statement to the effect that a Jew who falls into idolatry is opposing the inner, spiritual system of the universe and inviting disaster. 

Therefore, because of the limitations of the human soul and the human imagination, the writings of Scripture have to use anthropomorphic imagery. 

The distortion arises when modern man fails to respond even to this emotionally direct expression.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From "The Paradox of World and God" in The Sustaining Utterance by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz