With the setting of the sun, this coming Wednesday (9/20) through Sunday, Jews across the world will begin the observance of the “Yomim Noraim “(Days of Awe), a ten-day period that is book-ended by the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. What most people don’t realize (and what liberal Jews will not accept), The theme of the High Holidays is antithetical to the big government principals of liberalism and progressivism. So are the principals of other religions. One might say that big government is the faith for people who have lost their religion.
The Jewish High Holidays are all about personal responsibility. All the prayers and readings are just tools to help us look inward, formulate a personal accounting of our deeds over the past year, good and bad, and to understand what we have learned or need to learn to correct.
Even the method of atoning for our sins goes against progressive values. Jews are taught that our Maker is not a big massive government that will fix everything for us. For earthly type mistakes, we must first approach the people we harmed to request forgiveness and if necessary, make restitution to them. Then we must discover what led us to behave that way and correct the flaw catalyzing such behavior. Only then can we approach God for absolution.
It’s not that God cannot fix everything but his direct involvement would destroy the delicate balance he set up during creation.
The creation narrative in the book of Genesis explains that man is created in God’s image. With those words, the Torah is not teaching us that we are all dead ringers for the “big guy upstairs.” If that were the case, everyone’s driver’s license would have the same picture, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue would seem a bit creepy, and crimes would go unsolved due to the fact that eyewitness testimony would be useless, and everyone would have the same DNA.
The idea of being “created in God’s image” is supposed to teach us that just as God acts as a free being without prior restraint to do right and wrong, so does man. Our Maker performs “good” as a matter of his own free choice. And because we are created in his image man also has the opportunity to do the right thing as a matter of free choice. Only through free choice, can man truly be “in the image of God.”
That is why God created a world where both good and evil can operate freely. The Rabbis explain this when they said; “All is in the hands of Heaven except the fear of Heaven” (Talmud, Berachot 33b). In other words, God controls all the options we have, but it is up to man to pick between good and bad.
Sorry liberals, but free will is the divine version of limited government. God picks the winning direction but does not choose winners or losers. Neither does he interfere with the process of learning through repentance and understanding one’s actions. We are not divinely perfect nor are we meant to be. We are only supposed to be closer to that perfect divine-ness when we leave this world than when we entered it.
Because we all are created in God’s image we believe that all men are created equal. But this does not mean what progressives tell us, that when it comes to talents, looks, preferences, or natural abilities we are all equal. Nor does it mean we all should have the same health care, big screen TV, wireless Internet, cookies and cream ice cream, or savings account balance…