This Tour Of Jewish and World History Is Presented By:



The Peak In Jewish History

Shlomo’s (Solomon’s) Temple stands for 410 years. The Jewish people are subjected to many tests and ordeals during this period.

From the Exodus of Egypt to Solomon we follow the Jewish people’s climb to success. The period of David and Shlomo represents a high point in Biblical Jewish history. We afterwards note their decline until the Temple is finally destroyed.

The story line provides the following puzzle.

 [No U-Turn]In the Torah, G-d states His love and commitment to the Jewish people. However, G-d lets them falter. How could He do this? Did G-d have second thoughts? Does G-d have second thoughts? The Torah says NO (Numbers 23,19). G-d is not fickle. He does not go back on His word.

The answer provides a powerful lesson for living. It gives a framework can help us accept misfortune on both a personal and a national level.

[One-Way]Consider the following question. Does it make sense to assume that success of any kind, either personal or national, indicates G-d’s favor? Conversely, does disaster indicate disfavor in the eyes of G-d?

To approach an understanding we must consider two worlds, the one that we’re in right now and one that will exist in the afterlife.

Judaism declares that there is no definite link in this world between G-d’s favor and the material success of this world. A person can be destitute and righteous at the same time. Conversely, there may be no recognizable link in this world between good fortune and disfavor in the eyes of G-d.

Furthermore, there really can’t be an obvious link between material and spiritual success. Were the link clearly recognizable, if the righteous would always be rich and the wicked always poor, then there would be no free-will choice for Mankind to do good or evil. Since everyone wants to be wealthy, everyone would want to be righteous. Man would then have no opportunity to be tested for his behavior and Mankind would not be able to earn eternal reward.

So, we need rich gangsters and we need righteous people who have problems. Moreover, we also need righteous people who are well off and criminals who suffer. Together, they provide an appearance of randomness and even injustice. They serve to conceal G-d’s existence and His role in managing the world.

Furthermore, the distribution of success and disaster is actively managed by G-d to insure that there is freedom of choice for all Mankind.

We have thus far discussed the world’s current mode of operation. We believe that some day it will change.

Once the Messianic Era begins, only good will happen to the righteous and only bad will happen to the wicked. G-d’s presence, role, and justice will be visible to all. G-d will compensate those who suffer in this world in order to maintain an environment of free choice.

Once the Messianic Era begins, the time of test will be over. Alas, the brief period of opportunity will cease, also.

In no way does the above imply than anybody can take license to deliberately break a commandment or mistreat another person or group in order to demonstrate injustice. The laws of the Torah are absolute and completely binding. Exception must be legitimately derived from the Torah itself.

Judaism has additional models for explanations of why bad things happen to good people and visa versa. It is not easy and it is even rare for us to be able to relate a particular event with a particular model.

One may now be able to view the tribulations of the Jewish people in light of the above concepts. The Jewish people can thus have a difficult history, a glorious afterlife, and a close relationship with G-d.

Considering the stress and suffering that we can and do experience in this world, it is not easy to deal with these beliefs. They require acceptance and submission to a higher authority. Our belief in an eternal afterlife provides us with some means to deal with the suffering that is associated with these concepts, because forever lasts a long time.

Catch 22:

If free-will is guaranteed, then what’s stopping an accumulation of Mankind’s bad choices from destroying the world? Put another way, how could G-d permit and support free-will and also make a commitment that the world will never be destroyed?

The Torah answers that there are two agendas and that they are both actively managed by G-d. One is dominant and the other is subordinate.

The dominant agenda is to bring the world towards completion. It implies that there will be a world that will have resources for letting people live and being tested. G-d is committed to the needed sequence of events so that this world will eventually become complete and all of Creation will accept G-d and His will.

The subordinate agenda is to provide and insure free-will for Mankind. Because it is subordinate, it can be disregarded when the world is threatened with destruction from corruption, which conflicts with the dominant agenda.

So, corruption is and must be possible. However, corruption is also contained.

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