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Vayishlach(Genesis 32:4-36:43)

The Path of Most Resistance

It is interesting that Islam means submission to God, whereas Yisrael, the name of the Jewish people, means quite the opposite -- doing battle with God. Judaism believes that we are not in this world to be mindless robots. We are not here to surrender our free will to an omnipotent Being. On the contrary, we are here to be independent of that Being. We are here to struggle, to choose, to battle with ourselves for an understanding of truth. And when that truth is hard to accept, to battle even with God himself.

When God tells Abraham that he is going to destroy Sodom, Abraham fights to save the city. When God tells Moses that He is going to destroy the Jewish people, Moses also fights. And it's not just, "Please God, be nice and don't do it." It's, "How could You call yourself ‘just' if you do such a thing? Do You want the Egyptians to say that You brought the Jews out of Egypt for evil purposes -- so that You could destroy them in the desert?!" It's a serious argument.

The bottom line is that standing up for what you believe to be right means even standing up to God if you believe He's doing something wrong. It means taking a stand, even if no one, not even God himself, is standing with you. It takes a great deal of courage to do this, and it's so much easier to have a religion in which God does the telling and you do the doing -- no questions asked.

But, as I've often said before, if it's the simple life you are looking for, then don't even dream of Judaism. It's the path of most resistance. If you're looking to be a zombie, look elsewhere. Judaism wants you to think for yourself and stand by what you know. It's difficult and it's challenging -- but it's the most effective path to spiritual enlightenment. The path of most resistance... but equally that of deepest accomplishment.


September 22, 2007

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Visitor Comments: 12

(12) Anonymous, December 16, 2016 12:54 PM

Excellent article and very well written! Thanks for posting!

(11) Anonymous, November 29, 2015 9:28 PM

Leaders or Followers?

Rabbi Rosenblat, with all due respect, I think that when you say "doing battle with God" and "The bottom line is that standing up for what you believe to be right means even standing up to God if you believe He's doing something wrong." It may be misconstrued as revealing against Hashem, rather than choosing life and knowing how to distinguish right from wrong. That is the big distinction amongst different religious movements, as Torah believers, we do not use God's name to kill and murder innocent people. We are taught to be and act in the image of God, and to fear God. However, the Musulmanos for example, use the name of God to kill and murder the innocents. That is not to say they are following the word of God. Their marginalized classes are the one paid, garbage money to commit the atrocities they do against Israel. Since these killers don't know any better, they accept and carry on the terror and killings in the name of their God, especially when their mothers would then say in reference to the Jews, "if my son kill them, I am proud of him". also, I have no recollection of ever seeing a well educated, wealthy muslim strapped himself in a suicide belt bomb blowing himself and others in his God's name, because they know better. However, they know how to use God's name to accomplish their terroristic abhorrent acts by enticing and instigating the less lucky ones. We on the other hand, were blessed to receive the Torah and abide by it. Because of Torah relevance throughout the generations, we are stronger and can stand firmly against the spread of anti-semitism. We don't follow, we lead. You truly made me think. God bless you.

(10) bonita henderson, November 27, 2015 7:14 AM


In Isaiah, it does say, "Come now and let us reason together", says G-d. Reasoning together sounds to me like a conversation, debate, a little respectful arguing, is in order.
And I do relate to that "dark night of the soul." Am so happy that G-d is a lot smarter than I am.

(9) Anonymous, December 5, 2014 8:22 PM


This is great! Thank G-d for Torah, Judaism, and those who help spread His word, like you! :-)

(8) Anonymous, December 3, 2009 3:42 AM

Who are we to question hashem

I realize that this is not the concept you were trying to impart, but who are we to question hashem? Don't you think that as a result of people quesitoning hashem we now have the conservative and reform movesments. What comes next?

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