Letters to the Editor: August 5

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We can’t always understand God
Regarding last week’s commentary on the Torah portion by Rabbi David Levin, I must take issue with his glaring points about an individual’s feelings and opinions in response to a command from God Himself (“Parshat Matot-Masei: Being part of the solution,” July 29).

There are many God-given commands in the Torah, none of which are subject to human opinion or outright refusal, regardless of its perceived morality or lack of understanding. The very fact that it is God given makes it, ipso facto, moral and correct.


I have said many times, several of which the JT has printed, that there is not a single instance of tolerance in the Torah that has gone without some type of Divine retribution. The great flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gemorrah, the command to totally obliterate Amalek and King Saul’s punishment for having mercy on the animals of Amalek are just a few examples of God’s intolerance. Certainly those animals were innocent, but it was not our decision to make, nor was it Saul’s mercy that mattered.

Was it “moral” for Abraham to attempt to kill his son, Isaac, just because God commanded it? The answer has to be an unquestionable “yes.” We are told in the Midrash that Abraham was given 10 tests by God, and this was the last one. What if he had refused on moral grounds and failed this test? Then we would not be here today to talk about it. There would be no Jewish nation.


We can’t always understand the ways of, or the reasoning of our Creator. Admittedly, it’s truly a struggle every day. But our own human feeble mindedness, in comparison to God’s
perfect plan, can never be a basis for refusing the orders of our Supreme commander.
Michael Caplan
Baltimore

Online comments
We just got back from 10 days in Israel. We didn’t go any of the places in the article, but enjoyed all the places we did go (“Tourists are headed back to Israel: Here’s your travel guide for the Jewish state,” July 15). Great restaurants, a walk in Tel Dan, the tunnels in the City of David, The Salad Trail in the south, Carmel Market in Tel Aviv, Machne Yehuda in Jerusalem, etc., etc., etc.. Israel is wonderful no matter where you go and what you do.
Don Melman

Regarding “Summer Teachers’ Institute tackles how to teach about the Holocaust” (July 22): Kudos to the Baltimore Jewish Council, Jewish Museum of Maryland and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for training professionals in education to teach valuable lessons — albeit very difficult — about the Holocaust to students!
Fay Kaufman

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