Love, Law and Jeremiah 9:23

Love, Law and Jeremiah 9:23

God’s holy Law and His love are seen by some as to conflicting factors in our relationship with the Divine. Loving God and observing the Law are understood by these people as two separate approaches to God.

Nothing can be further from the truth. There is no love of God without Law.

What is love?

Imagine if “A” loves “B” but “A” knows nothing about what is going on in the heart of “B”. “A” does not know what “B” cares about, what “B” fears, what brings “B” happiness, what “B” yearns for or what is important to “B”. Can we say that “A” truly loves “B”? “A” does not even know “B” so how could “A” claim to love “B”?

If “A” and “B” were two humans, this scenario would never be entirely true. Since both “A” and “B” share the same properties; “A” will automatically know that “B” wants to live and fears death. “A” will know much about “B” simply because “A” is equal to “B” in so many ways.

But what if “A” is a human and “B” is God? And the human does not know what God cares about, what is important to His heart, what He loves and what He hates. How then can the human claim to love God? Perhaps our human: “A” has a vague idea that God is holy, pure and good, but what do these words mean to our friend: “A”? Do they mean the same things that they mean to God?

The fact is that a human being can never fully understand God. But it is only to the degree that God’s heart is meaningful to the human that the human can claim to love God.

God loves kindness justice and charity. We can know this by reading the code of morality that God breathed into each of our souls. We can know this more clearly by diligently studying this code that is written on our hearts.

When God gave the Law to the Jewish people, He revealed His heart to them more openly than he has done for the rest of man-kind. He taught them what He loves and what He hates. He taught them what He considers pure and what He considers impure. He taught them what He cares about and what moves His heart.

The Law of Moses is not something different than the code of morality that is written on the heart of every human that has the breath of God in their nostrils. The Law of Moses is the commentary to that universal code.

The Law is not a contradiction to love, nor is it a different path to God. Incorporating kindness, justice and charity into our lives is the way we embrace God.

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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

 

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16 Responses to Love, Law and Jeremiah 9:23

  1. Larry says:

    The New Testment does not teach us what God wants us to know. The only source for this is in his original teachings. If you take away Gods laws, teachings, leave only the New Testment, what do you have? Parables and a few miracles tossed in for proof? If you say, Jesus came to fulfill the law and that the Law was meant to judge a man’s heart not just his outward actions. Then what about the sinner, who really badly wants to commit a particular sin, say alcoholism, but he does not, because he knows god does not want him to. Like you have said before, the “law is grace”. He is saved by the law, not condemmed by his desires.

    • Larry, Shalom!
      I think you are right.
      The New Testament does not teach what God wants us to know; rather it urges us to know what God wants us to know in תנך.
      For example, 1 Timothy 3:16 says “All Scripture (which mean תנך) is God -breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good WORK (not faith)!”

  2. Shomer says:

    There is no love of God without Law.
    What is love?

    What is love? If you want to know what love is, I suggest you two ways to discover;
    1) Type “love” into your Google bar and click on “search”. Then study the suggested answers thoroughly.
    2) Keep the Torah to the best of your abilities.
    What is easier?

  3. hyechiel says:

    Dear Readers;
    When Moses left us, the last thing he said should be the first thing we consider when a challenge is faced; “Righteousness, righteousness, ye shall pursue.
    Toda.
    Shalom;
    Yechiel

  4. Alan says:

    Psalm 137. I know the Babylonians dashed the Jewish babies against rocks but does that mean we should aspire to do the same to their babies? My natural moral sense says no.

  5. Eleazar says:

    I am not a Torah/Tanakh scholar, Alan, but I think you are healthy to question it. My understanding is that it is “very Jewish” to question things like that.

    I know that expressing a theological curiosity about all things Tanakh and being willing to ask hard questions- even taking a stand for my convictions- as illustrated in your last two posts, was something they looked for during my conversion. But they also wanted to see my response to the rabbinical answers given for those hard questions.
    Yasher Koach!

  6. Alan says:

    Why were my posts deleted? My questions related very much to the article, i.e. natural morality vs. the law.

  7. Eleazar says:

    But may I play devil’s advocate here for a minute?

    What about Samuel’s message to Saul? Haman and the anti-Jewish bloodbath of Esther was the direct result of Saul disobeying God’s command to annihilate the Amalekite clan.

    • Alan says:

      Eleazar,
      Your examples are specific commands from a Hashem. I am talking about cases where it is not commanded. I don’t think Rabbi B wants us to go where we’re going. My posts were deleted. I don’t understand why he felt a need to delete my posts.

  8. Alan says:

    From my post that was deleted:

    Jeremiah 22:16 is also relevant to this article:

    “He [a person] judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Is not this to know Me? said Hashem.”

    I have very mixed feelings about being censored for asking sincere Torah questions. I feel I was asking appropriate and relevant questions that I hoped we would all benefit from with the help of Rabbi B. Rabbi B brought Jeremiah 9:23 in the article and I brought Jeremiah 22:16 as well as a different passage from Jeremiah which seems to be a contradiction to these first two verses in Jeremiah.

  9. Alan says:

    Nikola,
    I wanted to discuss it but the passage that I see as a contradiction was deleted. I will not post the passage from Jeremiah again because Rabbi B doesn’t want it to be discussed in these particular comments.

    • Dina says:

      Alan, it’s highly unlikely Rabbi B. deleted your posts. I’ve been active on this blog for a few years, and I’ve observed that Rabbi B. tolerates a lot of nonsense, rarely deletes even offensive posts (I’ve only seen him delete posts with extremely obscene language), and always offers an explanation when he does delete a post. I would assume that your post got deleted due to some technical problem.

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