Rabbi Brad Hirschfield posted this on his blog, Windows and Doors, yesterday:
This week’s Torah reading centers on Noah, the flood and its aftermath. While there are many comments one could, and even should, make about a story which introduces the concept of God as a remorseful, rage-filled, killer who stops just one family short of genocide, I will not go there – at lease not right now.
Instead, I simply want to share a simple image, ask an even simpler question, and wait for your answers.
The question (okay, really two):
What opportunity have you forgotten to take advantage of, and what can you do to still take advantage of it? Try and remember that very few opportunities have really gone the way of the dinosaurs – at least that’s my experience.
Good questions, Rabbi. Or maybe it’s not that we forget to take advantage of an opportunity so much that we get lazy or don’t realize that something is in fact an opportunity? Anyway, I’m sure we can all point to missed opportunities in our lives, whether through negligence or ignorance. I certainly could have made some different choices and taken advantage of things that came my way. For instance, I passed up chances to make better educational and career choices, but I can still pursue career goals/possibilities that I’ve considered. So even though I regret some decisions I’ve made, all is not lost! The good rabbi takes the right approach in guiding us toward the positive–focusing on what we can still do, rather than on what is over and done with.
And I’ll admit his remark at the beginning of his blog post touches on something that I’m sure plenty of Jews and Christians alike have struggled with: what to make of certain stories of the Bible, such as the Genesis Flood or the destruction of Jericho, that seem to portray God as “a remorseful, rage-filled killer.” I’ve wrestled with it too; in fact, as I was reapproaching Christianity after my seven years in the wastelands of agnosticism, such biblical passages presented my last “hurdle” to overcome before I felt I could honestly believe in and worship the God of the Bible. And a number of atheists/agnostics point to those parts of the Bible as reasons for rejecting belief in God.
But I digress… (And you can probably understand all the more why Rabbi Hirschfield decided not to go into that issue in his post.)