Author Topic: The Meaning of "Israel is my firstborn." A message of Universal Divine Love.  (Read 1919 times)

Offline michaelintp

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The following was written by one of the greatest and most universally respected rabbinic scholars of the 20th Century. By this I mean that one could count on one hand. Here is what he says:

'Israel is my firstborn.' (Ex. 4:22). What conclusion is to be drawn from this? If somebody comes into my house and I introduce one of my children as my 'bekhor' [firstborn] he will conclude that I have other children. If I had only one child, I would have said merely that this was my child. When God told Moses to say to Pharaoh, 'This is My bekhor,' this implied that God had other children as well. God loves all His children, Jew and Gentile alike. It is not a genetic code that all nations have in common with their universal Father, but another code, the code of a common image - the image of God in which we were all created. Black, red, yellow, white - it doesn't matter. We all have 'tzelem E-lokim,' the divine image, in common. Israel is the firstborn, but this fact does not exclude God's other children. Every human being is a child of God." - Rabbi Joseph B. Soleveitchik (1903-1993, "Festival of Freedom," p. 146-147)
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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The following was written by one of the greatest and most universally respected rabbinic scholars of the 20th Century. By this I mean that one could count on one hand. Here is what he says:

'Israel is my firstborn.' (Ex. 4:22). What conclusion is to be drawn from this? If somebody comes into my house and I introduce one of my children as my 'bekhor' [firstborn] he will conclude that I have other children. If I had only one child, I would have said merely that this was my child. When God told Moses to say to Pharaoh, 'This is My bekhor,' this implied that God had other children as well. God loves all His children, Jew and Gentile alike. It is not a genetic code that all nations have in common with their universal Father, but another code, the code of a common image - the image of God in which we were all created. Black, red, yellow, white - it doesn't matter. We all have 'tzelem E-lokim,' the divine image, in common. Israel is the firstborn, but this fact does not exclude God's other children. Every human being is a child of God." - Rabbi Joseph B. Soleveitchik (1903-1993, "Festival of Freedom," p. 146-147)
Never heard that sentiment expressed.  Nice.

Offline michaelintp

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While in the past I've not referenced this biblical narrative, this view of all human beings as children of God is the foundation of the views I've expressed on the Forum for years, regarding individual moral responsibility. Respect for each human being demands nothing less.
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6