Yshai Amichai
Yshai AmichaiCourtesy

Most people believe in a Higher Being. They believe in God, but are unwilling to accept the consequences. They are willing to admit that God Exists, but not that they owe Him anything.

The same proof has been around for ages: “Do you exist?” “Yes.” “Does the world exist?” “Yes.” “What came first, you or the world?” “Obviously the world, as I’m new here.” “Who created the world?” “Someone much more powerful than me.” “Can we call him God?” “Sure.”

Things change drastically after that mild admission: “Did God create you?” “I don’t know, I never met Him.” “Where did the first people come from?” “I guess God created them.” “Then Who created you?” “My parents conceived me.” “What part did God play in this?” “None that I am aware of.”

Then We Focus on the parents:

“Do you owe your parents anything?” “Sure, I owe them my life.” “How do you repay them?” “I love and respect them.” “Do you obey them in every way?” “No, I am my own person.” “You would be willing to go against them?” “Regrettably, if it comes to that, but yes. I am an adult.”

“You don’t owe them your life?” “In thanks, but not literally; not as their slave.” “Not even if they demand your obedience?” “Look, I wasn’t exactly given a say in this. They gave birth to me and that is a responsibility; they had to provide for me. If they need help from me, they will get it, but not my obedience.”

“What if they told you to do something for your own good? How could you ignore them?” “Give me an example.” “If they asked you not to marry a foreign woman, lest your children become foreigners?” “My children will be my own, they will not be foreign to me.” “Are you not foreign to your parents if you ignore them? Why should your children not turn against you as well?” “That is a problem.”

Then We Focus on God:

“You admitted that God created the world and mankind. Do you owe Him anything?” “Sure, I owe Him everything, including my life.” “Does that mean you must obey Him?” “I hardly know Him. It’s not like He appeared to me and spoke to me. He hasn’t asked me to do anything.” “What if He did? Would that make you obligated?” “I guess the same response for my parents would apply.”

“God is greater than your parents, since everything depends upon Him. If God wished it, you would cease to exist, and there would be no consequences for Him. Does that not make you fear Him?” “If God willed me into existence, He could probably will me out of existence, but I see no point in that. He needs me here for some reason, and my needs are provided for sufficiently. I do not see a need to fear Him.”

“If things were different for you and you needed serious help, would you see things differently?” “Perhaps. If God came to me and said, ‘Do this and I will help you,’ I would probably listen.” “Would you wait for God to come to you, or would you start praying beforehand?” “If my troubles were serious enough, and none could help, I would probably start praying to God.”

We Owe God More than We Care to Admit

That is exactly what happened. Israel was enslaved in Egypt and Jews prayed to God for deliverance. They were willing to do whatever He requested, so long as He would save them. God Saved Israel, and we became His slaves. We basically said, “We will do whatever You say.”

That was a long time ago, but we made a Covenant with God as a nation. Nations are not humans. Their lifespans can be like the trees or like the mountains. And we made a Covenant with God, Who is Eternal. So long as we’re around, our Covenant will never cease to be.

God is not a person that He should relent. He Sees the end from the beginning. There is no reason for Him to change. There is no reason for Him to annul the Covenant that He Made with us, especially when its goals have yet to be achieved. God has not given up on us. He Knows we will succeed.

We owe God our lives, but also our obedience. We entered into a Covenant with Him. We gave Him our word and now we are bound by it. Not us individually, and not even our parents, but our Covenant is renewed with every generation. We are bound by it as a nation. If you are Israel, you owe God your obedience. That is the name of the game.

Daniel Golden helped inspire me to write this article. He is an alumnus of Diaspora Yeshiva on Mount Zion where he studied under Rabbi Yitzchak Goldstein for 10 years.

Yshai Amichai is a father of six and an author with a legal education, whose books advocate upholding the Torah as a national Constitution. He may be contacted at: [email protected]