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Reimagining bad as good

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You thought greed, brutal kingdoms, and even the inevitable, death and taxes, were bad. Give them another chance.

The discussion stems from a question concerning what exactly God thought was so “very good” about the world He created. At the end of the 6th day, right before Shabbat, the Torah declares:

וַיַּ֤רְא אֱלֹקים֙ אֶת־כׇּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשָׂ֔ה וְהִנֵּה־ט֖וֹב מְאֹ֑ד “And God saw all that He did and behold it was very good” (Bereshis 2:31)

The Midrash offers many explanations. Among some of the most unexpected is the notion that ‘death’ was “very good.”The Midrash then questions why Adam, indeed all of Mankind, had to be punished so severely with losing their immortality. One answer is that God saw certain characters that would inhabit the world. To have these people live forever would be insufferable. They ruined it for Adam.

צָפָה הַקָּבָּ”ה שֶׁנְּבוּכַדְנֶצַר וְחִירֹם מֶלֶךְ צוֹר עֲתִידִין לַעֲשׂוֹת עַצְמָן אֱלָהוּת

[the reason death was instituted was because] “God saw that Nevudchadnetzer and Chiram the king of Tsor would one day declare themselves to be gods” (Midrash Rabbah 9:5)

By declaring themselves as gods they are interfering with the destiny of the world which is to recognize that there is one true God. Not to mention the fact that God likely wanted to shorten the time people had to suffer under the rule of these megalomaniacs.

Why couldn’t death be just for the bad guys

The Midrash asks for a more fair arrangement. Why do we have to lose immortality because of a few wicked people? Of course, this solution presents a huge theological problem. It would completely destroy the critical........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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