In this week’s Torah portion, which will be read in synagogues around the world tomorrow, we read about God’s promise to Abraham, that he will have a son from his wife Sarah, after many years of infertility and despite them both being over the age of 90. Nevertheless, Sarah becomes pregnant and Isaac is born.
According to Jewish tradition, on the 7th of the month of Heshvan (last Friday), we begin asking for rain in our prayers. Israel doesn’t have an overabundance of underground water or flowing rivers. The Jordan River, is not as deep and wide as most Christians imagine it, and is rather pathetic when compared to the immense watercourses of Europe and North America. We are therefore completely dependent on the rain for our sustenance. Today is our first day of rain this season.
A Jewish tradition says that while many ‘fields of responsibility’ were transferred to mankind, God kept three ‘keys’ in his hands: The key for childbirth, the key for rain and the key for resurrection.
In fact, the prophet Elijah is criticized for taking hold of the key for rain, when he stopped the rain from falling as a form of punishment against the people for worshiping the false god, Baal.
But in our modern world, we already hold at least two of those keys. Science has taken control of many elements of childbirth. Water desalination technology has made us able to be less dependent on the rain. Who knows? Maybe someday soon we’ll be able to resurrect people who’ve died, and trigger a zombie apocalypse.
What does that leave for God? Does God still have a place in our lives? Do we have a need for God?
Perhaps God still has some keys in his hands. We haven’t been wiped out by giant meteors yet, or crashed into the moon or had our sun go supernova, but 1000 years ago, we didn’t even know that could happen. Can we count that as a ‘key’ still in God’s hands? Are there other ‘keys’ out there that we haven’t even imagined yet?
What do you think?
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