A particular phrase caught my eye this week: “Banim Attem La-Shem Eloheichem – You are children of the Lord your God.”(14:1)
What might the Torah mean when it talks about the Israelites as God’s children?
Interestingly, this is not the only time in Deuteronomy that the metaphor of parent and child is used by Moses. Here are the other examples:
In the wilderness, you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his child, all the way that you traveled until you came to this place. (1:31)
As a man disciplines his child, the Lord your God disciplines you. (8:5)
Children unworthy of Him— That crooked, perverse generation … O dull and witless people; Is not He the Father who created you, fashioned you and made you endure? (32: 3-5)
… You neglected the Rock that begot you, forgot the God who brought you forth. The Lord saw and was vexed, and spurned His sons and His daughters … children with no loyalty in them. (32: 18-20)
This is a fascinating idea. God is our parent and we are His children. I say this because later prophets like Hosea, Isaiah and Ezekiel like to use the metaphor of husband and wife to depict the God-Israel connection. Israel, when accused of idolatry, is depicted as an unfaithful wife, chasing after her lovers. (*)
Click here to read more from Rabbi Alex Israel in this week’s Parsha Discussion on Re’eh: The Children of God.
Please note that if you are printing The Parsha Discussion on US paper, please select the option “fit to print”.
Alex teaches Bible at Pardes and is the Director of the Community Education Program and the Summer Program. Alex was born and raised in London. He holds degrees from London School of Economics, the Institute of Education London and Bar-Ilan University. Alex studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion under Rav Aharon Lichtenstein and Rav Yehudah Amital, and gained Rabbinic ordination from the Israeli Rabbinate. Click here to read more.