I went to shul yesterday… We discussed the story of Isaac and Rebecca and Esau and Jacob. It is odd how in the Bible, there are webs of jealousy, jealous love. Years ago I was in a Creative Writing Class, where I looked up one word—a word of my choice—and I chose “jealous.” The root of the word jealous is the Slavic word “zeal,” and it indicates that the subject is zealous for the object as well as zealous in defending it’s ownership of the object. Yet this “zeal” is not the zeal of zealots. Zeal is like a Mother Tigress, attached to them by nature and love. We are not supposed to see God in Tigresses in Judaism… and yet I wrote a poem once (in Volume III, as yet unpublished of The Bible According to Eve; Volume I only has been published) “White Tigers,” comparing the beast to the Jew, “as long as there is one left the White Tiger survives.”
I know modern people want God to be gentle and kind, even submissive. This is the appeal of Christ to some Christians, of the Suffering Servant to Jews and Christians, and no doubt it has its equivalent in Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. Though placed in the otherwise frightening Christian book of Revelations, the Christ image is, “The Lamb of God.”
Yet the God of Israel, though that God has teeth, barely nips the faithful cubs. Or so I believe… Though ravenous hunters scour the forest, God and the Tiger Mother alike keep their cubs close by, and in God’s case preserves the soul when the body cannot be saved. Who are the ravenous hunters? They are the evils humankind itself have let loose on the world. Perhaps COVID-19 is one of the ravenous hunters…
I think this view of God on my part is because I have had bad experience, even apart from my mental illness… It is as though being scarred makes my God appear to be a Tiger. True, a Tiger who licks my wounds and is gentle… but one who picks me up after tears deep within my head’s flesh.
I remember as a child reading a children’s Bible, I wondered why God allowed polygamous marriages and favoritism among the children of the Patriarchs. They were supposed to be righteous, and yet they were not so, it seems at times. Yet there was a sense in which God was loving, compassionate, loyal… and perhaps I believe God is still a God of the Jews because he loves us… of course, God loves other people, I believe… but figuring out the details is hard. All my life I have longed to follow the angels up Jacob’s ladder, to find how God lives in the stars.
Anyway, I finished reading Early Christian Writings and am 50 pages into Karl-Josef Kuschel’s Abraham: Sign of Hope for Jews, Christians and Muslims. On ending Kuschel on Monday, I shall move on to the Quran and next Prophets in the Quran. Tomorrow I shall look for Philo’s writings.