Everyone knows how Donald Trump answered when he was asked about the Bible, “How do you feel about the Bible?” He said it was “the second greatest book after The Art of the Deal.” Yes, but did he have a favorite book of the Bible? Was he an Old Testament or New Testament man? What particularly lines of scripture appealed to him? (LBJ’s favorite line was ostensibly, “Let us reason together”–from Isaiah, no less.) It was “all good, all good.” Yet he didn’t have a particular quote or book that he loved best.
Well, being a Jew I am a “Hebrew Bible” person (the Christian Old Testament). So it is I thought I would give the performance that Donald Trump failed to. I am going to list my very favorite verses, even though they are not considered more than editorial gloss by Bible scholars, written by Isaiah’s redactor rather than the original prophet, prophets, or prophetic school which pieced the Book of Isaiah together. I may have written about them before, but I shall write again:
A voice rings out, “Proclaim!”
Another says, “What shall I proclaim?
“All flesh is grass,
All its goodness like the flowers of the field:
Grass withers, flowers fade
When the breath of the Lord blows upon them.
Indeed, man is like grass.
Grass withers, flowers fade–
But the word of our Lord is always fulfilled.
I know that the average readers of this quotation may mistake the tone of this nugget as being melancholic. The transitory nature of mortal life makes fills them with grief at the loss which old age brings, as one sees first one’s parents and then one’s friends die off… And then a person asks, “But is there anything that transcends myself, something that lives forever, and that the believing in will cause me to live forever, like the fountain of youth legend had existed in America?” The answer is in the positive reply, “But the word of our Lord is always fulfilled.” The blessed have a share in the World-to-Come, and are not limited in number to a specific race or creed. Those whom we were separated like the grass withers and flowers fade, will be rejoined to us if we do justice, love goodness and walk humbly with our God.