Born foolish: A Hebraic view

I distinguish between the biblical (Hebraic) view and the rabbinical (Judaism) view. The rabbis do not accept that born foolish leads to the inability to please God, and to destruction. Now, to it.

We are born, we are fools, we are born fools.

Proverbs 22:15 – Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Genesis 8:21 – … the inclination (yetser) of man’s heart is evil (ra) from his youth.

And if course, the famous Jeremiah 17:19 verse: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick: who can know it?

Sick = foolish, despising instruction, despising authority.

So, how can we then blame the child! I’m stumped; but if the perfect and just God said it, then it is so, and remains, at least while we’re in this world, his secret:

Deuteronomy 29:29 (29:28 Hebrew Bible) – The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Deuteronomy 32:4-5 – The deeds of the [Mighty] Rock are perfect, for all His ways are just; a faithful God, without injustice He is righteous and upright. 5 Destruction (corruption) is not His; it is His children’s defect you crooked and twisted generation.

Rashi’s commentary of the above:

Destruction is not His: Heb. שִׁחֵת לוֹ לֹא, [to be understood] as the Targum renders it: חַבִּילוּ לְהוֹן לָא לֵהּ,“Destruction is theirs, not His!”

“Corruption” is perhaps more accurate than “destruction.” There is a sense in which destruction is rooted in man and thus is his responsibility; and a sense in which destruction is ordained by God:

Deut 6:14-15 – Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

Deut 7:2-4 – And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them. Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy THEE suddenly.

Deut 32:21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation…Deut 32:25 The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.

Sometimes God gives up the disobedient to their own lusts:

Psalms 81 – 10 I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. 11 But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. 12 So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.

And sometimes God turns them away from their lusts towards Him, but only when they realize they are unable to turn to God because they are dead in their sins:

Psalms 80 – Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself. 18 So will not we go back from thee: quicken us (bring us life CHAYA), and we will call upon thy name. 19 Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

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2 thoughts on “Born foolish: A Hebraic view

  1. Rashi’s commentary of the Tanach (“Old Testament”) is available in English search “chabad Rashi.”

    Rashi is the most respected Jewish commentator on the Tanach.

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