Showing posts with label natural law. Show all posts
Showing posts with label natural law. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Giver of the Torah

“Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who has chosen us from all peoples and given us Your Torah. Blessed are You, Giver of the Torah.” 
(blessing recited before studying/reading Torah, from the liturgy)

Since I began studying the 99 Names of God with Yasmina and discovering the similarities in how we address God, I’ve been wondering about what this blessing means to me. While I recite it every morning and hear it recited often during the morning services when the Torah is read publicly, I am not certain that I fully embrace its message. First, the idea that God chose the Jewish people—even if I understand or interpret this to mean that God chose to give the Torah to the Jewish people—rings hollow. Other religions espouse beliefs and laws similar to those found in the Torah, especially those that fall into the category of "natural law," such as laws against murder and incest, as well as laws pertaining to social justice. In addition, I don’t believe that God actually gave the Torah to Moses at Sinai; rather I understand the emergence of Torah as a progressive revelation of God’s will, written by human beings in the language of their day. 

How then, can I praise God as “Giver of the Torah?” Do Christians and Muslims believe that God gave the Torah to the Jewish people? If so, do Muslims include this appellation among the 99 names of God?