Chapter 6: Expendable
In Chapter 1, we said that Abraham discovered that human nature’s inherent egotism is on a constant trend of expansion. The method he devised was not intended to curb that egotism because he knew this was impossible, as man was created to receive boundlessly. His only question, therefore, was how to receive that intended bounty. Abraham discovered a method where, by studying and striving to unite, people rose to a new level of perception. Here, they acquired the nature of the Creator—benevolence—and could therefore receive that boundless pleasure without becoming overindulgent and dangerous to themselves or the environment.
The exodus from Egypt and the formation of the nation of Israel marked a five-century stage of formation. During that time, Israel went from being a group made of family and students into an entire nation whose goal was to attain the Creator.
While attempting to rise to the highest spiritual level, the Hebrews never retreated from their original intention to offer their perceptions to the whole of humanity. This was to be their contribution to the nations, the “light” they were meant to give to them. Through the generations, that gift of “light” is what the nations have been trying to receive from the Jews, and the lack thereof has been the cause of our afflictions by the nations.
In the prologue to his book, A History of the Jews, Christian historian and novelist, Paul Johnson, eloquently describes the questions that drove Abraham to his discoveries, the same questions that drive humanity to this day. Johnson portrays his reverence for the Jews’ ability to discover the answers to those questions, live by their consequent laws, and their efforts to teach them to others. In his words, “The book gave me the chance to reconsider objectively, in the light of a study covering nearly 4,000 years, the most intractable of all human questions: what are we on earth for? Is history merely a series of events whose sum is meaningless? Is there no fundamental moral difference between the history of the human race and the history, say, of ants? Or is there a providential plan of which we are, however humbly, the agents? No people has ever insisted more firmly than the Jews that history has a purpose and humanity a destiny. At a very early stage in their collective existence they believed they had detected a divine scheme for the human race, of which their own society was to be a pilot. They worked out their role in immense detail. They clung to it with heroic persistence in the face of savage suffering. Many of them believe it still. Others transmuted it into Promethean endeavors to raise our condition by purely human means. The Jewish vision became the prototype for many similar grand designs for humanity, both divine and man-made. The Jews, therefore, stand right at the centre of the perennial attempt to give human life the dignity of a purpose.”[i]
[i] Paul Johnson, (Christian historian), A History of the Jews (New York, First Perennial Library, 1988), 2