- "I didn't Know, I'm not to Blame"
- Moshe Ben-Chaim
- Reader: If torah is the only system through which mankind can
attain perfection, what about those who have never been
exposed to it? Many people, in the past and present have never had the
chance to rationally accept Judaism as they never knew about it. To
take it to an extreme, throughout history there were many
civilizations - like Africans or American Indians who never knew
their existed a Jewish people or a Torah system; why would God not give
them the opportunity to attain perfection like he gave us? Even
if we apply to them the tinoch shenishba status, they still
get a raw deal because they never could become perfected. How is
this an exhibition of God's justice and fairness?
- Mesora: I once asked this very
question years ago of my Rabbi. He felt that God would at some point
in each person's life, offer them the opportunity to live correctly. I
assume his reasoning was that God does not place each individual here
on Earth, with the capacity for experiencing God's wisdom, without
offering each one of us the opportunity to use our intellect.
- But I would add that your question is not only on cultures
subsequent to the giving of the Torah who were ignorant of it. Your
question must be asked equally on generations throughout the 2448
years prior to the Torah. Where is God's justice then?
- We see from Abraham - a young man steeped in idolatry - that with
reasoning alone he examined reality and arrived at true, logical
conclusions, with no Torah. This extreme example offers an insight
into the abilities we each have. God's plan was not to give the Torah
at the commencement of civilization. God gave each of us the abilities
necessary for living the perfected life as He wishes for each member
of mankind. Perhaps from Adam, naming the animals and being involved
in all areas of wisdom, we learn that all was present, undistorted,
and available for man to acquire love for his Creator. Only subsequent
deviations from the search for knowledge led many astray, initiated by
the very free will God endowed us with to use in the search for truth.
God won't step in and force man to use his free will for good or
truth. God's will is that man use his free will to earn his reward.
And if he so chooses, man may choose not to use his mind and search
for truth, as so many cultures did, and still do today.