On the morality of the Patriarchs: Must biblical heroes be perfect?
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But, while Rabbi Hirsch's position is closer to and resonates more fully with the assumptions of our culture, it too poses a significant challenge for it opens up the proverbial Pandora's box. Is it now appropriate to ascribe whatever "faults, errors and weaknesses" we want to the patriarchs? Is there a line to be drawn beyond which such ascriptions are inappropriate?19 Where do we draw the line? Can they, in fact, be considered just like you or me? Do we not refer to God repeatedly in our daily prayers as "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob?" Do we not conclude the first blessing of the Amidah by referring to Him as "the shield of Abraham?" Clearly we assert, and to my mind must genuinely believe, that they are just not like "you and me;" indeed, they are much, much greater, an entirely different dimension of being. In the words of Gary Kamiya, "To feel the pedestal is to call the very idea of the pedestal into question."20 ¶ It is incumbent upon Tanakh educators squarely to face this issue and construct an approach that will resonate, first for themselves and then for their students, whatever age they may be.21
Schacter, J. J. (2007). On the morality of the Patriarchs: Must biblical heroes be perfect? In Z. Grumet (Ed.), Jewish education in transition: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Jewish Education (pp. 1-9). Ben Yehuda Press.
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