“The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of the fools is in the house of mirth”, Ecclesiastes, 7, 4.
The Jews were ‘chosen’ by God. But what were they chosen for?
Were they chosen in order to receive special benefit denied the rest of mankind?
Did God simply prefer them and reward the favourites?
God has no favourites. God bestows no special reward.
Were the Jews chosen to be saved by God, and through this, become a paradigm, an ikon, a beacon, of ‘how to be saved’ for the rest of humanity?
This is closer to the mark in spirit at least, but no, it is not the reason for God singling out the Jews to undertake a mission unique in all the world. After all, Buddhist enlightenment was also ‘salvational.’
The real truth is, as every Jew knows and does not want to know, they were chosen to suffer..
To suffer for God, so as to reveal something about the divine heart and the human heart otherwise locked away and obscure.
The people chosen to carry the cost and weight of the Daemonic in the human heart resisted this calling fiercely, yet precisely through their resistance revealed its truth. In struggle with the Daemonic, in wrestlings and fights, they nakedly exposed the Redemption more than any Salvation.
Yet they preferred Eros to the Daemonic like all humans, and for a people so beleaguered by enemies and imperilled on all sides by much more powerful nations, the Salvation they desired took on very specific features. They yearned for not only a land of milk and honey, but a land that would be protected by God from invasion and despoliation, a land that could be for them a ‘refuge’ against the trouble, strife, tumult, tribulation, that day in and day out proved to be their harsh bread and bitter wine.
“God is my refuge and my strength. Whom shall I fear?”
Psalms, 27, 2; 28, 7.
“Yahweh is my strength and my song, and is become my salvation.”
Exodus, 15, 2.
None the less, the Daemonic relentlessly and incessantly refused to grant the Jews the Salvation they pleaded with God to be allowed. Again and again, its arrival got postponed.. Kicking and screaming they were dragged into the battle for the heart which is at the same time the battle for the world.
This is why that part of Jewish tradition faithful to the Daemonic requires those who follow its prompting to ‘do’ the deed we must do, because God calls us to it, even if we don’t want to do it in another part of the heart, don’t ‘feel like it’, and are not ‘drawn to it’; and even if the rational assessment dismisses it as too demanding. Do it — complaining as you do it all you like, but get it done, and don’t wait to do it until your feelings are happy about it, your desire is attracted to it, and your mind can see the sense in it. Just do it..
When we answer the Call of the Daemonic, we leap into the unknown, we enter the arena of test, we plunge into terrible depths.
Only the heart — shorn of feeling, shorn of desire, shorn of rational evaluating — can take this step, can gamble this existential uncertainty, can accept this existential non-guarantee, can tolerate, and persevere in, such vulnerability.
From exactly this vulnerability to God and vulnerability to the world, the heart’s way is uncovered by flame burning in darkness.
William Blake asked the Daemonic Tyger if the God ‘who made thee also made the Lamb?’
The Jews were the first to prove, by what they had to go through, the answer to this question is Yes.