[ by Charles Cameron -- divine protection in Israel and Kentucky ]
So who needs an Iron Dome, or Star Wars?
I really don’t have access to the Rabbi’s full and detailed views on the matter, but based on what the Jerusalem Post reports, he appears to be advocating that divine intervention is both a necessary and sufficient form of defense against Hamas missiles.
The Kentucky legislature’s position is somewhat different. The two paragraphs immediately preceding the one I’ve quoted here read:
No government by itself can guarantee perfect security from acts of war or terrorism.
The security and well-being of the public depend not just on government, but rest in large
measure upon individual citizens of the Commonwealth and their level of understanding, preparation, and vigilance.
So Kentucky suggests an admixture of government security measures, public vigilance and divine protection.
Let’s skip around a bit. I’m reminded of Abraham‘s discussion of divine judgment and protection in Genesis 18, which begins —
And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.
Abraham then quizzes God with incrementally lowering figures until God says:
I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.
Scriptures tend to describe acts of God as, well, acts of God – and that’s a category which can include the fall of sparrows, let alone a rain of missiles, a parting of waves, or a pillar of cloud.
Modernity tends to regard missiles, inbound, as acts of human agency, and likewise with missiles sent up to intercept them.
Kurt Vonnegut pretty much opens his book, Cat’s Cradle, with the statement:
No names have been changed to protect the innocent, since God Almighty protects the innocent as a matter of Heavenly routine.
I’m sure he meant it with a wink and a nod, but I take some comfort from it all the same. You see, I live in a world of both human and mysterious agency — a world of grace and science, science and grace.
Call me confused, tell me I contradict myself. I can only say with Walt Whitman:
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Oh — and in fact it’s more complex, more nuanced than that.