Did Klal Yisrael embrace Torah or was it foisted upon us? Are we G-d’s people because of our enthusiastic embrace of that mission, na’aseh v’nishmah,ַ or because G-d held the mountain threateningly over our heads, kafah alav har k’gigit?
Apparently, there is a dual nature to our relationship with G-d and Torah, that includes both choice and destiny. Our bechirah, ּour free choice, defines the extent to which we embrace Torah in our lives, allowing mitzvah, Halacha, and Torah ideals to guide our decisions and actions.
Our destiny, on the other hand, does not require our consent and is defined by hashgachah,ַ by G-d’s choices guiding us towards our rightful place in the world and its history. Thus, from the outset we needed to embrace the commandments of the Torah voluntarily, as this was representative of the lifetime of choices we would exercise relative to their observance. Destiny however was foisted upon us. The Jews have an inescapable and critical role in the world.
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.