Did the Jewish people choose G-d, or did G-d choose the Jewish people? Or both?

  • while there are sources that suggest each option, this question might be a bit too philosophical for a definitive answer. – rosends Mar 4 '20 at 20:15
  • @resends I didn't realize that. Thanks. What if we just stick to what's written in the Torah? – RockPaperLz- Mask it or Casket Mar 4 '20 at 20:16
  • Without trying to limit what "the Torah" includes, there are still enough events and verses to support a variety of understandings. – rosends Mar 4 '20 at 20:21

Both, according to the commentary of Rashi to Deuteronomy 26:17–18.

  • one line and spot on target.+1 – David Kenner Mar 5 '20 at 4:10

According to a Midrash (and Maimonides' understanding of it), the patriarch Abraham discovered G-d.[1]

In Laws of Idolatry 1.1-2 Maimonides explains how humans began to worship idols and how Abraham was the first to rediscover G-d. He felt that Abraham was a natural philosopher who came to the realization of G-d’s existence. He recognized that G-d exists, is one, and created all things. He discovered this, as Prof. Menachem Keller writes, “on the basis of his unaided reason.” Keller adds a footnote “Abraham, that is, came to knowledge of G-d through philosophic conviction, not religious faith.”[2]

Thus, Kellner wrote that "Abraham discovered G-d on his own." This was accomplished by Abraham applying Aristotelian physics, a thorough understanding of the laws of nature, philosophy, and reason.[3] In short, Abraham came to G-d, and not the other way around.


[1] See TheTorah.com essay called How did Abraham Discover God The Rationalistic Approach

[2] See chapter 2 Chosenness, Not Chauvinism: Maimonides on the Chosen People by Menachem Kellner

[3] A Midrash and tradition says that Abraham discovered G-d through reason and studying the heavens, natural law

  • Can you provide the source where Maimonides says this? – Alex Mar 18 '20 at 23:09
  • @Alex Give me time. I may be able to bring it to you within an hour. – Turk Hill Mar 18 '20 at 23:24
  • @Alex Let me know what u think – Turk Hill Mar 19 '20 at 0:14

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