The Idols And The Idol Worshippers
In ancient times, there were many debates between the rabbis and the pagan philosophers. This was at a time when the pagans were beginning to lose faith in their idols and were seeking to find some other faith. One day, a philosopher asked Rabban Gamliel:
"I have heard the Jews say that their G-d is a fire who consumes all His enemies. Let me ask you then, why this fire is aimed against the idol worshippers. Would it not be better for your G-d to destroy the idols instead of the idol worshippers?"
Rabban Gamliel smiled and replied:
"A certain king had a son to whom he gave a little dog as a present for his birthday. The son loved the lit¬tle dog, fed it, washed it and raised it. He grew to love it so much that one day he announced to the court:
"I am going-to name my dog 'father.’ “
"Now;' asked Rabban Gamliel, "at whom should the king be angry? Should he be angry at the little dog who is nothing more than a poor dumb animal that knows nothing and is not responsible for the whole af¬fair, or should he pour his wrath out at the son who initiated the entire affair?"
The philosopher listened and said:
"I hear what you say and your words are wise. Nevertheless, the fact that the idols are here is an obsta¬cle in the path of the people. If the idols were destroyed, the people would not be able to worship them."
To this Rabban Gamliel answered:
"If your words were correct, the Almighty would have to destroy the sun and the moon and the stars; He would have to wipe away the animals and the birds and the fish. For throughout the world these things are worshipped by different peoples.
"Thus, to do away with the idols, the L-rd would have to destroy the world, and this is absurd. Know you that the world was made by
G-d and He will continue to allow it to exist and those fools who have ru¬ined it by using certain of G-d's creations and made them gods, will have to pay the punishment"
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