Jews Betraying God in Tanach


Dear Rabbi,

When I learn Tanach, more specifically Navi, I notice a that common and reoccurring theme is that the Jews will betray Gd, usually by avoda zara (idolatry) or lack of Tzedaka and Mishpat (charity and justice-keeping), and then a Navi will tell them over the message from Gd that they have to do Teshuvah or they will be destroyed, and it’s up to them to listen.

I’ve always been curious, how is it that Jews back then can stop obeying Gd and turn to idol worship, when back then, Gd performed more obvious miracles, so they knew He exists?

It can’t be that they deny Gd’s existence, when it’s so much more obvious that He’s there. How were they not afraid or ashamed of turning away from Him?

Thank you



  1. Great question! It is truly a paradox that the Jewish People had such an incredibly obvious relationship with God and, yet, at the same time they served idols and did not listen to the Prophets who were telling them the words of God.

    Our Sages explain that the allure of idol worshiping in those days was one that we cannot relate to today. The potency of idol worship was removed when the Jewish People returned to the Land of Israel after the destruction of the First Temple. Until then, idol worship was a powerful force that seemed real to those who did it. Why is that? Because God created our world with an acute balance between good and evil. Every dimension of the physical world that we live in has to have an opposite and equal force. This means that the more positive spirituality there was – the greater the ability to see and connect to God – the greater was the ability to turn away from God and worship idols instead.

    Why did God create His world like that? In order to allow us to utilize our free will to serve Him. If there was no “viable” alternative to serving God, that would mean that everyone was serving Him without actually choosing to do so.

    Best wishes from the Team