I spoke with someone yesterday who suggested that Jews have made a lot of our theological choices because we were frightened minorities operating within the context of larger societies who had the ability – and often the will – to oppress or kill us.
There can be little doubt that our collective experiences have shaped our culture. But I took issue to my friend’s broader point. We did not make our theological choices because we were tiny and scared, but because our Law says we must. Our rabbis based their decisions and psak din on long and learned discussions on Torah, not on political science, and the reasons are documented in the Talmud, in Maimonides, and countless writings in between and since.