Monday, July 9, 2012

The Theology of Rick Ross - God Forgives, I Don't

In both rap music and in theology we learn that "God Forgives, I Don’t." Fans have been eagerly awaiting artist Rick Ross’s 5th solo album and it now looks like it will finally arrive on July 30.

Ross has assembled the best of contemporary rap to join him including Dr. Dre, Jay-Z Andre 3000 and Drake. Musically, I’m sure the move makes sense but I’m wondering if as a good Jewish boy Drake buys into the message of the album title.

Any Jew who has ever attended High Holiday services knows that forgiveness is a central focus in Judaism. Having attended Hebrew School, Drake likely knows that divine forgiveness is essential for moving forward after transgressions against God, but when we hurt others we must seek their forgiveness. Forgiveness is not really an option.

If their repentance is sincere then those aggrieved have an obligation to forgive. So maybe he ought to have suggested an alternative title, God Forgives and So Do I?

Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder is Rabbi-in-Residence for Be'chol Lashon & Editor of Tzeh U'llimad. She is an alum of Clal's Rabbis Without Borders fellowship. Follow her on Twitter at @RabbiRuth.