Probably the easiest, but still accurate, way to look at this entire situation is to see the God of the Torah as representing the path to holiness by way of self-denial. Jesus, as well, was representative of that God of self-denial.
The religion of most today — across all religions with the exception of most of Islam, Orthodox Judaism (I would suppose), and a few old-style Christian or Catholic congregations here and there — is self-fulfillment.
Self-fulfillment isn’t inherently a bad thing. There’s no inherent virtue in poverty, for instance. There’s no harm in productivity and creativity, in fashioning new things and new wonders. But if there is a God — and I believe there is — then making idols of ourselves is probably a very bad idea as we work toward an inner and outer type of fulfillment that is unrealistic to the point of being poisonous.
One can debate the virtues of self-denial, and perhaps even win the argument on points. But in this highly materialistic culture ever fed by new products and conveniences, the argument is almost irrelevant these days. The Hebrews couldn’t delay gratification for only 40 days in the desert when Moses went up the mountain. What chance has anyone today in a marketplace of super-abundance and non-stop messaging that your life is not complete as it is, for you need this new product.
Marx, at his very essence, was saying, “If you don’t have all you want in life, it is somebody else’s fault.” Right and wrong weren’t on the docket, fulfillment was, in this case economic fulfillment. You can formulate this someone-else’s-fault as a function of class, as he did, or of sexism or racism as is done today. But the fulfillment cult must always have a scapegoat for why people don’t have what they want. And because scapegoats are blameless by definition, truth itself becomes sacrificed on their altar as a matter of habit and thus virtue is turned on its head.
One of the difficulties in discussing Judaism, anti-Semitism, etc., is that not only aren’t a large portion of Jews following the Torah, but they are often their own worst enemies in regards to rejecting YHVH and joining the utopian fulfillment cult. Jews have by no means shown themselves to be immune and could be, as a people, amongst the worst. This is perhaps the main sticking point regarding Jesus who critiqued the material- and money-oriented ways of the priests of His time. Even Prager in his analysis of Exodus couldn’t come to denounce money as a possible idol that is worshipped.
Because humans desire, and there is no end to their desire, there is generally no fulfillment to be had. This produces the nastiness we see in the Left. Their cult isn’t working. It can’t ever work. Disappointment at not being as fulfilled and happy as one should be turns to grievance and blaming others. This, not the inane “Red-State/Blue-State” political struggle is the actual divide.
This is one reason I roll my eye’s at Prager’s “Happiness Hour” that he has every week on his radio show. It ought to be a “Goodness Hour,” not one regarding happiness. But this muck runs deep in Judaism (especially liberal ones from which Prager was spawned and did mostly escape, to his credit).
God is mostly a veneer, not a reality to many people. Perhaps that’s why I read this book. I’m looking to make God a reality as well. This Creative Creator likely wants us to be fulfilled, for sure — but by things other than “self-esteem” or various forms of narcissism. There’s nothing wrong with having stuff. But I think many people have made an idol of material things — as well as of their grievance for never having found that vast and deep sense of fulfillment promised by their creed.