Reading the Old Testament: Is God evil?

I realized that the God of the Hebrew Bible is a very difficult character. He’s erratic, he’s vindictive, he’s not merciful…. He promotes genocide. He smites often just for the joy of smiting. As a reader and as a Jew it was disturbing to find that this God was not a God of love and mercy and justice.

If that is what God is, then why would you want to have a God like that?