A G-D Like I.D.
Parashat Ki TisaSOME
husbands believe that if they were richer, their wife would respect them more. If they could outsmart people, outdo her siblings or her friendâ€™s husband, then their wife might love them more. There is no greater mistake a husband can make. A woman wants one thing from her husband. Sometimes she, herself, does not know what it is. Listen closely to a conversation of our ancestors. Here is the secret.
When our childless Matriarch, Rachel, desperately wanted a child, to be a Mother of the Tribes of G-d, she said to Yaakov, Give me sons, and if not, [it’s as if] I am dead. Yaakovâ€™s angry response was, Am I in the position of G-d, that I held back children from you?! R Y Davis ztâ€l, Rosh Hayeshiva of Mountaindale Yeshiva asked, “What is going on in this conversation? Why is she addressing him as if he were G-d, and why is Yaakov answering that he is not? It sounds ridiculous, definitely not a conversation suitable for our Ancestors. The answer is, every woman looks to her husband for support, emotional, physical and financial, as if he were G-d. If he gives her that support, she will love him. If not, she will belittle him. The secret of husbands who get their wife to genuinely love and respect them is that they are G-d-like. Anything resembling G-d will do. Yaakov was the most G-d-like a husband can be. He was even given a name from Heaven with G-dâ€™s name in it. Yisrael. Rachel, out of her tremendous pain, poured out her anguish to Yaakov. And Yaakov answered, â€œI may be G-d-like, but I am not G-d. I canâ€™t give you a child.â€
What doesÂ it mean, to be G-d-like? How on earth are we husbands supposed to know?
I found that there are certain â€œthingsâ€ that make people feel cool. This is a central concern in marketing. Steve Jobs knew math. People want to feel cool. Innovative and Creative is cool. Different is cool. An Identity is cool. Not caring what other people think is cool. Â Infinite information at your finger tips is cool. All this equals iPhone, iPod and iPad. They look different and work different. â€œiâ€ is innovative; it’s identity. Steve got people wearing white headphones (free advertising for Steve), using different formats, accessing unique concepts (all, Apple products). If you are Apple, you are operating on a different Â OS. Thatâ€™s cool. Steve knew what people identify with. And he sold them their identity. People will pay all the money they have for identity. And people like innovativeness. So, cool is creative, independent, and different. Steve knew that â€œno competitionâ€ is cool, and his products were uncompetitive. Does “no competition” sound G-d-like to you? Is there any being more creative than the Creator? Is there any being more independent or â€œdifferentâ€ than G-d? Does anyone have information available as G-d does? It seems as if Steve knew the elements of being cool, but he might not have known why these things as â€œcoolâ€. And, Steve knew how to give an iPhone identity to an unidentified generation.
We live in a UFO generation. UFO â€“unidentified floating objects. People float till you slap an identity sticker on their back. Is your identity your career? Or maybe itâ€™s the Sport team you are a fan of? Or is it the school you are in? Ever heard â€œIt’s just not me. I canâ€™t see myself doing itâ€? Well, who are you, anyway?Â It is amazing how people do not even think about something so personal and crucial in decision making as establishing consciously who they are. Or maybe people gave up guessing. A woman likes to see in her husband an anchor. An identity. And the supreme identity is a G-d like identity.
There is actually a mitzvah to be G-d-like. Â Rambam (De’ot 1;6) tells us that it is a mitzvah to emulate G-d’s waysÂ .×•×”×œ×›×ª ×‘×“×¨×›×™×• Â (Devarim 28; 9) .×œ×œ×›×ª ×‘×›×œ ×“×¨×›×™×• (Devarim 10; 12) To go in His ways. â€œWhat are the ways of G-d?Â ×¨×—×•× ×•×—× ×•×Ÿâ€¦ G-d is loving. He is merciful. He acts with grace. He does kindness to people, without payment. â€œ×ž×” ×”×•× ××£ ××ª×” Â Just as He is, so should you beâ€¦â€ (Sifri Devarim 14)â€ Anything associated with G-dly behavior is something we should try our best to emulate. Â And be G-d- like. ×–×” ×-×œ×™ ×•×× ×•×”×• Â This is my G-d and ×× ×•×”×• . The Talmud explains this to mean ×× ×™ ×•×”×•× , I am like Him. I will be like Him. (Shabbat 133a) The Thirteen Attributes in this week’s parasha is a good place to start learning how to be G-d-like.
â€“×”’ ×”’ Â He loves you after your sin just as before. Does someone who is cool take things personally, change his relationship with you after you slighted him? Not stressed is cool. Is G-d stressed? He is ××¨×š ××¤×™×, slow to anger.Â Generally speaking, people who take things easy are people with identity. They know where they are coming from. And they know where they are going. They have a goal and a purpose. Their identity is not a brand name, a phone, the car they drive. Their success is not measured relative to the success or failures of others. These are people of truth, not caring how their truth is perceived by others. Real men. Beware of counterfeits. Some people confuse being G-d-like with being G-d. They canâ€™t lose an argument. Canâ€™t get emotional. Canâ€™t admit a mistake. â€œMy way or the highwayâ€.
We say in our prayers, ××ª×” ×’×‘×•×¨ ×œ×¢×•×œ× ×”’. You are mighty forever, G-d. A man, in our Holy Tongue, is called ×’×‘×¨ .Â Some husbands think this means that their wife wants someone mighty. Someone who is stronger than others. No one can put him down. That is not what we are referring to in Amidah when we refer to G-d as ×’×‘×•×¨. The Might, there, is referring to G-dâ€™s ability to watch over one sheep, the Jewish nation, amongst 70 wolves, the nations of the world. How have we survived, all this time? One of the wonders of the world. We have a Father who watches his Children, and takes responsibility for them.(Yoma 69b) Does a woman want someone who will be responsible for watching her children? Or does she want a hero, a counterfeit G-d?
King Solomon, wisest of men, told us, ×˜×•×‘ ××¨×š ××¤×™× ×ž×’×‘×•×¨ ×•×ž×•×©×œ ×‘×¨×•×—×• ×ž×œ×•×›×“ ×¢×™×¨ Better one who has slow to anger than the mighty warrior, and better one who rules his spirit than one who captures a city. (Mishlei 16 32) Why did King Solomon call him â€œcapturer of cityâ€, and not “mighty” or a “warrior”? Because there are three types of ×’×‘×•×¨, three types of â€œmightyâ€. The lowest level is relative: he is stronger than someone else. The other person was weak, so he overcame him. Competitive sports – Â baseball, basketball, tennis, etc., -taught us that in order to â€œwinâ€, you need to outdo someone else. It’s only a game, but it teaches the subconscious rules for life. Is your success in life standing on the loser’s shoulders? How am I supposed to know if I am successful, if I am not beating someone else? Where should I get my self-worth from, if I donâ€™t win, if I am not the best, if I donâ€™t get the highest mark, if I am not in first place? This is counterfeit might. It isn’t the real ×’×‘×•×¨; it is just a capturer. The truly mighty person, the warrior ×’×‘×•×¨, is the second level. He is mighty, not relatively, but in essence.
And then, there is the elite ×’×‘×•×¨. The ×›×•×‘×© ××ª ×™×¦×¨×•, who captures his inclinations, temptations and emotions, to do what he knows he’s supposed to do. He rules his emotions and does not allow them to make him stray from his goals. He is the strongest, having no need to feel successful relative to others, because he has purpose and identity. His values are clear and in order of importance. Â He knows what is important in life, and he is in his lifeâ€™s journey. He can overlook an insult, because he knows who he is. The insult is just a rock in the road, along his journey to whatâ€™s important. He doesnâ€™t need confirmation in order to go on; so when he doesnâ€™t get it, but gets an insult, it just rolls off his back. Heâ€™s got places to go, and is unstoppable.
If G-d prays, what does He pray for? ×™×”×™ ×¨×¦×•×Ÿ ×ž×œ×¤× ×™ ×©×™×›×‘×©×• ×¨×—×ž×™ ××ª ×›×¢×¡×™ ×•×™×’×•×œ×• ×¨×—×ž×™ ×¢×œ ×ž×“×•×ª×™ ×•××ª× ×”×’ ×¢× ×‘× ×™ ×‘×ž×“×ª ×¨×—×ž×™× ×•××›× ×¡ ×œ×”× ×œ×¤× ×™× ×ž×©×•×¨×ª ×”×“×™×Ÿ Â May it be the Will before Me, that My Mercy will overcome My Wrath, and My Mercy will supersede my Attributes of Justice and that I behave with My sons with Mercyâ€¦ (Berachot 7a) When G-d wins this â€œinnerâ€ battle, He is the Mighty. This is the Might that G-d wants us to copy. Those who come early enough ask, in Shacharit, that G-d have mercy on us just as Avraham overcame his inner battle to bring his son on the altar. ×›×ž×• ×©×›×‘×© ××‘×¨×”× ××‘×™× ×• ××ª ×¨×—×ž×™×• ×œ×¢×©×•×ª ×¨×¦×•× ×š ×‘×œ×‘×‘ ×©×œ× Â Â Overcoming his inner battle carries more merit than bringing his son on the altar. Because it is more G-d-like to overcome emotion, for a greaterÂ purpose.
It is almost a sin to squeeze this thought into 1600 words. It has to do with the deepest point of any thinking human being. To be continuedâ€¦