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SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Between the Lines

Faith in G-d G-d’s Faith By Eytan Kobre

W

hile he still lived in London, R’ Yechezkel Abramsky would offer heartwarming words of inspiration to non-observant youth, inviting them into his home and nourishing their bodies and souls. But when his non-observant students learned the law permitting a Jewish soldier in battle to marry a non-Jewish female captive – be-

cause, if not permitted, the solider might marry her against Torah law (Rashi, Devarim 21:11) – they were incredulous. Is the Torah so malleable as to permit that which is prohibited simply because it is a struggle to obey the word of G-d? Does G-d think so little of our ability to withstand temptation? Does G-d have so little faith in us? R’ Chazkel explained that they

had it all wrong. The law permitting marriage of the female captive actually speaks volumes about G-d’s supreme faith in us. That the Torah permits a Jewish soldier to take a female captive for fear he would not be able to overcome temptation is an implicit recognition that, in all other instances, G-d believes in our ability to rise to, and overcome, the challenges we face. We make a big deal about our faith in G-d – and rightly so. Indeed, it is “the foundation of all foundations and the pillar of all wisdom to know that there is a Creator who created the universe with profound wisdom” (Rambam, Yesodei HaTorah 1:1). Without a perfect faith in G-d, we forsake our Jewish identity. But while we must have faith in Him, G-d also has faith in each of us. The simple knowledge that someone believes in us can be a source of immense strength. That’s what G-d does. He believes in us – perhaps more than we believe in ourselves. No matter how many times we fail, He forgives us; no matter how many times we fall, He lifts us. As we remind ourselves in this auspicious month of Elul, “My father and mother [might] abandon me, but G-d will gather me in” (Tehillim 27:10). We fail, we stumble, we fall. But G-d still believes in us. And He has since time immemorial. Before creating man, G-d gathered a group of angels and put the question to them – creating man: good idea or bad idea? “Bad idea,” they said. “Man will only sin.” So G-d destroyed those angels. Then G-d created a second group

of angels and asked them the same question – creating man: good idea or bad idea? “Bad idea,” they said. “Man will only sin.” So G-d destroyed those angels too. Then He created a third group of angels and asked the same question. “Master of the Universe,” they declared, “the first and second groups of angels told You not to create man, and look where it got them. The Universe is Yours. Do as You wish.” So G-d created man. When mankind later sinned during the Generation of the Flood and the Generation of the Tower of Babel, the third group of angels said to G-d, “Were not the first and second angels correct?” To which G-d responded by quoting the verse, “Even to old age I will not change, and even to grey hair, I will carry [you]” (Sanhedrin 38b). I’m not giving up on man. I believe in man. G-d created mankind, and He has faith in mankind. Whenever we fail or fall or falter, G-d says, “Even to old age I will not change, and even to grey hair, I will carry [you]” (Yeshaya 46:4). G-d does not lose faith in us. Perhaps this is the reason that G-d is described as “the G-d of faith” (Devarim 32:4). He is the “G-d of faith” by virtue of His faith in each of us – “He had faith in the world and created it” (Sifri, Devarim 307; Yalkut Shimoni, Devarim 942). We start each day with that reassuring and empowering thought, that “Your faith is great” (Eicha 3:22-23; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 1:2). We thank G-d for having faith in us. Because if G-d returns our souls to us, it means He still believes in us and our ability to

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Five Towns Jewish Home - 9-15-16  

Five Towns Jewish Home - 9-15-16

Five Towns Jewish Home - 9-15-16  

Five Towns Jewish Home - 9-15-16