A Hellenist philosopher once asked a Sage of the Talmud: “If your god can do anything, can he create a stone he cannot lift?”
With this trick question he implied: If he can’t create a stone like that, he’s partly inapt for his inability to create this. And if he can, he’s partly inapt for his inability to lift this. An omnipotent god cannot be.
The answer to this challenge is as follows. There cannot be such a thing as ‘a stone that G^d cannot lift.’ And you can’t say that G^d is incapable of making something that cannot exist. He also can’t create a square or triangular circle.
Still, I found something G^d cannot do.
Tonight is the last night of the ritual mourning of the loss of my dear brother. I received dear friends who came to comfort me. It turns out I need other people to comfort me.
It wasn’t even what they said or how well they listened. What was so moving was their presence and their effort to take time from their busy, finite life to come and spend some time with me. And their presence reminded me of our relationships. I wasn’t utterly alone or unloved.
Surely, they wished me the classic blessing: “May the One Who is everywhere comfort you amidst those who mourn Tziyon and Yerushalayim.” They humbly asserted that comfort will come from G^d. But could He accomplish that without people, my friends?
Maybe this is the same as G^d saying after the Creation Story that it’s not good for a human to be alone with him[self]. What did G^d mean? This first human was not alone. He had G^d, for starters, to relate to. And the whole of Creation, custom-made for him.
From there, we see that being only with G^d is called being alone!
My parents emotionally survived the Holocaust as follows. They and another couple of close friends shared a giant bed, and, night after night, the four of them took turns crying. They didn’t need to explain to each other why they cried. There was nothing the others could have said that would’ve made the genocide less bad. (Or that could have compensated for the whole of Dutch society not caring about them or for them at all.) Enough survivors came out much more emotionally crushed than them. They could never have done this amount of healing on their own.
Comes to mind that G^d uses Angels and Prophets. Doesn’t that show an inability to do everything Himself? Heaven forbid! But, if He would do everything by Himself, nothing would be special anymore. So, on the night the Jews were allowed to leave Egypt, He Himself smote the firstborn of the Egyptians. In most other cases, He uses the Angel of Death. And, by presenting Angels, He shows us how to be a proper boss. How to lead without being oppressive or dictatorial. At the Mountain of Sinai, He spoke to the People. For the rest, He mainly used holy spokespersons and texts.