The Talmud exclaims: How silly are those who (out of respect) rise for a Torah scroll but not for a Jewish scholar who is a living embodiment of the Torah. Then it remarks what, in fact, we mean by a great and powerful scholar. Not what one would think. Rather, someone who is extra merciful. The Torah says: not more than 40 whip lashes; the Sages say: not more than 39. They are more powerful and more merciful.
Not to say that Man could be more merciful than G^d, Heaven forbid. Clearly, He intended and foresaw the Rabbis refining it like this, as His representatives — even in full autonomy — the Torah is not in Heaven [anymore] so must be decided upon by the Rabbis, teaches the Talmud.
This idea to call greatness mercy seems unprecedented but it isn’t. The Torah in our Portion of the week mentions this (Deuteronomy 3:23). Our Chief Commentator points out that Your Greatness in this context of asking for clemency must mean goodness. I would go further: mercy.
BTW: Heaven forbid that we could make G^d change His mind! His Bible says clearly and repeatedly (Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29, Malachi 3:6, Psalms 110:4), He’s not a human that He would change His Mind.
Note: This does not mean that every Prophecy needs to become reality. Every positive Prophecy will. But one function of dreadful Prophecy is to warn and help us repent — so that we will merit a more merciful future.
And then the disaster will not happen! Therefore, we don’t participate in ruining the world, to create chaos that could herald the End of Times with a miraculous Redemption. We pray and act for justice and tranquility so that we may merit not to have to see more war and destruction.
So why do we pray and ask Him anything if G^d will stick to His opinion? To elevate our ethical value so that His blessings will be able to reach us.
And from G^d’s side, to give us a chance to bring more of His goodness and repair down to this world. It’s not that He does everything and we are passive recipients — or not. We’re invited to be His active partner in perfecting ourselves, all of Mankind, and the whole world.
“Baruch” therefore cannot mean: May G^d be exalted – nothing could. Rather, it is a testimony that G^d is the Source of all blessing. Once we acknowledged that, He grants us to partake from, enjoy His world.
Last but not least, why do we give extra charity when a lot is at stake? To bribe G^d? Won’t work, my friend. The whole idea of having G^d work for us, instead of the other way around, is a shocking chutzpah.
It is the most classical idol worship to try to please, placate, and pacify the irritable gods to get favors. Jews who pray or fulfill Commandments to delight G^d are busy serving idols; even if they dedicate a lot of time and money to ‘being religious,’ wear the most expensive Jewish garb, know all of Judaism by heart and have a great following.
Hopefully, we do so to elevate us. And then we will merit more mercy.
If anything above strikes you as revolutionary — it is pure classical Judaism.
Happy Tu beAv and Shabbat shalom!