The Most Dangerous Game In Town

There is an old game in town.

The stakes are high and it’s all or nothing.

Most people play this game but cheat.

It’s called the G-d game.

If G-d is who we say he is, then he is my G-d and your G-d. We call him “Elokeinu”, “Our G-d”.  We visit him in my Shul and in your Shul.

Oh yes, I almost forgot, he is also the G-d of my enemy and your enemy.

And what’s more, he can be found outside of my Shul and outside of your Shul – in the streets, in the gutters and also in my foe’s home and even his place of worship.

The Kotzker Rebbe writes: “Understand this principle very clearly – If you are not prepared to find G-d everywhere, you will not find Him anywhere!” (Kochav HaShachar p 24, par2)

Here the Kotzker succinctly outlines for us the simple rules for playing the G-d game. Unless and until I accept unconditionally the absolute universality of G-d, and his equidistance from everyone and everything, I cannot play the game fairly.

This is where most people cheat. This is where many load the dice, and skew the G-d concept toward them and theirs.

This game is ‘dangerous’ because as soon as one steps out of the cozy world of theology and begins to walk in the harsh real world, we are required to draw the line as to how far we are willing to extend this concept.

How deep into the enemy’s camp are we prepared to go with this.

It’s also terrifyingly dangerous because sometimes applying this principle prematurely may take one’s right of self defense away at a time of conflict. How can I fight against people who are also created in the Image of G-d. I have to remove them from the Image of G-d first.

Conflict can only occur after we reject this principle.

I once heard that at about the same time as Rabbi Goren was sounding the shofar at the Western Wall during the Six Day War of 1967, another rabbi was running through the streets of the Old City looking for Arabs to embrace and to reassure them that we were coming in peace.

Sadly, history got in the way and sometime later that same rabbi said he had had a change of heart.

Bombs do funny things to theology. Terror does funny things to the G-d game.

In the end, the rabbi drew the line between what he knew to be true and what he saw to be true – and unfortunately so do most of us.

And so do our enemies.

If only we all didn’t have to cheat at this game.

About the Author
Rabbi Gavin Michal is fascinated by the psychology of belief, the difference between belief and superstition, and by whether religion makes people better or worse. Besides being a community rabbi, he is also a helicopter pilot, builds drones for anti-poaching, and restores vintage aircraft to flying condition.