We Matter

When you read certain passages in the Torah, you have to wonder why G-d even cares. Does the Creator of heaven and earth have nothing better to do with His time than devise laws about the differences between liabilities carried by paid and unpaid custodians? Does the G-d of the entire universe need to legislate laws for personal injury and property damage? Does He even care?

The answer is that He does and only because we matter to Him. If you had been a king over a vast empire, you would not have written the specific bylaws for each city and the legislation for each infraction. You would have had a ministerium and bureaucrats to handle that kind of minutia. Yet, when your little children got themselves into a scrape, you would have gotten down on your hands and knees to solve their problem.

Here you would suddenly be setting policy and instituting consequences for minor infractions. At home, you would police your children’s behavior and oversee every detail. Why? Legislating the laws for millions of people is beneath you but legislating the laws for your two toddlers is not? The answer is, yes. Because the toddlers are part of you. You love them and are invested in their welfare. Making order in their world, makes order in your world.

Your children matter to you in ways that your citizens never can. To your citizens, you are the mighty king; lofty and beyond reach. To your children, you are plainly dad and when their noses run, you are the one to wipe it.

The same is true of G-d. He legislates every small detail of our lives in the Torah. From the size of our prayer shawl to the length of Shabbat. From the compensation for property damage to the penalty for rape. Every detail is important to G-d because we are important to G-d. Every detail matters because we matter. We are His children and children matter.

He Cares
It is not uncommon for people to assume that G-d couldn’t care less if we eat this food or that, if we plant our gardens on this day or that. G-d is concerned with global and cosmic matters. G-d prevents earthquakes and world wars. Small details like this are beneath Him.

The fact is that if you look deeply into my eyes, you will see a reflection of yourself. That is because eyes are windows into the soul and in the soul, you matter more than I. I have written before that the difference between soul and soil is the same as the difference between the U and I. The soul is focused on you and the soil (from which the body derives) is focused on I. When you look into my eyes, the windows of my soul, you see you, not I, because the soul is focused on U.

If this is true of the soul, which is only a slice of G-d, imagine how much truer this is of G-d Himself. Our sages taught that the Jews saw G-d at the Red Sea as a young warrior and at Mount Sinai as a wizened scholar. The Chassidic masters taught that G-d did not change appearances from the Red Sea to Mount Sinai. G-d remained the same. The people who were looking at Him changed.

When you love someone, you unconsciously reflect aspects of their personality. If they are calm and patient, it rubs off on you. If they are energetic and vibrant, that rubs off too. The Chassidic Masters taught that G-d chooses to do the same. He is so invested in our welfare that He reflects our state of mind. If we are young and hotheaded like a warrior in battle, G-d takes on that guise and He, therefore, appears that way to us. When we feel wizened and ready for Torah, G-d takes on that guise and, therefore, appears to us as an old wise man.

When we look at G-d, we think we are seeing G-d. The fact is that we are seeing a reflection of ourselves. G-d makes Himself so transparent that He is not even visible. All we can see is a reflection of us.

It now makes perfect sense that G-d cares about the minute details of my life. When G-d thinks about me, He becomes me, and the details of my life become important to Him.

Thus, G-d doesn’t focus on things that we perceive as important to Him. He focuses the lion’s share of His attention on things that are important to us. So, yes, G-d cares much more about the food we eat and the company we keep than he cares about global and cosmic matters. He needs to take care of natural disasters and global shifts, but that is not where His passion lies. To Him, these things don’t matter (other than in how they impact people). Only we matter.

 

About the Author
Rabbi Lazer Gurkow, a renowned lecturer, serves as Rabbi to Congregation Beth Tefilah in London Ontario. He is a member of the curriculum development team at Rohr Jewish Learning Institute and is the author of two books and nearly a thousand online essays. You can find his work at www.innerstream.org
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