Parashat Ekev- HaShem, I Want to Be You!
כב. כִּי אִם שָׁמֹר תִּשְׁמְרוּן אֶת כָּל הַמִּצְוָה הַזֹּאת אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם לַעֲשֹׂתָהּ לְאַהֲבָה אֶת יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם לָלֶכֶת בְּכָל דְּרָכָיו וּלְדָבְקָה בוֹ:
My friend once lost her cell phone, lo aleinu. I’ve never seen anybody so frantic in my life. We sent a whole search team for this phone. We finished Sefer Tehillim for her. HaShem had so much Rahamim that we finally found this phone. Looking back, one must wonder, how come somebody would get so distraught over losing a piece of metal? I mean, calm down it’s a just cell phone, it could be replaced! But still, to most people, losing a phone means losing connection to others, and this is reasonable enough a cause to warrant such a response.
Even though we do not need to be in constant contact with our ‘contacts’, we still feel a sense of security and reassurance knowing that we are always able to reach them. Just the idea of having all communication cut off creates a sense of anxiety and discomfort within. How valuable would a constant and direct channel of communication be to us if we could establish such a thing?
Did you ever think that our relationship with HaKadosh Barukh Hu is such a way? Since we cannot directly see and physically feel HaShem, we at least rely on the assurance that we can always ‘call’ Him; HaShem is certainly reachable. However, the truth is that we could have that direct connection with HaShem that most people think does not exist. It’s actually a Missvah in the Torah. Parashat Ekev reveals to us the Missvah of Devekut ba’HaShem, ‘cleaving to or sticking’ to HaShem Yitbarakh. We are commanded to continuously be bonded with Him. Our job now is find out what is that connecting factor between us and HaShem? What means of communication can we tap into to reach and feel HaShem more directly and to ultimately become one unified body with Him?
In the same pasouk that we learn about the Missvah of Devekut ba’HaShem, we are also commanded to be exactly like HaShem- ve’halakhta be’khol derakhav- ‘You shall go in all His ways’. The way we can bond to HaShem is by being just like Him. The more we can act like HaShem, the closer we become to Him. (BH we will learn what exactly some of HaShem’s qualities are).
In chemistry, there is something called a diatomic molecule, which is a single molecule made of two of the same atoms. The two atoms are bonded together. The bond holding these two atoms is called a covalent bond, which is the strongest chemical bond that exists. What makes it so strong? Rabbenu Wikipedia explains, ‘Covalent bonding is a common type of bonding, in which the electronegativity difference between the bonded atoms is small or nonexistent. ’ Which, for normal people, means: the fact that the difference (in the electric force) of the two atoms is so small, that’s what allows them to bond so strongly. Likewise, the smaller the difference between us and HaKadosh Barukh Hu, the stronger the bond between Us. When we act like complete animalistic humans, we are different than HaShem, and therefore are less ‘compatible’ so to speak and bonding becomes less feasible. But when we try to act G-dly, when we tap into our divine senses, we become more similar to HaShem and therefore more ‘compatible’ for bonding.
The question is, do you want to be a manimal, a blend of man and angel or a mangel, a hybrid of man and angel?
If it is an elevated human being you want to be, keep reading.
To become such a person, just ‘Follow His ways’, the ways of HaShem. Rambam in Hilkhot De’ot of the Mishneh Torah teaches: ‘Just as HaShem is called compassionate, so you should be compassionate. Just as He is described as merciful so should you be merciful. Just as He is called holy so should you be holy. And it is in this fashion that the prophets described HaShem in terms of character traits -- slow to anger, abundant in kindness, righteous, perfect, powerful and strong etc. -- to teach us that these are upright and positive traits, and a person is obligated to conduct himself according to their Example, and thus to make himself like HaShem as far as it is in his power’. (translation adapted from Aish.com)
Rav Moshe Cordovero in his Sefer Tomer Devorah discusses this idea at great length. He guides us by explaining that HaShem has Thirteen Divine Attributes that we can learn from and apply to ourselves. We all have character traits, each in their own measure, or middah- some are subtle and some are more extreme. Nevertheless, we must direct and refine our middot, our character traits, by emulating HaShem. HaShem is our number one role model. Just like He doesn’t get angry quickly, we shouldn’t either. Just like He is always giving with immense love, we should be doing the same. HaShem is compassionate, patient and merciful- this means we must be compassionate, patient and merciful as well. By becoming more like HaShem, we are also becoming closer to Him, since He essentially is become more and more a part of us. I don’t know much about chemistry, but I’m certainly liking the sound of this diatomic bond.
Be’Ezrat HaShem may we develop ourselves into the Divine beings we are destined to be. May we emulate HaShem to the best of our ability and in this way, become even closer to Him.
Wishing every special Neshamah a Shabbat Shalom uMevorakh!