"Al(might)y Makes Right" by Rabbi Darren Blackstein


    Let's not beat around the bush any longer!  Let's just ask what's on our minds.  What do we need Hashem for?  Does He build bridges, perform delicate operations, fix cars?  We, mankind, do all these things.  After all, our tradition preaches אין סומכין על הנס- do not rely upon miracles.  We are supposed to take matters into our own hands and solve our own problems.  Society forms legislative bodies and law enforcement agencies, and protects the rights of the individual.  We can take care of ourselves.
    If Hashem were to reveal the secrets of the universe, cure horrible diseases, or remove evil from the world, then we may see the need for Hashem more clearly.  Obviously, however, these things aren't happening, so why do we need a Parsha like this one to spell out several laws which seem heavily based on common sense, such as the laws about damages, watchmen, and returning lost items, to single out a few?  We are capable of making such laws ourselves.
    The world and society in which we live suffers as a result of this type of attitude.  On any given day, one can peruse a newspaper and read of crimes, some of which are too horrifying to imagine.  This is what mankind has done to itself when not pictured under the watchful eye of Hashem.  It has enhanced the rights of the individual to the point of absurdity, both in its power and infringement.  Society views this as a strength.  Fortunately, Hashem does not concur with this assessment.
    The Midrash in Shemos Rabbah on our Parsha (פרשה ל' סימן א') states that strength belongs to the מלך מלכי המלכים, the king of kings, and that Hashem is an אוהב משפט, a lover of justice, and has given His laws to Bnai Yisrael.  Is this to say that Hashem  is  strong  because He makes us follow His laws of justice?  Is it a kind of power trip?  Of course not!  As Chazal tells us, Hashem and His attributes are one.  There is no difference between Hashem and His justice, His משפט.  This seems to be why Hashem is identified as the source of strength.  His justice characterizes His very essence, and that is His strength.  There is no leap of faith, no break in connection between Hashem himself and Hashem's justice or law.  It is because of this unity and His love for Klal Yisrael that Hashem wants us to aspire to this goal, and this is why he legislated all these laws, even those that we could come to on our own.
    We should not see morality or justice as a function of our perception, but as expressions of Hashem's essence.  If we can understand aspects of Hashem's laws, all the better.  However, we must not escape the notion that even the most basic and decent ideas of human conduct are also legislated ultimately only because they are the will of Hashem.  Adopting this perspective leads to a rather refreshing approach to the entire body of Halacha, including both חוקים, laws we have difficulty understanding, and משפטים, laws we are capable of understanding.  It is not our strength, our might that makes right, but rather it is the Almighty that makes right.   

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