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Can G-d Harm Himself?

Friday, 11 May, 2012 - 2:00 pm

Can G-d create a rock that He cannot lift? That is one of the most common refrains offered up when discussing the infinite nature of G-d.

I’ll offer it up in slightly different words: Can G-d do something that would harm himself?


In this week’s Parsha of Emor we are instructed about the mitzvah of Kiddush Hashem, sanctification of G-d’s name. This mitzvah obligates a person to sacrifice his/her own life in certain circumstances, such as a test of faith. Throughout history the Jewish people have performed this mitzvah too often.

The Midrash teaches that any mitzvah that G-d instructs us to perform, He performs as well. After all, if He expects us to do these commandments then they must be precepts that He really believes in and lives by.

So how can G-d “sacrifice” Himself? If G-d disappeared would that not be the end of us as well?


In fact, we do find an instance of G-d allowing His holy name to be erased, an act of “self-sacrifice.” This was done to verify the status of a Sotah woman.

Although G-d allowed His name to be erased, He certainly did not disappear. Rather His being is underscored even more by virtue of the waters testifying His ideals in this world.

The same holds true for all the holy Jews who were forced to give up their lives for Kiddush Hashem. We deeply mourn the loss of their physical life. But there can be no greater testament to their genuine existence than their souls joining the everlasting fountain of life.

Today, we must rise to the challenge and live life with the type of dedication that many of our people demonstrated when forced to abandon life.


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