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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Pushing my buttons, doing God's work.

My second son has perfected the art of pushing my buttons.  That is an American colloquialism that I should probably try to translate better, I think it means uncovering the things that reveal my hidden self love or self reliance.  So he is doing the work of God, even though I do not see it or recognize it at the time.  This little internet thing, puts it better than I do.  Repentance is the key.

We are warned not to destroy ourselves by allowing bitterness, anger, or fear to consume our hearts. In our Torah this week we read: “And you shall not bring an abominable thing (תּוֹעֵבָה) into your house and become devoted to destruction like it” (Deut. 7:26). The sages of the Mishnah said that yielding to rage is equivalent to idol worship and should never be brought into the home. Indeed, rage is linked with avodah zarah - idolatry - because it exalts the ego and claims that the Lord can’t (or won’t) help you in your moment of testing or need. The Scriptures are clear, however, that “there is no test given to you that you cannot handle with God’s help” (1 Cor. 10:13), and we are invited to come boldly before the Divine Presence to find just such help in our time of need (Heb. 4:16). Believing that you can’t overcome your fear or anger problem is therefore a form of idolatry. As is written: Lo yiheyeh vekha el zar (לא־יִהְיֶה בְךָ אֵל זָר) -- "there shall be no foreign god within you" (Psalm 81:9), which means that we must expressly deny the ego’s demand to have its will be done. Being full of a sense of self-importance is to be enslaved to vanity and to have a foreign god “within you.” God and human arrogance cannot coexist - since the inner world of the arrogant person denies God's rightful place as King. As it is written in our Scriptures: "The wrath of man (קֶצֶף אָדָם) does not work the righteousness of God" (James 1:20). God will indeed help us if we ask according to his will (1 John 5:14-15). Amen. "Blessed is the LORD who delivers us from self-destruction" (ברוך יהוה מספק אותנו מהרס עצמי).

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