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Greater than all Other Gods

the.guard Sunday, 26 February 2017
Part 2/4 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)

The Pasuk in Devarim says:

וּפֶן-תִּשָּׂא עֵינֶיךָ הַשָּׁמַיְמָה, וְרָאִיתָ אֶת-הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וְאֶת-הַיָּרֵחַ וְאֶת-הַכּוֹכָבִים כֹּל צְבָא הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְנִדַּחְתָּ וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוִיתָ לָהֶם, וַעֲבַדְתָּם--אֲשֶׁר חָלַק ה אֱלֹהקיךָ, אֹתָם, לְכֹל הָעַמִּים, תַּחַת כָּל-הַשָּׁמָיִם.

And lest you lift up your eyes unto heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, even all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy G-d has allotted unto all the peoples under the whole heaven.

It seems strange that the Torah claims G-d has “allotted” other gods to the nations of the world. What can this mean, are there really other gods?

Once again, we see that the forces of nature that Hashem created are considered Elohim, to some extent, since they too are a ‘Who’ that created ‘These’, in other words, a force that brings forth and provides…

Our sages tell us that each nation was allotted an Angel that is in charge of providing and giving ‘life-force’ to that nation. This angel is also known as “Elohim”, as Yaakov told Eisav about having met (and fought with) his angel the night before:

כִּי עַל-כֵּן רָאִיתִי פָנֶיךָ, כִּרְאֹת פְּנֵי אֱלֹהִים--וַתִּרְצֵנִי.

Forasmuch as I have seen thy face, as one sees the face of God, and thou was pleased with me.

However, when it comes to the Jewish people, G-d Himself is the direct provider and giver of the ‘life-force’. He did not allot any force or angel to oversee His own people. As the Pasuk says in Devarim:

כִּי חֵלֶק ה', עַמּוֹ: יַעֲקֹב, חֶבֶל נַחֲלָתוֹ.

For the portion of the LORD is His people, Jacob the lot of His inheritance.

It’s interesting to note how the Pasuk uses the say word, ‘Chelek’, to denote how we are His portion, as was used above when describing how the other gods were ‘allotted’ to the other nations:

אֲשֶׁר חָלַק ה אֱלֹהקיךָ, אֹתָם, לְכֹל הָעַמִּים

Which the LORD thy G-d has allotted unto all the peoples...

Yisro proclaimed that G-d is “greater than all other Elohim”. Yes there are other “whos” that create “these”, but G-d was the cause of it all, He started the process. Only G-d is the true WHO that created all THESE. And not only did he START the process, He created nature itself with the incredible ability to create and evolve, provide, each piece of the puzzle playing an important role, each creature being part of the food chain for others. הטבע equals Elokim. He is the very nature that has in it the many forces and phenomenon that have the ability to create and provide.

There are 10 instances in Parshas Bereishis where it says “And G-d said there should be…” Our sages say that G-d created the world through these 10 mamarim or sayings. Even though G-d created the world from the outset with the inherent ability to create and ‘bring forth’ life on its own, perhaps these 10 sayings are 10 times that G-d “intervened” directly in nature to influence the direction of creation and bring about a new stage in his plan that would ultimately bring forth man.

The Beis Aharon says that just as there was the physical creation of the world in the beginning of time, the Exodus from Egypt was the spiritual creation of the world. The 10 plagues paralleled the 10 maamarim of the physical creation. Each of the plagues showed how G-d controls, creates, provides and intervenes in every aspect of nature (having affected the Nile, the animal kingdom, diseases, weather, light and darkness, and even life itself with the death of the first-borns). This was a spiritual 'creation' of the world where G-d was shown to be the ONE force behind ALL other forces and gods. As it says: ובאלוהי מצריים אעשה שפטים, אני ה' – and in all the gods of Egypt I shall make judgments, I am G-d. By revealing that I am the force behind ALL forces, I have stuck down the illusion of all the other god-forces of Egypt!

So why did Yisro use the mida kineged mida of "what they did was done to then" as the greatest proof? For if Yisro had simply proclaimed that G-d was the greatest because he was able to split the Yam Suf, idol worshipers could have responded that it was the god of the Yam Suf that had split the Yam Suf! But when Yisro saw how they were drowned in precise midah kineged mida for what they had done, he was able to point and finally say WHO created all THESE? There is clearly only One G-d Who created and controls everything! The Egyptians worshiped the Nile River because it provided them with life-giving waters in an arid-climate. If the Nile River and the Yam Suf were both independent god forces that were separate than the Almighty, then the amazingly precise punishment meted out to the Egyptians would have no rhyme or reason! But when we see how the Yam Suf, many miles away from the Nile, conspired to mete out judgment to the Egyptians for their sins in the Nile river, then there must be One G-d who created and controls it ALL. ONE force clearly created all OTHER creators and providers!

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