Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Emulating HaShem

I was asked this past Shabbos how Devorah and Barak sang together, as the pasuk seems to indicate.  I (unfortunately and to my shame) do not know Navi very well.  I suggested (before investigating; again, to my shame) that Devorah and Barak were married.  The sho'eles pointed out that the pasuk says she was "אשׁﬨ לפידות" (eishes lapidos); who, then, is "Lapidos"?  At this point I brought out the trusty Art Scroll chumash and found that they translate "אשׁﬨ לפידות" as "a fiery woman".   "לפיד" is a torch, so translating this phrase as a the kind of person she was, similar to "אשׁﬨ חיל" ("eishes chayil" -- woman of valor") seemed appropriate; I felt vindicated.  I wanted to really nail this one (the less firm the stance, the more need to justify) and so that night I took out my trusty Ishei Tanach to prove that Devorah was married to Barak.  Sheesh... the things I do to keep my ego intact.

And that's when me ego went "snap! crackle! pop!"  (This happens so often you would think I had no ego left. Don't worry -- I'll make more.)  Devorah was not married to Barak.  Devorah was married to Lapidos.  The pasuk can also be read as "fiery/zealous woman", as translated by Art Scroll following Rashi; that doesn't negate the fact that Devorah was married to Lapidos (and not to Barak).  Who was Lapidos?  The Eliyahu Raba brought by Musar HaN'vi'im says Devorah's husband was an am ha'aretz, basically a country bumpkin.  Devorah encouraged him to take wicks to the Mishkan in Shilo so that he would be around kosher people and would thereby merit olam haba.  He made extra thick wicks so the light would be nice and bright.  For that act of pure hearted devotion he was nick-named "Lapidos".

Think for a moment.  Devorah's husband was such an am ha'aretz that his nickname is all we know, and we only know that because Devorah suggested it.  I would have expected him to be called Devorah's husband; yet the navi praises Devorah as "the wife of Lapidos"!

This is huge.  The M'silas Y'sharim says the soul in the body is like a princess married to a country bumpkin.  Her job is to raise the body, to be m'kadeish the mundane.  And that is precisely what HaShem does.  That means that Devorah, by finding the avoda most suited to her country bumpkin husband, thereby mimicked what the soul does, which in turn mimicked what HaShem does, was emulating HaShem's ways... and thereby achieved n'vu'ah -- extreme closeness with the Creator.  Having an am ha'aretz for a husband did not weigh her down; it launched her to greatness.

That's food for thought when wondering how you are going to fit kiruv r'chokim into your busy schedule.  So how did Devorah and Barak sing together?  Great question.  They didn't.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Hydroponically Grown Humans... I Feel Sick

I am quite openly not at all objective about abortion in particular and the treatment of human embryos and fetuses in general.  I am, after all, the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.  Not "thought about it, but couldn't go through with it"; not "made appointment, but then chickened out at the lost moment"; but, "tried a procedure, but was unsuccessful in attempt to abort".  Nonetheless, I try very hard to listen to the liberal arguments (which I also used to chant as part of the general liberal catechism), and am genuinely empathetic to the plight of women who find themselves in that difficult position.

What I heard on NPR this morning, however, has left me feeling physically ill.  You can read about it, if you like, but here's the bottom line:  Scientists in Cambridge have achieved a new record, they fertilized a human ova and then kept it alive in vitro (that is, in a test tube/petri dish in a laboratory) for 14 days.  The scientist involve…