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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.


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