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Thought for the Day: Ki Kol Elohei ha'Amim Elilim

We say in p'sukei d'zimra: ki kol elohei ha'amim elilim, v'HaShem shamayim asah -- !All of the gods of the nations are as nothing; but HaShem made the heavens! At first glance, the second half of the pasuk has nothing to do with the first half.  It seems to read like: You may be a black belt in karate, but I made my lunch!  While that may make the bully back away since he thinks you're nuts, it's not quite what Chazal had in mind.

Yes, I meant to write "elohei ha'amim".  When we mean G-d, then we say/write Elokim.  When me mean gods, we say/write "elohim".  It is very important, in fact, not to say "elokei" when quoting that pasuk (or part of it), because it needs to be clear that we mean just some natural or supernatural power.  That, in fact, is the reason that judges are also sometimes referred to as "elohim"; in their role as judge, they can wield even the power of life and death.  Let's translate that pasuk again, this time according to its intent as understood by the context: All of the powers (natural and supernatural) of the nations are as nothing; but HaShem made [even] the supernatural world!  No matter how powerful a force is in this world, it is still part of the creation and therefore limited.  HaShem, on the other hand, is outside the whole system -- He created it, after all.

We celebrate that idea with the holiday of Purim.  The holiday takes its name from the actions of Haman when he wanted to destroy klal yisrael.  Haman began his evil scheme by casting lots (Megilas Esther 3:7).  Seems like a pretty minor event in he grand scheme, yet the whole holiday is named for it.  Look more carefully at the pasuk: [...] he cast a "pur", which is a lot [as in lottery, that is], before Haman [...].  Haman was the one casting the lots (purim); what does it mean "before Haman".  The G"ra explains that Haman knew very well that Klal Yisrael operate outside of the natural realm.  The founding mothers were all barren; we only exist because of prayer, because of connecting themselves to HaShem Himself.  Haman was, therefore, not looking for a propitious time to attack; there is no such thing, as we are outside of nature completely.  Haman was looking for a time when he, Haman, would be strongest.  Haman "got it" that we are above nature; he didn't "get it" that we are actually outside of nature.  Haman trying to attacking us is as ludicrous as a character in a video game trying to attack the human player!

That's why we include this pasuk in p'sukei d'zimra; it packs a powerful message.  Regardless of what is going on in the world, we can stand unfazed; HaShem is pulling the strings.


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