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Thought for the Day: Opposites That Divide/Opposites That Unite

You can't have Superman without Lex Luthor.  You can't have Batman without the Joker.  You can't have good without evil.  A poor, misguided Jew once tried to convince me that similarly a supreme being needs us,  a people who need him.  That's not true, of course, and how HaShem is above both good and evil, why He chooses to make Himself known to us principally via His One-ness, and so forth takes up the lion's share of Da'as T'vunos.  None the less, HaShem did create a world that is a balance of opposites.

There are also opposites that complement and complete each other; Ricky needs Lucy.  Male and female are as opposite as you can get, but the oppositeness is a cry for unification.  One has what the other lacks; together they make a whole.  As it turns out, the concept of male-ness and female-ness runs quite deep; much beyond the obvious physical manifestation throughout the plant, animal, and human kingdoms.  The G"ra, in his pirush on  Mishlei, notes that the sitra achra (the dark side of the force, Luke) has male and female dimensions.  One expression of this is that the male dimension is anger, the female dimension is overwhelming desire (aka, taiva),   In general, says the G"ra, the male side presents itself just as it is, while the female side presents itself as your friend and then gets to you from the inside.  Moreover, while the open threat (anger) is a problem, the deceitful threat is actually more dangerous.

Thinking about this further, I realized that this idea has very far reaching implications.  First, consider the positive side corresponding to these.  Corresponding to anger we have the passion of "milchemta shel Torah" -- the war of Torah to get to the absolute truth that is waged constantly in batei medrashim.  Corresponding to taiva we have tznius -- the modesty that is the hallmark of the true bas Yisrael.  This also explains a common prejudice that the world has that Orthodox women are simply passive participants.  (Clearly, they've never met any Orthodox Jewish women...)  The world at large is badly misconstruing the strength of the Jewish woman.  The mida of tznius translates into working behind the scenes; wielding real power and influence, but in private where they can have the greatest effect.

Finally, our two great enemies, Eisav and Yishmael also fall neatly along these lines.  Eisav is "in your face" storm troopers (male dimension), while Yishmael is sneaky suicide bombers (female dimension).  Correspondingly we have two mashiachs, one for each enemy.  Mashiach ben David (from Yehuda) is always out front doing battle and can triumph over all except Eisav.  Defeating Eisav requires mashiach ben Yosef; whose strength lies in drawing out the enemy with a facade of weakness and then attacking when all defenses have been lowered.

To me, this reveals a whole new level of understanding the Jewish marriage.  It is impossible for any individual to triumph as a solo.  Winning the war with the yeitzer hara requires partnering with and trusting someone who is as opposite as can be.


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