The Talmud tells us that Hashem prays and keeps the mitzvos of the Torah. The following is Hashem’s prayer: “May it be my will that my compassion suppresses my anger, and that my mercy supersedes my other attributes, so that I deal with my children kindly and not exact the full penalty of justice from them” (Berachos 7a).
In my last blog I wrote about how life is a journey where we ascend from level to level. At every stage of this adventure we have new insights and new mysteries, which is encompassed in the idea of נעשה ונשמע. The insights, which are meant to act upon, is embodied in Torah. The mysteries, or the insights we’ve yet to grasp, are embodied in prayer.
Lets go deeper:
Later on in Torah 22 Rebbe Nachman says that a person can continue ascending levels, higher and higher, by humbling himself. Some tzaddikim he says – and obviously it takes one to know one – ascend via their humility into the highest world of emanation. In that world, which is far beyond our comprehension, the נעשה is actually Hashem’s Torah and the נשמע is Hashem’s prayer. Hashem’s Torah is the judgement of the world. This Torah obligates Him to mete out punishment and fix man’s wrongdoings. But then there’s Hashem’s prayer to deal kindly with his creation. This Godly prayer is beyond any comprehension – it’s totally mysterious. Yet this prayer is exactly the place where the Tzaddikim enter…
It was in the beginning of this lesson where the Rebbe taught that when Hashem wants to exact punishment on the world, He first convenes with the tzaddikim, who can often stop the decree and sweeten the judgement. We also find this idea in the weekly Torah reading where Hashem feels the need to tell Abraham that he intends on destroying the city of Sedom. When the tzaddikim hear of heavenly decrees and pray for mercy, they turn the Torah of Hashem, (the נעשה of the exacting punishment) into the prayer of Hashem, the נשמע of a new understanding. In a sense, when Hashem prays, the tzaddikim can teach Hashem a new insight how to view the situation favorably and stop the decree. This is hinted to by the verse in Isaiah (54:13) “All my children are ‘לימודי ה, (students of Hashem)”. Allegorically, ‘לימודי ה can mean that they teach Hashem.
Such is the power of man’s prayer, who we see throughout the written and oral Torah, can overturn Hashem’s impending decrees. This is why, throughout history, the Jewish people have sought after the tzaddikim, live and dead, to pray on their behalf and overturn the wrath of Heaven. Why did Hashem create the world this way? I don’t know the answer to that, but it’s astoundingly clear to me that Hashem’s love for His creation knows know bounds. Just like we can go from level to level, ascending to places that were previously unknowable to us, so too Hashem, in His righteous humility, in some way, can reach even higher unknowable places where everything is good. No sin is too great and no person is too evil for Hashem’s boundless mercy. How encouraging that there’s always a deeper place where Hashem’s loving compassion can shine!
לעילוי נשמת רחל אמינו ע״ה