gershon hepner (5 3 38 / leipzig)
what is not good for god man or judges
WHAT IS NOT GOOD FOR GOD, MAN OR JUDGES
The phrase "it is not good" appears within the Torah twice,
the first time telling us that God thinks it is bad for man
to be alone, the second is when Moses gets advice
from Jethro not to judge alone, although he surely can.
There is no doubt there are many good men who are loners,
but a loner can't produce the sort of children who
can recognize their fathers as far more than mere sperm donors,
and are enriched by their progenitor's worldview.
Whether any judges who are loners can be fair
seems inconceivable. God's name as judge is Elohim,
a plural name that indicates that His divine software
helps Him consult with all His cherubim and seraphim.
Since God is not a loner even though He's only One,
it surely is not good for man to be alone. His life
if he remains alone is liable to be undone.
As judges need a jury so a good man needs a wife.
Written eight hours before the bris of Zachary's bekhor, and inspired by Rabbi David Wolpe's Off The Pulpit for Shabbat Balak,5772:
This Is Not
Only twice does the Torah use the expression 'lo tov' — it is not good. Once when God declares (in the first statement about human nature in the Torah) 'lo tov heyot adam l'vado' — it is not good for man to be alone. The second time is Exodus 18 when Moses' father in law tells him it is lo tov, not good for him to be judging the people on his own.
One thing the Torah makes clear to us is that aloneness in life or in complex tasks is not good. The individual has great resources but they are insufficient to the even greater challenges of life. All the current corporate wisdom about working in teams and interaction between experts in different disciplines, the way in which groups can be more creative — all of this is an outgrowth of lo tov. The artist in her garret, the hermit in his cave, Moses on the mountain — they have their place and time, but only if each returns to the community to enrich and be enriched.
To be alone is to go into battle without troops, or better, to try harmonies with a single voice. Find friends, partners, family, community: it is lo tov to always sing alone.
Rabbi Wolpe's response was:
Thank you, Mazel tov, and this IS good.
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