Equally In His Image

Day 19:
How do i remember that
we are all god's children?

נִמְצָא: הַכָּל שָׁוֶה לִפְנֵי הַמָּקוֹם, כִּי בְאַפּוֹ מַשְׁפִּיל גֵּאִים, וּבִרְצוֹנוֹ מַגְבִּיהַ שְׁפָלִים. לָכֵן הַשְׁפִּיל עַצְמְךָ, וִינַשַֹּאֲךָ הַמָּקוֹם. עַל כֵּן אַפָרֵשׁ לְךָ אֵיךְ תִּתְנַהֵג בְּמִדַּת הָעֲנָוָה, לָלֶכֶת בָּהּ תָּמִיד

Thus, all are equal before God, since with His anger He lowers the proud and when He wishes He raises the low. So humble yourself and God will raise you up! Therefore, I will now explain to you how to always behave humbly.

Our sages in Shabbat 151b:13 said that there is a “wheel of fortune,” i.e. horoscopic influences which govern the way money travels from one person to another.“For God it is who gives judgment; He brings down one man, He lifts up another.” (Psalms 75:8)

 God says that “if you do not share your wealth with the poor by giving charity generously, I will give the wheel of fortune a spin so that the wealth which descended upon you up until now will descend upon someone else.” (Rabbeinu Bachya Devarim 15:10)

“Anyone who humbles himself, the Holy One Blessed be He exalts him, and anyone who exalts himself, the Holy One, Blessed be He, humbles him”. (Eruvin 13b:13)

For three years the House of Shammai and the House of Hillel disagreed. Ultimately, a Divine Voice emerged and proclaimed that both opinions were the words of the living God. However, the halacha is in accordance with the opinion of Hillel.

The Talmud asks: Since both are the words of the living God, why were the House of Hillel privileged to have the halacha established in accordance with their opinion? The reason is that they were agreeable, showing restraint when affronted, and when they taught the halacha they would teach both their own statements and the statements of Shammai and  they even mentioned the statements of Shammai before they defended their own opinions.

(Adapted from A Letter for the Ages, pages 76-77)

Click on image to see the letter in Hebrew and in English

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Daily Goal:
Today, when freedom— not just religious freedom but every kind of freedom—is threatened by a resurgent Russia, a driven China, and wars of religion destabilizing vast areas of the globe, the world needs the American message that religion is true to itself when it is a force for freedom, that religion is about influence, not power. It’s about society, not the state. It’s about not purchasing my liberty at the cost of yours. It’s about that wonderful truth that we are all in God’s image. Which means that somebody who is not in my image, whose color or culture or creed is different from mine, even though they are not in my image, they are still in God’s image. Can we see the trace of God in the face of a stranger?

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