Facepalm

I am reminded this week of one of my favorite Hassidic stories.  The story goes that a Rebbe is walking and sees a little boy standing by a wall crying. The Rebbe asks the boy why he is crying. The boy replies that he was playing Hide and Seek with his friends and he thinks that his friends forgot about him. At this point the Rebbe starts crying and the boys asks him why the Rebbe is crying. The Rebbe responds, “Now I understand how God feels”.

I was thinking about it this again this week when reading Ha’Azinu, this week’s Torah portion. There we read:

And God said: ‘I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end shall be; for they are a very contrary generation, children in whom is no faithfulness. (Deuteronomy 32:20)

For years I assumed that this Biblical theodicy like the Hassidic story was about God hiding from us. It is only now in our current state of affairs I see this in a different light. 

While the beginning of the 21st Century was overflowing with hope, in the last period of time the pendulum has gone the other way. Between the rise of Trump, Brexit, and inability to shake Bibi we see that people are clearly regressing to jingoistic self interest and isolationism. And we have seen a crazy resurgence of antisemitism and hate crimes against people of color. The world is in sad state. We have opted for fear over hope. 

In light of our current situation, the image conjured up in our Torah portion is not that God is being playful, mysterious ways, or even angry. In many ways we can imagine a God that is demoralized and  embarrased. Similar to this image of the Statue of Liberty with a facepalm. We have not lived up to ideals or our potential.

 

Image result for facepalm statue of liberty

We were created in God’s image and it is very sad when God would be embarassed by that fact. In many ways it is even sadder then humanity forgetting to look for God is a God who cannot handle looking at us and our deeds because it brings God shame.

We have a lot of work to do to earn God’s trust back, let alone to make God proud to look at of us. 

-Also see Hide and Seek

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