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richard klempner

Parsha BO

The story of Egyptian bondage has several perspectives. The most obvious is through the eyes of the beleaguered Hebrew slaves. Or one can put themselves in the shoes (or is it the sandals?) of Moses, our fearless leader. One can always play devil’s advocate and imagine the entire experience from an Egyptian's point of view.
Ponder this: Which one these feels the most anguish...? The oppressed slaves who stood by helplessly while their children were being thrown in the Nile or crushed by the Pyramids? Maybe Moses who realized that Pharaoh’s obstinacy followed a predetermined Master Plan? Hence the Jews were not getting out early! Or perhaps, it was the Egyptians who incomprehensibly saw their country being decimated and their firstborn being gambled as a prop for Pharaoh’s pride?
The answer: none of the above. The one who suffered most was G-d. If you find this hard to believe, let me explain. We’ve all seen computer games like ‘SimEarth’ or ‘The Gungan Frontier’. They are a programmer’s idea of what it’s like to be G-d. One looks down at the blank screen with detachment and makes decisions that have global impact. Then we watch the mess we created.
The player is supposed to plop down animals, vegetation, rivers, weather patterns, etc., creating a balanced biosphere. Sometimes it works out, other times it’s a disaster. But that’s okay. When your mother calls for dinner, you shut down the game and walk away
Thankfully, G-d doesn’t operate in the same fashion. A more accurate program, titled G-DPLAY, would allow one to see the events on earth not just from a heavenly throne but from the eyes of any creature, be it predator or victim, even a plant or a rock. To experience life from within that being, means that the player would be able to feel the satisfaction of munching green leaves, the fear of an approaching storm, the throbbing heartbeat of an attacked animal, the desperate will to live.
But to really be G-d, even that is not enough. What is really required is the capability to enter all those creatures at once, and be all of them at the same time. To experience being the stars that gaze upon a spectrum of color beyond what humans know, the worm that lives underground, to be as hot as the desert lizard, cold as the penguin, wet as the salty sea, dry as the prickly cactus, smart as the angel, and silent as the rock.
But even then one wouldn’t be truly playing G-d. That could occur only when one experiences the boundless reality of living within each creature, and at the same time remaining transcendent and aloof. That would be a role worth performing; where you are infinitely removed and intimately within - all at the same time.
We’ve reached a crossroads; the juncture where the simulated game and real life diverge. In the computer version, I the player am also the author. In G-d’s real life drama, He’s given His favorite creatures (man) the power to write their own script. (By the way, if you can read this, you qualify for favorite creature status.) We can cast ourselves as hero, villain, or perhaps coward and not get involved. It is our choice and we each live with our decisions.
But magically, regardless of how we acted in our interpersonal mini-episodes, in the BIG story, regardless of all our petty antics, G-d’s ending, the one He has already written, would be realized. So now you know that A) G-d not only feels our pain as much as we do, but thankfully, He does not shut us off during dinner.

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