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What does it mean that we are commanded to "imitate" G-d?

by Rabbi Mendy Hecht

  

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A. G-d connects with us by making things happen to us—He answers our prayers. Sometimes, these things seem good. Sometimes, these things seem bad. But on a higher level, they’re all good. So, since everything that happens is caused by G-d, and everything that happens is ultimately good, it follows that G-d is... good.

B. Since everything G-d does is ultimately good, words that describe good things may be used to describe Him, as they are indeed used in the Torah and Tefillah.

C. G-d may thus be said to be merciful, kind, just, pious, and of course, good.

Can I be like G-d, too?

1. Yes, you too, can be like G-d

Being like G-d doesn’t mean you’ll be able to fly or get some handy super-powers. Being like G-d just means to use your mind to adopt an eternally consistent approach to life that stands strong no matter which way the winds blow, or what your emotions tell you. This means when someone is in need of kindness, you act kindly. When someone requires discipline, you act severely. And you never contradict yourself by being kind to one person who needs it, but not to the next guy who needs it just the same. You deliver. You don’t change your approach. Just like G-d—He’s always the same, too.

Being like G-d doesn’t mean you’ll be able to fly or get some handy super-powers... This means when someone is in need of kindness, you act kindly...
2. Do what He does

Consider: G-d is “kind,” and all of the time, so to be like G-d, you would have to be kind to everyone, all the time, too. G-d is “merciful,” so, to be like G-d, be merciful, too. And “just,” which means to be fair, calm, open-minded and objective. And don’t forget “pious,” which means to be unerringly meticulous and careful in your daily interactions with your fellow humans, ensuring that you’re nice and friendly and helpful and all to everyone at all times. As the well-known saying goes, “To err is human; to forgive is Divine.” Being pious means being inflexible in a good way—you’re inflexibly forgiving, tolerant, and all the things listed above.

3. Why should I?

Well, it’s a Mitzvah. It says in the Torah (Deuteronomy 11:22 and 28:9), “...and walk in His paths,” which Maimonides explains to mean to do what He does. See above.


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Gods image

Posted by: Tammy, Monsey, NY, USA on Dec 28, 2004

I think it's the way God deals with things. With compassion and love. We were made in His image. To be like Him in that way.
Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Maimonides
Moses son of Maimon, born in Spain in 1135, died in Egypt in 1204. Noted philosopher and authority on Jewish law. Also was an accomplished physician and was the personal doctor for members of the Egyptian royalty. Interred in Tiberius, Israel.
Tefillah
Prayer. The Jewish Sages instituted three daily prayers, and an additional prayer on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays.
Deuteronomy
The fifth of the Five Books of Moses. This book is a record of the monologue which Moses spoke to the Israelites in the five weeks prior to his passing.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.