“You are the children of the Lord your God!” It is quite a powerful statement we find in the middle of this week’s parsha. A famous Jew once claimed to be His child…literally. Are we all the children of God in this way? Is that what it means? Obviously not. But then, what does the statement mean?
Onkelos, a holy convert to the Jewish religion who is accredited with an outstanding Aramaic translation of the parsha, translates the phrase as “You are children before the Lord your God.” As you make decisions throughout your life, realize, you are a child before God. Children lack many things in life, most notably the ability to take care of themselves fully on their own. They are dependent on others for their most basic needs. We are all children before Hashem because we, too, are dependent. He is in front of us, aware of our needs, and He is tending to our needs constantly. Recognizing our dependence and His support comforts us, especially in times of loneliness.
This understanding helps to explain the continuation of the pasuk as it forbids different acts of self mutilation. Psychology teaches us that the human psyche cannot handle feeling alone or unattended, and it can result in destructive outcomes if not addressed. We need to feel the comfort of another to be strong inside ourselves. The ultimate Comforter is God, and we should feel as children being tended to by Him. Once we do, then there is no place for such destructive expressions of heavy emotions.
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