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    Who fights God’s battles? – D’varim

    A characteristic of Targum Onkelos, the Aramaic translation/paraphrase of the text, is its objection to anthropomorphisms, phrases which depict God in human language.

    An example is the final section of this week’s reading. According to the Hebrew text, HaShem Elokechem hu hanilcham lachem – “The Lord your God is the one who will fight for you” (Deut. 3:22).

    The verse gives the impression that God Himself wages war against the enemy. Onkelos makes a subtle change and says “God’s memra will fight for you”. Memra means a word or wisdom.

    The battle is between one outlook and another, a pro-God and an anti-God outlook. The pro-God outlook combines truth, justice and compassion.

    The aim of the struggle is not to destroy lives but to eradicate anti-memra principles.

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