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    God & the Lord – B’har

    There is a verse (Lev.22:33) in the Torah: “I brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the Lord.”

    Its first assertion is that why God brought us out of Egypt was in order to be our God.

    The Egyptians had their religious system, against which the Hebrews had to struggle in order to remain true to their own faith. Gaining freedom allowed them to believe as Israelites without being lured into the ways of the environment.

    Alas, there is a modern version of the problem: Jews who live all over the world and assimilate to the religious patterns of their neighbours. Sometimes this is combined with lip service to the Jewish God so we get Jews who try to keep both Chanukah and Xmas, Pesach and Easter, Judaism and Christianity. Difficult though it might be, a Jew has to decide to be unapologetically, unambiguously Jewish.

    The verse we have quoted says not only that God is our God, but it gives His name: “I am the Lord”.

    Actually, His four-letter Hebrew name does not mean “Lord” but is a version of the verb “to be”. It denotes two things, that He is, and that He causes all existence.

    His name could be translated “The Existent One”, but that would omit the aspect of causing existence, so the best we can do is to call Him HaShem – “The Name”.

    Why does the verse say “I am HaShem”? To identify the One who brought us out of Egypt, to tell us His Name.

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