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    God is not a man – Balak

    The sidra contains a verse that the theologians should use in their response to Christian claims: “God is not a man” (Num. 23:19).

    God is not a man; man cannot be God. There can be a Godly spark in a human being, but the human is limited to being precisely that – a human who cannot rise above his humanness, as God cannot lower Himself and take on human form.

    A somewhat different interpretation of the verse is implied at the end of Elie Wiesel’s book, “The Town Beyond the Wall”.

    This is what Elie Wiesel writes:

    “Legend tells us that one day man spoke to God in this way: ‘Let us change about. You be man, and I will be God for only one second’.

    “God smiled gently and asked him: ‘Aren’t you afraid?’

    “‘No. And you?’

    “‘Yes, I am’, God said.

    “Nevertheless, he granted man’s desire. He became a man and the man took his place, and immediately availing himself of his omnipotence, he refused to revert to his previous state.

    “So neither God nor man was ever again what he seemed to be.

    “Years passed, centuries, perhaps eternities, and suddenly the drama quickened; the past for one and the present for the other were too heavy to be borne.

    “As the liberation of the one was bound to the liberation of the other, they renewed the ancient dialogue whose echoes come to us in the night, charged with hatred, remorse, and most of all, with infinite yearning.”

    I cannot speak for God. But I see a danger in man thinking he can be God… and I hope man can become humble enough to realise it is enough to be fully human and to live in dialogue with God.

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