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    The attributes of God – Ki Tissa

    We find a remarkable list of God’s qualities in the sidra this week (Ex. 34:6). There are 13 attributes, beginning Ado-nai, Ado-nai E-l rachum v’channun – “The Lord, the Lord, God merciful and gracious”.

    None of these words tell us what He is, only what He does. Being totally unique (as the Shema reminds us when it says He is echad), His nature is completely beyond our understanding. But we know from individual and national experience what generosity and care He extends to His creatures.

    Man can never be God, nor can God turn into Man, though Elie Wiesel relates in one of his books the legend that Man and God had been so upset with each other that they changed places for a time, and Man so enjoyed playing God that he refused to change back.

    This illustrates the modern problem that Man thinks he can do a better job of running the world than God.

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