Beshalach – How to Glorify G-d
If we can not imagine or understand the essence of G-d, how can we make him seem even better by Glorifying him? In our Perasha During the Shirat Hayam it says “This is my G-d and I will Glorify Him.”
The Mechilta asks the above question:
Rabi Yishmael says, is it possible for a person who is made of Flesh and Blood to glorify his maker? Instead we Glorify him with Mitzvoth. I will make a beautiful Lulav for him to see, and a nice set of Tzitzit and a pleasant prayer. Aba Shaul says I will be like him. Since he is merciful and has pity I too should be merciful and have pity.
As a springboard from this Midrash the Illustrious Kabbalist Rabbi Moshe Kordovero (Ramak) wrote a Mussar book called Tomer Devora. Going through the 13 attributes of G-d he discusses how we can make our every day actions similar to those of the One Who Said and Created the Universe.
Here is a summarized sample:
The fifth attribute says that G-d does not remain angry forever. This attribute is very special. Even if a person continues to transgress G-d will not remain angry forever. This applies even if a person does not make teshuva and remains terrible. Yerovam Ben Yoash was a very wicked king of Israel. Yet during his time the boarders of Israel were extended. (Melachim 2 25) G-d had seen the misery of Benie Yisrael living under oppression. He still overlooked the terrible Idolatry which was fashionable.
When someone continues to transgress G-d weakens his anger and patiently waits for him to make Teshuvah.
Ramak Continues to say that a person should also act in this way in dealing with his peers. Even if you are in a position to afflict another person or your children do not do so. Do not remain constantly angry. Instead get rid of the anger and do not constantly remain so.
This even applies to permissible types of anger. It says in the Torah (Shemot 23 5) that when you see your enemy’s donkey falling under his load you must help him. Our Rabbis of Blessed Memory said that this man is your enemy because you alone (without another witness) saw him transgress. Since you were alone you may not testify against him in the Bet Din. G-d still commanded us to help him and to erase [the hatred] that is in your heart. Instead, it is a Mitzvah to bring him closer to G-d through love. Perhaps this method of love will work. Following this is exactly like G-d who does not remain angry forever.
Is this attitude different from tough love espoused by 12 step rehabilitation programs?