Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Tzadik overruling G-d - Ohr HaChaim (Bamidbar 16:15)

 Ohr HaChaim (Bamidbar 16:15) ויאמר אל ה׳ אל תפן, He said to G'd: "do not turn to their gift-offering." Moses now understood the depth of Datan and Aviram's hatred, that they were thoroughly wicked and actually hated anything or anybody who was good. He was aware that there are no people who do not have certain merits due to good deeds they have performed. He realized that G'd does not withhold the reward for such merits from anyone, and that if the people in question cannot be rewarded in the hereafter because they had forfeited their hereafter, G'd would compensate them in this life. This is based on Deut. 32,4 that "the Lord is one of faithfulness without iniquity." Sanhedrin 106 provides us with an example of the wicked Bileam, who had after all pronounced all the blessings on the Jewish people, collecting his fee for having the Moabites seduce the Israelites, prior to his being slain. Moses did not want G'd to accept even the good deeds Korach and associates had performed for whom they had not yet received a reward. This is what he had in mind when he referred to מנחתם. You may well ask how Moses could expect G'd to change the rules of how He dealt with the wicked on account of himself? Be aware that the righteous possess the power to annul merits which the wicked have accumulated when they observe that the potential recipients have become thoroughly wicked. This is the mystical dimension of Samuel II 23,3 צדיק מושל יראת אלוקים, "The righteous rules in matters of G'd-fearingness." This means that G'd has given the righteous leeway to cancel merits that the wicked have acquired. The idea is that although G'd Himself does not do this, He has allowed the righteous to be His surrogates in this respect. This is not so surprising as the same principle which has been adopted by a court in our world which has the right to deprive an accused of property he owns under the heading of הפקר בית דין הפקר, that when a Jewish court declares certain property as ownerless such a declaration is binding (compare Gittin 36). 

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