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What's In It For Him?
by Rabbi Yossi Braun
Question:

I've heard so many explanations about the positive advantages of performing mitzvos. But I never understood: what does He get out of it? What is in it for G-d when I put on Tefllin or eat kosher etc.?

Answer:

Nothing. Zilch. Zero.

Whether you nibble on your kosher bagels and lox breakfast or feast on a McDonalds cheeseburger makes absolutely no difference to the One Above.

Blasphemous as it sounds, this doctrine in clearly established in the book of Job (35:6):"If you sin, how have you affected Him? If your transgressions multiply, what do you do to Him? If you are righteous, what do you give Him? What can He possibly receive from your hand?"

Nonetheless, He has chosen for no particular reason to have you diet the kosher way, miss out work on your busiest day of the week and wear black boxes on your head and hand. And because He chose so,  your behaviour IS significant. Whatever you do or don't will have a major impact in the Divine hemisphere. So, He is affected by our behaviour, because He wants to be affected.

But why would He do that if there is nothing in it for Him?

There is a one-word answer for this: Because.

Because He decided to. Because He chose so. Because He wants it to be this way. Because, Because....

Now, if that doesn't satisfy you (and why would it...), think of it this way:

Playing 'house' is a universal activity for children. All little girls (and even boys if they aren't teased about it...) like to play 'house.' 
The allure of playing house is because it's so similar to "the real thing." They get a chance to sweep floors, clean bench tops, wash dishes and make dinner. They relish the experience of being "just like daddy and mommy".

But don't count on that enthusiasm transferring into the real kitchen and living room. The kids are not running so fast to wash up after dinner and offering to load up the washing machine. There is just no fun in it.

Why so? Because the fun lies in the imagination. When a child lets his or her imaginations and creativity carry them away, their reality is not constricted by the limitations of reality. When children pretend, they get to make all the rules and are in full control of their world. So stuffed dolls can be pampered like infants and cardboard boxes can be metamorphosed into tables and chairs. There are no impossibles.
As a wise sage put it: "reality is for people who have no imagination". Or, more to the point: "reality is an illusion caused by the lack of imagination".

So,  imagining "the real thing" is exciting, but there is no fun in really doing "the real thing".

G-d too likes to play house. He has a wild imagination which takes Him into whacky places. Our world being the perfect example of his more extreme ideas. The real thing, the celestial and spiritual worlds, are no fun for Him.  He gets a kick out of dressing up stuffed human beings as though they are "the real thing" and taking them for a stroll around his imaginary playhouse.

There is a marked difference between His imagination and your pre-schooler's fantasy world. This can be illustrated by the following scenario: Imagine you are on a boat. Suddenly your boat sinks. You paddle in the water. Another boat passes you and you try to stop it, but you can't. Sharks form around you. What do you do?

You stop imagining!

The child's castles of air are only real in his own mind and as soon as he stops imagining, the magic kingdom disintegrates into oblivion.
But "His thoughts are not our thoughts"(Isaiah 55:8). His imagination is very real and causes multiple worlds and their contents to come into existence.

His playhouse is slightly more sophisticated than that. He has a very modern conception of playhouse dolls. The dolls of the twenty first century are more than just sewn cloth or other textiles stuffed with straw, cotton and synthetic fibres. They must be completely interactive. Today's dolls can "express" emotion and engage in a range of activities simulated by their "Mommy". It must giggle when tickled, light up or make laser noises upon demand. The doll can "speak", "eat," respond to objects, and recognize her "Mommy".

No child likes to play house themselves. They need a reliable and cooperative fair playmate. In a sense, the dolls of today are your child's perfect playmate. G-d also needs (or, rather chooses to need) a playmate-doll to play house with Him. 

Well, in His playhouse, the dolls get to eat, speak, dress up and light up. They eat kosher food, speak words of prayer, dress up with a pair of Tefillin and light up with Shabbat candles.

Long before the advent of Fisher Price and Playskool, He has conjured up images of this brilliant playhouse.  And He decided that this would be the perfect game for Himself. He would play 'house' with imaginary dolls and they would play along with Him -all this in the figment of His imagination.  An imagination which is the basis of our reality, an imagination which is really real, because he imagined it to be real.

And if they play well enough for Him, He would move in with them.

Why does he enjoy this game? Because. Because He so desired. He desired because He decided to desire. Because, Because.  When it comes to playtime, there are no questions asked....
 

 


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