Mi Keil Kamokha

In Tomer Devorah, Rav Moshe Cordevero explains the 13 attributes of Divine Mercy, in particular showing them as exemplars for us to follow — “just as I Am Merciful, so too you be merciful.” Rather than following the original revelation of these attributes in seifer Shemos, he uses the version in seifer Mikhah (7:18-20) which we say during tashlikh, and begins “Mi Keil Kamokha — Who could be Divine like You…”Picture a father determined to teach his son how to pitch a baseball. This boy starts picking up the basic skill when he develops anger toward his father, or perhaps simply gets so caught up in pitching that he altogether forgets his father is there. And so, each time the father returns the ball, the son throws the ball powerfully, right at his father. The father overlooks the offence once, twice… but how many times would he continue returning the ball just for it to be used as a weapon against him?Hashem sustains existence. We are here in this moment, with the energy to act and the wisdom to plan my actions because of His Mercy. When someone sins, he is using the very existence and power Hashem granted him to violate Hashem’s Will. And yet, He gives us another opportunity again, and again, and again.This, the Tomer Devorah tells us, is the meaning of “Mi Keil Kamokha…” To have the patience to carry someone even while they offend you, to wait for someone to realize their foolishness.Perhaps this is the motivation for the prohibition “ko siqom – do not take revenge”. Punishment for the sole sake of revenge can be pointless; it is only when punishment is instructional that it become constructive. Anger and impatience are usually not the path to the resolution of the problem, but rather convince us to stop traveling the road before we get there.

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