G-d set you aside from all the nations of the world to be your G-d, so that you can walk in His ways. (Devorim 26;17)
G-d chose us to be able to walk in His ways. In simpler terms we can act like G-d acts; we can be kind like G-d is kind; we can forgive like G-d forgives; we can have the same type of mercy that G-d has.
One of the most basic differences between the Jewish belief and the Christian belief is that according to the Christians, G-d can manifest Himself as a human. According to Judaism man can act like G-d.
We have the potential to act like G-d! Man can be Godly and indeed has an obligation to do so. The Torah revealed that man was created in the image of G-d. That means that the human being has within himself or herself to act just like G-d, to “walk in His ways.”
The Talmudic Rabbis observed that acting kindly is so central to Judaism that the Torah itself begins with an act of G-d’s kindness and ends with an act of G-d’s kindness. It’s all about G-d’s kindness and how we can “walk in His ways”.
The Torah starts with kindness by telling us how G-d made clothing for Adam and Eve. The Torah ends with kindness by telling us that G-d Himself buried Moses.
Why did the Talmud choose the example of G-d making Adam and Eve clothing? Certainly there were earlier acts of kindness. He created the world, He created man; He gave man a wife; He put them in Paradise and on and on. That He made them clothing sounds almost small compared to the earlier generosities of G-d!
The answer: To create the world, man and his environment are acts of kindness but not yet acts of Godly kindness. After all G-d wanted a world and man. He was more than happy to provide everything that they needed. But then man sinned. He and his wife ate of the forbidden fruit and G-d evicted them from the Garden. When He removed them from paradise He brought pain and death to the world. In the midst of this rejection, G-d saw that Adam and Eve felt awkward in their nakedness and “He made them clothing”. This is an act of Godly kindness. G-d was betrayed and violated yet He responded with kindness.
We can “walk in His ways” and indeed we are commanded to do so. We can be Godly.
This is how it’s done. Find someone who you really don’t like, perhaps someone who has hurt you or betrayed your friendship. Now think of something you can do to make that persons life easier or a bit more pleasant. At this point you will find yourself saying; “but I am only human!” So remember, to be only human is to be created in the image of G-d. We are designed to be super human.
As we do kindness with those that are perhaps undeserving, we can turn to G-d and ask Him to do kindness for us and bless us with a new year full of G-d’s kindness and blessing.