Some of the hard statistics are as follows: My site counter reports 1140 visitors, an average of about 40 hits per day although I myself may account for 5-10 of those daily hits. So far I have posted 32 items. Half of which did not draw any comments. The remainder drew on the average 1-3 comments. Almost nobody suggested answers to my Parsha challenges and nobody likes my jokes. My conclusions: I have a very modest amount of viewers who are very modest about posting comments.
But there are some exceptions. One notable exception was an item that I posted on August 6 which was itself about doing cheshbon haNefesh entitled We Are Not Judging Him, We Are Judging You. In this post, I dramatized how a session of the heavenly court would be conducted. Not unexpectedly, this post drew a higher than average amount of comments from my more modest than average viewers. In these comments, I received numerous compliments - condescending, presumptuous, arrogant, sickening, disgusting, azus panim, and (off line) playing with fire. How can I have the chutzpah to personify G-d?
I followed up that post with a second one in which I expressed my true feelings about cheshbon haNefesh but was no less presumptuous and condescending as the first. I truly expected to see the next morning another onslaught of modest compliments.
But I got silence. Save for a single inquisitive (though challenging) comment by one loyal reader who - if he doesn't watch his step - may wind up becoming a genuine fan, I got total silence. It was like you could hear a pin drop in cyberspace.
Did my message get through or did my antagonists sign out?
I suppose that I may never know. Nevertheless, for those few who are still with me, I still want to deal with the main complaint:
How dare I be so condescending and presumptuous (aside from this being a common trait of a card carrying chareidi)? How can I pretend to know how G-d passes judgement?
Well, the answer is quite simple. I am a god (note - small "g").
No, of course I am not an Infinite, Divine, Immortal, All-Knowing, Omnipotent, Merciful G-d (HKBH). There is only One of Him.
I am a limited, mundane, clueless, powerless, self-serving god. But still a kind of a god, because....
I am a parent. And a parent is god, or, at least, a surrogate god!
We refer to G-d (HKBH) as Avinu Malkenu - Out Father and Our King. G-d's relationship to us is sometimes as a father (midas harachamim) and sometimes as a king (midas hadin). We chareidim are taught (I can not present sources right now, but so I was taught) that the reason that G-d (HKBH) created a world where there are parents and children is so that by our experiencing the parent-child relationship, we can know how to relate to G-d and how G-d relates to us. Likewise, He created a world with kings and servants so that through experiencing the master- servant relationship, we can further understand our subservience to G-d.
As long as this is so, then those of us who are fathers and those of us who are kings (or despotic Prime Ministers) need to look up at G-d to figure out how to do our jobs. If G-d is the supreme parent, then a parent is a surrogate god. And any parent can gage the feelings and attitudes that G-d has toward us by way of the natural feelings that s/he has toward his/her children. That's why G-d made these the natural feelings.
Now, I can really relate to this because I am a full time parent. In a few places in my book, I refer to HKBH as "G-d the Father". And frequently I see myself as "Father the god (small "g"). I wrote in the Acknowledgements of my book that I need more than two hands to tally up my kids. I wasn't joking. I have quite a brood. And they are very close in age (no multiples). My job is to be the father, but I have to learn the technique from G-d (B"H, I did get some great training from my biological father, AMV"Sh. He taught me all the basics and the key rule that once you are in it, you are in it for "the duration").
A father is a surrogate god with all the bells and whistles: he must "create" his children, he must provide for his children, he must impart knowledge to his children, he must nurture his children, he must heal his children. He also plays the "king" part. Especially when he's got lots of children. He must form his children into a society, he must set rules, he must enforce the rules, he must judge and he must reward and he must punish.
Part of being a parent is being a judge and the Torah calls a judge "god" (Shmos 22:8): עד האלהים יבא דבר שניהם אשר ירשיען אלהים ישלם שנים לרעהו
As the legislator, enforcer, and judge in my house I have a few rules of my own. One of them is אי תפיס לא מהני . No kid can grab anything out of another kid's hand even if the item belongs to the grabber. This is in an effort to avoid the case of "Shnayim ochazim b'library book" so that the case does not get resolved in "yachloku" before the dayan even gets there.
Likewise, when my kids have a spat, there are rules. The first rule is: Tatty doesn't like to settle spats. I do not allow one kid to tell me lashon hara on another for no purpose. If the spat is over, I don't want to hear about it. Complaints are only valid when an issue is unresolved. In that case, we convene a bais din (usually presided by a yachid mumcheh - yours truly) and it follows the Halachos of bais din. One kid cannot present his case until the other one is present. The תובע speaks first. If there are עדים, we call them. No עד מפי עד .
My kids all know one thing - no one is more of a yachson than another. And they know that they are going going to get grilled. When each kid is asked, "Why did you have to do that?" they know that it won't pay to answer, "Because first he ..." Each one has to answer for whatever they contributed to the spat. Each one is also asked why he could not be mevatter (forfeit) on his position. He understands that that is expected of him as well. If I do determine that one party is the primary perpetrator, I administer godly justice. Usually the wrongdoer is ordered to ask mechila from the wronged.
Incidentally, although there are no yachsanim among my horde, there are still incongruences. I expect more restraint and forfeiture from an older child than a younger one and I have differing expectations from the boys to the girls.
And there is one thing that I do not countenance at all. If one kid thinks that another kid did something wrong, he has no business blabbing about it to any of the other kids. This kind of infraction can earn a kid the worst punishment imaginable - a tongue-lashing from Tatty. And anybody who has read my Blogs can tell that I know how to give one.
All of these rules have a startling effect. When the combatants know up front what's in store for bringing a spat to Tatty, they quickly realize that being mevatter has its advantages.
This is how a Human father, father the god (small "g"), deals with his children. He doesn't like to see his children not getting along and he holds all of them responsible for it.
G-d the Father doesn't like to see his children not getting along either. Why should He deal with them any differently?
בנים אתם לה' אלקיכם, לא תתגדדו