Pisqa’ 329

Pisqa’ 3291


“Look now! For I—yes, I—am He!” (Dt.32:39)

This [repetition of I] refutes those

who claim that there is no authority in Heaven!

As for those claiming [on this basis] that

there are two authorities in Heaven,

you may respond to them as follows—

but hasn’t it already been written:

“And there is no God beside MeI kill and give life” (Dt.32:39)?2

Or, [for the sake of argument,]

can we stipulate that

He has no power to kill or give life,

nor to work evil, nor to cause good?

The Teaching states [to the contrary]:

For I—yes, I—am He! I kill and I give life!” (Dt.32:39)

And, moreover:

“Thus said HASHEM, King of Israel and its liberator, HASHEM of Retinues!

I am the first and I am the last,

and beside me there is no God!” (Is.44:6)


Another word:

“I kill and I give life!” (Dt.32:39)—

this is one of four promises that

He made to them,

hinting at the revival of the dead:

“I kill and I give life” (Dt.32:39);

“Let my soul die the death of the upright!” (Nu.23:10);

“May Reuben live and not die!” (Dt.33:6);

And, “And he will revive us in two days” (Hos.6:2)

Shall I infer that death befalls one individual,

and life enters another,

[but a person cannot be revived after dying]?
The Teaching states:

“I have wounded, and I heal” (Dt.32:39)—

just as a wound and its healing occur in one [lifetime],

so, too, death and revival occur in one [lifetime].


“And none can rescue from my hand” (Dt.32:39)—

fathers cannot rescue their children [from God’s hand].

[This is why] Abraham could not rescue Ishmael,

and Isaac could not rescue Esau.

I might infer only that

fathers cannot rescue their children.

On what basis do I know that

brothers cannot rescue brothers?

The Teaching states:

“A person can surely not redeem his brother!” (Ps.49:8)—

Isaac could not rescue Ishmael,

and Jacob could not rescue Esau.

Now, even if a person gave [to another]

all the wealth of the world,

he cannot give him the ransom-value of his life,

as it is said:

“A person can surely not redeem his brother . . . ,

for the redemption-price of their soul is beyond value” (Ps.49:8-9)—

the soul is so precious,

that when person comes to sin against it,

there is no making it whole again.

  1. H:340; JN2:379.
  2. Cf. Mechilta Ishmael, shirah, 4.