“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 Me—I 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)
“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)
“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.