Monday, March 17, 2008

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Idolatry

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

Idolatry is the worship of anything other than G-d. But we have learned that G-d is existence, so G-d has to be all that exists. But if G-d is all that exists, there can be no such thing as worshiping anything other than G-d, because there is nothing other than G-d.[i]

Can we say such a thing? Can we say that a certain object or person is G-d? G-d forbid! But if we say that that object is not G-d, aren’t we saying that there is something other than G-d? G-d forbid! How can this contradiction be resolved?

Think in terms of the infinite and the finite. The infinite, by definition, must be without limits. Therefore, it must be everywhere at all times. The finite, by definition, must have limits. Therefore, the finite must be in a certain limited location. But if the infinite is already everywhere, where can the finite be? Wherever you try to put it, the infinite is already there.

Indeed, the infinite is everywhere at all times. It is up, down, around, and throughout all. The one, endless infinite fills and surrounds all of creation. But even though the infinite is everywhere, still, if we want, we can draw a small circle within the infinite. After drawing that circle, we now have the finite (the circle) which is within the infinite (the all). Is the infinite still infinite? Of course it is. It is still everywhere.

When you touch any point in the entire creation, are you touching the infinite? Yes, because the infinite is everywhere. When you touch the area within the circle, are you touching the finite? Yes, because you are touching the area that is within the finite circle. When you touch within that circle, are you also touching the infinite? Of course you are, because the circle does not stop the infinite in the least. The infinite is still everywhere. Since the infinite is all, and everywhere, it must also be the finite.

But, if this is so, then the finite must be the infinite. So what is wrong with calling the finite the infinite? Why can’t I say that the finite circle, or table, or any other object in creation is the all?

You cannot say that a finite object (such as a table) is the all, because you are identifying that object as a specific finite object (a table), and that finite object is not any of the other finite objects. The circle is only its own personal, little finite circle. The table is not the chair. What we call the Infinite must include the entire all, including all of the finites.

This is why we cannot call a finite object, the infinite. And idolatry does just that. They claim that a man, a spirit, or a statue is (or represents) the Infinite One. And it does not. Nothing can represent G-d.

(To be continued)

[i] Deuteronomy 4:36, 4:39

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