Tuesday, May 13, 2008

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Existence is One, Many, and Him

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

(Last week we discussed how the creation is both one and many. This week we go higher.)

There is the much higher and ultimate perspective of creation, too. This addresses the nature of the One Who fills this entire multitude.

There are two verses in the Torah that address these two, distinct perspectives. One addresses the multiple perspective, and one addresses the singular perspective. “You have been shown in order to know that Hashem, He is G-d. There is none other beside Him.”[i] And, “You shall know this day and take it to your heart that Hashem, He is the G-d – in the Heaven above and on the earth below – there is none other.”[ii]

The first verse tells us that Hashem, He is G-d, and that there is none other “beside Him.” The second line also tells us that Hashem He is G-d, but instead of saying that there is none other “besides Him,” it simply states that there is none “other.” It does not add “beside Him.”

We need to learn both of these perspectives. One, that there is none other beside Him, because here, in the lower perspective, the perspective of multiplicity (reflections), we do see others. This is our daily perspective, how we usually see life. There are many “others.” The creation is filled with “others.” This thing is other than that thing, and all of these others certainly appear to be (an) other “beside Him.” The Torah here is telling us that even though, at this perspective, there are many others, do not think that these “others” are other than the One Him. “There is none other beside Him.”

In the second verse, the Torah addresses the higher perspective. This verse refers to the perspective of singularity, focusing on the light instead of the reflections. “… In the Heaven above and on the earth below --- there is no other.” In this case, the Torah does not need to add the concept, “beside Him,” because at this higher perspective there are no others to mistakenly believe could be “beside Him.” There is only the singular “light” and no other.

The creation is many, it is one, and it is Him.

In these illustrations we are using light as a metaphor. Light fits our needs quite well here. Light does not appear to be solid like the “concrete” things in creation. Because of this, light appears to lean more toward the spiritual side of creation. Light is invisible to the eye. We are aware of its presence only by what it shows us. It is in many places at once, and still, wherever it is, it remains singular. We could not survive without it, and so on. But do not let it enter your mind that G-d is a light.

Since He is Infinite, He must also be the lower world, too, but surely He is not limited to, or by, His creation. The entire, huge creation is likened to a scant passing thought, or word, of His. But unlike humans, whose thoughts and words leave them and are not them, G-d and His “thoughts” are one.

[i] Deuteronomy 4:35
[ii] Deuteronomy 4:39

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2 comments:

yosef said...

Thank you, R' Gutman!!!

maimon said...

"The creation is many, it is one, and it is Him."

Sounds like avoda zara. You are stating that HaShem is the creation. How could HaShem be the creation if He created the creation? Additionally if HaShem is the creation, and HaShem is eternal than that means the 'creation' eternally existed (Bereishis explictly states otherwise). Additionally consistent with your logic, we should chas v'shalom be worshipping the creation... sounds more like Hinduism or something like that, than Judaism.

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