by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths
Question: How can we give anything to the Infinite, Who fills and animates, surrounds and sustains everything? Everything, including the not yet religious Jew, is a manifestation of Hashem’s will and is an aspect of Hashem really! “Ice chips in the ocean” was one of the examples you employed, wasn’t it?
True, we have free will & are obligated to choose, but Hashem alone is the doer. As the Rambam states in the 13 Basic Principles, Hashem alone “made, makes and will make all happenings.” Isn’t Hashem in fact giving us (at the lower perspective of “self”) the opportunity to bring others close to the Torah to manifest His light in the world? That’s a real gift, one that is eternal!
- Haven’t you said that there are no “others” from the deepest, truest perspective, but only the One?
- Is Hashem the actual Doer of all deeds as the Rambam says? If so, why do we receive the rewards and punishments for our actions? If He is doing all these things let Him have those results and stop giving them to us. But, if indeed we are the ones who are actually doing what we appear to be doing, then G-d does not have all the power. So which is it? Does He do everything since He is all-powerful, or do we have some of the power too? And if we have some of the power, no matter how tiny an amount, then He is not really all-powerful after all? This seems to be an impossible paradox. How can it be resolved?
The resolution is really quite simple. Keep in mind which perspective we are addressing. Are we addressing the lower perspective with a view of created objects being individual and separate? Or are we addressing the higher perspective of the Only One? When we are addressing the higher perspective, there can be no separation between objects, but when we are addressing the lower perspective, the tables are certainly separate from the chairs. Note that we are talking about separateness and not about distinctions. Even from the higher perspective of the overall One, still there will be distinctions. The table is distinct from the chair even at the overall perspective. But when we are dealing with the perspective of the overall one, there will be no separation.
Use your body as an example. When we look from the lower perspective we say that your hands and feet are separate from each other since the trunk of your body intervenes and separates them. When we look from the higher perspective we see that there is no separation in your body. It is a single, one, whole body. None of it is separate. If any member of your body would be separate it would fall off!
Back to our case; yes, Hashem is actually the doer of all. There is nothing other than G-d so certainly He is doing all. But from the worldly perspective, the perspective that we normally deal with on a daily basis, each individual does what he does and reaps the results of his individual actions. So it turns out that both of these statements are true. G-d does all, and you do do what you do. There is no contradiction.
Although G-d is truly all, when we address the worldly perspective we cannot say that everything is G-d or we would not be able to communicate. We cannot say “Table-G-d, chair-G-d, person-G-d” and such. Although He is all, when we deal with the physical world we have to address it from the physical perspective. Besides the confusion that calling everything G-d would cause, G-d is so much more and also so beyond the tiny physical creation, that we cannot call such things G-d.
Pick up an object with your thumb and forefinger. Is your thumb and forefinger holding up that object, or is it your hand that is holding it up? Is it your hand or is it your arm that is holding it up? Your body? Your strength? Your will? Your life? And so on until we ask, “Or is it the One Existence Who is All Who is holding it up?” All of these statements are true but we address each as is appropriate for what we are trying to communicate.
Yes we are doing these things. Yes G-d is doing all things. No contradiction. Which perspective do you want to address?
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008
// 6/17/2008 //