Monday, June 23, 2008

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The Danger of Ein Ode Milvado

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

Ein Ode Milvado - there is nothing else besides Him. A great chassidic and kabbalistic statement, there is nothing else besides G-d.

Since G-d creates all, maintains all, directs all, then all is literally godliness itself, or more simply, all is, in the end, G-d. Shema Yisroel, Hear O Israel, Hashem Elokaynu, Hashem is our G-d, Hashem Echad. G-d is one, the ultimate one, the oneness of everything.

More and more we hear this refrain. Recently I've seen it quite often on bumper stickers (in Israel), on trucks, even as a motto. But the danger is in improperly contemplating upon what this means.

G-d is one, G-d is all, G-d is the ultimate all. But what of evil? Judaism doesn't hold by separate powers in the universe, for G-d is One. Evil is a creation with a purpose to serve. (Not a nice one, nor one we may understand, but a purpose.) So are bad events. And neutral ones.

So, when evil comes, are we praying to G-d that G-d's planned negative event not occur. But, Ein Ode Milvado, there's only G-d. So is part of G-d praying that the plan of G-d not negatively affect a part of G-d?

This is where this lofty concept comes apart. As we move to higher and higher levels of holiness, closer and closer to HaKodesh Baruch Hu, the Holy One, Blessed be He, as we reach toward the Ein Sof, the Infinite without End, the concept that all of creation and beyond is only G-d makes sense.

But when we translate it down to the physical world, to the performance of mitvot and the dealing with the positive and negative circumstances of life and this world, to impact upon US, there IS good and there is evil, there is holiness and there is it's opposite, there are positive choices and negative choices.

We may strive to reach a little higher and say that all that comes upon us is for the good. That all that G-d has planned is good, though we may not be able to easily understand it as such. But what we can't do is stand there and say it's all G-d, the good and the bad, the kosher and the treif, the positive act and the negative evil act.

For in this world, it's the differentiation that brings the choice, the free will, which G-d has granted us to have the opportunity to do good, choose life, and follow His ways. For even though those negative choices were and are created by G-d, powered by G-d, and brought to us by G-d, and at the higher level indeed it's all G-d, we don't live in that realm. We live here on earth, where Torah separates between the sacred and the profane, and because of that separation (at this level), our choice has value.

Though truly Ein Ode Milvado, there is nothing else besides Him, that is a contemplation as we reach towards higher realms. In our day to day moments, choose life.

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1 comment:

  1. I don't get the whole good and evil thing -here's why-basically God told King Shaul to holocaust an entire people off the face of the earth -to utterly obliterate them, even little babies in their mother's arms right? Well-I would think killing babies and obliterating an entire people is as evil as it gets but apparently it isn't . Baby killing and genocide in itself is morally neutral. If G-d tells you to do it-it's the right thing to do. If G-d doesn't tell you to do it then it's the wrong thing to do.
    And G-d is GOOD... yet G-d told King Shaul to kill babies and erase and entire people off the face of the earth. Soooo......
    Anyway as far as I know G-d hasn't told anyone to kill anyone in a long time so it's probably a good idea to avoid killing as much as possible. But meanwhile there's been no shortage of people such a xtian crusaders and m'slim jihadis who claim their killings where/are at G-d's behest. Liars! But I can't prove it-I mean how can I or any other human PROVE definitively that G-d ISN'T telling the jihadi's to kill "infidels". ANd who knows, maybe G-d is telling them to it-after all G-d's ways are not our ways-and ein ode milvado and gam zu l'tova.If G-d IS telling the jihadi's to kill then they are doing the correct thing if G-d is NOT telling them to kill then they are doing the wrong thing. It all depends on G-d.
    There's no shortage of people who insist they are doing G-d's will. But are they really? We really need G-d to come here and straighten things out once and for all. But meanwhile we have halacha.
    I don't think the problem is in ein ode milvado the problem is in failing to make distinctions. Especially distinctions between truth and untruth.
    Maybe if we make all the distinctions that need to be made we come full circle to the place of ein ode milvado.


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