Sunday, December 12, 2010

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Talking To The Amish at the Kotel


by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

     A group of Amish from Lancaster, Pennsylvania came to the Kotel the other day. Amish have a reluctance to use modern conveniences, so for them to fly to Jerusalem shows how important their mission was to them. The newspaper said that they came to apologize for their silence during the Holocaust. According to the article, that was what they spoke about with the rabbi of the Kotel. But the picture from the newspaper is not of them talking to the rabbi about the Holocaust. It is me explaining to them what is wrong with worshiping a man. Amish are x-ians, and almost all x-ians transgress the universal commandment not to worship idols, by worshiping the man whom they call “god.”

     They asked an interesting question, “Why did G-d create the universe in six days instead of one?

    Actually, the Talmud asks this question, albeit in a slightly different way. “Why did G-d create the universe with 10 sayings instead of one?”[i] The Torah tells us that G-d created the creation by saying 10 things, i.e. “Let there be light,” “Let there be a firmament,” and so on.[ii]

    The Talmud answers that Creation was created stage after stage in order to give retribution to the wicked who destroy it, and ample reward to the righteous who sustain it. The intricate making of creation shows its greater value, which teaches man to treasure it more.

      There are other lessons to be learned from there being six days of creation. When, many years later, Hashem gave the Jewish People the commandment to rest on the Shabbos, He told us that we are to do our work in six days and rest on the seventh day, as He did when He originally made the Creation.[iii]

      Another important lesson can be learned from the staging of creation over six days. With its various stages, the physicality becomes more and more dense. The Creation process moves from the less dense to the more dense. Light then darkness, then the firmament (Heaven), and the gathering of the waters allows land to appear, and so on. This gives us an indispensable guide when we try to search for spirituality within Creation. We are to conceive of a transcending scale from the most physical world that we see around us, reaching for the subtler, and subtler, the finer and finer, until we “reach” (conceive of) the Ultimate, i.e. moving from the dense physical to the less dense spiritual.

    Although we cannot really understand how G-d actually creates the Universe, we are to learn from everything written in the Torah, including the way that He makes the Universe.

[i] Pirke Avot 5:1
[ii] Genesis 1:3
[iii] Exodus 20:11

1 comment:

  1. Would love to know how the Amish reacted to you telling them about their transgression!


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