by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths
A Reader Wrote:
If you show me that G-d is truly benevolent, I'll love you forever.
If you would ask me, “Why did G-d create the world?” I would say, “To have someone to love.” But that’s just my way of looking at things. Some down-and-out people would say that He did it just to have someone to “beat on.” This argument has been going on since Adam (the first man) was thrown out of the Garden.
But the Zohar tells us that, just like did G-d put man (Adam) in the Garden then, so does He put man in the Garden now, when he busies himself withteshuva (repentance), Torah, and mitzvahs.[i] The Zohar is telling us that this is a world of unimaginable beauty, of awesome ongoing wonders, of opportunities to grow and to give. The deeper you look at creation, the more amazed you become.
But what about the horrible things that we see going on in the world? Yes, they are happening. You see, we have a major problem here. G-d wants us to have free will, and then, after we exercise our free will, He gives back to us according to our actions. It’s like a huge, free restaurant. You can order anything you want, but you have to eat whatever you order.
At first, He created a world like you would really love... only goodness… no sins… just angels. Angels do not have free will, so they do exactly what they were programmed to do. And G-d sat back and watched His magnificent, well-behaved angels go through their steps, always exactly as G-d wanted, always holy, and in tune with G-d’s perfect will. But you know what happened? G-d looked at that world and said, “You’re nice, I like you, but you’re boring.” So G-d created a world with man, and man is unique among all of the creation. Man has free will. He can do good, or he can do bad.
Now, if this is too “romantic” an answer for you, look at the word “love” in Hebrew. It has a numerical value of 13. So does the word “One.” We can learn from this, when you love something you are somehow one with it. G-d is One, and He is All, and His Name equals love.
If that is too far-fetched an answer for you, let’s try a logical answer. For every bad thing that happens in the world (and to you), there are hundreds, no, there are many thousands of good things happening. But those who cannot see G-d’s love, see the bad things and ignore the good things. Why do that? In my life I am so, so thankful to be alive, and every day gets better. But, I didn’t feel this way before I found out what we are supposed to be doing around here.
A young man came by for Shabbos last week and asked, “Last time I was here, a year ago, you told me that the main things that you have to do are, ‘Be happy when you do a mitzvah,’ and ‘bring other Jews to do the same.’ Has anything changed?”
“Nope” I answered. I was right, too. Do these things, and you will see that G-d is entirely loving--because you will be loving.
The examples of G-d’s kindness are literally endless, but you have to look at things kindly to see them. For instance, the Torah forbids plowing with an ox and a donkey when they are yoked together.[ii] One of the reasons for this is that to harness them together would be unkind to the weaker animal. Well, if G-d has love and pity for His animals, how much more so does He have love and pity for His people?
G-d said to us, “You shall be holy because I am holy.”[iii] An earthly king does not want to share his regal status with his subjects. He jealously reserves such things for himself so the kingdom will be in awe of him and respect him. G-d loves us so much that He says, “Come share in My holiness. Come be like Me.”
If you look at the negative side of things, you will come to ask your kind of question. When you look at the positive side of things, you will answer it the way I did.
Have a great day. Really, it’s a holy opportunity to experience love.