Thursday, April 14, 2011


How About the “Other Things?”


by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

Regarding the video, Answers to a Pastor, a viewer wrote:

     Please explain your "G-d is All" statement. I thought this is incorrect; only that G-d is One. The "All" part leans towards [includes] other things.

Gutman’s response:

     This is without doubt the most mystical teaching in the entire Torah. And it is both the simplest to understand, once you “get it,” and the most difficult to understand, until you do “get it.” This subject also draws tremendous disagreement among students of Torah.

     There are two lines in the Torah that address this very issue: “You have been shown in order to know that Hashem, He is G-d. There is nothing else beside Him,” (ain od milvado) [ii] and “Know this day and take unto your heart that Hashem is G-d; in the heavens above and upon the earth below there is nothing else.” (ain od) [iii]

     Referring to G-d, both lines state that there is “nothing else,” but the first quote adds, “beside Him.” Why did the Torah have to add the words “beside Him?” The second quote simply states that there is “nothing else,” without adding “beside Him.” If there is nothing else, why bother adding the words “beside Him”?

     The first quote addresses the multiple perspective, i.e. the perspective that also recognizes the many distinctions within creation. At this perspective we see that there are “others,” i.e. this object is other than that object. But still, the Torah insists that even from this perspective, which includes “others,” there is nothing other than Him.

     The second quote addresses the higher perspective, which includes and transcends the multiple perspective. It simply states that there is nothing else, period!

     How can this be? How can there be nothing other then G-d? I am here. You are here. G-d is Infinite. We are not infinite. We break. G-d does not break. We were born, and we will die. G-d was not born and surely G-d does not die. So how can G-d be all?

     To try to understand this principle look at the concept of the clal (general principle) and the prat (details within the general principle). The general principle is all, which includes each of the many details. Although all of the details are included within the general principle, the details are not the general principle, because each detail is no more than one individual detail.

     Picture sunlight bouncing off of a body of water; although there are hundreds of reflections, there is only one light. “Reflection” refers to its shape, and “light” refers to its essence, its being. Even though the reflection is made out of the light, the reflection cannot claim to be the light, because the light includes all of the reflections. The individual reflection is only a single reflection.

     Back to the lines in the Torah. The line that states that there is “no other beside Him” addresses the many individual reflections. It teaches that even though the reflections are individual and many, and even though they are “other” than each other, they are not “other” than the light. The second line, that there “is nothing else.” addresses the higher perspective, the perspective of light. The perspective of light includes the perspective of reflections, because the reflections are made out of the light.

     In order to be infinite, G-d must be all. If we are not included in the infinite then the infinite is not all. G-d is one, G-d is all, and G-d is beyond the all, too.

    How can there be anything beyond the All? Think of the “Light without end” (orh ain sof). Since this light has no end, you might want to think that it is absolutely All. But now consider the “One Who Emanates the Light without end” (M’orh ain sof). The Creator of the light without end is not simply an endless light. Although He creates, surrounds, and fills all, still, He is not limited by the all. He is all, and He is beyond the all, too.


[ii] Deuteronomy 4:35

[iii] Deuteronomy 4:39


Anonymous said...

this is the distinction and tikkun of mby the gaon of vilna and ramchal compared to the distinction and tikkun of mbd the rebbe of chabad and the besht. The original mitnagim ~ and the original chassidus NOT as it is today !

vincent said...

Probably many people wonder about the darknes more than anything else.
How can there be evil, how can that be part of G'd? The SML and the fallen angels, what about them?
It is for free will to be posible and shall not last, but still, X-tians don't understand this concept.

Gutman said...

Anon, I am not at all sure of what you mean, but if you are saying that the article goes against Chassidus, then look at the Rebbe from Lubavitch’s Maamarim, Parshat Haazinu 5744. You will find there the exact teaching, including the explanation of ain od vs. ain od milvado.
Be well

Anonymous said...

thanks reb gutman. respectfully, this, to me, does not answer the question. to say G-d is all can lead people to sanction worshiping an object. i can see what you mean, that G-d is all meaning that there is nothing else but G-d. but how do you assert this while preventing the worship of an object?
i recall an article which pointedly discussed the difference between "G-d is One" vs "G-d is All", saying that the latter was an idolatrous view and the former was the truth, the torah view.
can you please cite where our sages actually say "G-d is All"? i find it still quite bothersome.

Anonymous said...

Hi Reb Gutman.

Can you answer the last comment ? I also find their commenter's reservations problematic.

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