Thursday, June 26, 2014

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“In the Heavens Above, and…”


"In the Heavens Above, and…"

 by Reb Gutman Locks


     What does this mean? "You shall know this day and take it to your heart that Hashem is G-d, in the Heavens above and upon the earth below, there is nothing else."[i]

      Some say it means that there is nothing of any importance other than Hashem. Others say that from the higher perspective, there is nothing but G-d, but from our perspective, there certainly is something other than G-d, i.e. the creation. And some say, that verse should be taken literally…there is nothing but G-d on any level, and G-d forbid you should even entertain the idea that there is. Who, if anyone, is right?

     Rather than trying to understand this concept referring to G-d, it will be a lot easier if we discuss the Infinite. (Less emotional)

     By definition, the Infinite is limitless, endless, eternal, etc., and therefore It has to be All. There can never be anything other than the Infinite. For if there were, what we were calling Infinite would be limited, i.e. excluded from that "other" object. So the Infinite has to be all.

     But now we have a major problem. How are we to understand the finite? After all, we see that there is a finite; in fact, there are many, many finites. If the Infinite is all, what then is the finite?

     Since the Infinite is all, It must include the finite. So, the finite must be a tiny area within the Infinite. Then, can we say that the finite is the Infinite? As soon as we label an object, we are distinguishing that object from all other objects. Although no object is separate from the Infinite, and even though when you touch that finite object you are also touching the Infinite (since the Infinite is all) still, individual objects are distinct from each other, and exclude each other.

     In India when someone meditates for many years he might come to the conclusion that since all is one, and all is G-d, he too is G-d! They then say that they are god! They call this, "god-realization."

     So who is right? Is there anything other than the Infinite? No, there is nothing other than the Infinite. Then, can we say that the finite is the Infinite? No, because as soon as we identify that finite object, we are addressing it as a limited object, and the Infinite is always unlimited.

    The Infinite is the finite, but the finite is not the Infinite.



[i] Deuteronomy 4:39

2 comments:

Unknown said...

This has been the topic of the daily Tanya for the last week or so. In Greek (European) philosophy there is only one truth. In Judaism we can have several superficially conflicting "truths" depending on the point of view of the observer. ‘elu v’elu divrei Elokim
chaim’ Science has come to accept a version of the Jewish point of view in Heisenberg's Principal of Uncertainty. Each of the three stqatements are true from the point of view of the observer. While our G-dly Soul is enlivening a body, there is a perception of limits and behavior appropriate to that. From the point of view of HaShem, we can't even speak of a point of view or even speak of the infinite as they impose a limit.

Unknown said...

I read my comment above. It might not be clear. The topic from the Alter Rebbe is HaShem being even beyond the infinite, where I condensed several days lessons from a Master to a few words of me. Better to study the original. The point about thinking like a yid & not an Esau, Elu v'Elu" is from me.

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