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Understanding Hashem


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Tevet 23, 5779
how do we understand Hashem? how do we understand the spiritual force?
I would also like, very much to understand Hashem, but “if I could understand Him I would be Him”! It’s true that the "spiritual force" or “tug” that we feel inside us is Godly, for we were created in His image, yet what this means is that we can and should copy His actions, not that we can really understand His essence. God gave each of us a soul, or a “spark of God. By following His directions to be Godly (the mitzvot) found in the Torah, we realize our spiritual potential and live the objectively true and moral Godly ideals. For example, He created the world, and accordingly right afterwards, He commands us in the very first mitzvah to be like Him and also create worlds, by having children. God “rests” on Shabbat, and suggests that we do so as well. He constantly gives altruistically (without getting anything in return, for He’s perfect and doesn’t need anything!) and we should be similar “givers” as well. We don’t do the mitzvot in order to get reward in the world-to-come (although there clearly is that benefit, as well!), but in order to be as much like God as possible, which is obviously the most meaningful and highest moral and idealistic level anyone can achieve. Monotheism believes that G-d is not only good, but perfect. Being that He lacks nothing, He has no need to ‘take”, but only gives, and that is the kind and truthful G-d, that we strive to emulate. Sometimes it takes a while to see the good that will come out of a particular situation, but nevertheless, by definition, all that believe in One G-d, believe that all He does is good and for the best. Like a child who often doesn’t see, until he’s older, why his parents don’t let him eat so much candy, or force him to go to bed by a certain time, sometimes we don’t understand why G-d sends us certain situations or challenges, until we get to the world to come, where we have a broader, ‘bird’s-eye” view, to understand past, present and future.
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