Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

"Fundamentals of the Jewish Faith"

Chapter One: G-d (Part 1)

It goes without saying that we rely on our mind and its perceptions for nearly everything. So if something doesn't quite jibe with our sense of what's rational, reasonable, and explicable we tend to reject it.

Yet it's also true that our minds haven't an infinite capacity (even when they're aided by the greatest of computers and joined by the finest of other minds). So it's clear that we can't always depend on our minds to arrive at the truth. In fact, there's a whole realm beyond our abilities to reason that's far richer and more varied than our own that's simply inexplicable, known as the realm of faith. And it's the one we enter into when we discuss G-d as well as all things spiritual.

For G-d unto Himself is utterly, utterly unfathomable since He's far removed from our experience and occupies an inscrutable domain that's devoid of space, time, and all the qualities of reality we know of. So we depend on our faith and our holy tradition for depictions of Him. Given the chance we could draw many analogies to Him and derive proofs for His existence from the natural world, but all of that would fall flat in the end because we'd always wind up facing the fact that G-d Himself is simply inscrutable.

We'd thus be wise to accept the fact, as Ramchal puts it, that G- d's "actual essence and makeup cannot be fathomed whatsoever", that there's absolutely nothing analogous to Him "in all of creation or in anything our minds could conceive of or imagine", and that "no words or depictions" could capture His essence.

Now, you might argue that the Torah uses all sorts of analogies for Him and depicts Him in many, many ways and you'd be right. But suffice it to say that the Torah doesn't speak of G-d Himself when it describes Him to us: it refers to Him as He presents Himself to us in *our* realm and in terms that we could understand and draw upon to understand what He requires of us.

It's been said that that's analogous to the way great geniuses present their ideas to lesser souls. If they'd lay out their thoughts as they themselves understand them, their listeners would miss the whole point, and their effort would have been in vain. But if they'd present their ideas in terms that others far less advanced than they could understand and relate to, then their ideas would be grasped for all intents and purposes. And while the latter explanations wouldn't be "true" from the genius's perspective, they'd nonetheless serve his ends, and would thus be "true enough" under the circumstances. (Understand this point well, as it helps to explain many otherwise unfathomable things.)


Text Copyright 2007 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org.


 






ARTICLES ON TOLDOS:

View Complete List

Corruption: Are You Floating or Drowning?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5775

Food For Thought
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

Inner Sanctity
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5761

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Following In His Father
- 5769

Inreach + Outreach = Yakov
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764

With Those Eyes He Smelled
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

A Thousand Life Lessons
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

Naturally Supernatural
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

Who Cares About The Scoffers of the Generation?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

> Butter Battles
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

Fatherly Game
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

Heaven on Earth
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

ArtScroll

How About Them Apples?
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

Fear of Parents and Fear of G-d
Rabbi Chaim Ozer Shulman - 5756

Hopeless Case
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5764

Proud of Each Other
Shlomo Katz - 5763



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information