Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

The Duties of the Heart

Gate One. “The Wholehearted Acceptance of the Oneness of G-d”

Chapter Two

As we said last time, we declare G-d’s “oneness” day in and day out in our prayers without really knowing what we’re saying. We might even be implying that He’s more than one, unknowingly, or at least “downgrading” His oneness.

Some of us understand it to mean that G-d is “one of a kind” or “intense”-- much the way we’d describe a special event or gadget (though there’s certainly no comparison!). Others of us take “one” to mean “not-two”, “not-three”, etc. and thus settle for a rather limited, even banal and ordinary view of G-d. And yet others declare Him to be one without knowing the difference between real oneness and what we’ll term "circumstantial" oneness later on in this Gate.

But take heart. Because, truth be known, few believers know anything at all about this-- or about G-d Himself-- on a rational level. Because while we might have warm, even ardent feelings and convictions about G-d, few of us though know what we’re talking about in relation to G-d.

The case has been made, however, that simple, unalloyed faith in Him is fine-- and even better than a rational understanding of His Being (which is, after all, beyond us since G-d’s Being is so surpassing of our own). But that’s not Ibn Pakudah’s view of things. As he’ll argue later on, anyone who can analyze G-d’s make-up to whatever degree, must.

(The advice most others would give is to believe that G-d is the Creator, that He oversees it all both sweepingly and intimately, and that He functions in the universe much the way our soul functions in our bodies: fundamentally, vitally, invisibly, and utterly undeniably.)

Again, though, it’s important to point out that few of us know anything about all this. As such, it’s been said that we really don’t worship G-d so much as what we misunderstand about Him!

As we indicated before, there are four ways to express G-d’s “oneness”. By just declaring it, the way kids and simple folks do; by believing it after having been taught about it (which can turn out to be a case of the “blind leading the blind” if the people you learned it from didn’t really know what they were saying); by believing it to a limited extent (the aforementioned “circumstantial” way and thus being “so close, and yet so far”); or by proving G-d’s Oneness to yourself and believing it firmly, thus following through on the verse that commends us to "know today and reflect upon it in (our) heart that G-d is the L­rd" (Deuteronomy 4:39).

The latter form is the best of all, so the rest of this Gate will center on it.

Subscribe to Spiritual Excellence and receive the class via e-mail.


 






ARTICLES ON REEH:

View Complete List

Set Your Sites
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

There Must Be an Anochi in Here Somewhere!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

Seeing is Believing
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Beis Ha-Mikdash--Taking Things Personally
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5765

Opportunity for Blessing
Rabbi Chaim Flom - 5767

Improving Our Eyesight
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771

> The Street
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5759

Giving Personally
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

It Just Isn't So
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

ArtScroll

Having a Few Pairs of Glasses
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5764

You See?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

How Good Is Good Enough?
Shlomo Katz - 5762

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Olympic Success... or Failure?
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5756

Enjoy the Ride
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Ripping At the "Seens"
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

The Value of Pricelessness
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764



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