In reading your e-mail, I have one question: Can you explain what are the
heavenly creatures that you refer to when you state that G-d does not make a
decision without consulting them?
I thank you for any insight into this issue.
May Hashem bless you,
Kabalah compares this world to a shoe. Just as a shoe is merely the end of a
person, who is obviously much more than his shoe, so too this world is
merely the tail end of thousands of spiritual universes. There are thousands
of spiritual beings around us that as physical beings we are not privileged
Kabalistic sources ask who is greater; these heavenly creatures or man. The
answer is that although these beings are closer to Hashem, for they are
devoid of a physical existence, nonetheless man is greater. The reason for
this is that man can lead a spiritual life as a physical being, and this is
much harder being spiritual on a purely spiritual domain. Kabalah explains
that these spiritual beings are in fact dependent on man's Divine service
for their very existence.
I hope that this helps to answer your question.
All the best,
Rabbi Daniel Yaakov Travis
Dear Rabbi Travis:
Thank you for your prompt response to my inquiry. Your answer did clear up
some of my confusion. However, I do have further questions for you.
Why is these creatures existence dependent on man's Divine service? Why, if
they are not greater than man (as explained by the Kabalah) does Hashem ask
advice of them?
I apologize for my incessant questioning and want to thank you for your
diligence both in answering my e-mail and in the class.
You do not have to apologize for your questions. I enjoy them very much and
encourage you and every single person to always ask questions. In fact the
word Yisrael, comes from both the roots "straight with G-d (yashar) and "I
have wrestled with G-d" (sar). Someone who is looking to be straight with
G-d must first struggle with the ideas of Torah and come out clear. The he
can consider himself part of Yisrael.
In response to your question, on an intrinsic scale, i.e. we might call
spiritual understanding, angels are far greater than man. Therefore we can
hear that Hashem would consult them when creating the world (even though
this was only a fascade to teach us humility). However man is greater than
them in the sence that even though he is physcal in nature and has many
drives which pull him away from te spiritual, he continues to push forward
on the spiritual frontier.
My Rav, Harav Shlomo Brevda, compared this to a teacher who has strong
pupils and weak pupils. The teacher is happy when the strong students
understand, but when the weak ones understand he is estatic. Hashem is the
same way. Our physical nature makes us very weak students. Therefore when we
get "good grades", Hashem is estatic. However when you really want good
advice you go to the strong students not the weak ones.