Fundamentals of the Jewish Faith
Chapter Two: The Spiritual World (Part 1)
Each and every thing is a phenomenon unto itself, a world of its own. Yet
each and every thing also has a relationship with everything else both
near and far, by degrees. Let's take a simple pea in a pod for example.
Each one has its own dimensions, a character of its own, a unique history,
a personal destiny, and each has a special and distinctive relationship to
every other pea there too, as well as to everything out of its sphere. The
same is true of each pea-pod also; each has its own makeup and a
relationship with everything else near and far, pea-pod or not.
Now, if that's true of each and every pea and pea-pod, it goes without
saying that it's true of each one of us. We too each have distinct
dimensions, characters, histories, destinies, and relationships. But as we
all know, our beings reach farther and deeper yet. For we have inner
lives; our relationships to other people and things are more complex and
tangled, and touch upon many, many other factors; and we go on to exist in
other dimensions once we leave this one.
But it goes beyond all that too. Because there are realms and dimensions
far beyond our physical one with greater depth, that touch upon far more
distant dominions, and that likewise have distinctive qualities,
histories, and roles to play in the great and vast cosmic theater. Yet all
were created by G-d Almighty alone, whose abilities are infinite.
For as Ramchal put it, "Just as G-d created physical beings with His
infinite capacity … He likewise deliberately created other beings that are
wholly superior to them …. And just as He granted each physical being its
own boundaries and properties, He likewise granted the superior entities
the sort of particular and specific properties He saw fit to bestow upon
The crux of the matter, though, is that belief in personal uniqueness, in
a spiritual realm, and in the idea that everything interacts with
everything else (as will be laid out later on) is deep-rooted in the
Jewish Faith. And assuming that the whole is physical alone, and that
things haven't their own makeup, destiny, and role to play in the whole,
is simply anathema to us.
Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org.