Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Da’at Tevunot -- The Knowing Heart

Section 1, Chapter 13

Given that nothing in this world is as it seems to be, and granted that G- d Himself is certainly not what we often take Him to be, it stands to reason that nothing that we could say about His “tools” would be like what they really are either [1].

All we could understand about them are the effects those tools have on us, not their makeup, how G-d “handles” them, nor how they actually function [2].

So, any knowledge we and the Torah might attribute to G-d, for example, or memory, thought, mercy, anger, willfulness, or the like, is nothing at all like His actual "knowledge", "memory", "thought", "mercy", "anger", or "willfulness", which are wholly out of our experience. It’s just that they’re adaptations of such traits that are suited to our needs and makeup which we benefit from even though we can’t grasp them, and they’re the very ones that G-d wants us to be affected by [3].

All the Torah does then when it attributes such things to G-d is draw (inevitably poor) analogies from our experience to His so that we could begin to understand His relationship to us.

So, for example, we’re told that G-d would speak to Moses in the Tabernacle from time to time. But how could G-d's "voice" -- which is the tool He uses to express the full power and might of His will -- be contained in space and time? And how could it only be heard by Moses and not by everyone in the world (see Torat Cohanim, Vayikra 2:10)? The point again is that G-d's tools of communicating -- or of doing anything else -- are not our own, and that when He does indeed interact with us He does it in a way that befits our needs, rather than how He's fully capable of doing it [4].

Let this all then serve as a preface to what’s to follow about G-d's interactions with us.

Notes:

[1] That’s to say, “given that nothing is as it seems to be” and that the more we understand things the clearer that becomes; and “if granted that G- d Himself is certainly not what we often take Him to be” and that the more we try to grasp Him the clearer that too becomes; it follows then “that nothing that we could say about His ‘tools’ here” which He makes contact with and which are thus connected to His being in some way“would be like what they really are either”.

[2] This idea refers to reshimu and kav. See Klallim Rishonim 6, Klallot Ha’ilan 1:1, and Klach Pitchei Chochma 28.

[3] See 1:12:1 for the idea of G-d’s traits being suited to us and our needs.

We do n’t usually think of things like knowledge, memory, thought, mercy, anger, willfulness, etc. as tools so much as traits. The point is that G- d’s traits are in fact tools in that, like any other tool, they enable Him to interact with and affect things (us, in this case).

[4] That is, how could G-d be said to have a voice? In fact, He doesn’t, since having one would require Him to have a larynx, lungs, etc., and to breathe air. G-d does though communicate with us voicelessly. But why is it only some can hear Him? So Ramchal attests that G-d does communicate with us, but in ways that humans can endure, yet He limits His communication to those who can endure it indeed. All of this, then, is an illustration of the fact that G-d adapts His G-dly and infinite tools to us and our finite capacities.


Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has translated and commented upon "The Gates of Repentance", "The Path of the Just", and "The Duties of the Heart" (Jason Aronson Publishers). His works are available in bookstores and in various locations on the Web.


 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON KEDOSHIM AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

It's None of Your Business
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5759

Holiness Applies to More than Bagel
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5757

There's Holy, and There's Holy
Shlomo Katz - 5760

ArtScroll

Accepting Time
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5766

A Deafening Silence
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

Giving for a Good Cause
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Setting High Goals
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5760

Sweet Revenge
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

The Omer and Holiness
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774

> Different Strokes for Different Folks
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Holiness Happens
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

Lag B'Omer & The Big Picture
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Unspoken Words
Rabbi Label Lam - 5760

Understand The Warning
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

Don't Take Revenge...
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Be a Holy Nation!
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757



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