Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

"Eight Chapters"

Chapter Five (Part 1)

Perhaps the most vexing problem we have today is not knowing what to focus on. There's just so much we can do and so much that we'd like to, that there seem to be parts of ourselves peppered all over the landscape. So, what in fact should we concentrate on if we hope to achieve spiritual excellence, and what comes second, third, etc.?

We're told pointblank here that we're "to place a single goal before our eyes", one overarching aim and objective: "to comprehend G-d Almighty as much as a human being can".

But how awesome a goal that is, how almost unthinkable! Can anyone comprehend G-d, in fact? Aren't we taught that “His greatness can't be fathomed” (Psalms 145:3), that “There’s no searching out His understanding” (Isaiah 40:28), and “If you search (for) G-d could you find Him?” (Job 11:7)? Hasn't G-d Himself said "My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways" (Isaiah 55:8)?

The truth is G-d *can* be grasped to some degree (don't forget we're charged to comprehend Him "as much as a human being can", not as much as an angel can; for they too can only understand Him to a degree). Rambam doesn't expand upon this much in this work, but he lays out a lot of what we'd need to know elsewhere which we'll now cull from.

We’re to understand that G-d existed before everything else and created it all; that His existence is a prerequisite for the existence of everything else; that He would continue to exist even if nothing else did, for He’s utterly self-reliant and unique; that He’s eternal; that He’s one in a unique sense; and that He’s utterly incorporeal and thus undergoes none of the things that corporeal beings undergo. We’re also to understand that He provides everything for His creations, and that He influences creation moment to moment.

Thus, we're to make the awareness *and absorbtion* of all that our life's goal, and to "direct all our actions, movements, and utterances to that end, so that nothing we do is arbitrary or tends to thwart that goal". That's to say that we're to make everything else secondary to that and use it only as a means to foster our goal of understanding G-d.

"So, for example," we're told, "when you eat, drink, sleep," and the like, we're to "let our only aim be our health" alone -- rather than an outright relishing of what we're eating or drinking, or of sleeping unto itself. But even health shouldn't be an end unto itself, we're to "let our goal in being healthy be to remain robust and well enough to acquire the knowledge and the personal and intellectual virtues we’d need to reach that goal" of comprehending G-d. We'll explore some of the ramifications of this next.


Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON VAYEITZEI AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

The Real Story
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

The Twelve Stones Become One: Inverted Symbolism?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

A Torah Perspective
Shlomo Katz - 5766

ArtScroll

It's Good For You
Rabbi Moshe Peretz Gilden - 5763

How Are You Doing?
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5765

Stagnation is Descent
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5758

> Two Paradigms of Thankful Individuals
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5759

Lessons in Devotion
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

See Yaakov Run
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Looking for a Chavrusah?

How Extrordinary The Result
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5761

How Yosef Got His Job
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5774

Getting What You Pay For
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5767

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Candle Lighting Blessings
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

Basic Concepts and Laws
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

Good and Bad Company
Shlomo Katz - 5768

A Matter of Honour
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 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