Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Oh Hashem, Where Aren’t You?

Using only our physical senses, the presence of Hashem can be painfully elusive. The world can sometimes seem void of a caring, compassionate personal God. In this world filled with pain and brokenness, one could even ask the question, “Where is Hashem?”

Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the author of the Chassidic work Tanya explains that no place is void of Hashem. The passage in the Torah, “Ain od milvado” should not be translated as, “There are no other Gods,” but rather, “There is nothing other than God” (Sha’ar HaYichud v’HaEmuna).

He teaches that the existence of the world is a greater miracle than the splitting of the Red Sea. The splitting of the sea requires a force to oppose the force of nature; but Hashem is the cause behind all nature, and is constantly willing all of life into existence. If Hashem was not involved in this constant mode of creation, then the world would return to its pre-creation state, i.e., absolute nothingness. Even an inanimate object such as a rock has a life force that Hashem is creating anew every moment.

From this perspective, the question is not, Hashem, where are you, but rather, Hashem where aren’t you? The answer is that Hashem is intimately involved with every aspect of existence in every moment. Every person and every thing that we see is constantly being created by a loving God. Our work is to open our hearts to this reality that eludes our physical sight. The more we integrate this perception into our thoughts and actions, the closer we can feel to Hashem and Hashem’s creation.

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