Anything about JUDAISM
Anything about JUDAISM
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igotaquestion Posted - 19 February 2003 23:18
This may seem strange..but can you define what G-d is for me? and why we associate G-d with the word HASHEM(the way it is written in the torah)?
thanx a lot- i need a reply quickly thanks a lot!
yideleh Posted - 20 February 2003 3:35
Hashem's name in the Torah is written as Yud Key Vav Key. The word has the same root as the word Havayah, which means existence. Hashem IS.
If you think deeply into it, Hashem is the only "thing" that really exists because He's the one who created everything. Meaning, that everything in this world depends on Hashem for its existence. If Hashem didn't will it to be, it wouldn't be.
The Shem Yud Key Vav Key also stands for Hayah, Hovei, Veyihyeh. Hashem was, is and will be forever.
We are taught that the name of a thing hints to its essence. Knowing Hashem's name is a way of understanding what He's about.
So it's not that we're associating G-d with the name as it's written in the Torah, but we associate the name with G-d. The name tells us more about Him.
Hashem has other names as well, and each one alludes to a different aspect of His being.

What is G-d to you? Well, that's a pretty simple question. Hashem created you, the same way He created everything. He is your creator. At the same time, He is like your father, because He looks at you as His child and wants to give you only good, and He is also your King because you are His subject.
At the same time, Hashem is your best friend. Because He's there for you all the time. No matter what. You can always turn to Him.
His existence doesn't depend on anything or anyone. He will always be around.
Which is why if we truly realized this, we'd know that the best thing we can be doing in this world is to do that which G-d tells us is good. Because He knows what is truly good, and it will get us to the true good in olam habah.

israel-phile gal Posted - 23 February 2003 4:27
wow yideleh- well written, thank you!
MODERATOR Posted - 05 March 2003 1:44
There is a law of physics called "causation." It means, in a nutshell, that everything in the world has a cause. Even accidents have reasons why they ended up the way they did. If someone throws the dice and they land on 9, there were reasons why that happened. The force of the throw, the angle, etc. There is a reason for everything.

And there are reasons for the reasons, too. And reasons for those reasons. Nothing happens without a cause.

But now we have a problem: If everything has a a cause, and the causes also has a cause, and the causes of the cause also has a cause, ad infinitum, where did it start? it would be impossible that there were an infinite chain of causes without a beginning, because, as we stated elsewhere on the boards, an infinite amount of things cannot happen - infinity is not the "biggest number"; rather, it is a number that can never be reached. Therefore, you can never have an infinite number of anything in this world.

And if so, if we cannot have a chain of causes without any beginning, there had to be a beginning - a First Cause, which itself had no cause at all.

This means, that this first cause has no reason or reasons for why it is; nothing created it, nothing makes it what it is.

This First Cause is Hashem.

But since nothing makes Hashem Hashem, He cannot have a real definition, in the strict sense of the word. A definition explains what makes the thing being defined, that thing. Like if I give you the definition of a table, i will tell you it has legs and a base and it is designed to have things placed on it. So the definition of table is a listing and explanation of the things that makes it a "table."

If I ask you the definition of yourself I mean to ask what makes you you.

And if you ask me what is the definition of Hashem you are asking what makes Hashem Hashem.

But since G-d has no things that make Him Him, therefore, He cannot have a definition.

The most important thing we can know about Hashem is that He is causeless.

This means that, whereas everything in the world has a cause, a reason for why it is the way it is, Hashem has no such cause. Nothing made Hashem the way He is, there are no reasons for why Hashem is the way He is, there is nothing out there that caused Hashem, or makes Hashem Hashem.

If I ask what makes you you, you will give me al ist of things. If I ask what makes me, me -- same thing. But when we ask what makes Hashem Hashem, there is no answer.

All the components, reasons, and things that you think makes up "Hashem" are really not so at all. You may think you can say that what makes Hashem Hashem is His "infinite power", "infinite wisdom", etc etc, but that is not correct.

This is the second thing we know about Hashem, and it is really not a second thing but an offshoot of the first (His having no cause), and that is His simplicity.

This means that indeed, there are no "components" that makes Hashem Hashem, because when we say that Hashem has infinite strength, wisdom and goodness, to mention just three, we do not mean that literally, any more than we mean "G-d let the Jews out of Egypt with an outstretched hand" literally.

Just as G-d has no hand, so too He has no strength, no wisdom and no goodness. He has no components. If he would have components, those components would be the cause of Him, and He has no cause.

G-d has no strength because He doesnt NEED strength; no wisdom because He has no need for wisdom; no goodness because He has no need for it.

Strength is only necessary when there is something for you to pit your strength against. If someone can lift 400 pounds it means he can overcome 400 pounds of resistance.

If nothing resists Hashem, then whats the point of strength?

Wisdom is a way to figure out things; knowledge is the thing that you use to overcome ignorance.

G-d doesnt need any of these things. Indeed, he CANNOT have them; they make no sense in the context of Hashem.

G-d is not ignorant even though He has none of what we call "knowledge" - He doesnt need it. He is not weak even though He has none of what we call "strength".

Which brings us to the third thing we know about G-d - which is really the next logical step of the first two - and that is, Hashem echad! G-d is One. This does not only mean that Hashem is not two, but that Hashem has no components. He is Whole - indivisible. Non-composite. Not made up of any ingredients or elements - not strength, not wisdom, not knowledge, not goodness, not even form or substance.

NOTHING makes up Hashem, therefore Hashem is what they call in German a gestalt. Meaning, something that cannot be divided into parts. Something uncomposed of other things. Something with no cause, and therefore no definition.

Thats what it means: Hashem Echad.

We know things with our knowledge; we do things with our strength; we memorize things with our memory, etc. Gad "knows" things and "does" things and "memorizes" things with the SAME mechanism: Him.

Not His this or His that. He has no this or that. If He did, they would be components, and then having those components would be His cause, which is false, since He cannot have a cause.

Gad "has" nothing - no parts, no abilities, nothing. He doesnt "have"; He only "is." The mechanism by which G-d knows, and does, and gives, and makes, is Him. His essence. Not His talents.

G-d and His knowledge and His strength therefore are One and the same.

Hashem echad.

All the things said about Hashem in the Torah - and elsewhere - that He is strong, awesome, good, merciful etc. - all of those things are not to be taken literally, just as phrases such as "the eyes of Hashem" and "the hand of Hashem" are not to be taken literally.

Rather, what these phrases mean is that Hashem can accomplish the same things as these attributes but without the attributes. Thus, "gibor" means Hashem does not need strength; "rachum" means Hashem does not need the emotion of mercy; "yodeah" means Hashem does not need knowledge, and so forth.

It is extremely important that we do not take these attributes literally. Hashem has no attributes since he is Kulo Pushut - Completely Simple - Hashem Echad.


yideleh Posted - 05 March 2003 22:35
y'ouch, mod, that was a little hard to read... But thanks for posting. I'm going to have to give that a while to sink in. Although I know it, but I don't, cuz it's the kind of thing you just can't know. Another example about how there is just no way in the world that we can attempt to think that we understand anything about Hashem. So that point definitely came out loud and clear!!! Thanks.
israel-phile gal Posted - 05 March 2003 22:35
wow- thanx mod!
yme Posted - 22 April 2003 14:05
so when we ask g-d to have mercy on us, compassion, etc, we are asking for him to deal with us in a way that we define as mercy, compassion,etc? (its very hard to understand because we think like humans and g-d cant be defined in human terms, like u said) but what i dont understand is that, when G-d acts with mercy towards us, isnt He having mercy, meaning doesnt hthat mean He has mercy?
MODERATOR Posted - 22 April 2003 15:13
G-d has no mercy in the emotional sense. He does, however, act in a way such that the reuslts are the same as if He would have had mercy.

Thats what we mean when we ask G-d for mercy. We mean He should act in a way that seems merciful to us, although mercy is not His motivation.

Hegia Zman Posted - 12 May 2003 21:56
Yideleh said "Hashem has other names as well, and each one alludes to a different aspect of His being.".....

This is a very invalid statement. As the Moderator has continued to stress, G-d has no being nor descriptions. .

live4613 Posted - 13 May 2003 0:48
I heard froms someone that since everything in this world is a mashal for Hashem/Olam Habah, when it says that Hashem has an 'outstretched arm' or an 'eye' or any of those things that we know He doesn't literally have, it's saying that OUR arm or eye or any of those things is just a mashal to the way Hashem runs the world. Like, the way our hand works is a mashal to how Hashem works - so when it says that Hashem had an arm or whatever, He really does, but not in our sense of understanding. Our physical arms are just mashalim to Hashem's. They're not real. I hope I got that right, anyway.
MODERATOR Posted - 13 May 2003 14:11
Therre is a machlokes about this. WHat you are saying -- that real "strength" only applies ot G-d and when we say peopel are strong its only a moshol, is the opinion of the Shelah and Ralbag. Teh Rambam holds the opposite: that when we say literal strength we refer only to our strength, but when we talk about G-d, "strength" is just a moshol. The Ramchal follows the Rambam.

Either way, we have no understanding of what we mean when we talk abotu G-d. This whole disagreement is only regarding which words are literal and which are metaphors. Even if the terms are literal, however, we still have no comprehension what they mean when they refer to G-d.

e Posted - 18 May 2003 6:37
mod and yideleh, thank you thank you for those awesome explanations.just this week in neve we were learning with rabbi brown abt "ISNESS" and Hashem IS and stuff, but u both made it soo soo clear and pshh.. thanks for helping. okay so now a little of the point, wat wat Hashem doing before He created the world? and wat does the gemara which says the torah was created 2000 yrs before the world mean if bereishis was the creation of time?
MODERATOR Posted - 18 May 2003 6:44
Thats a good Q -- the Tashbetz asks it (Teshuvis Tashbetz vol. 3 # 245). He says "maybe" you can answer that those 2,000 years dont really mean years in the sense that we understand time, but rather, from Hashem's perspective, IF there would have been time, it would have been 2,000 years worth of it. Check it out inside to see the whole explanation.

yideleh Posted - 18 May 2003 11:44
e, I'm going to cry. Please take a great piece of advice from me and never take one of rabbi Brown's classes for granted. ISNESS is all about what I live for. And rabbi brown's the best. I would tell you to send him regards, but you don't know my name so it won't work. All I'll say is that he is the best in the whole planet. Enjoy every minute of his classes!!!!!!!!!! omg I'm so jealous you don't even know. I want to be there so badly!!!
e Posted - 18 May 2003 16:10
mod, thanks for the answer, but u never answered the other question abt wat Hashem was doing before He created the world?
and while we're on the topic abt other universes and planets and stuff could they ever exist?
MODERATOR Posted - 18 May 2003 16:12
We're really not supposed to think about or discuss what happened before the creation of the world (ma lifnim) because it is so beyond our comprehension that we will get nowhere. Just as an idea why this is so, Rav Sadiah Gaon points out that since time was created with the world, there was, in fact, no "before" the world was created at all. In order to have a "before" you need time!
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