CLOSENESS TO HASHEM Class 3

CLOSENESS TO HASHEM

CHAPTER THREE
HOW HASHEM CONSTANTLY PERPETUATES THE
WHOLE WORLD AND INTEGRATING THIS KNOWLEDGE
INTO ONE’S SERVICE OF HASHEM

  1. “In the beginning the Lord created the heavens and the
    earth”. There are many fundamental differences between
    Hashem creating the world and a person forming an item. One
    of these differences is that Hashem created the entire world
    from absolutely nothing, whereas a person can only produce an
    item from something that already exists, by cutting and joining
    things together. Another difference is that when a person
    produces an item, the moment that the production process is
    completed, the item stands independent of it’s producer. In
    contrast, Hashem recreates the whole world at every moment,
    just as He did when He originally created the world. If He were
    to choose to destroy the world, He would not need to use
    something to destroy it; rather it would be enough to simply
    cease recreating the world. The Nefesh Hachaim deals with this
    at length (shaar 1 and 3).
  2. He writes (shaar 1: chapter 2) that the way of Hashem is
    different to the ways of man. A person who builds a building
    from wood does not create and generate the wood from his
    energy, rather he simply takes the pre-existing wood and puts
    them in a specific building order. When everything is organized
    the way he wants it to be, he can forget about the building and
    still it will not cease to exist. However, Hashem does as he did at
    the creation of the world. He created and produced everything
    from absolutely nothing with His infinite strength and abundant
    light. Were Hashem to deny the world His energy and bounty for
    even one moment, it would instantly return to nothingness and
    emptiness. In shaar 3: chapter 11, the Nefesh Hachaim writes
    that this is one of the basic principles of belief in Hashem; every
    Jew must fix in his heart that Hashem is the true and only power,
    that He is the soul, the life provider and source of every person
    and creation, and all forces and worlds.
  3. In shaar 3: chapter 11, he elaborates further that the whole
    world was formed by the command of Hashem, as recorded in
    parshat Bereishit. For each thing Hashem said that it would be,
    and so it was. The word of Hashem is a real spiritual entity with
    power to generate the entire existence of the world. He explains
    further that the spiritual reality of Hashem’s word is eternal and
    does not end with the days of creation. These continuously
    existing commands sustain and support everything in the world,
    like the living soul of all existence.
  4. He also writes on the verse in Yeshayahu (40:5), “And all flesh
    together will see that the mouth of Hashem has spoken”. “The
    verse refers to the future time when Hashem’s supervision will
    be so clear, until we merit literally seeing with our physical eyes,
    how the word of Hashem is spread out over every thing
    sustaining it” – see the text inside for his full essay.
  5. He adds that there was already a sample glimpse of this
    concept at Mt. Sinai at the giving of the Torah. This is referred
    to in the verse in Parshat Yitro (20:18), “And all the people saw
    the sounds” [The simple meaning here is the sounds which
    occurred uniquely at the Mt. Sinai event. But there are many
    ways and perceptions of the Torah, as is clear from Chazal, and
    there are many understandings to every verse given at Sinai.
    There are the simple meanings, and the meanings which are
    hinted to within the words, that which can be expounded from
    it, and the hidden secrets of it]. Here the sounds refer to the
    sounds of the word of Hashem at the time of the creation of the
    world, meaning that they merited seeing how this voice is the
    soul of the creation, sustaining it in its entirety. See how this is
    explained later in the chapter of the giving of the Torah at Mt.
    Sinai.
  6. This knowledge greatly enables a person to feel how he is
    constantly close to Hashem. Through thinking and
    contemplating about this, a person can come to see the hand of
    Hashem and its influences at every moment and in every area.
    He should not however feel that it is sufficient to study this
    concept just once, rather the more he repeats it to himself and
    regulates his thoughts towards it, so too will the results increase
    and he will come to feel closeness to Hashem.

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