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Thought for the Day: The Five Mistakes in Philosophy/Religion/Dogma That Knowing HaShem Is One Avoids

After explaining the reason that HaShem chose to reveal Himself to us via His One-ness, the Da'as T'vunos goes on to explain that there are five categories of mistakes that the false dogmas make.

First, there are two kinds of avoda zara.  The first category of avoda zara believes that there is a creator,but he is so exalted and transcendent that he doesn't have anything to do with this lower world.  Rather, he created lower powers and assigned them managerial roles.  These managers have complete control of their division, while their creator is off playing golf or living the life of a recluse in a penthouse suite eating banana nut or chocolate marshmallow ice cream; we'll call this the Howard Hughes model.

The second category of avoda zara sees the obvious contradiction between an all good creator and the evil we see in the world.  Hence it posits that there are two gods; one good and one evil.  It is their struggle with each other that results in all the churn in the world.  This is the good cop/bad cop model.

The third mistake is to believe that the creator designed the world with rules -- aka laws of physics -- that govern all actions in this world.  It is then up to us creatures to role the dice and move ourselves through the game of life.  Every action leads to a reaction; the fortunes of a man being the result of his decisions and deeds.  Of course, since everything is run by natural law, this view also believes in fate; ie, that man cannot affect the final outcome.  This, says the Ramchal, is the belief of the vast majority of people; it is the underlying belief of the Reform Jewish religion.  We'll call this the fickle finger of fate model.

The fourth mistaken philosophy believes that the world was created and the creator runs the world.  They even believe that he gave his law (written only, if you please) to the Jews.  Nebbich, though, that they used their free will to go against their father in heaven, so big daddy had to abandon the bad Jews.  One version holds that dad stood by idly while those bad Jews killed his only son to provide a path of salvation to the good goyim; you know, like the Crusaders.  Another version holds that daddy sent a new prophet with a new set of laws to the other good goyim; you know, like Al-Qeada.  I'll leave it up to you to figure out who believes this.

The final mistake is to recognize the creator and understand how he runs the world, but those who ascribe to this belief have chosen to rebel against their creator.  They co-opt those very spiritual powers that he created to run to use as weapons against him.  America created the atom bomb, but any terrorist can Google the plans and order the parts from Amazon.

HaShem's "One-ness", however, denies all of these.  HaShem doesn't need managers and there is certainly no competitor.  The laws of physics are not laws set in stone, but an appearance created by the way He runs His world; so too for the spiritual powers.  HaShem gave us free-will as a gift for good, not to use against us.  Even if we do make mistakes, HaShem is not bound even by the dictates of reward and punishment to abandon us; chas v'shalom.  He promised that we were His chosen and treasured nation forever; so that's it.

Hearken, O Israel; HaShem is our G-d; HaShem is One.


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