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Thought for the Day: Why HaShem Is One Is Our Mission Statement

It must be pretty important: "Hearken, O Israel!"  This one statement is the clarion call to action for our entire nation.  "HaShem is our G-d."  That sounds like a great statement of purpose for any religion; why not just stop there?  "HaShem is One!"  That's it?  If the expression "is one" simply means that there is only one HaShem, then there isn't much value added.  There is also only one United States.  "Here, O citizens!  The United States is our country!  There is only one USA!"  Umm... true, but not so inspiring, and it certainly is not a call to action.

The Ramchal in Da'as T'vunos explains why HaShem has made the revelation of His One-ness the very core and reason for being of our faith.  When measuring something, you can only get one of three results: 0, finite, or infinite.  In truth, there is really only one result: finite.  Both zero and infinite mean that it has no measure.  Finite, no matter how small, can be magnified by zooming in to see more detail; no matter how large, can be shrunk by stepping back to get more perspective.  Zero and infinite are not like that.  Zero, now matter how you magnify it, how closely you look, it is always zero.  Infinite, now matter how far you step back, is always infinite and out of scope.

HaShem is outside of any measure.  We humans, being as we are a creation and therefore perforce finite, cannot really comprehend infinity.  Any religion that tries to portray HaShem as defined by good, merciful, forgiving, etc (like Christianity and Reform Judaism) are necessarily giving a false portrayal.  They are doomed from the beginning, because they are built on a lie.  What is the practical result of this false foundation?  Good can only mean and can only be understood as the opposite of bad, merciful the opposite of cruel, forgiving the opposite of vengeful, etc.  That means that those portrayals demand that one contemplate something in reality that is not HaShem.

One-ness, on the other hand, does not need anything else.  "One" does not mean "not two"; "one" means nothing else.  One means "ein od milvado"; there is nothing besides Him.  Our fundamental belief and mission statement in declaring "HaShem is One" is the only way that a finite being can have any true comprehension that He is outside of any measure.  We cannot really know His Goodness, His Mercy, His Compassion; we can only know that any "-ism" that contradict His One-ness is necessarily false.

The Da'as T'vunos goes on to explain how this one-ness contradicts the five basic mistakes made by those who err in understanding reality. We should talk about that; b'ezras HaShem.


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