Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rambam- What G-D's Perception of Himself Means- Yisodei Hatorah perek 2 halacha 9

The Rambam discusses what the basic requirements are for the world to exist. Also, he points out what aspects of G-D relate to the world and perpetuate its existence. He says,

כל הנמצאים חוץ מן הבורא מצורה הראשונה עד יתוש קטן שיהיה בטבור הארץ הכל מכח אמתתו נמצאו. ולפי שהוא יודע עצמו ומכיר גדולתו ותפארתו ואמתתו הוא יודע הכל ואין דבר נעלם ממנו:

"All of the beings, except for the creator, from the first tzura (spiritual being/purpose) to the tiny bug that is in the navel of the earth, all exist from the force of G-D's truth. Also, because He knows Himself and recognizes His greatness, His glory and His truth, He knows everything and nothing is hidden from Him."

The Rambam uses very specific language here. He points out that the greatest of all creations is the first tzura (spiritual existence/purpose) that exists closest to G-D. This is the Chayos, the angel that exists on the highest level of holiness. I believe this because as the Rambam previously stated, the Chayos are the creation that best understand G-D. The greater a beings knowledge of G-D, then the greater an existence they are considered to have. A bug, on the other hand, that is at the center of the earth, is considered to be the most physical of all beings. It has the lowest level of understanding of G-D and is, therefore, considered to be the most distant of all beings from G-D. Nevertheless, even though these beings are worlds apart, they both exist from the truth of G-D. It is impossible to understand this truth since it is His essence and, according to the Rambam, it is impossible to know the essence of G-D.

It is interesting that the Rambam uses the language that since G-D realizes His own greatness, glory and truth He therefore knows everything. What do G-D's attributes have to do with knowing everything?

I believe the Rambam is telling us that the ultimate knowledge is an understanding of G-D. Therefore, since G-D is the only one that knows Himself, He is the one that knows everything. All information in the world is just a pathway to understanding and knowing G-D. Therefore, the more knowledge of anything that one acquires, the more knowledge of G-D one posseses. The Rambam even says in his book The Guide for The Perplexed (section 3 Chapter 18), "For the action of Divine Providence is proportional to the endowment of intellect." He is telling us that the more knowledge we acquire, the closer we come to G-D.

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