Sunday, May 10, 2009

Rambam-Characteristics of the Four Elements- Yisodei Hatorah perek 3 halacha 11

The Rambam discusses the four elements and how they relate to the rest of the world. He says,

ארבעה גופות האלו אינם בעלי נפש ואינם יודעים ולא מכירים אלא כגופים מתים. ויש לכל אחד ואחד מהם מנהג שאינו יודעו ולא משיגו ואינו יכול לשנותו. וזה שאמר דוד הללו את ה' מן הארץ תנינים וכל תהומות אש וברד שלג וקיטור. וביאור ענין הדברים הללוהו בני אדם מגבורותיו שתראו באש ובברד ובשאר ברואים שתראו למטה מן הרקיע שגבורתם תמיד ניכרת לקטן ולגדול:

"These four elements do not posses souls, knowledge, and they do not recognize (G-D), rather they are like dead bodies. Each one of them has a nature that it does not know or understand and it can not change its (nature). This that David said, 'The monsters praise G-D from the earth along with all the deeps: fire, hail, snow and smoke.' The subject of this praise is that man should give G-D praise through seeing G-D's strength in the fire, hail, etc that man can see these things that are below the heavens and their strength is always recognizable from the smallest to the greatest."

This Rambam does two things. First, it allows for a segway into the next perek where the Rambam delves into the four elements on a much deeper level. Secondly, the Rambam introduces us to the idea that man should look at nature around him and use that as a doorway to seeing the greatness of G-D. These elements that we are able to comprehend, namely the four elements that make up the world, allow man to be enthralled with the grandeur of G-D. The intricate details of how these four elements interact and co-exist reveal how great of a master planner G-D is. Also, the power of these four elements is astounding. The elements are the most readily available for man to see and that is why they are so useful for our goal of connecting to G-D.

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