Shabbos Parashas Nitzavim

Sefer HaMiddos, Shaar HaDaas (Gate of the Intellect), Chapter 6 (continued)
Let us give an analogy. Reuven and Shimon were walking in an unsettled desert through which no man had ever passed before. Reuven lost an object, and Shimon found it. Reuven asked Shimon to give him back the object. Shimon replied: “Give me a sign that it is yours.” Reuven retorted: “Even without a sign, surely you must know it is mine.” Shimon asked: “How?” Reuven explained: “You know that it isn’t yours. So it must be that it’s mine, since you and I are the only people here. What do you need signs and proofs for?”
It is the same with the question of the existence of a creator. There are two possible types of entities: one that necessarily must exist and one that could exist and also could not exist. An entity of the first type has no creator that preceded it and brought it into being. An entity of the second type exists by virtue of the fact that an entity that existed before it willed that it exist and brought it into being at a certain time and place. Now decide for yourself: Are you a being of the first type or the second type? You know you are not of the first type. Indeed, you know you did not bring yourself into existence, and in fact you have only a tiny degree of knowledge of the processes through which you came into being. So it follows that you were brought into existence by some other being. There must be some other being that created you and everything else in existence. This other being is Hashem, the Eternal One, our gracious and merciful creator.
It is written (Tehillim 100:3): “Know that Hashem is God, He made us v’lo anachnu.” In the traditional written text, the word v’lo is written ולא (and not), but according to the traditional interpretation of the text it is to be understood as meaning ולו (and His). According to the traditional interpretation, the second half of the verse means “He made us and we are His,” whereas according to the written text it means, as the Midrash in Bereishis Rabbah 100:1 says, “He made us and not we” – we did not make ourselves. This is a deep teaching. We know innately that we did not make ourselves. We know that we do not have the capability of bringing ourselves into being, and, indeed, have little understanding of how we came into being.
The world is filled with a variety of creatures and objects, all mingled together and interacting with each other. The way they function is a marvel. Anyone who beholds them can see that they are the work of a skilled artisan, who manages the world with wisdom and arranges its various components with understanding.  David HaMelech declares (Tehillim 19:2): “The heavens relate God’s glory, and the firmament tells of His handiwork.” The creations on earth cannot properly discuss Hashem’s works, for they do not have the necessary knowledge. They are not even aware of how much they do not know. Man, however, has the wisdom and understanding to ponder his existence, his composition, and his capabilities, and is truly aware that he has no knowledge of his construction and has made no contribution to it. We quote David HaMelech again (ibid. 139:14): “I acknowledge You, for I am awesomely, wondrously fashioned; wondrous are Your works, and my soul knows it well.” David is saying that our souls know well that we do not know, along the lines of the saying: “The bottom line of what we know is that we do not know.”
Let us quote again from Tehillim 19 (verse 4): “There is no speech and there are no words; their voice is not heard.” We can bring out the idea here with an analogy. Suppose someone owes us money and we want to send an agent to the debtor to collect the debt. If the debtor is a deceitful person, we have to send an agent who is well skilled in talking to people and can argue with the debtor. But if the debtor is trustworthy, so that we know he will not deny the loan or push it off with a “come back later” tactic, we can even send an agent who is unable to speak. All the agent needs to do is present the bill of debt, and the debtor will pay right away. Similarly, if we had any serious intellectual basis for questioning Hashem’s existence, Hashem would have had to grant the heavens the power of speech so that they could testify that He exists. But since in fact we have nothing to say – there is no speech and there are no words – Hashem need not make the voice of the heavens heard.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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