Ch. 42, Class 7


Continuation of Chapter 42

וכמאמר רז״ל: הסתכל בשלשה דברים כו׳, עין רואה ואוזן שומעת כו׳

As the Rabbis, of blessed memory, said: 15 “Reflect upon three things [and you will not come to sin: Know what is above you] — an Eye that sees, and an Ear that hears….”

וגם כי אין לו דמות הגוף

And although He has no bodily likeness,

How, then, can we possibly say that G‑d possesses an “eye” and “ear”, organs that are part of a physical body?

הרי אדרבה, הכל גלוי וידוע לפניו ביתר שאת לאין קץ מראיית העין ושמיעת האזן, על דרך משל

yet, on the contrary: i.e., this is the very reason that everything is revealed and known to Him infinitely more than, for example, through the physical medium of sight and hearing.

When we say that G‑d does not possess any bodily likeness, we mean that He is not bounded by the frailties of a physical body. A physical eye can observe corporeality, but not spirituality; it can see only when there is adequate light, and only up to a given distance, and so on. Physical hearing is likewise limited. G‑d’s “seeing” and “hearing”, however, possess only the merits of these faculties, but none of their physical limitations. For it goes without saying that any quality possessed by created beings is surely possessed by their Creator.

רק הוא על דרך משל, כמו אדם היודע ומרגיש בעצמו כל מה שנעשה ונפעל באחד מכל רמ״ח איבריו, כמו קור או חום

By way of illustration, G‑d’s “seeing” and “hearing”, and the fact that everything is revealed to Him and known by Him, are like a man who knows and feels within himself all that is happening to and being experienced by each of his 248 organs, such as cold and heat,

ואפילו חום שבצפרני רגליו, על דרך משל, אם נכוה באור

feeling even the heat in his toenails, for example, as when he is scorched by fire;

וכן מהותם ועצמותם

so also their essence and substance,

I.e., not only is a person aware of all that is happening to his organs; he also feels the organs themselves.

וכל מה שמתפעל בהם יודע ומרגיש במוחו

and all that is affected 16 in [ or: by] them, is known to the person and sensed in his brain.

One need not use his eyes or ears to see or hear what has happened to a limb of his body, such as the pain of a burned hand or foot, for he knows and senses it in his mind.

וכעין ידיעה זו, על דרך משל, יודע הקב״ה כל הנפעל בכל הנבראים עליונים ותחתונים, להיות כולם מושפעים ממנו יתברך, כמו שכתוב: כי ממך הכל

In a similar manner of knowledge, by way of analogy, G‑d knows all that befalls all created beingsof both higher and lower worlds, because they all receive their flow of life from Him, as it is written: 17“For from You come all things.”

Just as the brain, which is the source of life for the whole body, knows what transpires within it, so too does G‑d, the Source of all life, know what is happening with all of creation.

וזה שאומרים: וגם כל היצור לא נכחד ממך

And this is the meaning of what we say: 18 “…and no creature is hidden from You,” inasmuch as all created beings emanate from Him.

וכמו שכתב הרמב״ם [והסכימו לזה חכמי הקבלה, כמו שכתב הרמ״ק בפרדס]

And as Maimonides speaking as a philosopher has said 19 and this has been agreed to by the scholars of the Kabbalah, as Rabbi Moses Cordovero writes in Pardess),

שבידיעת עצמו, כביכול, יודע כל הנבראים הנמצאים מאמיתת המצאו וכו׳

that by knowing Himself, as it were, He knows all created things, whose source of existence is His true existence.

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Footnotes

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16. The Rebbe indicates in a footnote that it is incorrect to translate “all that is done to them,” namely, the effect of heat or cold on the organs. For were that to be so: (a) this has already been mentioned earlier; why repeat it again; (b) the Hebrew should have read, “nif‘al bahem,”which would translate to “done to them,” and not,“mitpa’el bahem,” which translates literally, “what is affected in them.” For this reason the phrase has been translated, “and all that is affected in them.”

Furthermore, says the Rebbe, it is possible that there is a typographical error, and that the phrase should read, מהם… — “and all that is affected by them,” i.e., all that which man as a whole is affected by the organs. For this reason the translation has alternatively been given as, “and all that is affected by them.”

This emendation parallels that which is stated a little later on, that the analogy of man’s knowledge of his organs isnot at all similar to the analogue, for a person is affected by his body; G‑d, however, is in no way affected by changes in the world. It therefore is reasonable to assume that the analogy given here is that of the person being affected by his bodily organs, for it is in this regard that the analogue is not at all similar to the analogy.

17. I Divrei HaYamim 29:14.

18. In the Mussaf prayer of Rosh HaShanah.
19. Parentheses are in the original text.

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