By: Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui
“Hear o Israel the Lord our G-d the Lord is one.”
Another verse. “You shall know today and you shall place it in your heart, that G-d, is G-d in the heavens above and in the earth below, there is none other besides Him.” Knowing is not enough. The Bible is very aware, that what we have up in our heads on its own isn’t enough to influence our behavior. How many of us know it’s bad to eat certain foods and we do it anyway. How many know that smoking, drinking in excess or other examples are detrimental in our lives and we do it anyway.
After a person acquires knowledge, it takes a separate effort to push that knowledge down the narrow straights of the neck and have the knowledge reach our heart in order to arouse an emotion, that we should feel, the positive or negative consequence of doing or not doing.
That is why our sages tell us, “Who is strong? One who conquers (takes control of) his emotions.”
This knowledge and awareness must penetrate deep into our hearts, so that our will and desires, together with our emotions will be in line and attuned with this awareness.
This doesn’t come easy and takes great effort. The distance between knowing and impacting our hearts, is as far as the distance between knowing and not knowing. The difference, is between those who say they believe, and those who say, they “really” believe to the point that they feel, they have a personal relationship.
The verse is saying, “And you shall know, today”. Every word is deliberate in G-ds book the Bible. There is not even one letter redundant and unnecessary.
The Bible is saying, from the “today” – the occurrences and happenings of the day, a person can see the providence of G-d everywhere and in everything, when he observes and notices all the “coincidences” and unexpected “miracles.” When a person trains his mind to see Divine Providence in everything, the facade of nature and predictability becomes almost like an interesting joke, and is uncovered.
There are many levels to our faith in G-d.
The most basic is to believe that there is one G-d. He exists, and there is no other besides him. A higher and deeper level in this faith, is that there is no other authority or power in the world outside of this G-d. Not the employer, or the government, or money etc.
The deepest level in faith from the verse mentioned above, is that there is no other existence, besides G-d. “There is none other besides Him.” The world and the universe have no substance of its own outside of
G-d. The world and the universe is an expression of His existence hiding under the trick that G-d made for the sake of giving us free choice, we call, “the laws of Nature.” G-d is the existence and reality of everything. The only being.
In a very subtle way when a person gives power to anybody or anything in the world, as if it can affect his life and interfere in his relationship with G-d this is a form of denying G-ds oneness and unity in the world. It is a form of idol worshiping by attributing some degree of power to anything outside of the invisible omniscient and omnipresent G-d.
This knowledge and awareness, when implanted in ones heart is what Maimonides begins his entire magnum opus and describes as the “the foundation of all foundations and the pillar of knowledge.”
This deep felt faith brings to the expression, “G-d is with me (therefore) I shall not fear.”
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