[Avodah] Thinking about, knowing about, and knowing G-d

Micha Berger via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Thu Sep 10 12:14:52 PDT 2015

On Thu, Sep 10, 2015 at 12:27:43AM -0400, Moshe Yehuda Gluck via Areivim wrote:
: R' ZS:
:> The Nachum in your story is too busy to think about HKBH, and that's not
:> good, but OTOH HKBH Himself said "I wish they would forget me and keep my
:> Torah", so this Nachum is better than someone who is constantly
:> thinking about HKBH but doesn't keep mitzvos.   But this is why Tanya
:> (ch 41) says to interrupt ones learning once an hour to think about why one
:> is learning.

: This discussion reminds me that there's another step - not only to think
: about Hashem, but to _know_ about Hashem, as in the old story (excerpted
: from a piece I wrote for "A Daily Dose of Torah"):

: R' Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev studied for an extended period of time with
: the Maggid, R' Dov Ber of Mezeritch. When he returned, his father-in-law -
: who did not approve of R' Levi Yitzchok's leanings towards chassidus - asked
: him, "What did you learn there?" R' Levi Yitzchok answered, "I learned that
: Hashem exists." His father-in-law, annoyed, protested that everyone knows
: that, and to prove it, asked the maid, "Does Hashem exist?" She answered,
: "Certainly!" 
: "She says it," R' Levi Yitzchok responded, "but I know it!"

: Certainly pertinent to Malchiyos. 

I often quote something R/Prof Shalom Carmy wrote in
<http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol07/v07n087.shtml#07> (Aug '01):
> [RGStudent: <http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol07/v07n086.shtml>]
>> However, in his Al HaTeshuvah (pp. 195-201), R. Yosef Dov Soloveitchik 
>> investigates what it means to "know" God.  As he points out, it is 
>> impossible to know God.  Rather, the Rambam means that we are obligated to 
>> constantly recognize God's existence.  As it says in Mishlei (3:6), "In all 
>> your ways know Him."  Cf. Rabbeinu Yonah's commentary to Mishlei, ad loc.

> People who throw around big words on these subjects always seem to take
> for granted things that I don't.

> The people who keep insisting that it's necessary to prove things about
> G-d, including His existence, seem to take it for granted that devising
> these proofs is identical with knowing G-d.

> Now if I know a human being personally the last thing I'd do, except as
> a purely intellectual exercise, is prove his or her existence.

RMYG's point is similar to that in the quote from RGS.

There is a difference between knowing about Gcd and knowing Gcd. 

The latter is experiential, and doesn't demand proof. And IMHO more
related to Malkhios.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             None of us will leave this place alive.
micha at aishdas.org        All that is left to us is
http://www.aishdas.org   to be as human as possible while we are here.
Fax: (270) 514-1507            - Anonymous MD, while a Nazi prisoner

More information about the Avodah mailing list