Given: May 5, 2012
Participant: I think there are two different types of cause and effect, a continuous cause and a one-time cause.
R’Kessin: Yes, but what He seems to be saying is that, to cause something, continuously, that is the relationship that He has with the His nivraim. But He could have created it as a cause.
What he seems to be asking is: then how would it exist? When you have a cause and effect, there's a connection. He ask, in the second concept of ha’orah and gilui; how do those differ? Ha’orah---Lightor the hester---concealment of that ha’orah is when the cause is concealed from the effect. You have a cause, and it connects to the effect as an effect, but the cause is now concealed but, which later on, will be revealed. This means that the cause will ultimately be revealed because it is connected to the effect.
Or, what He could have done is create the briyah---Creation, and even though He would have been the cause, the Ribono Shel Olam---G-D would never be revealed to the briyah though it would still need input except that the cause would never be revealed to the briyah because it would look continuous. There's no positive or negative; do you see what I’m saying?
Participant: I hear what you’re saying, but it doesn't sound like what he is saying. He seems to say that G-D could have made it once and for all and left it, but then there would be no connection between Him and us which defeats the whole underlying ratzon---Will.
The Shiur Begins
Participant: According to your definition of what Hashem did over here, why does Hashem need this world?
R’Kessin: He doesn’t.
Participant: So why did He create it?
R’Kessin: ….not for Himself.
Participant: But for whom? Everything is Himself.
R’Kessin: No, it's hatavah---goodness because He wants to create a briyah and bestow on it an infinite state of well-being.
Participant: But if everything is Ha’Shem, then the briyah is Ha’Shem too.
R’Kessin: True, however we don't recognize that everything is Ha’Shem. We see ourselves as distinct from Him; we see ourselves as zuloso---other even though, in reality, we are not zuloso. But we cannot penetrate that mystery. We are, really, not zuloso, but we are zuloso…
Participant: That’s what you’re saying, that He's able to take part of Himself and create it as a mufrash and give it pleasure.
R’Kessin: Well, that which thinks it exists independently.
Participant: What did Ha’Shem do until that point? I mean, all of a sudden He decided…
R’Kessin: We don’t know. That's a question you can't ask. There’s no being that has a clue.
Participant: He has been around and all of a sudden He had…?
R’Kessin: He’s eternal. You can’t ask what He did before He created the briyah.
Participant: We know the briyah is only a finite amount of what He is, and Ha’Shem existed forever, so what did He do all that time? Can we understand what He did all that time?
R’Kessin: No. “A”: there was no “time” and “B”: we do not understand His circumstances so how can we possibly know what He does in His spare time. What does the Ribono Shel Olam do for enjoyment? We don't know. There's no such thing as “enjoyment” to Him.
We reached a certain conclusion last week, that when the RaMCHaL says that the only one who knows who the Ribono Shel Olam is, is Himself. That's number one. That concept---that He is the only One who knows Who He is--- is absolute, which means there is nobody else that knows Who He is. That's an absolute concept. Nobody knows Who He is, where he is, what he is. Nobody has any inkling as to Who the Ribono Shel Olam is, what His essential nature is. He is a being that is devoid of any description as far as we're concerned. That's a very important idea.
Last week we ended with a very important idea, that the only type of being that can be perfect, a being of which we could describe as a “perfect being”---remember what perfection is?--- is that which is the totality of whatever it can be. It means that whatever existence can yield, it’s got all of it. That's perfection, because there's nothing else because the existence hasn’t any more to give or be. Clearly, that's perfection.
The only type of being that can be perfect is a being that is existence itself, that which doesn't have metzius---existence, but that which is metziut b’etzem---absolute existence. We know what “being” is, what “existence” is, because we see things exist, but we don't know what that quality is, at all. We have no idea what the quality of existence really is, or the quality that is called “existence.”
Our first foray, if you want to use that word, is the fact that we really don't know the Ribono Shel Olam because we do not know what existence, in and of itself, is, without something else that adheres to it. Normally, how do we know that existence “is”? We see a thing and we know that it exists. But we don't know the quality that makes it be.
Absolute Existence’s Imperatives
We do know one thing, that if a being is existence itself, then it has to be perfect. There are many things that flow from that. Obviously, something which is being, in and of itself, knows everything because it gave rise to everything. It's omnipotent, can do anything because, from itself, it can make anything be. It's omnipresent---everywhere---because any place that it is not doesn't exist. It gives, by definition, existence to everything. Therefore, it's omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent.
That type of being also is muchrach ha’metzius---must exist because it is; you can't take its existence away. We, who have existence, can have existence taken away from us, become annihilated. But a being that is existence can't have existence taken away because that's what it is. Therefore, the Ribono Shel Olam must be; that’s the concept of “muchrach ha’metzius.”.
That's why the Ribono Shel Olam’s name is “Y-K-V-K,” which comes from the verb l’hiyos---to be. Why would we call anybody, any being---"be-ing”? What kind of name is that? But if the etzem--- essence of the being is “be-ing,” its name comes from the word “l’hiyos.”
The Ribono Shel Olam answers Moshe Rabbeinu’s question, “What do they call You?” saying, “I am” or “I will be that I will be” meaning, “I am the ‘I am’.”
I mentioned that English uses the verb “am” to mean “existence” as in “I am walking.” The “I am” means I exist and I'm walking, so the Ribono Shel Olam is the “am” in the sentence I am walking. He is the “am” and we're the ones who walk. Therefore, words and terms that refer to existence really refer to the Ribono Shel Olam.
Participant: Why do we have to say necessarily that He's perfect? Maybe you can exist without being perfect.
R’Kessin: No, no. If you are existence itself, you are perfect.
R’Kessin: Being existence itself means you can do anything you want. Whatever is/will be/can
be is within you as a totality. More than that, it can’t be otherwise because there's nobody else to give anything else more existence, because existence is just you.
Participant: You mean that in the concept of “existence,” is perfection.
R”Kessin: Yes. If you are existence, you're perfect because more of anything does not exist outside of you, because what would give it existence? It's only from you. So you determine how much there is.
Participant: As perfect as something can be, is existence.
R’Kessin: That's right.
We see that this idea, that the Ribono Shel Olam is etzem metzius, metzius b’etzem---
essesnce as existence, existence as essence, really answers many, many different questions including the answer to why nobody can know Who He is. Everything else has existence, having essential characteristics but the essential characteristic of G-D is be-ing. We “have” existence and, therefore, we have many things that exist. We have physical bodies and so on. Remember, every single object in the universe can be separated into its characteristics, and also into its existence, that it/is; you can separate the two. But the essence of G-D is be-ing itself. That is His essence. Therefore, He takes on the name Y-K-V-K. Anyway, that’s what we arrived at last week.
Participant: With the term “existence,” I’m thinking in terms of Creation, the tangible aspect, but now it dawns on me: what about the spiritual aspect? What about Gehenom, Gan Eden? Are they also to be capsulized with the term “existence”?
R’Kessin: Gehenom is a thing. G-D isn't a thing. G-D is be-ing that gives rise to things; maybe that's a better way of saying it.
Participant: So, spiritual location is a component of existence if we're using the term?
R’Kessin: It's not a component. Existence allows spiritual dimensions to exist.
Participant: … in addition to the physical.
Well, yes, there are two fundamental dimensions of reality; actually there are three, but we certainly recognize two. The Ribono Shel Olam created a spiritual domain but we don't know what “spiritual domain” really means. We know that it's not physical, but we do not know what a spiritual domain is. It’s beyond description. Nobody knows what a malach---angel looks like. If a malach has to appear to you, it will assume physicality with a physical garb or guise, like by Avraham Avinu, or it will assume an identity like Eliyahu ha’Navi---Elijah the prophet if he wants to appear to you. It is going to appear to you as something that can be perceived by the senses.
Participant: A malach is a thing too, right?
R’Kessin: It's a spiritual thing.
Participant: What precludes us from saying that Ha’kadosh Baruch Hu---the Holy One, blessed be He is a thing? What forces us to say that He is not a thing?
R’Kessin: Because, as I told you, the only type of being that can be perfect is that.
Participant: It's something that's not a thing, that’s….
R’Kessin: …that's not a thing, but is the be-ing of all things. That's the only thing that can be perfect.
Participant: Then a thing cannot be perfect?
R’Kessin: No thing is perfect because everything is limited, in that sense. A thing cannot be perfect.
Participant: It's not shyach---necessary that a thing should be unlimited?
R’Kessin: You know, a thing could be infinite; actually, it could be.
Participant: So, what forces us to say that Ha’Kadosh Baruch Hu has no tzura---form?
R’Kessin: Certainly, there is a difference between infinities; I don’t know if you're aware of that. There was a guy named Cantor---Jewish. He invented the mathematics of infinity. It's all mathematics, by the way. And he actually said that infinities are different. The infinity of numbers, for instance, is different than the infinity of space. I'm not a mathematician, so I'm not even going to pretend to know, but infinities are not all the same. The infinity of a being that is existence itself is vastly different than a being that goes on forever.
Think about that. What is the infinity of time? Time is discrete units that go on forever so, if something goes on forever, we could say it's an “infinite.” Numbers, for instance: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… go on forever, but 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 are finite numbers. Yet, they go on forever. So, infinity is that which is finite that has no end, right? But it's not infinite in and of itself.
Anyway, without getting into that concept, the infinity of a being that is existence is different than the infinitude of being that's finite, but endless. Do you see what I'm saying? We are finite, but certain aspects can be endless. Time is endless, but it's finite, meaning there's a finite amount of things that are endless. That's not the same as saying that a being that is existence itself is infinite. It’s a different concept.
From “Beis” in RaMCHaL, we derive this conclusion where he says that ein ha’midos metziuso museges zuloso klal---nobody knows Who G-D is, except He. RaMCHaL points out:
1- G-D has no limits.
2- G-D has no dependencies; He’s not dependent on anything else.
3. He has no deficiencies.
Who can qualify to be a candidate for that type of being?---only a being that is existence itself.
We do not know what that means; we've never met a being that is pure existence; there’s no such thing in our experience. We've met things that have existence, but nothing have we ever met that's pure existence. Nobody can know, because nobody is that. Everybody only has it. That’s a very, very important idea.
The RaMCHaL asks how we can know these things to be true. His answer is: this is the kabbalah---reception, the masores---tradition from Har Sinai. What does that mean? Where do we see that?
As it says, “ata horesa lada’as”---you have been shown that you may know, “ki Hashem hu Elokim”—that the G-D is Elokim, “ein od milvado”---besides G-D, there's nothing else.
Moshe Rabbeinu conveys that, at matan Torah---the giving of the Torah. This was the gilui---revelation. Rashi says that G-D opened up the heavens and showed everybody she’hu yechudo shel ha’olam---He is the One of the world.
In that comprehension that He is the “One of the world,” in that “ein od milvado,” is the kabbalah---reception that the Ribono Shel Olam is this. That's what we saw at Har Sinai. Har Sinai is not merely the gilui of the Torah. That's a mistake if that's what you think happened. Of course there was the Torah, but what is the Torah? Does anybody know what the Torah really is? What is the Torah, really?
Participant: It’s the blueprint of Creation.
R’Kessin: Yes, it's the blueprint of Creation, clearly, but we need more than that. What does “blueprint of Creation” mean?
Participant: Before the Ribono Shel Olam created the world, He looked in the Torah.
R’Kessin: That's the midrash, but there's something more profound than that.
Participant: the tochlis---purpose of briyah?
R’Kessin: That's a thing that a blueprint has. What's the uniqueness about a blueprint? If I have a blueprint of a building, what is the uniqueness of having a blueprint?
Participant: It gives you the structure of everything.
R’Kessin: Exactly. Everything in that building must be contained in the blueprint, in the architectural design. The blueprint of the briyah in the Torah is the totality of the acts of G-D. The Torah is nothing more than a document that describes the totality of the acts of the Ribono Shel Olam in terms of this briyah. That's what the Torah really is.
Participant: But a blueprint, by definition, is the plan before the act.
R’Kessin: I'm not talking about its sequence. Don't get caught up in which comes first. I'm not into what's first; put that aside. I'm talking about what is. The blueprint of anything is the totality of that which it is describing or creating. Therefore, what the Torah really is: is the blueprint of the briyah, meaning it has the totality of everything that is. But besides that, it has another totality which is more profound than everything that is because everything that is, is what?---an act of G-D, is it not? Therefore, the totality of the acts, the ma’aseh Elokim, is the Torah.
But we have to go even more pnimius---within. Is Torah really the totality of everything G-D ever did? No, not at all.
The Ribono Shel Olam created a briyah, and that briyah is a totality of acts, right? But there are things that the Ribono Shel Olam could have done which are not part of the briyah. Maybe there’s another briyah. So, the Torah is not a description of the total acts of the Ribono Shel Olam at all. It's only the description of the total acts of the Ribono Shel Olam inside this Creation, which is a “set.” More than that, we don't know. We have no idea, as we will see, what the Ribono Shel Olam did because there could be an infinite amount of briyahs. We don't know of any besides this one.
Participant: How do you define our briyah? What is our briyah?
R’Kessin: It’s not about what it is. It's a good question but, whatever our briyah is---I'm not going into what the essential idea of the briyah is--but it’s a totality in and of itself; it's a complete---let's say---“world” unto itself.
Participant: The whole Milky Way is the briyah, the whole solar system, the whole universe, the entirety of infinity.
R’Kessin: The totality of the briyah is the entire physical universe plus the entire spiritual universe. That is its totality.
Participant: …which is infinite, almost.
R’Kessin: I don't care if it's infinite; that's a different issue. You need to stick to the concept. The totality of everything that G-D made, the spiritual domain and the physical domain, is the briyah, as far as we know. There is no other type of existence. You're either spiritual or physical; that's it. Any other type of briyah that is composed of different types of material, we have no idea of.
The RaMCHaL says that we know that the Torah is this from the kabbalah---reception, that this is our masores from Sinai. We know it from the avos---patriarchs, from the nevi’im---prophets. He writes, “v’amdu amitus b’barur”---and they knew it with clarity.
RaMCHaL says something very interesting. There's a branch of philosophy called “epistemology.” For those familiar with philosophy, epistemology asks: how do we know that which we know to be true?
For instance, you're all looking at me; I hope. You're all listening to me; I really hope so but I don't know what you really see. Let's say we both look at the wall. I don't know if you've seen the same thing I have. I have no idea what's in your brain. The light ray hits that wall, bounces off the wall and goes into your retina. The retina forms electrical signals that strike your brain. Your brain interprets that, or it actually converts electrical signals into some type of an image, which is mind-boggling. Do you and I actually see the same image? We think we do, but do we, really? We don't know.
Epistemology is a branch of philosophy that asks: how do we know that that which we know is valid? We don't really know, and there are all kinds of arguments and debates. How do we know that what we consider knowledge is valid, is true? Certainly, I know that what I see, what you see, is subjective. We don't even know if we're looking at the same reality. We think we are, but we don't really know. Unless I have your brain, I don't have any idea what your image is of that wall. So, reality is subjective, totally subjective. But we have to work with each other, in that sense, or else---forget about it!
Participant: If we would all write a description of what you look like, most of us would come to a consensus.
Yes, but you don’t know if that’s what you see. You can come to a consensus, but we don't know if what you see is the same as what the other guy sees. I have no idea of what your image of me is. It may be different than somebody else's image, but somehow there's a consensus. And not only that, what's even more chashuv---important is, not only do we not know if what we see is real being true, but we can’t be sure if it’s really “out there.” Here's what we don't know: I don't know if you and I see the same thing, the same image.
If I go like this---(knocks on the table)--- I don't know what's here. I have an image of what's here, but I don't really know what's out there, really, because my interpretation of this thing is an image in my brain. Does my image in my brain correspond to this, really? We don't know, because we are limited in our knowledge of reality through our brains. Is what I see really out there the way I see it?
Not only do I not know if you and I see the same thing, we don't even know if what we see is really out there in the way we see it because it's all interpreted by the brain. Got it?
And not only that! How do I know the sun will rise tomorrow? We don't really know it. We only know it because, historically, it's risen every day. What makes the sun rise? We don't know. In other words, what makes a physical law? We can say: if an atom spins one way, because atoms spin, then somehow a type of matter will have a certain property. But if the atom spins another way, it will have a different property; whatever the property is. The question is: why? What does spinning one way have to do with a property, and what does spinning the other way have do with that property? There's no logical connection; there are statistical connections, because we know if it spins one way, then the thing is hard. If it spins another way, then the thing is soft. But what does spinning one way or spinning another way have to do with “hard” or “soft” ? We don't know.
We don't see the intrinsic connections in reality, at all. That's why all science is really statistical, because nobody knows. If the atom spins one way, it's muchrach---imperative that this must occur? It’s not because we don't see the connection at all. We understand it as a rule because, statistically, it always happened that way. It seems arbitrary. We know that, statistically, whenever they've measured, they've always found that reaction. When it spins this way, it's hard, but that's a statistical idea. I'm just showing you that if you think you know what's out there, you don't, not at all. Why? Because we are disconnected from reality.
A question we can ask about the Ribono Shel Olam: how does He know I'm giving this shiur? Is He a navi---prophet? Is G-D a prophet? No, He's not a prophet! So, it's an interesting question, how He knows that I'm giving a shiur. Does He see me? Does G-D see us, really? No, He has no eyes. Does G-D have sight? I wouldn't have any idea. I mean, it says in the chumash that the Ribono Shel Olam “saw,” but that's because it's anthropomorphic, meaning that He has to describe it in human terms, the way we do it. But the Ribono Shel Olam doesn't see anything, doesn't hear anything, doesn't know anything the way we do, so how does He know?---because we exist in Him. G-D knows us because He knows Him…self.
The Ribono Shel Olam is not disconnected from reality, He is reality. In other words, is reality part of G-D, or is G-D part of reality? Which is it? Reality is part of G-D---exactly.
G-D is not part of reality. There's no such thing as a reality which He's part of, no! He is reality and everything is part of Him. So, the reason why the Ribono Shel Olam knows everything that's going on is because He is everything that's going on, in whatever sense that can be understood. He didn't see me, doesn't hear me, but I'm in Him.
Participant: How do you know He doesn't see? How do you know He doesn't hear you? If He created seeing, He created hearing, or he sees you…
R’Kessin: You're not listening. You have to hear the vort. What was my vort?
Participant: …..that it's part of Him; everything is part of Him, so seeing is part of Him too.
R’Kessin: If I see you, it's because you're disconnected. I need to have a light to bounce off of you to hit my eye. You're disconnected. But if I'm you, I'm you! Then I don't need any external stimulation. I know you are, because I'm you! How do you know you are, really? You experience yourself.
Participant: I know I have a heart, but I wish I could see my heart. The Ribono Shel Olam sees everything too. My heart is part of me, but it doesn't mean that seeing would be…
R’Kessin: Listen, you're not getting it. Again, we are disconnected from reality, therefore I need to use light waves, and brains, and all that, in order to interpret what's not me. We are, in many ways, identical to Him---not really, but in a certain sense---all emanate from Him and therefore we are really part of Him---chelek Elokai mi ma’al, mamash---spark of G-D and, therefore, the Ribono Shel Olam knows us because He knows Himself. We're not disconnected from Him that He's got to look at us, as if we're out there and He needs some type of instrument to tell Him we're out there. It's a very important idea.
Now, here's the problem. A navi, Yehezkel for example, or any of the nevi’im---prophets suddenly have a nevuah---prophetic experience. What is nevuah, really? Without going into the whole thing, nevuah is simply an act of imagination. The brain has a faculty called “intellect,” but it has many faculties: reason, memory, right? We have many kochos---stengths, and demyon---imagination is one. Sechel---intelligence is another. Zichron---memory is yet another. One of the faculties that the brain has is that we can imagine. If you shut your eyes for a minute, you can actually see a picture of what you looked at before you shut your eyes. What does that? How in the world can you create a picture in your mind?
That's called “imagination,” or “demyon” in Hebrew. That's one of the faculties.
Nevuah is two things: the imagination of the prophet actually sees an image that's imprinted on his imagination, projected like a movie; it's there and he's mamash---actually, really, watching a movie. And the interesting thing about it is that he has no control over his imagination. It's like something takes over his imagination and projects images; that's part of the nevuah. That's the mar’eh---vision that a navi sees.
When, for instance, Yeshayahu saw the Ribono Shel Olam riding on a horse dressed in red, this is a copious amount of imagery. What was he seeing? He didn't “see” Ribono Shel Olam riding on a horse, but his imagination conjured up an image of that. Beside seeing the image, the navi also understood the image without any problem of epistemology. In other words, you could walk over to a navi and say, “How do you know you weren’t dreaming? Some dreams are really vivid. How do you know the difference?” The RaMBaM says that part of the nevuah is not only seeing an image--- that’s number one---and not only having an intellectual insight about what the image represents---that’snumber two---but there was something else that occurred in nevuah which we cannot understand.
The navi knew that the image he was seeing was “real” and not a dream. There was something in the image itself that crossed the boundary of safek---doubt. He knew the legitimacy of the reality he was seeing.
I don't know what's out there. To me, it looks red, whatever. (the rabbi knocks on the table) It feels hard because my hand stops here so clearly there's some type of boundary, but I have no idea what's out there except for what my brain tells me is out there based on whatever image is produced. When you're looking at me, what are you looking at? You're looking at an image in your brain. You're not looking at me! You don't realize that. You look at me but you don't realize you have an image in your brain of me. It's all mental! That's how disconnected we are from reality.
But the navi somehow understood the reality he was seeing. In other words, he crossed the boundary of safek in metzius---doubt about reality. Only a navi could do that. That was part of the nevuah. Why?---because there was a certainty about what he was seeing, the reality of what he was seeing was certain, not as we see.
Yes, until now, you all thought everything was certain, but it's not true. I've just told you that there are three major fakers in our experience:
- I don't know if you and I see the same thing;
- I don't know if you and I see what's out there, at all;
- I don't know what the connection between anything is.
It's all mental images. But the navi didn't have that problem. There was an epistemological solution to his image, and the Rambam says we have no idea what that is; we don't know how He pulled it off. We don't know, but the nevuah had to have that or else the prophet would always be uncertain. Some guy could walk over to the navi and say, “You have a vivid imagination; you don't really know what's out there.”
The problem that philosophy presents as to how we know things are true, was not a problem by the navi. Not only did a navi see clearly, but he didn't have the epistemological issue as to how he knows what we see is true, or really out there, or that we're all seeing the same thing. That's what he means barur---clear because klal Israel---Jewish nation at matan Torah were prophets! You don't realize that.
Most people don't realize that, but the first two mitzvos were given by whom?
Participant: by the Ribono Shel Olam.
R’Kessin: by the Ribono Shel Olam but that doesn't make sense because the Ribono Shel Olam gave all taryag mitzvos---613 mitzvahs but who was the one who received the first two?
Participant: klal Yisrael.
R’Kessin: But, wait a minute! That's very interesting! All 611 commandments were received by Moshe Rabbeinu and then transmitted to us, yes? But the first two mitzvos were given by the Ribono Shel Olam to the entire Jewish people.
Do you realize what that means? In order to be mekabel Torah---receiver of Torah from the Ribono Shel Olam, not from an emtzai ---intermediary like Moshe Rabbeinu, you need to have the greatest dargah---level of nevuah. Why?---because, remember, the difference between nevi’im was epistemological, in a certain sense. It means that one navi was clearer than another navi although they knew what they saw, but it was more blurred, vague. Torah cannot be given to a person in any dargah of nevuah that's below the greatest of all. Why? Torah must be certain. If there's any safek in Torah---bad news!
That's why Moshe Rabbeinu was the greatest navi of all time; it’s called the “mirror that is illuminating.” When Moshe Rabbeinu took a look, he saw. He had the greatest understanding of what is real of any human being who ever lived. Why?---because he was being mekabel Torah---reciever of Torah and you cannot have kabbalah Torah---reception of Torah with any degree of uncertainty. If that's the case, we know Moshe Rabbeinu was the greatest navi, right? Why? He had to be the greatest navi, because somebody who’s mekabel Torah must be the greatest navi of all, or else the Torah is uncertain, because of our limitations.
If that's the case, if all klal Yisrael was mekabel the first two mitzvos, not through Moshe Rabbeinu, ergo--- which means “therefore”---everybody in klal Yisrael was the greatest navi, equal to the nevuah of Moshe Rabbeinu which is incredible! That means there was a time in the history of klal Yisrael that every Jew was equal in capacity, potential, and actuality to the nevuah of Moshe and could be given this nevuah. They were given the Torah directly and not through Moshe, which is astounding! That's what he means b’barur amitosom---clearly he knew the emes--- truth because they had the greatest dargah of all, the dargah of Moshe Rabbeinu.
After those two, they lost it because everybody died. It's a problem, a conundrum, as to why the Ribono Shel Olam did it knowing they would die. They were resurrected and came running back to Moshe Rabbeinu: We can't handle this; forget it! You'll be the transmitter; you'll be the emtzaii---intermediary. Fine. Therefore, that dargah was removed.
Everybody in klal Yisrael became two things---this is very important. Every Jew that stood in front of Har Sinai, and all the neshamos---I'm going to include them also---were eyewitnesses to this event; it’s very important.
Normally there's an eyewitness and then he tells somebody else. It comes out that the entire Jewish people, all of them, were eyewitnesses to ma’amad Har Sinai---standing at Mt. Sinai. What the Ribono Shel Olam did was create two and a half million eyewitnesses to an event, independent of Moshe Rabbeinu. Everybody was an eyewitness and each was at the level, the dargah, of Moshe Rabbeinu. Wow! A nolot---one born or a nivra---one created cannot go higher than that!
That's what he means by “amitus b’barur”---clear truths. That was what ma’amad Har Sinai was, and what was the gilui? The gilui was she’hu yechudo shel olam---that He is the One of the world (universe). The Jews understood clearly, at the dargah of Moshe Rabbeinu: ein od milvado---there is nothing else but G-D, nothing. He is the only thing that exists, even after the briyah. Clearly, to the level that we do exist, it's only that we have existence within Him.
Two and a half million eyewitnesses told each one of their kids: by the way, I saw this! I saw this!
Participant: They say that all neshamos were at Har Sinai. They had the same experience as the two and a half million?
R’Kessin: Yes, correct, except that the neshamos are not talking to anybody. But they would have had the same gilui. What's interesting is that they would be greater than we because they were eyewitnesses. We are eyewitnesses to what? We don't see the ruchnius. They are ruchnius. Neshamos are ruchnius so they don’t need to be told of a spiritual universe, but the gilui of Who the Ribono Shel Olam is, that was nisgalah---discovered; that’s true.
We see some incredible things. Each Jew says to his son, “I am an eyewitness. I was there. I was a prophet of the greatest magnitude and this is what I saw.” The son becomes an independent witness. Then that son told his child,---let's say two generations later---"My father told me that his father told him that his father told him that he was there, so it's true.”
What the Ribono Shel Olam did is an incredible thing. All religions are, what? One guy has this revelation, so to speak. Then, he says: I had the revelation and now all you guys have to believe me! With the Jewish people, the whole klal Yisrael were the transmitters of the revelation. Each Jew could say: my father….and my father….and my father….. In other words, each Jew is an independent transmission, independent of any other Jew. There is no religion on this planet that has such an origin of revelation wherefore each one is an eyewitness that does not have to rely on any other eyewitness. All other religions do, and that's what's wrong with all religions. For instance, Mohammed with Islam---I'm not going to go into all the nonsense---but he said, “I had a revelation….” Thereafter, he must tell everybody: you’ve got to believe me. He threatened, by his sword: if you don't believe me, I’ll kill you. That's a new motivation. He motivated everybody very “highly.”
But, forget about the motivation; where’s the proof? If you say, how do I know what you're doing? You may be hallucinating? What do I know what you're doing? Guys have wild imaginations. Who knows; maybe you had a seizure and you had an hallucination. Because you said something, I have to predicate my life on what you think is true?
Nonsense! You have to be out of your mind to believe any religion! Because one guy says he had a gilui, I'm going to live my life based on one man's opinion, or one man's insight or claim, about a vision? That's absurd! That's why the Ribono Shel Olam did this, because the Ribono Shel Olam knows.
If the Ribono Shel Olam had done this only to Moshe Rabbeinu, had only he been given the gilui of the Torah totally, a guy could say: hey, look, in the end, don't play me! Why should I live my whole life based on the visions of one man? Maybe he's hallucinating. Maybe that guy is psychotic, or maybe… I don't know what his motive is in making this stuff up.
Therefore, the Ribono Shel Olam knew that, in order to validate Torah as a true instruction manual from G-D, He would make everybody an eyewitness. You have two and a half million eyewitnesses. That's why ma’amad Har Sinai was critical, was necessary, because everybody can have an excuse and say: I didn't talk to anybody….because you say you had a vision? Okay, you're a great man, but who are you? Maybe you were depressed that day and were having an hallucination or an auditory, visual illness.
In beis din---court, you can't base judgement on one man. It requires at least two witnesses. You figure two people having the same hallucination is pretty rare. Two people don't have the exact same hallucination. There’s a drisha chakira; they had a shtim---examinaton of witness that must coincide. It's very hard for two people to hallucinate the exact same thing if it's not true. So the Torah says you need at least two. But one? No such thing! Al pi shnei edim yakum davar---on the basis of two witnesses, a matter shall be established, including the Torah!
What the Ribono Shel Olam does is even better. He had two and half a million people. That's the real basis of the emes of Torah, millions of witnesses and each one transmitted this testimony to his generations independently! Each had his own line straight to ma’amad Har Sinai. That's pretty rock solid.
But that's what he means by amitus b’berur. That's what it means, that they were all nevi’im of the highest dargah, so there was no epistemological problem that we all, usually, have. There have been philosophers that said: we don't really know what's out there. There's a huge area of philosophy called “epistemology,” and people argue about what's out there all the time. So that's what he means by barur---clarity. Each person testified that what Moshe Rabbeinu is transmitting is real.
The RaMCHaL says that you can prove a lot of these things by means of what's called “logical proofs.” You could prove that they’re so based upon what we see, on chochmas ha’tevah---science, handasa---engineering, techuna---mathematics, and sha’ar chochmas---other wisdoms.From them, using the logical proofs of science, you can actually come to a lot of these ideas. But I'm not going to go into it, because the RaMCHaL does not go into proofs, which is very interesting; he doesn't bother to prove it. He just says what is based on the masores---tradition.
RaMCHaL also goes into the different properties of the Ribono Shel Olam, which I had mentioned. But there are certain things that you need to understand, and the RaMCHaL is going to cover that, as we’ll see.
Section 3: Impossibility of Non-existence
And in gimmel---third section the Ribono Shel Olam has a property that His non-existence is non-existent. The Ribono Shel Olam cannot not be. It's impossible. Remember when I asked you: does Ribono Shel Olam exist? Boy! Is He lucky that He is because what happens if He wasn't? So, you could say He's “lucky.” Like I asked you: Ribono Shel Olam is one; is that by luck? There's something about Him that must be one? There cannot be two beings that have the same nature of the Ribono Shel Olam.
So now he's talking about muchrah metzius, that it is impossible for G-D not to exist, and we see why, because existence in and of itself cannot not be. It is. It's a phenomenon that is and it cannot annihilate itself. Existence can't annihilate itself. It is---whatever that means. That would be muchrach metzius, a being that is existence itself would be of necessity, that which must be. That which has existence can be subject to it being taken away because it isn’t existence; it has it. I can take your tie away because you're not the tie. If you were the tie and I took the tie away, who would I be taking away? You. Do you understand what I'm saying? If you take existence away, all you're doing is taking the Ribono Shel Olam away because that’s existence itself is a real being---the Ribono Shel Olam. RaMCHaL says that in gimmel, but we have an understanding of that once we understand that He is existence.
Section 4: Independence
In dalet---fourth section, RaMCHaL says that the Ribono Shel Olam is not dependent on any being for His existence. You might say there are two types of beings: there's a substantial being and an accidental being; it's called an “etzem” and a “mikre.” It's in “Morah Nevuchim”—Guide for the Perplexed and in many other sefarim---books. For instance, the table is an etzem, and its shape is accidental because shape doesn't exist in itself; it needs something else to exist within. Something has to have a shape, but what is “shape”? Did you ever see shape walking by itself, without something for which shape is an aspect of? ---no. That which is accidental---mikre---means that it needs something else of which to be an attribute. It cannot exist by itself so it is dependent on an etzem. Size, shape, color---all these things are called “mikre”---accidental beings.
Does the Ribono Shel Olam---even if He's an etzem---need something else to exist in?---no.
Does the Ribono Shel Olam need a cause?---no, because if He needed a cause, then He would be dependent on something to have caused Him. So, the Ribono Shel Olam not only doesn't need to exist in anything, but doesn't even need a cause. The Ribono Shel Olam is a causeless entity. He has no cause because he's independent.
But, wait a minute! Why doesn’t the Ribono Shel Olam have a cause? We know that the relationship between all phenomenon or events is cause and effect; the effect itself is now a new cause to the next effect. But the Ribono Shel Olam, since He must be, doesn't need a cause because there was no time that He did not exist. For a being that must be, there was never a time when it did not exist. So, if that's the case, there was never a cause. This is a very important concept, the fact that He must be, meaning He's independent of everything, any concept, any idea, any cause; He has nothing to do with it. It's a fundamental aspect of Who He is.
Section 5: One-of-a-Kind
Now, we're up to hey---section 5. There are things in this world that are one-of-a-kind. I was once in France and I went to Versailles, which is the palace of Louis XIV. If you want to understand what a Melech---king is, you need to go to France---forget about the White House. The White House compared to Versailles is like an outhouse. You have no idea of the power of a melech, the magnificence, the hod---splendor, until you check out what an absolute monarch must have been. Louis XIV was an absolute monarch, “absolute” meaning that it's like Ahashverosh; he was absolute. If he didn't like you today and said, “you die,” you were dead. It didn't need any court, any evidence, nothing. You lived, as they say, at the “pleasure of his word.” The palace of Versailles is unbelievable and I'm not even talking about his gardens that were a hundred acres. There was a desk---he had to study---a magnificent desk. It took the carpenter---they said---36 years to make that desk. Louis could pull that off. This carpenter spent half his life making the desk so it's, obviously, one of a kind because I doubt the guy ever made a second desk.
The question is this: could there have been a second desk like this? And the answer is yes, of course, if the carpenter had made a second desk. There could be, but there isn't. So that's called “relative oneness;” it's “one” in a relative sense. It's one-of-a-kind, relatively, because there is no other desk like this. That's called “relative oneness.”
The Ribono Shel Olam is One; we know that---echod, but is the Ribono Shel Olam One because He just happens to be the only G-D and boy, is He lucky? He doesn't have any competition because He happens to be One---right?---or is there something about Him that doesn't just happen to be One? He's absolutely one, not relatively one, which means that it's inconceivable, impossible that there should be two beings with the same nature as G-D.
Is G-D absolutely one or relatively one? That is the question. And the answer, which everybody would say is he's absolutely one. It’s kabbalah. By “kabbalah,” I mean “that which was given at Sinai.”
Everything else can be replicated, duplicated. There's one-of-a-kind stamps. coins, houses, whatever, but they're relatively one. The Ribono Shel Olam is an “absolutely One being.” When we say “echod” in “Shema Yisrael, Ha’Shem Elokeinu, Ha’Shem Echod”---He’s absolutely One, meaning there cannot be, within the laws of existence, a second being that has the nature of G-D. Very important idea: there cannot be two G-Ds.
Participant: Where is this in the Torah? We have it in the RaMCHaL, in Derech Ha’Shem…
R’Kessin: The concept of “echod” is in Shema Israel, Ha’Shem Elokeinu, Ha’Shem Echod.
Participant: Who says it is included in the work of RaMCHaL? Oh, that’s the kabbalah…We say it’s in Kabbalah as in Tanna’im, Rishonim, Geon’im, Acharon’im? (referents to the generations of sages from the ancient past to the present)
If you think about it, you can reason it out too because, if the Ribono Shel Olam is existence itself, if He's perfect, can there be another being that could be like Him? That would mean that the Ribono Shel Olam is imperfect because “perfect” means “to have it all.” If there was another being like Him, He could not control the other being and some other being would have some.
Participant: Everything you’re saying is included in bes?
Yes, that's right. So “perfection” removes the possibility of a competition of another being because that's what perfection means, that there cannot be a second being because that being would interfere in the other’s abilities.
Ribono Shel Olam is absolutely one, called “echod.” When we say “shema Yisrael, Ha’Shem Elokeinu, Ha’Shem Echod,” we mean He’s absolutely One. There cannot be a second being of that nature, of whatever the Ribono Shel Olam is. We understand that because there's only one thing called “existence.” There are many things that have existence, but a being that is existence itself can only be One; there cannot be two beings that are existence because there's one thing called “existence” that everybody shares. There cannot be two beings that are existence.
Oneness/Shleimus Devoid of Parts, Simplicity
The RaMCHaL now talks about, in hey---section 5, a second concept of echod. It is that the Ribono Shel Olam is not only externally one---that there's no other being like Him---but He is one internally. The Ribono Shel Olam is very simple---pashut. The Ribono Shel Olam is not complex. What does that mean?
We are composed of over 100 trillion cells. We are very complex beings. Yes, we're one thing, one person, but we are made up of an enormous quantity of parts. We are made up of 100 trillion cells, each cell itself being an entire factory. It's made of trillions and trillions of molecules and each molecule is made of trillions of atoms and each atom is made of subatomic particles: electrons, protons and neutrons, and each particle is made of quarks until you get down to the novel theory called “strings.” We are looking at infinite quantities of parts that comprise a person. Forget about the world! Any given person has almost an infinite number of parts. We are clearly complex.
The Ribono Shel Olam has no parts. If you walk over to a person or anything else, you can cut it in half. Then you can cut that half, then get a quarter, then an eighth, sixteenth, 32th and so on. You can almost infinitely cut things down. Why?---because everything consists of parts.
There are no parts to Him; there's only one thing called “G-D,”--- no parts. We can hear this truth, but we cannot conceive of what that means. We don't understand what it means to have no parts. We don't know because everything we encounter has trillions of parts. Therefore “echod” is not only that He's externally one, that there's no other being besides Him. Internally, He's One; there are no parts.
Whatever His existence is, it has no parts. Existence is. It's just an absolute of oneness and simplicity.
Participant: Why is it important to know this?
R’Kessin: Because of the concept of “echod.” You need to know what “echod” is.
Participant: What are the consequences of knowing that Ribono Shel Olam is simple?
R’Kessin: Again, it's all part of achduso---oneness. that there is no being like Him so He's externally o=One, and also He's internally One, without parts. Why can’t He have parts?---because He would be dependent on His parts. Some guy can walk over to Him and cut Him in half.
Participant: That’s part of the metzius.
That’s part of the shlemus---completeness, independence because if He consisted of parts, then He could be devoid of some part and then what would happen to Him? He would be dependent on His parts, right? You could remove a part and that would take away from schlemus. Clearly, He cannot be composed of parts. He cannot be cut. You can't cut a piece off Him. There's only one entity and that's called “G-D.” Again, it flows from the concept called “perfection,” or “lack of dependency.”
Participant: Why can't you cut something that's one?
R’Kessin: ….because then you'll be left with two. It can't be; there's no “two.” If you can be left with two, that means there was a part. We don't understand what that means, really. We've never encountered something that's an absolute unity or oneness. That's the problem. If you could cut the Ribono Shel Olam, that means He would have to consist of something that allowed parts to exist, even if it’s “one” idea, but the fact that you cut…
In other words, there's no quantity in G-D. If there's no quantity, then you can't cut it, because there's no quantity; it's an absolute. We don't know what that means, but that's the concept of pashut.
Ribono Shel Olam is simple in more ways. How?
Imagine that I remember something. If you remember your grammar, there is ‘I’ the subject which creates the construct: “I remember.” “Remember” is the verb, and “something”---that which I remember---is the “object.” There are three things: subject, verb, object (of the verb), the memory itself. How many things are those? Three. Those are three distinct things, but they're all included in “me” having the memory. There are three distinct operations or concepts.
The Ribono Shel Olam doesn't “remember” anything. What does that mean? The RaMBaM says that He, the act of remembering, and the memory itself, are one and the same thing. There is no “He remembers something.” G-D is the act of remembering and He is identical to the memory itself; there's only one thing. In us it's three; in Him it's identical. That's called pashut---simple too. He's not only simple in the sense that there are no parts; He's simple in that there is no separation between Him and his actions.
‘He-creates-world’ is all one thing, identical. We don't understand what that means. The RaMBaM says that. We can hear it, but we have no concept of what it means. That's called “pashut” or “pashtus.” That's “echod.” Not only is G-D externally one where there's no other being, He's internally one, which means that there are no parts, neither in His etzem---essence or in His operations, his doing, his actions; there are no parts. He’s absolutely pashut. There's only one thing called “G-D” and everything is that, is He.
In other words, there's no such thing that's outside of G-D; It's all He. That's what I said with the question: how does G-D know I'm giving the shiur? He doesn't know. G-D doesn't know I'm giving a shiur. I, the shiur, all you guys with me, the knowing---is all Him.
Based on our perception, we are different (as created beings) but there's a reality that we are not in contact with. It's like looking at the microscopic world. Until they invented the microscope, who knew anything was “below” our ordinary perception? Suddenly, with the invention of a microscope, a realm they call the “microcosm,” is brought to our attention and we become aware of trillions and trillions of things out there, of different bacteria, viruses, fungi, all kinds of parasites---you name it. You can't see it. You see?
Same thing: the Ribono Shel Olam is one thing, a reality of which we have no comprehension. There are three realities: the reality of the physical universe, the reality of the spiritual universe, and the reality of G-D. G-D is the reality.
There's no comprehension of that reality. We don't even comprehend the spiritual realm. We don't know what a malach---angel looks like, so forget about knowing what G-D looks like because even malachim don't know what G-D is, that's why they say: “Where is this place that we can praise Him?”
Participant: You're saying that, as far as He's concerned, there's no difference between me and a zebra?
R’Kessin: There’s no such thing as “zebra,” as we’ll see. We think there’s a zebra!
You know, the ultimate is this: you get married, so you think you married a woman. There's no “woman.” There's no “you.” There's no “marriage.” Yet, we actually go through a ceremony and the worst thing is we have to write out a check after the wedding. You have to pay somebody and there's no check. We actually have to pay somebody for what doesn't exist! (laughter)
This is chutzpah norah---extraodinary audacity, right? I’ve got to pay a guy? “But, nothing is!” I could argue. I don't know if the caterer is going to accept that argument.
Participant: When it's translated in “Devarim,” that there was no prophet like Moshe Rabbeinu who knew Ha’Shem face-to-face, how do you conceptualize that?
R’Kessin: I said there was somebody who knew Him face-to-face, but not on a continuous basis. We had Him for an instant of time---maybe two minutes---and then everybody died but, on a continuous basis, as a relationship---no such thing.
Participant: Moshe Rabbeinu was able to stay alive.
Anyway, this is called pashut, but it's a characteristic of His echod, so now echod means two things, doesn't it? “Shema Yisrael, Ha’Shem Elokeinu, Ha’Shem Echod” means that He's the only one externally, that there's only One G-D. This One G-D is also one thing, devoid of parts, and all His faculties are identical to Him, so there's one thing: no parts, no complexity, absolute simplicity.
The Illusion of “Other”
And the third kind of echod---do you know what that is? The Ribono Shel Olam says, “ata horeita lada’at”---you have been shown that you may know, “ki Ha’Shem hu Elokim”---the Ribono Shel Olam is the Master, the Lord, “ein od milvado”---there is nothing besides Him. It doesn’t say “ein od kamo hu”--- there’s nobody like Him. It says “ein od milvado”--- besides G-D there is nothing else.
What? There’s nothing else besides Him? There's a whole briyah! There's a spiritual universe and there's the physical universe, so what do you mean “there’s nobody besides You”? You just went through a whole act of creation, so obviously this is a zuloso, right? There are others besides You!
No. There isn't. It's an illusion. The best way I can describe this to you is with the following example. There's a guy sleeping on a couch and he's dreaming. The guy lays down on a couch and fell asleep. He's dreaming. In his dream, there are two people sitting at a table and they're drinking coffee and they're having a conversation; this is in his dream. One guy says to the other guy, “You know, we don't really exist, at all.”
The other guy looks at him and says, “What are you talking about? There's a table. There’s coffee. We're talking to each other. What do you mean ‘we don't exist’? What are you talking about?”
The first guy responds, “You don't understand something. We exist relative to ourselves but, compared to the guy sleeping,…he is; we ain't. He really is. We don't exist; we're a mental image of his. Not only that, if he woke up, we’d instantly disappear.”
It's true that they both exist in some illusion in their minds. But these two guys don't really exist. Relative to themselves, there's existence---whatever that is---but it's not real existence at all.
It's the same idea; we think we exist, but it's only relative to ourselves. But G-D is. We cannot penetrate that illusion of our existence. We cannot penetrate our non-existence.
Do you know where you see that?---when the Ribono Shel Olam says to the navi---prophet, “v’ani lo shenisi”---I have not changed. We could ask: What do You mean that You’ve not changed? There's You before the act of Creation and there's You after the Creation, You made the briyah.
R Kessin: Even tzimtzum is a change. One might say: this means there’s You Who You ever were before You did anything, and then You’re called “Creator,” so that's a change! You'd have a new name. You created them and You made potential things become actual, so there's a change in You…”.
“I have not changed” means nothing exists! There is no briyah, really. There is nothing but Me, even after the briyah has been made. How could that be? How could we not exist and even think about our own non-existence? It's an oxymoron, an impossibility, a contradiction. But the truth of the matter is: nothing is except G-D, even after the Creation, in truth.
The only being that is has to be existence itself. Whoever has to be given existence doesn't really exist. It's an incredibly mystical idea, but that's what it means---not figuratively or poetically. There is nothing else, really. Rav Chaim Volozhin says, “ein od milvado, mamash! “ The word “mamesh” does not mean Menachem Mendel Schneerson, If you’re Lubavitch. (laughter)
Rav Chaim Volozhin says that “mamesh,”---really is to be taken, is meant, literally, not figuratively, not metaphorically. There is nothing else, really! How could there be nothing else? We exist. How could I think I exist? How can that which doesn't exist think it exists?
What kind of words are these?
We cannot penetrate that mystery. In fact, there are malachim---angels that tried to penetrate that mystery, the mystery of their non-existence. Right before they're about to penetrate their non-existence, what happens to them?---they cease to exist.
In other words, a non-existential being cannot penetrate the concept of its non-existence because that would be a contradiction in terms. The truth of such non-existence must be completely hidden because, if you try to approach that, you would non-exist. The best way I can describe it the example of that dream.
So a guy's going to say: wait a minute! If I don't exist, so why can't I stand in the middle of the highway? Cars don't exist, so what's the problem here? But the answer is that a non-existential car can kill a non-existential person. In the illusion, one non-existent person can destroy another non-existent person.
That concept is called yichud metziuso. The only one who really is, is G-D. We don't exist really, but in some way, we exist in an illusionary way, which we cannot penetrate. That is one of the main reasons why the Torah begins with “bes”---second Hebrew letter with gematria: 2. The briyah always needs at least two things: It needs G-D and, two, the being that doesn't exist but thinks it exists. There are always two fundamental things going on; it can never be “aleph”--- first Hebrew letter with gematria: 1. Creation cannot be only G-D and yet it is.
Therefore, not only is G-D externally one and internally one, G-D is the only one. That's what echod really means. Echod has three concepts to it: absolute oneness, internally oneness, and identical oneness with whatever He does and is. He's the only One, even after Creation. No being can penetrate that truth.
Participant: It wasn't given at matan Torah?
R’Kessin: Oh, very good! So, what type of reality are we dealing with here? That's a very good question, yes. That's a question that I have to deal with. After this, everything has to be dealt with in terms of “what is” really.
Participant: “ata horeita l’da’as”---you are obligated to know. Moshe knew this. He understood “ein od milvado” so why didn’t He cease to exist?
R’Kessin: …because you only know it as an idea. You don't come in contact with that reality. Listen, I know that Wall Street is making a lot of money. Maybe you give me the money that they’re making. An idea has nothing to do with the reality. You can understand something in terms of an idea, but that doesn't mean you are in contact with its reality.
Participant: How do you know about the malachim---angels that tried to penetrate their reality, from the ChaZaL?
R’Kessin: Yes, I once read it. The malachim that tried to penetrate, vanished. I forgot where I read it; it was a long time ago.
Participant: Do malachim have bechirah---choice?
Yes, there are malachim that have bechirah, sure. They are the higher ones, not the lower ones. And that’s why malachim could be punished. There are malachim that were punished. Do you remember Rafael? He said, “I come to cure the city” and he took it upon himself. Malachim make mistakes. Malachim have no evil in them, but they do make mistakes.
We have now penetrated three incredibly important things:
1. “Shema Yisrael, Ha’Shem Elokeinu, Ha’Shem Echod”’ means that G-D is externally one, that there is no other god.
2. There is no such thing as “parts” or complexity in G-D. There is a simple thing called “G-D,” whatever that is.
3. He’s the only One. Compared to Him, we don’t exist at all. In fact, there is no briyah. That’s what “ani lo shenisi” means. There is no Creation at all except to say that the Ribono Shel Olam did create a briyah that does not really exist like Him but, in some way, does exist.
We’ve been looking at the fact that He created what’s called a “bubble” and He created a whole briyah.
Participant: Is the “bubble” part of Him?
R’Kessin: No, it’s external to Him.
Participant: So now, instead of being part of Him, like we said until tonight, we’re external to Him?
R’Kessin: We are external to Him, yes.
Participant: Why are you saying that we’re external? I thought we were His illusion, right? You said He’s the guy sleeping on the couch.
R’Kessin: He's the one sleeping on the couch and we’re the dream.
Participant: So we’re part of Him, part of his thoughts or whatever, so how are we external to Him? In what way is this bubble external to Him?
R’Kessin: Well, the bubble is an illusion. Whatever it is, it’s not Him. Hold that off.
Participant: The dream is part of the person dreaming.
R’Kessin: Yes, that's true.
Participant: Then what’s the “ein od milvado”? Everything that exists is Him, including the bubbles.
R’Kessin: No, “ein od milvado” is beside Him, there's nothing else.
Participant: So that means “in the bubble”---besides Him, there's nothing---even in the bubble there isn't.
R’Kessin: Correct. There's nothing. That's the truth of the matter.
Participant: That means that the bubbles are part of Him. There's nothing external to Him.
R’Kessin: Listen. Relative to Him, nothing exists and G-D has done nothing. “V’ani lo shenisi “---I have not changed means that, relative to G-D, nothing is, nothing exists except Him, and G-D has done absolutely nothing. Now, you can say: we seem to exist independent of Him and, clearly, He has made the whole briyah, yes. We don't understand, we cannot penetrate that mystery of “ani lo shenisi “ or “ein od milvado.” We know what it means, but we cannot penetrate that mystery.
The only example I can give you is a person dreaming and the dream relative to that. It's not a good example; it's poor, but it's the only thing I'd say. Maybe I could use another example and tell you to look in the mirror. Who do you see? You see yourself. Would you say the image in the mirror is the same as you? Of course not; you're real. The image in the mirror is an image. It looks like you, but it's not the same existence as you. That's another mushel---example that I could use.
Participant: These mashalim---examples are from our perspective or from His perspective?
R’Kessin: …from our perspective. So the concept of shema Yisrael embraces all these three “echods.”
Participant: The image in the mirror exists, but it's dependent on the person standing in front of the mirror. It doesn't exist; it's a reflection of the person that exists as a reflection of the person.
R’Kessin: It's not exactly the same. There is no exact mushel. There’s the enormous difference between two different types of existence. The truth is that there is no image in the mirror, and there is no dream, really. I don't have any words to describe the nature of our being, don't know what it is, but it's not Him. It doesn't look like Him. It's not in any way connected to Him in the real sense of the word “connected.” So, what and who are we? What's going on here? For that you need to wait for next week because it's already 12 o'clock.
Participant: So, we’ll try to non-exist for another week. (laughter)
Just don't be upset that you don't exist until next week. I want to tell you something. If you think this is problematic, wait till next week!