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What does G-d want?

by Dr. James Brawer

  

Library » Philosophy » Creation | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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The Short Answer:

G-d created a world for you, so that you can create a home for Him. 

The Askmoses Answer:

What is the natural order and why did G-d create it to begin with?

The answer is expressed, in metaphoric terms, in Midrash Tanchuma, Nasso (7:I). “The Holy One, Blessed be He, desired a residence below” i.e., “in lower worlds.” We are already thoroughly familiar with “lower worlds” because that’s where we happen to live. The lowest of the “lower worlds” is the physical universe.

The question then becomes what is a “residence” and how can this world possibly qualify as such a place? Offhand, the concept of a residence for G-d sounds idolatrous. The primitive humanoid gods of mythology had residences. Zeus supposedly lived on Olympus, Odin in Valhalla. Although the term “residence” is intended by the Midrash to be understood metaphorically, it is not an easy metaphor to unravel.

The concept of residence implies limitation. It excludes all aspects of creation that do not conform to its specifications. How can a bit of existence, bounded by time and space, contain G-d, Who is infinite and who transcends all being? Moreover, the totality of creation is nothing but an expression of G-d’s will and wisdom, and is, therefore dependent upon, and negated to Him, just as a person’s thoughts have no existence independent of himself. Creation is contained within G-d (as a person’s thought is contained within himself). G-d can not be confined by creation. What then does a “residence” for G-d mean?

Residence Defined 

The term tells us nothing about G-d’s essence, which is absolutely unknowable, but rather something about how He wishes to manifest Himself.

Consider what a residence means in human terms. An individual wakes up in the morning and goes off to work. At the office he reveals himself as a professional. His behavior patterns, speech, and social interactions are all governed by the requirements of this professional role. To his students (let’s assume he is a professor) he is one thing, to his colleagues, something else, and to his chairman, something else again. At noon he goes downtown to buy a coat and thus assume an entirely new and different identity—that of a customer.  Returning home on the subway he must transform yet again, into another species characterized by its own unique behavior pattern. He becomes a passenger.


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RELATED CATEGORIES

G-d
G-d » Creation

Midrash
(Pl. Midrashim). Non-legal material of anecdotal or allegorical nature, designed either to clarify historical material, or to teach a moral point. The Midrashim were compiled by the sages who authored the Mishna and Talmud (200 BCE-500 CE).
Tabernacle
Mobile sanctuary which traveled with the Jews in the desert, containing the Ark with the Tablets, and the sacrificial altars. When the Jews entered Israel, it was erected in the city of Shiloh where it remained for more than 300 years. It was buried when the permanent Holy Temple was erected in Jerusalem.
Temple
1. Usually a reference to the Holy Temple which was/will be situated in Jerusalem. 1st Temple was built in 825 BCE and was destroyed in 423 BCE. The 2nd Temple was built in 350 BCE and was destroyed in 70 CE. The 3rd Temple will be built by the Messiah. 2. A synagogue.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.