What Do We Believe?

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May 26, 2019

לזכות אבי מורי ואמי מורתי שיחיו!!

לזכות ידי"נ ר' דוד מוטהידה שליט"א וכל בני ביתו!!

People think that the definition of belief is merely to believe that there is a G-d [i.e not to be an atheist]. Think again!  

The Rambam opens Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah with the words:


יסוד היסודות ועמוד החכמות לידע שיש שם מצוי ראשון והוא ממציא כל נמצא וכל הנמצאים משמים וארץ ומה שביניהם לא נמצאו אלא מאמתת המצאו:

The foundation of all foundations and the pillar of wisdom is to know that there is a Primary Being who brings into being all existence. All the beings of the heavens, the earth, and what is between them came into existence only from the truth of His being.



It is not enough to "believe in a Higher Power" or to believe that Hashem exists. One must consciously believe that he is the Prime Mover who brings EVERYTHING into existence. 

Halacha Beis ["Bet" if you are the gambling type or prefer the Sefardic pronunciation]:

ואם יעלה על הדעת שהוא אינו מצוי אין דבר אחר יכול להמצאות:

If one would imagine that He does not exist, no other being could possibly exist.

It is not just that he created everything. It is more than that. ONLY because of his existence is any other creation possible. Why imagine that He doesn't exist? To use our faculty of imagination to bring home the point that it is IMPOSSIBLE for anything to exist in such a non-reality. 

Halacha Gimmel ["Jimmel" if you are Yemenite]:

ואם יעלה על הדעת שאין כל הנמצאים מלבדו מצויים הוא לבדו יהיה מצוי ולא יבטל הוא לבטולם שכל הנמצאים צריכין לו והוא ברוך הוא אינו צריך להם ולא לאחד מהם לפיכך אין אמתתו כאמתת אחד מהם:

If one would imagine that none of the entities aside from Him exist, He alone would continue to exist, and the nullification of their [existence] would not nullify His existence, because all the [other] entities require Him and He, blessed be He, does not require them nor any one of them. Therefore, the truth of His [being] does not resemble the truth of any of their [beings].

Don't think that just because Existence is so dependent on Hashem that He is in any way dependent on existence. NO! He is COMPLETELY devoid of any NEED for ANYTHING or ANYBODY.

That, in a nutshell, is the most basic content of our Emunah in Hashem according to the Rambam. 

The Rambam included all of this in his formulation of our obligation to believe in the first of the 13 principles of faith [Perek Chelek]:

להאמין מציאות הבורא יתברך. והוא שיש שם נמצא שלם בכל דרכי המציאות, הוא עילת המציאות. הנמצאים כולם - בו קיום מציאותם וממנו קיומם.

ואל יעלה על הלב העדר מציאותו, כי בהעדר מציאותו נתבטל מציאות כל הנמצאים, ולא נשאר נמצא שיתקיים מציאותו. 

ואם נעלה על לבנו העדר הנמצאים כולם זולתו, לא יתבטל מציאות השם יתברך ולא יגרע. ואין האחדות והאדנות אלא לו לבד, השם יתברך שמו, כי הוא מסתפק במציאותו, ודי לו בעצמו, ואין צריך במציאות זולתו.

וכל מה שזולתו מן המלאכים וגופי הגלגלים, ומה שיש בתוכם, ומה שיש למטה מהם - הכל צריכים במציאותם אליו. 
וזה היסוד הראשון מורה עליו דיבור אנכי ה' אלקיך.

So it emerges that one could theoretically not be what we would call an atheist because he believes that Hashem exists, but also not be defined as a believer in G-d [upon which one's portion in the World To Come partially depends]. One must have a belief that encompasses all the three halachos we saw in the Rambam [and more as I hope we will discuss]. 


A little mussar: The less needy one is of others [for "likes" or fake "friends" or anything else] and the more independent one is relying solely on Hashem - the closer he/she is to Hashem. Just as He is not dependent on others - so should we be! 

Also, when a child asserts his or her independence - THAT is the Tzelem Elokim shining forth!


In the Ani Maamin printed in the Siddur [BASED on the Rambam's 13 Ikkarim - Principles] it says in the first Ikker:

אֲנִי מַאֲמִין בֶּאֱמוּנָה שְׁלֵמָה. שֶׁהַבּוֹרֵא יִתְבָּרַךְ שְׁמוֹ הוּא בּוֹרֵא וּמַנְהִיג לְכָל הַבְּרוּאִים. וְהוּא לְבַדּוֹ עָשָׂה וְעוֹשֶׂה וְיַעֲשֶׂה לְכָל הַמַּעֲשִׂים:

I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, is the Creator and Guide of everything that has been created; He alone has made, does make, and will make all things.


That is merely a reflection of PART of the Ikker but not the entire Ikker, as we saw.




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