By: Rabbi Amichai Cohen
What is freedom? That is a relative question that depends on who you ask. For someone in the middle of Africa who does not have running water, freedom is simply running water. Where as, someone living in the comforts of a western country, would not consider running water freedom. For that person it would be perhaps the ability to pay their bills, go on the vacation of their choice or follow their dreams by attaining higher education and starting a business.
Within the hierarchy of creation, the freedom of the inanimate is to simply be. The freedom of the vegetative is to sprout, grow and flourish. Freedom for the animal kingdom is the ability to move, hunt and procreate. Freedom for a human is to be able to utilize the mind, seek knowledge, and express that knowledge in speech and in writing. The freedom of the inanimate is vastly different than the freedom that the vegetative requires, and the locomotive needs of the animal is vastly different than...
According to Kabbalah the creation of the world is not a mere historic event. The notion that the world was “once created” is a fallacy. The Ba’al Shem Tov teaches that to perceive the world as having once been created is a false perception of reality. Creation is in fact a continuous and constant current event.
The verse says “You shall know today and take it to your heart that YHVH is Elokim in the heavens above and on the land below there is no one but him.” (Devarim 4:39)
The Alter Rebbe asks, in Shaar Hayichud and Emunah (Chapter 1), why is it necessary for the verse to declare a simple fact that no other G-d exists in the heavens above or on the land below? Would we ever think that there is a deity that exists somewhere beneath the earth?
The Alter Rebbe answers by quoting the verse in Psalms “Forever, O G-d, your word stands firm in the heavens.” (119:89) The Ba’al Shem Tov explains that...
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