web analytics
January 31, 2015 / 11 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

The Deeper Dimension Of Passover


Lebovic-041814

Passover holds many fundamental elements of faith and belief. This is reflected in the mention of the Exodus in the Shema prayer. Yalkut Shimoni (Hosheya Remez 519) comments: “In the merit of emunah [faith] were our ancestors redeemed from Egypt.”

By definition, emunah is required at the point that intellectual grasp stops. How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine? One of the principal intellectual proofs for the existence of an Entity beyond the parameters of the universe as we know it is the axiom that “no entity can make itself” (bring itself into a state of existence), the conclusion being that Someone beyond the realm of the universe brought the universe into existence.

This, however, only “proves” His existence but offers no clue as to what He is really about (essential knowledge vs. existential knowledge). All we are doing is extrapolating from the universe, positing that God transcends it but not knowing the nature of His transcendence.

True, we acknowledge that the ability to create ex nihilo can only come from God who has no beginning and no preceding cause. Only He, therefore, can bring about the creation of entities that also have no preceding cause and “potential form” from which they might develop gradually; rather, they radically emerge out of “nothing,” save for the Power bringing them into existence.

Nonetheless, the creative ability is only one of Hashem’s powers. The only access we have to the Creator’s essential transcendence is due to His kindness in activating a process of revelation. The main stage of such Divine revelation took place at Sinai at the giving of the Torah, and subsequently through the prophets of later generations.

This is why we read that “God descended upon the mountain” (Shemos 19:20), indicating that these are reaches unattainable through man’s ascent but only through Divine descent and revelation.

Where does emunah come in? As much as there is a process of revelation, it is still limited to the limited parameters of human intellect and emotions. To go beyond those parameters, one has to rely on emunah, faith and belief in divine axioms that transcend human intellect. Some examples: God’s Unity, His Perfection, and His Incorporating of Opposites (such as infinity and finity).

These matters of belief are spelled out as mitzvot of the Torah, and Jews have explicit emunah and belief in them. However, is it true that a Jew will believe merely because he is commanded to in the mitzvot? Is it fair to blame those who don’t believe, despite having been so commanded?

The answer is that Jews are endowed to naturally believe in these truths. In addition, they have inherited this faith from their ancestors Avraham (known as the rosh, the head, of believers), Yitzchak and Yaakov.

Those who profess not to have this faith suffer from temporary obstacles blocking their access (faith can often be obscured by layers of intellectual trappings). When such Jews are confronted by situations threatening their intrinsic connection to God, this faith will come to the fore in order to overcome such obstacles.

The Exodus was a prelude to the Sinaic Revelation. However, it was for the merit of the intrinsic faith Jews possessed all along during their slavery in Egypt. For God knows the pitfalls of intellect, even when confronted by open, undeniable miracles changing the course of nature. To this day you will find explanations of “natural phenomena” that are thought to have activated the splitting of the Red Sea. Hashem desired that Revelation be coupled with strong, unshakable emunah, which Jews possessed all along, and in that merit they were redeemed.

Once emunah is firmly entrenched, all natural phenomena are viewed differently. Divine providence and intervention, sometimes openly miraculous and many times not, are then perceived and felt in all natural events. All these phases are reactivated every Pesach and our emunah is strengthened anew. May we thereby also soon merit the Geulah Sheleimah through Mashiach.

About the Author: Rabbi Yeheskel Lebovic is the spiritual leader of Cong. Ahavath Zion (www.ahavathzion.com) in Maplewood, New Jersey. His articles on Jewish philosophy and chassidus have appeared in various publications. Comments from readers can be e-mailed to ylebovic@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Deeper Dimension Of Passover”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.
V15 US Political Operative Marinated in Hate-Israel Activism
Latest Indepth Stories
Eli Weiss

Shepherding in the Shomron isn’t your usual kind of shepherding – despite his business-minded beginnings, Eli has discovered that a strong ideological impetus powers the job.

Resnick-013015-Pilot

I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”

Eller-013015

His entire existence was about spreading simcha and glorifying G-d’s name on a daily basis.

IRAN-US-POLITICS-MILITARY

An Israeli strike could theoretically damage Iran’s nuclear program; only US can terminate program

At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel

“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”

Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning

Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed

Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.

Why does the Times relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?

More Articles from Rabbi Yeheskel Lebovic
Rabbi and Rebbetzin Lebovic with Rebbetzin Tova.

Inspired by the Perek Shira pasuk for “small non-kosher animals” we named the bunny “Rebbetzin Tova”

Lebovic-122614

What benefit is a learning experience that leaves kids confused,disillusioned&harms self confidence?

Rosh Hashanah has an obvious connection to God’s Kingship. We constantly refer to Him during the Asseres Yemei Teshuvah as Melech/King. The nusach of the tefillah, referring to Rosh Hashanah as “a remembrance of the first day” (of Creation), implies a certain dimension of divine kingship operating at the time of Creation and replicated every […]

Israel’s leaders contemplate all manner of political and security concessions that are bereft of any backbone.

Israeli leadership doesn’t look to God for help, it gave away Gaza because of political predictions and calculations.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

If you lack emunah, how can you develop it merely because you’re commanded to believe?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-deeper-dimension-of-passover/2014/04/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: