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Va'etchanan 5770 dvar

Va'etchanan 5770 dvar

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Published by Maurice Harris

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Published by: Maurice Harris on Apr 14, 2011
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D'var Torah – Va-etchanan 1.

the Parashah Includes the Shema – translate: Listen, Israel: The Eternal is our God, the Eternal is One. What is this Oneness? What is this unity? 2. Rambam
“The basic principle of all basic principles and the pillar of all sciences is to realize that there is a First Being who brought every existing thing into being. All existing things, whether celestial, terrestrial, or belonging to an intermediate class, exist only through God's true existence.” “This God is One. God is not two nor more than two, but One; so that none of the things existing in the universe to which the term one is applied is like God's Unity. … God's Unity is unlike any other unity in the world. “God is not a body, and none of the characteristics of physical matter can be attributed to God. … Nor does God exist in time, in the sense tha God has a beginning, end or definite number of years. Nor does God change, for this is nothing in God that would effect a change in God. God does not die, nor does God have life like that of an animal body.” GOD AS COMPLETELY OTHER, THE CAUSE OF ALL BEING, UNLIKE ANYTHING ELSE THAT EXISTS.

3. The Alter Rebbe (1745 – 1813)
The author of the Tanya – the essential work of Chabad hasidism – taught that nothing exists but God. Lawrence Kushner and Nehemia Polen write that this belief “denies the reality of the cosmos. God is not only the basis of reality, God is the only reality; God is all there is. Creation is continuously brought into being through the divine word. If our eyes could truly see we would see no material world at all, but instead, behold God's continuous utterance of the Hebrew letters, the real matrix of all being. IT'S ALL GOD. GOD IS WHAT'S REAL, AND THE MATERIAL WORLD IS AN ILLUSION.

4. Judith Plaskow
The popular understanding of the Oneness of God expressed through the Shema is that there is only one God as opposed to many, and that this God is the creator and ruler of the universe. It's a passionate rejection of polytheism. Like the 2nd commandment also found in this week's parashah: You shall have no other gods before me. Plaskow writes that she is concerned that as images or definitions of the one God harden over the centuries, “attempts to name God in new ways or to broaden the range of imagery used for God are experienced [by some in the community] as assaults on monotheism. If God necessitates identification with a particular image, other images must be assumed to refer to other deities. “There is another way to understand oneness, however, and that is as inclusiveness. In Marcia Falk's words, 'The authentic expression of an authentic monotheism is not a singularity of image but an embracing unity of a multiplicity of images.' … This is the God who is male and female, both and

neither. On this understanding of oneness, extending the range o f images we use for God challenges us to find God in ever-new aspects of creation. Monotheism is about the capacity to glimpse the One in and through the changing forms of the many, to see the whole in and through its infinite images. “Hear O Israel”: despite the fractured, scatterred, and conflicted nature of our experience, there is a unity that embraces and contains our diversity and that connects all things to each other.” GOD'S ONENESS MANIFESTS THROUGH GOD'S MULTIPLICITY AND THE DIVERSITY OF GOD'S EXPRESSION AND CREATION

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