100.04 Buttress and Elaboration (pps.69-72)

hard cover page 70

Soloveitchik notes:

. . . the Jewish people see their own fate as bound up with the fate of existence as a whole. . . . When the historical process of the Jewish people reaches its consummation and attains the heights of perfection, then (in an allegorical sense) the flaws of creation as a whole will also be repaired. “He bade the moon renew itself for those who were burdened from birth, who like her will be renewed and will extol their Creator on account of the name of His glorious kingdom” [from the blessing over the new moon].240

God is represented in Tanach as a many-faceted deity. It is for this reason that He is known by many Names.241 We postulate that the primal essence of God is potentiality, i.e., a supradi- mensional metaphysical intangible. Potential is implicit through God, and through God, the universe and man.242 The essence of God is eternal, timeless and infinite.243 The Primal Essence inexorably quests after its own infinite potentiality.244

Creation finds its expression in man’s fulfilling all of his tasks, causing all of the potentiality implanted in him to emerge into actuality, utilizing all of his manifold possibilities, and fully bringing to fruition his own noble personality. The power stored up within man is exceedingly great, is all-encompassing, but all too often it slumbers within and does not bestir itself from its deep sleep. The command of creation, beating deep within the consciousness of Judaism, proclaims: Awake ye slumberers from your sleep. Realize, actualize yourselves, your own potentialities and possibilities, and go forth to meet your God. The unfolding of man’s spirit that soars to the very heavens, that is the meaning of creation.

If man’s future potentialities are so crucial, with his existence and striving for spiritual and intellectual achievement energizing the universe, it would seem that the cosmic order itself

——————- NOTES ——————-

240 Soloveitchik, Halakhic Man, p. 107.

241 See Agus, “The Meaning of Prayer,” in Millgram, Great Jewish Ideas, p. 235. “The Tetragrammaton (YHVH), whatever its original meaning and pronunciation, is understood to be a formula, combining the future, the past and the present.”
Cf. Hick, Readings in The Philosophy of Religion, p. 72. “that His true name is He that is, or, in other words, Being without restriction, all Being, the Being infinite and universal.”

242 See Whitehead, “Process and Reality,” in Alston and Nakhnikian, Readings in Twentieth-Century Philosophy, p. 151. “Viewed as primordial, he [God] is the unlimited conceptual realization of the absolute wealth of potentiality.”
Cf. Berkovits, Major Themes in modern Philosophies of Judaism, p. 21. “God is m’huyab hmziut, He is absolute and exists of his own uncreated intrinsic necessity.”

243 See Berg, Kabbalah for the Layman, p. 72.

244 See Bokser, Abraham Isaac Kook, p. 4. “Rav Kook saw the whole universe stirred by the pulsating energies emanating from the divine source of all existence.” Cf. Steinsaltz, The Thirteen Petalled Rose, p. 39. “All these Sefirot are infinite in their potency, even though they are finite in their essence.” Cf. Shem Olam, p. 41, as cited in Agus, The Evolution of Jewish Thought, p. 285. “The primal man consists in his turn of ten sefiroth, which were conceived as being both God and not-God. ‘For that which is infinite and boundless could not make that which is finite and definite; therefore, it was necessary to postulate ten sefiroth in the middle, which are both finite and infinite.’ ”

245 Soloveitchik, Halakhic Man, p. 132. (Soloveitchik cites Maimonides, Guide 2:32. “Prophecy is a certain perfection in the nature of man. This perfection is not achieved in any individual from among men except after a training that makes that which exists in the potentiality of the species pass into actuality.”) Cf. ibid., p. 132. “In truth, Greek philosophy was also familiar with the notion of a process of development from relative nothingness to a perfect existence. What is more, this problem is practically the central issue in Greek ontology. The dispute between Heraclitus and Parmenides concerning the nature of being-whether it is perpetual development and movement or fixed, perfect existence-still made itself felt in the analyses of the Platonic and Aristotelian schools and their successors.”


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