Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Imminence of Hashem

In Pesachim 88 we find that the Beis Hamikdash is not attributed to Avrohom since he called the place a mountain and not to Yizchak because he called it a field. It is only attributed to Yaacov who called it a house.

Why should the fact that Avrohom or Yitzchok Avinu referred to the Beis Hamikdash as a mountain or a field keep us from calling it after their names as well? The Mei HaShiloach zt”l explains that “mountain” and “field” allude to how much each of them revealed Hashem in the world.

Before Avrohom Avinu, virtually the entire world served idolatry, but he stood out in his beliefs like a mountain. He spent the better part of his life sharing knowledge of Hashem’s Oneness with everyone he met, a revolutionary concept for the people of his time that distinguished him from his contemporaries, and set him high above them like a mountain.

By the time Yitzchok Avinu came to adulthood, the work of revealing the existence of Hashem had already been done by his father. He focused, instead, on revealing Hashem’s Presence in the world. He taught the people of his time that the world is like a field that yields its fruit when it is worked. If we search, Hashem’s presence can be felt anywhere.

Yaakov Avinu took the message of his forefathers and brought it to a new level by teaching that Hashem is everywhere. Regardless of what we do or do not do, Hashem fills the entire universe, and this is the spiritual root of the Beis Hamikdash—“The whole world is filled with His glory.” The Ramban zt”l teaches that this is the underlying concept of yetzias MitzrayimHashem orchestrates all events, even the most apparently mundane or trivial ones, and open miracles merely “part the curtain” so that this crucial point is driven home to us.

A Chossid once approached the Chiddushei HaRim zt”l when the tzaddik was a young child, pulled out a gold piece, and made the child an offer:

“I’ll give you this coin if you can tell me exactly where Hashem is,” the man said with a smile.

The young prodigy’s response came quick as lightning. “And I’ll give you two of them if you can tell me where He isn’t!”

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