By Rabbi Yechezkel Spanglet
Last week we learned that understanding emunah is predicated upon an ordered ascendance of knowledge. Let’s proceed to the first level, in which we propose that it is not difficult for anyone with a rational and objective mind to believe that there is a Creator of the universe and that He created us.
A man observes a scene of the beautiful outside world from his living room window. On his table he places a drawing pad. He randomly empties the contents of several different vials of ink onto the pad. A few hours later, a visitor walks into the room and views a most impressive replica of the scene outside. He exclaims, “What an incredible artist and designer you are!” The artist replies, “What are you talking about? I was twiddling my thumbs and knocked over the bottles of ink. The rest happened by itself.” Would anyone believe that?
The Rambam and other commentators teach that we discern Hashem’s existence and wisdom from the functions and wonders of the universe. The possuk states “Lift up your eyes on High and see Who created these [celestial universe].”(Yeshayahu 1:27) Has anyone ever seen the sun forgetting to rise or set, or the constellations reforming their patterns? If the sun was ever so slightly away from earth, or the opposite, we wouldn’t be here to witness the results. Every aspect of the celestial universe cries out that there is a Creator. Even today, scientists are discovering new galaxies.
Similarly, on earth, we constantly witness the existence of a Master Designer. For example, bread is the staple food that we take most for granted. How did it arrive on our table? Someone planted kernels which decomposed completely and subsequently sprouted into stalks of grain, one hundred times the amount of the original seeds; techiyas hamesim in front of our eyes! What about the formation and adaptation of animals and insects, the balance of nature, mighty waves that don’t overflow their boundaries, the plentiful supply of air and water, and much more? (Chovos Halelovos- Shaar HaBechina Perek 5) Harav Shimshon Pincus pointed out that one grain of sand has enough energy to blow up the earth. Where did that energy come from? (Shaarei Emunah)
Perhaps the strongest physical indicator of the Divine imperative is the development of the embryo and the body systems. The Gemarah in Mesechta Nida speaks about how the A-lmighty forms a person from almost nothing, how He protects the embryo in the womb until it develops in to a fully formed human being. Our hearts beat 100,000 times a day pumping life preserving blood to every nook and cranny of the body. Who regulates its rhythm? Who dictates activity of the lungs; how much oxygen to release and at what rate? The incredible liver machine creates glucose, providing fuel to power the muscles. Our kidneys administer a life saving filtering system. The digestive system transforms large food intake to microscopic nutrients. The brain, the most complex of the body systems, weighs about 3.5 pounds and would require a book to describe the Divine wisdom and miracles that lie within.
All the above is wondrous. Even more so is our spiritual makeup that Hashem has created within. This Divine nature enables us to have aspirations, thought processes, middos, memory, intellect, emotions, and so much more. The untainted neshama is purely spiritual, and is our connection to Kisei Hakavod; yet it resides in our pinimius. The nefesh with its component parts interact with our physical infrastructure and free choice, to play a major role in determining behavior, personality, striving, coping, contentment and our spiritual standing in both worlds. We will elaborate more in later essays. If we would take just a moment to contemplate these incredible Divine gifts operating within us constantly, it will help us to know that Hashem is our Creator and is close to us.
We have touched on some of the basics-let’s continue to ascend.