Thursday, September 22, 2011


In nature as a whole - and especially in its systematic regularity and in the technical character of its processes, in the scientific drama occurring within it, in the exact mathematical relationships between the natural phenomena and especially in the permanent laws of physics - the primeval will of the Master of the Universe is reflected. A man goes outdoors on a fair summer's day and sees the whole world blossoming; that man comes "to know" that there exists a Primary Being Who is the originator of all that is; in every budding flower, in every rose opening its petals, in each ray of light and in every drop of rain - "to know that there is a Primary Being and that He is the Originator of all that is." - Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Repentance and Free Choice, On Repentance
This paragraph jumped out at me late last night, as I was trying to steal a little time to read some really valuable material. Symmetry is a wonderful thing, and we naturally strive to find it in the world around us. To some extent, this is the basis for Pythagoras' theory of mind, but our seforim haKedoshim have expounded on this idea for eons.

According to chassidus, this is a valuable tool towards reaching true emunah, but it isn't the highest point; rather, the highest point of emunah is recognizing the fact that we have a deeply personal relationship with the One Above - the fact that we are able to address Him in the accusatory tense in our prayers, that we converse with Him as if we are speaking to a contemporary, or (as it were) an equal in a relationship, a beloved companion in a reciprocal pairing.

And yet, despite this loftier ideal of emunah, the Rav's expression guides us toward a level of knowledge, a security that perhaps reinforces the faith, bolstering the relationship. With security, even when the "object" of the relationship is not present, or not attending to the current situation, we still rest assured that the relationship is robust, and we can trust.

The laws of nature with their immutable continuity remind us of the symmetry that can only be maintained by the Creator of all things. That same "dedication" bolsters our faith in the symmetry of our relationship with Him.

No comments: