Thursday, November 10, 2011

The 13 principles of the Jewish Faith. # 2. God is One

Last week we explained the First Principle: God's existence.

The second principle of Jewish faith asserts that "God is One".

Maimonides explains: "He is not "one", like a species (=category) which comprises many individual", as when we say "one" book.

"He is not like a physical thing, which can be divided into parts and dimensions", like a book, which is comprised of pages, cover, ink, etc. "He is one with a kind of Unity which is unique, exclusive of God".

ALL other nations and civilizations in antiquity, conceived the existence and coexistence of several gods, because they saw in nature forces that evidently oppose each other. Life and death, good and evil, light and darkness, etc. Their reasoning was that multiple gods must be responsible for the diversity and opposite powers of 'natural ' forces.

We Jews believe that there are no other powers independent from, or beyond God's control. Rabi Yehuda haLevi explains in the Kuzari that this is why the word "Elokim" (Almighty) is written in the Plural: to express that all powers in the universe, all forces, depend on One source: God Almighty.

Abraham Abinu's idea of ONE (and "invisible") God, revolutionized humanity in many ways. Not just as an arithmetic reduction of gods, but mainly because of the moral implications of it.

Let me explain: Conceiving the existence of more than one God, represents an open invitation for moral relativism. One God is worshiped by waging war, the other, by peace. One by love, the other by murder. One by drunkenness, the other by sobriety, etc. Nothing is morally right or wrong in itself. The morality of one's actions depends on the god one would worship today.

"One" God, means, among other things, moral clarity. There is ONE and ABSOLUTE set of moral behavior, coming from ONE God.

Monotheism, leaves no room for moral blurriness.

(to be continued...)

"Fundamentals and Faith: Insights into the Rambam's 13 Principles" by Rabbi Mordechai Blumenfeld. From Aish