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The Purpose of Creation


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#1 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 10:19 AM

Once upon a "time," there was only G-d, The Perfect Being.

Perfection is certainly a desirable state. In fact, it is the most desirable state in existence. And that does not mean quantitatively more. Hashem’s Perfection is a state of being that is qualitatively incomparable to anything we know, and its desirability (“pleasure” for lack of a better term) is way beyond anything we can imagine.

G-d, being Good and Benevolent, wanted to bestow this perfection on others.So He had a plan to create others who would enjoy this infinite, amazing Perfection,just like He Himself does, kavyochol. But there was a problem.

You can’t enjoy this perfection unless you are G-d Himself. It’s too great,too much, too G-dly, for anyone or anything but G-d Himself to relate to. So how can G-d give to others this perfection that only G-d Himself can have?

The answer: Create beings that have the ability to connect to G-d in such away that they can actually be part of G-d, but with their own individual identity. Since they are part of G-d, connected to His essence, they will be able to enjoy the G-d-perfection, but only to the extent that they are connected.

So this is what He did:

He took a piece of His own essence, kaviyochol, and gave it sentience. This creation is called a neshoma. Since it has Hashem’s essence, so to speak, it has the potential to connect back to Hashem. He gave this neshoma sentience, so it is no longer G-d, but a thinking, acting, personalized individual in and of itself. This being has the ability to connect to G-d. This being is man.

This connection would be achieved through man’s following the guidelines of the Torah, which is a blueprint of Hashem’s methodologies (“shaimos” of Hashem). If the man would develop himself, onhis own, in accordance with the blueprint, he would then be able to reconnectto G-d, and to enjoy the awesome G-d-perfection that only Hashem - and now,those who are connected to Hashem - can enjoy.

This blueprint is called the Torah.

The connection with Hashem is called Olam Habbah.

But there was more work to be done. In order to fulfill the Torah, man needed tools. There is a Mitzvah in the Torah of honoring parents. That means man will have to have parents. There is a Mitzvah to fast on Yom Kippur, so man will have to have a need for food. And the food itself would also have to be created.

In order for man to fulfill the Torah, an entire world would have to be created, and man would have to be given a physical body with which to do Mitzvos.

So Hashem created the whole, entire, physical Universe.

And then He created man. He gave him the Torah and said, “Here. This is what makes Me, Me.Nobody can be Me, but if you fulfill this, you can be connected to Me. All the infinite, perfect pleasure that I can create as the infinite, perfect being,can be yours. You can tap into it and enjoy it through me, by becoming once more a part of me. You can have pleasure beyond anything that can be imagined.Just do what it says here.

“This Torah, it is not just an instruction manual. It is what identifies Me (it is my “shem”).

"It used to be, before I gave this to you, that if someone would have a she’ailah - if a woman washed a milchig dish with a fleishig sponge -she could ask Me, through a navi, what the Halachah is. I had the privilege of owning this perfection, alone.

"Now, I am giving that up. I am giving it to you. In order to enable you to connect to me, you have to own that ability. You have to be able to learn Torah, pasken sheailos, and become lamdonim. So from now on, I no longer have the privilege of ruling Halachah, of applying Torah - perfection - to the world. From now on, Torah lo bashamayim he. This ability that was Mine, which was a direct result of my being the Perfect Being, is now given to you. I gladly part with it in order to enable you to benefit from the infinite pleasure that is awaiting you.”

And so Hashem gave us the Torah.

#2 achdus

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 10:36 AM

is there a understandable rason why hashem didnt create the world 100000000000000000000000000000000000000 years ago?
i understand that there is no such thing as 100000000000000000000000000000000000000 years ago, as time wasnt created yet, but hashem was here, is it one of these thinks that we have no idea? it was the rotzon hashem to do it now and thats the end of it?

#3 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 08:53 PM

This question, why Hashem did not create the world before He did, is asked by our Seforim. The simplest answer given is because time did not exist beforehand, so there was not time as "before" the world was created.

However, we can still ask: Why was the world created in such a way that today is the year 5771 - why couldn't the world be created in such a way that today would be 5991?

But this question is the same as asking why Hashem made the world with the amount of trees that it has and not more or less. We understand that Hashem's Hashgacha puts everyone in the exact best time, place and circumstances to fulfill his own specific spiritual Tachlis in the world. Nobody is going to claim that they know the reason for the exact number of trees, but whatever effect the current amount of trees has as opposed to if there were be more or less was measured by Hashem with precision accuracy for the desired effects.

So too Hashem wanted us in the world when it is 5771 years old. he wanted us to have the resultant amount of history, of questions about scientists' findings, of lessons available from past occurrences, the particular level of Gedolim that we have now, and access oto the the precise assortment of Seforim that are available to me today.

Hashem wanted that when I learn Kodshim, Hashem wanted me to have the Chidushei Yeshuos Yaakov but not, let's say, the Toras Elizezer, which is a sefer that is not in existence yet.

Everybody is placed in exactly the best point in the time stream according to what Hashem wants for them.

Now you may ask one more question: Why didn't Hashem make the world in such a way that let's say today we've already lived our lives and our great-great-grandchildren are here, or that we haven;t been born yet and our great-great-grandparents are here? Granted that Hashem put me in the exact place in the time stream that He wanted, but why did the world have to be made in such a way that the present time is the one being actualized in the time stream as opposed to some other point that didn't happen yet or that has happened already?

The answer to that is probably that time doesn't work that way. The question assumes that time is a continuum, where one moment succeeds another, as opposed to all of time existing at once, which is not necessarily true (but see my post on the opinion of the Ralbag,here).

There is another way people tend to ask this question, but it is prohibited to ask this way. In all of the above versions of the question, the subject of the question is the world - Why is the world this way and not a different way? The way we are not allowed to ask it is: "What made Hashem suddenly want to create the world when previously He did not create it?" Such a question, because it seeks to know something about what transpired before the world was created violates the prohibition of מה לפנים. Also, when asked this way assumes that the decision to create the world was something new c"v in Hashem's thought process, kivyachol. That is avodah zorah. Hashem does not change.He is outside of time and space, and without time there is no such thing as before and after. He is totally Simple, and therefore can not be different in any way from the way He is. He is, was and will be, without any change whatsoever. It is imperative that we understand that the creation of the world did not impact on Hashem in the slightest. He remains as He was. All change was only on the level of the creation.

Whether this question is permitted to be asked depends on what it seeks as an answer. If it seeks to identify something that happened or that was before Brias HaOlam, it is prohibited to pursue (even if you don't assume a change in Hashem as above). If it seeks to identify something about the world or Hashem's Hashgacha after the world was created, such as in the permitted versions above, then the question is perfectly legitimate.

#4 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 08:56 AM

You mentioned that the reason Hashem created that worldwas so that He could share His happiness with us. He wanted to give us a great opportunity to be with Him, but to maintain our individuality. In His goodness He did what was best for us. How do you reconcile that with the Gemara that chronicles the machlokes between Bais Hillel and Bais Shamai where the conclusion is that it would have been better for man if he had never been created?

Here's the end of the Gemora:

" . . . they (Chazal) counted (or: voted) and concluded it would be better forman to have not been created than to have been created. Now that he has been created, let him take charge of his actions."

I have a better question: How do you reconcile the Gemora you cited with the Chazal that says "everything Hashem does is for the good" (Kol d'avdin min shamaya l'tav)? And since "against your will were you created", G-d is responsible for your being here. If so, how could we say it would have been better for you had G-d treated youdifferently?

Or even better: What about the posuk "And Hashem saw all He createdand it was very good"? That includes the creation of man, too. Here thepossuk describes everything as good – but the above conclusion, that we havebeen maligned by being created, doesn't sound like something good?.

The answer to all this is clear according to the Maharsha. He says therethat all the Gemora means is that the "counted" the Mitzvos Aseh and Lo Saaseh, and found that there aremore Lo Saasehs. This would mean that the odds of success are stacked against aperson when he is born, since there are more things that will cause him to bepunished than those that generate him reward.

However, this is why the Gemora continues "…and now that he has beencreated, let him control his actions," which means that a person was givena gift from Hashem designed to can help him overcome the odds - namely, FreeWill. Free Will allows him to make it through life not randomly according tothe odds, but rather according to how he chooses to live.

So all the Gemora means is that the "count" of Mitzvos puts himat a disadvantage - which can be overcome by a separate advantage, i.e. free will. However, when you consider all the advantages and disadvantages - that is, his ability to overcome the odds - then it is great for him that he was created

But what about the fact that we make Birkas Hashachar in the morning “shelo asani goy”, and not “she’asani yisroel”? The reason for that is – noach lo shelo nivrah! Since it would be better if we wouldn’t be created we can’t thank Hashem for creating us. Rather, we just thank Him that if He had to make us, at least He didn’t make us a goy!


That interpretation of the phrase "shelo asani" as opposed to "she'asani" (that it is because noach lo shelo nivra) is but one opinion in the achronim – the Taz - and certainly not to be understood k'pshuto, because it contradicts one of the fundamentals of our religion, namely, that everything Hashem does is best for us. Kol d’avdin min shemeya l'tav. And that’s not only an isolated Chazal – it’s a major theme throughout our religion, as well as a fundamental "trait", kivyachol, of Hashem - that He is all good. So it makes no sense to say that it would be better for us had we not been born.

So the Gemora does not mean that at all (remember the Maharsha).

Now the question is, what to do with the Taz (who mentions noach lo shelo nivra as the reason for the negative phrase). That’s a good question, and it needs a good answer. But what is definitely not the answer is anything that involves the idea that G-d did us a disservice by creating us. That is not possible, nor can it be what the Gemora means. As Rav Chaim Brisker used to say, "it is better to remain with a hard question than to give a bad answer."

We really have no choice but to reinterpret the Taz, either today or at some later point when we figure out how. But as it is, it’s a tzorich iyun.

Now here's a suggestion: Let's say the Taz agrees with the Maharsha that Noach lo shelo nivrah merely means that without manual intervention on the part of man, the odds are against his success. Therefore, whether our life is good or bad for us depends on what WE make of it. The opportunity for success is what Hashem bestows upon us when we are born. And that opportunity is definitely to our benefit. We can mess it up, or we can fulfill it. This particular gam zu letovah is the potential for success; the actual choice is in our hands.

Therefore, the Taz is saying, thanking Hashem for giving us an opportunity while at the same time squandering that opportunity, making it into something bad for us, makes no sense. Imagine someone giving you a job, and you steal from the cash register, then you go thanking your boss for giving you the opportunity to work for him. Ain zeh mevorech - elah mena’etz - kind of like making a brachah on treif food. You’re thanking Hashem for the opportunity to rebel against Him.

So until we live our lives the way we should, we cannot make a Brachah thanking Hashem for giving us life. Chazal surely would not institute a universal brachah for all of Klall Yisroel like that. Instead, we thank Hashem shelo asani this or shelo asani that - not that He made us, but that He has not made us in a less desirable form.

So in the end, it is because of Noach lo shelo nivrah - that our existence in this world can be detrimental to us, if we cause it to be – like the Maharsha’s interpretation - that we cannot thank Hashem for putting us in this world. But that does not chas v’sholom mean that Hashem's creating us was in and of itself detrimental. That cannot be.

#5 rocksdontfly

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 09:41 PM

1. when did HaShem create(/write?) the Torah?
2. rumor has it that after the times of Moshiach were all going to be taken from this world, or HaShems going to destroy this world..something like that. If He destroys this world Hes destroying our neshamos too. But if neshamos are a piece of Him (He breathes it into us from His Innermost Self...?) ... how can He destroy a piece of Himself if a, Hes infinite and b, Hes not physical!!

#6 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 07:44 AM

1. I will answer the question you plan on asking as well as the one you asked:

The Torah was "written" by Hashem before the world was created. However, the language of the Torah then was then different from what we see in it today. It was comprised of various combinations of names of Hashem. These names were made of letters that were specifically designed to be able to trade places with each other to form various different possible sentences. Each possible combination of these letters represented one possible version of events in the future. So when Moshe Rabbeinu received the Torah on Har Sinai, it did not state that the Jews would worship the Egel or that Moshe would hit the rock. Those future events, that could have unfolded differently were not written yet. In their place were combinations of names of Hashem. As these events transpired, the letters in the names recombined to form the narrative of the event. Had Moshe not hit the rock, for example, the Torah would have said Moshe did not hit the rock.

So the short answer to your question is that Hashem wrote the "raw form" of the Torah before the world was created, which contained various possible letter combinations. Hashem combined those letters as various events happened.

2. When Moshiach comes, hopefully we will be around. כל ישראל יש להם חלק לעוה"ב means all Jews have a share in the world that will exist after Moshiach comes and the dead have been resurrected. As far as the world being destroyed, there's a disagreement in our Seforim regarding whether the post-Moshiach world will be a new world or not. The issue revovles aroud a Posuk in Yeshaya ספר ישעיה פרק סה (יז) כִּי הִנְנִי בוֹרֵא שָׁמַיִם חֲדָשִׁים וָאָרֶץ חֲדָשָׁה וְלֹא תִזָּכַרְנָה הָרִאשֹׁנוֹת. Either way, there will not be destruction but renewal. And iy"h we will be there.

As far as destroying a Neshama, yes, Hashem can do that. The same way He created a Neshama, He can un-create it. Imagine rewinding the creation of a Neshama to the time before it was created. Hashem just removes the independent sentience from it and then the "person" is gone. In fact, Seforim say that whereas when a person does a Mitzvah he sanctifies his body, when a person does an Aveirha he does not pollute his Neshama - rather, he chases his Neshama out of him. That is one of the explanations given for the meaning of the word חטא, which literally means "missing." It means that when a person does a חטא a part of his Neshama leaves him.

#7 AYidOnTheWayUp

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 09:55 PM

1. I will answer the question you plan on asking as well as the one you asked:

The Torah was "written" by Hashem before the world was created. However, the language of the Torah then was then different from what we see in it today. It was comprised of various combinations of names of Hashem. These names were made of letters that were specifically designed to be able to trade places with each other to form various different possible sentences. Each possible combination of these letters represented one possible version of events in the future. So when Moshe Rabbeinu received the Torah on Har Sinai, it did not state that the Jews would worship the Egel or that Moshe would hit the rock. Those future events, that could have unfolded differently were not written yet. In their place were combinations of names of Hashem. As these events transpired, the letters in the names recombined to form the narrative of the event. Had Moshe not hit the rock, for example, the Torah would have said Moshe did not hit the rock.

So the short answer to your question is that Hashem wrote the "raw form" of the Torah before the world was created, which contained various possible letter combinations. Hashem combined those letters as various events happened.

2. When Moshiach comes, hopefully we will be around. כל ישראל יש להם חלק לעוה"ב means all Jews have a share in the world that will exist after Moshiach comes and the dead have been resurrected.

Regarding 1. Where did you find this idea written?
Regarding 2. So Reshayim like Acher have a chelek in Olam haba as well as oso haish?

#8 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 07:00 AM

1. Many places. It's quoted by the Boruch Taam in the name of the GRA, and the Baal Shem Tov says it as well.

2. No. See my footnote #1 here. Apikorsim, and a slew of others, have no share in Olam Habah because they have removed themselves form the category "Yisroel." They are still obligated in Mitzvos but the are not part of Klall Yisroel regarding and benefits the Jews receive. You can say they are only Jews L'Chumrah but not L'Kulah.