Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Hagshama And The Two Kohanim Gedolim

Sometimes people try so hard to distance themselves from התגשמות הבורא - Attributing physical attributes to Hashem, that they make Him so abstract that He becomes completely divorced from this world and this perspective leads people to kefirah.  

See the words of the Kohen Gadol of Lublin:

The other "Kohen Gadol", known as the "Rov of Yaffo", was also concerned with the dangers of הרחקת ההגשמה - distancing oneself from attributing physical attributes to Hashem, and offers a surprising solution:

החסרון שיש בהתארת ההגשמה באלהות אינינו מצד ההגשמה עצמה, אלא מצד ההעדר הנמצא בהכרח בכל המתגשם. ואם ע"י הרחקת ההגשמה יתרחק ציור המציאות, וירשם תוכן ההעדר יותר ממה שההגשמה כוללתו, אז ראויה היא ההגשמה לבא בציורים רבים, כדי להציל את המודרכים מתכונת ההעדרים המתאחזים בתכונת התיאור הרוחני לפי מה שהם מציירים אותו, ומפני שהציורים המגשימים בנויים הם על חיוב המציאות, מביאים הם לבסוף לידי הכרתו.

Says the Rov: The deficiency of describing Hashem as having physical attributes is not because of the physical aspect per se, but because of all of the limitations and faults that apply to one with a body. So if through distancing themselves from הגשמה, Hashem will become overly distant, abstract and irrelevant, more harm will come from describing Hashem as having no physical attributes than will come from describing Hashem as having physical attributes. In such an instance, it is better to describe Hashem with הגשמה so that we will attribute positive attributes to Him and will ultimately recognize Him in his true form.

So here we have a great insight: הגשמה is dangerous and forbidden but הרחקת ההגשמה can be even more dangerous. Sometimes it is better to view Hashem from the perspective of הגשמה in order to be saved from the great kefirah of distancing Hashem from the world.