Finding G-d According To Chassidus
Essays 2015 / Student Winners
“Excuse me, G-d? Hi. Um, I could really use some help right now.”
. . . Nothing.
“Hello? Can you even hear me? Please answer me G-d; I just feel so alone.”
. . . More nothing.
We all know the feeling. The feeling of trying to talk, but no one seems to be hearing you. The feeling of loneliness in a world where true love and friendship are so hard to achieve. The feeling of insignificance. After all, what are we, if not just one in infinity, one tiny part of G-d’s infinite reality? Could I actually be important? What could my life be meant to accomplish that your existence can’t achieve? What’s my purpose in this life that I’m living, day after day, in which I often feel so alone? I mean, could G-d actually want me to feel alone?
Frankly, the answer is yes, but He definitely has His reasons. In a fascinating chassidic discourse1 , the Previous Rebbe explains how the world came into existence. It all started when G-d was choosing the divine strategy He would use for creation. He wasn’t going to settle for something easy. If that was the case, He could have just snapped two heavenly fingers together and the whole universe could have been actualized! In no more than an instant, a spherical shape of blue and green filled with beautiful creations and marvelous wonders would have taken form. That’s not what happened. G-d chose to use a strategy for creation that we are all quite familiar with.
“In ten phrases G-D created the world” (Pirkei Avot, 5:1). G-d chose to use words to create this great world. Words! Words — the Tanya explains — that are able to reveal what was previously hidden deep within us.2 Words, that have the power of taking an internal emotion, and turning it into an understandable feeling. G-d used words to make his hidden desire for a world into a reality.
“Seriously, G-d, You couldn’t think of anything better? Words are just so limiting . . . ”
We all know the truth about words, we all experience it daily. No matter how many words a man speaks they will never be able to compare to the fountain of thoughts he has in his mind, and even more so, to the emotions in his soul.3 But that’s just it, G-d used words for exactly that reason! He used words because He didn’t want us to be able to see His thoughts, to see His essence. He didn’t want a world where the humans He’d be creating would be mechanical creations that would see G-dliness in every corner of this earth. He wanted us to have the privilege of finding it on our own. He wanted us to have the freedom of choice, and use it to pave our own path back to His loving embrace.
He went into hiding so that we could choose to find Him.
“Honestly G-d, that sounds like a pretty nasty joke to me. How could You just drop me down into this world and expect me to find You? How could You expect me to look at all of the scientifically explained aspects of nature and seeGodliness? Truthfully, I don’t know if I’m capable of such a feat.”
Then again, why bother trying to understand how that would ever be possible if that’s never going to be the reality. You see, when G-d decided to create, He thought everything through. He knew that if He created a world where its inhabitants would never be able to find Him, the whole point of His creation would be lost; so G-d decided not to just use the strategy of speech, but also the power of ratzon, of desire. He used the power of will and desire to create the aspects of our world that when looked at, even for a brief second, are shining with incredible G-dliness.
He used it to create the sunrises that we label as simply nature, yet always know in the deepest parts of our heart that only G-d could create a sky with such magnificent colors. He used it to create birth, the reproduction of life that no matter how much science explains its wonder, never ceases to prove G-d’s miraculous Hand. He used it to create miracles. G-d used ratzon to show us that He’s here; to prove to us that we’re not alone. This way, when the times come that His power of words seems to be overpowering, when it seems that G-dliness is nowhere to be found, we can remember that He’s truly always here; He just chooses to hide Himself. We’ll remember that when G-d used words, He was showing us the mundane physicality, and we’ll never forget that He used desire as well to show us the divine purpose behind it. With that knowledge, and the power of freedom that He chose to give us, we’ll open our eyes to see G-dliness, to see purpose.
“Hey G-d, I’m back . . . So there really is a way to find purpose in this crazy world. Who would have known? But what about me? Because honestly G-d, I don’t feel very important, I just feel alone.”
Would you believe me if I told you that when a rainbow glows bright in the sky, everybody that sees it is actually seeing their own individualized rainbow? It’s true. Studies have shown that the arrangement of colorful light that you see arched across the sky is the exact formation of light mixed with shadow that bounces off your eyes directly. It’s your own personalized perspective. The colors that you’re looking at, the red passions, the green aspects of growth, and even the blue tears of sadness, are all your own and nobody else’s. The only way for me to see your rainbow, is if I am able stand in your exact place at that exact instant in time. And last time I checked, that’s impossible.
Then again, there is an exception to every rule.
There is one Being that can see your rainbow, that can stand in your place in that exact instant in time, and does, every second of every day. He sits inside of you, hidden yet often times revealing little parts of Himself, and for one reason. He loves you. He knows how beautiful you are. He knows how beautiful your rainbow is, and He gave it to you with a mission.
Every person ever created whether apparently great or seemingly small, has their own portion in this world to conquer, to fill with G-dliness4. Every person has their own personalized rainbow, their own personalized mission that only they can accomplish. No one else can stand in your place. You are the only one with the power to share your colors. You are the only one with the ability to fulfill your purpose.
You are significant.
Now the question is, what are you going to do about it? In truth, the question of your significance is wholly dependent on how much you choose to connect to your purpose. It’s in the moments when you stop looking at your rainbow as a figure of loneliness, and instead see it as a symbol of purpose, that singularity is turned into uniqueness. You are not alone, you are unique.
You my friend, have a rainbow that nobody else will ever have! You have a purpose in this world that nobody else will ever be able to fulfill. You are the missing piece this puzzle of a world has been searching for. You have talents and capabilities beyond your imagination and you have an obligation to use them because nobody else can use them for you. You have an actual part of G-d inside of you, and a curious, beautiful world around you waiting for your colors. And now, it’s time for you to share them.
G-d wasn’t forced to create you. He chose to make you exist, to choose the perfect body for your soul, the perfect home for your body, and the perfect time for your life.
And He left the rest up to you.
So what’s it going to be? What are you going to add to this world that nobody else can?
Are you going to write a poem? Make a piece of art? Are you going to give a smile to a lonely child? Are you going to use the beautiful gifts that G-d has invested in you, or are you going to leave them to be forgotten? Are you going to love? Are you going to love G-d and love the world? Are you going to give yourself the simple pleasure of loving yourself? Because there is so much within you to love.
You are a fundamental part of a grand master plan to transform this world of physicality into a place where G-d would feel comfortable, a place He would be proud to call His home. Every little good thing that you do brings the world one step closer to that beautiful result. After all, that’s what G-d truly wants. He wants you to love, He wants you to care, and He wants you to take action. He wants you to look inside yourself and discover your true colors because that’s where you’ll find Him, smiling from the inside out because there is so much to smile about. Love yourself for who you are because it’s when you become one with your colors that you’ll realize you’re not just one in infinity. You’re so much more than that. You, my friend, are one with infinity. So next time you see your colors glistening high up in the heavens, try to hear their song. They just may know what they’re talking about.
(One essay, some chassidus, and a strong cup of coffee later…)
“Hi G-D, it’s me again, I know You can hear me. I just wanted to let You know that I got Your message. I’m done with my life of black and white. I’m finding my rainbow. I’m choosing color, and my colors are creating a masterpiece.”
Footnotes and Sources:
Chassidus teaches that not only do we have a portion in the next world, but every Jew has a personal portion in this world to conquer and elevate.