A Kabbalistic insight into who God is, where God is, and what God has to do with you
Everybody talks about God these days. Intelligent Design, New Atheists, Darwinists, everyone seems to have an opinion about God. But when we talk about God, do we really know who, or what we are talking about? And if we do, does that mean that our opposers do not know what they are saying? Why should I assume that I have a better understanding of something neither I nor my challengers vividly perceive?
The wisdom of Kabbalah offers an original resolution to the relentless debate about God: “Taste and see,” or as Kabbalists put it: “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” This statement doesn’t mean we have to blindly accept that He is good. On the contrary, it means we have to “taste” Him for ourselves and see. And then Kabbalists add their own opinion: He tastes good.
A famous Zen riddle asks, “If a tree falls in the woods and there is no one to witness it, does it still make a sound?” Similarly, until you personally experience the Creator, you cannot attest His existence, and you certainly cannot know what He wants of you.
Kabbalah explains that our perception of the world around us is an aggregation of impressions our five senses receive, interpreted by our brain according to past memories and preexisting inherent paradigms. This is why different people interpret similar events in different ways. For one, an evening in a good restaurant with soft music in the background may be the height of pleasure, for another, it may be the epitome of dullness. Which of them is right?
Just as our perception of the physical world is totally subjective, our perception of the Creator is subjective and undeliverable. This is why Kabbalists recommend that we check it out for ourselves — taste and see. To encourage us, they also offer their impressions from their own experience of God — that He is good, and does good to His creations. In fact, they say that He is so good that He wants to give us everything He has — Himself. He wants to make us similar to Him.
The solution that Kabbalah offers to the debate on God’s essence is unique in the sense that it doesn’t provide answers, but a modus operandi for developing your own perception and your own answers. They promise that if you are persistent, you will discover and experience the Creator even more vividly than you experience this world.
It is written in The Book of Zohar (Tazriya) that all the worlds, upper and lower, are included within man, and the whole of reality is made only for man, created for our needs. The same applies to our perception of the Creator — it is within us. We have no idea what He is like outside of us, or that He even exists outside of us, because “all the worlds, upper and lower, are included within man.” If we follow this line of thought, arguing about God becomes absurd because all we can know of Him is the way we subjectively perceive Him. Does it seem right to impose our subjective perception on others? At best, we can suggest to others a route what we think is correct. But choosing this route is always their decision, and what they will discover is strictly their own.
Kabbalah suggests a specific route where by studying from certain books and with the right explanation, a person can discover the Creator. However, even if the route is the same, the experiences along it are different, totally subjective, and inexpressible.
The obvious conclusion is that we can speak the same language, experience the same events, and still lead individual lives. And our relationships with the Creator, or God, are no exception to this rule. And this is why everybody’s God. To reach the goal of our creation, the reason for which He created us, we must become like Him. Therefore, in the end, He will be everybody’s, and everybody will be Him.
“Kabbalah Revealed” Episode 8 — There’s None Else Beside Him, Part 1
“Kabbalah Revealed” Episode 9 — There’s None Else Beside Him, Part 2