Thursday, February 12, 2015

Why All Nations Must Become One (Levi Isaac)

"[Levi Isaac:] 'This is what the aspiring convert asked when he said, 'Teach me the entire Torah one one foot.'  That is, teach me how all the mitzvot, even interhuman mitzvot, are founded on the unity of God.  The convert said, 'I want to convert, that is, I want to understand how even interhuman mitzvot are part of divine unity.  At that point I can convert and serve the unique God, because when I understand this I will know that Israel's civil laws [mishpatim] cannot be known and have no natural reason.  Even concerning very tangible civil laws [mishpatei ha-arez], what is imperative is that their end is to know the unity and uniqueness of God.'  Hillel responded [to that query] by saying that since the unified God created Torah and us [Israel] we [entered into a covenant with Him] as one, all of Israel feels the anguish and joy of his [Israelite] neighbor.
     Therefore, even interhuman mitzvot are rooted in the unity of God.  Religious laws [mishpatim] have no rational [or natural] meaning.  Even political and civil laws have no meaning except that one must serve the One God and come to understand His uniqueness.  Therefore, all the nations [ha-amim] must become one nation [am ehad].  This will result in the transformation of all nations to a nation of God.  'All the many nations will go and say to the House of Jacob, 'Let us go in the light of God, and walk in His way forever' (Isa. 2:3 and 2:5)," Shaul Magid, Hasidism Incarnate, pg. 65.

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