[1]

“The basic principle
of all basic principles
and the pillar of all sciences
is to know [lei’da]
that there is a First Being
Who brings all that exists
into existence.
All that exists could not exist
except for His True Existence.” [2]

“If one wishes to know what the significance of lei’da [is]…, then study the words of the folk song – ‘A Dudele’ – which is attributed to Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev. ‘R’boyne shel Oyl’m/L-rd of the Universe,’ sang Rabbi Levi Yitzhak, ‘Let me sing a song of ‘du’. Du – are east. Du – are west. Du – are north. Du – are south.’ The sun rises – and one sees the Almighty in the illumination of sunrise. The sun sets in an afterglow of haze – and there too one discerns His Presence…It is a feeling – and it must be [personally, directly] experienced.” [3]

“…nothing has its own intrinsic existence. Rather, the Almighty creates everything anew each second.” [4]

“…One who builds a wooden house does not create the wood. He buys ready-made beams and boards and uses them to put up the house. When the house is finished, he…moves on to the next job…the house remains standing. Not so G-d…He created the universe out of nothing. And ever since creation, the universe exists only by virtue of the fact that He continually bestows an abundant flow of new [Divine] light [and existence] on it. If this flow…were to cease for an instant, the entire universe would revert to nothingness.” [5]

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[1] design c. 2005 by Eli Mallon
[2] Maimonides; Mishneh Torah; Book of Knowledge 1:1
[3] Soloveitchik, Rabbi Joseph Ber (1903–1993); On Repentance; p. 134
[4] Soloveitchik Halevi, Rabbi Yosef Dov Ber (1820-1892); Bais Halevi; quoted in Pliskin, Rabbi Zelig; Gateway to Happiness; p. 165
[5] Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin (1749-1821); Nefesh HaChaim; Rabbi A.Y. Finkel, trans.; p. 30 (ch. 2); Here, Rabbi Chaim’s teaching is the same as Rabbi Shneur Zalman’s in Tanya/Sha’ar HaYichud, to which Nefesh HaChaim was otherwise intended as a rebuttal. The Soloveitchiks are descended from Rabbi Chaim (who was himself the chief disciple of the Gaon of Vilna).