Let My People Know

"All things, all forces, are related, even if only by analogy"


It has been mentioned that all the expressions we use concerning Divinity are relative and derivative, and can be traced to our specific place in the world. 

Expressions like "the hand of God" have no independent meaning, nor does "Divine Mercy" or any other of our descriptive phrases. 

We have to use words, of course, but we have to realize their limitations, and the anthropomorphic tendency, which, in this context, makes all language questionable. 

Thus, when we speak of the Ten Utterances (that created the world), we do little more than denote the place of each aspect of existence in the Divine hierarchy and its relation to the others. 

We also learn the way all things, all forces, are related, even if only by analogy. 

True, the likeness between certain ideas and forms may sometimes be very superficial, but they serve to enhance our understanding of a particular thing. 

Thus, when we speak of the Utterances of God, we do not, of course, mean to imply that God makes certain sounds, but rather that the infinitive "to say" or "to utter" designates a specific relationship, a form of communication, a transfer of meaning from one dimension to another. 

In the phrase, "God said," we are trying to explain that He transmitted some meaningful communication from a higher level to a lower level. 

And since we have to use images, we tend to use the human soul as our metaphor.

We can thus presume to state that Divine attributes are revealed as qualities in men and are manifested, to begin with, as primary impulses. 

Through humanity they act on the world, which is on a much lower level. 

But they come already clothed in the letters of thought. 

Thus, the impulse to be kind comes from the attribute of Chesed, which is a much wider and more inclusive force, a thrust of Divine grace, of emergence from confinement. 

Humanly speaking, the impulse of kindness has to become specific and defined by thought in order to be projected into action.

It has to become a qualified act of giving something to someone in order to be meaningful.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From The Sustaining Utterance, “Thought and Speech” p. 115, by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz