Let My People Know

"The belief in one God is not merely an abstract statement about some kind of reality that exists outside of ourselves"


The monistic perception is more than just seeing a single all-embracing law. 

It assumes that there is one fundamental principle for the entire aggregate of existence in all its manifestations, and that everything within this aggregate is generated from that basic law. 

The monistic perception is not in itself a religious perception, and therefore it is not necessarily a Jewish perception. 

Yet both its details and the way it is approached are linked to a religious perception, not only because of their resemblance and by causal connection.

The belief in one God is not merely an abstract statement about some kind of reality that exists outside of ourselves.

It also implies the supremacy of this single essential entity within all reality.

All particularities with all their differences and divisions, are unified and subject to a single authority. 

In this regard, every monistic perception is a kind of comprehensive statement—even if not in religious language—of the very same thing, that is to say, the presupposition of the existence of a unified essence from which the different particularities are constructed and are given significance.

Sometimes the monistic perception is completely unified. 

That is, it sees everything as emerging from a single point of origin.
Sometimes it sees a dichotomous world picture. 

But even such a dichotomous view is merely a more complex form of the unified perception, because according to this perception a single pair of opposites explains all phenomena. 

Gnosticism, for example, the dualistic belief in the opposition of the evil materialistic world and the good spiritual world, should be seen merely as a continuation— although a distorted one—of Jewish culture, because its duality of good and evil is, in fact, the continuation of the unified perception in which the Torah is the basis for all understanding of reality.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From We Jews by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz