Infinities

by Chavi

That should be an oxymoron.

If infinity is infinite, then how can there be more than one?

But of course there can. Every time we say ’10 sefirot’, we are talking of 10 different and infinite… well, sefirot.

Is there directional infinity?

A line can go go on infinitely in two directions. But there are 6 directions.

Can infinity have only 6 directions? If it were truly infinite, could we talk about it in space at all?

So infinite doesn’t mean undefinable. It doesn’t mean not in our experience. It doesn’t mean beyond us and it’s pretentious to think it could have relevance to us.

Which does means that it’s incorrect to say that we can’t understand G-d because he’s infinite. And if that’s true, that puts the power back in our hands.

We don’t have to accept the G-d that’s evolved over 5,773 (or 10,000) years of human history, been subject to the biases and imaginations and agendas of men and societies, and now served in a neat package at your local religious institution.

In other words, there is an alternative to the prevalent version of G-d as schizophrenically warm and fuzzy/zealous and petty.

In The Language G-d Talks, author Herman Wouk writes of his first encounter with Richard Feynman (famous, Jewish, atheist physicist). Feynman asked him if he knew Calculus and Wouk answered that he did not. To which Feynman replied, “”You’d better learn it. It’s the language G-d talks.”

Many of us don’t understand calculus, but we could. As in, it’s in the realm of possibility. And there are of course people who do understand it, and a lot more than just calculus, even though they’ve never seen it or met it.

We can study G-d like we can study infinity. It’ll never be perfect, and it’ll never have the same immediacy as a chocolate donut, or as 1+1=2, but so what? How is that a reason  not to start? You’ll probably find a more accurate, possibly more mature, version. It’ll still be pretty far from the objective truth, but it’s hard to imagine going more wrong than we are already.

I’m partial towards the study of chassidus for studying G-d in His oneness and multiplicity. I think it’s wrong when people dismiss it or discourage it on the grounds that ‘we can never understand G-d’. This is my response to that.

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