The Torah tells us: “Serve God with joy”.
Why can’t we see God?
A man told Rabbi Friedman “I love everything about my wife!”
At the Passover Seder we talk about “four sons,” the smart son, the wicked son, the simple son, and the son who does not know how to ask.
God, we are told, is perfect, and therefore needs nothing.
But if so, why did God create the world?
If God is perfect and needs nothing, why did he make us?
The truth is God does need us, not because God is imperfect, which would be absurd, but because he is perfect.
How is this possible?
If a person has a perfect existence, why have a friend?
If a person has a perfect existence, why get married?
The reason a person who doesn’t need anything gets married or makes friends is because being perfect is pointless if you are alone.
We are made in the image of God.
The one thing God doesn’t have from his own perfection is another. God in all his infinite perfection is still alone. God is infinite, but its all him, no part of God’s infinity isn’t him, and so he is alone.
That is why God created us. He needs us in order not to be alone. He needs us to have togetherness. We are the purpose of creation.
After all, God himself wrote in the Torah: “Its not good… to be alone.”
Stay tuned for a book by Rabbi Friedman coming out in the next few months on this topic
In the USSR, many Chassidim were sent to prisons, gulags, and firing squads for daring to commit “crimes” such as teaching children Hebrew or building a Mikvah.
How do Mitzvot bring us closer to God?
All religions throughout the world have one thing in common, they all are meant to serve the worshiper. Whether its to give the worshiper greater spiritual enlightenment or access to heaven, the purpose is the same. They use religion to extract favor from God.
But in the end, if the purpose of religion is for God to give us goodies, then who is serving whom? Is the purpose of God to serve us?
The purpose of Judaism is not to help us achieve something, the purpose of Judaism is for us to help God achieve something. After all, he created us.
What God intends to achieve, is a world where he can “fit in” comfortably. It is true that if we’re good, we go to heaven when we die, but getting to heaven is not the point.
When people say that a loved one who passed is “in a better place,” its only partially true, yes, heaven is a place were we experience the ultimate pleasures, but there is not where God is.
After all, why should we want to go to heaven, when God wants to come to earth?
When Moses came to Pharaoh to demand that the Jews be set free, he said “So said the Lord God of Israel, ‘Send out My people, and let them sacrifice to Me in the desert.’ “
Though it may not seem as dramatic as we might have imagined, Moses’s statement is the best response to slavery.
Moses did not speak of human rights or the suffering of the Jewish people, he simply said, “The Jews cannot serve you, or any human being, because they were created to serve God, and God needs them to serve him.”
This applies to all people. Every person was created by God for a purpose, and until that mission is fulfilled, we are simply unavailable to serve anyone else. No human being can be a slave to another human because we all were created by God, for God’s purpose, to serve God’s needs.
This does not only apply to literal slavery. It applies to anything that might have a hold on us or “enslave” us in our lives. Everyone has challenges in their lives that they are enslaved to, the trick is to tell them that we are unavailable to serve them at the moment, because we have been entrusted with a mission from the creator of heaven and earth. Then we have true freedom: the freedom to do what we were created to do.
We all know that God loves us. Its basic Judaism. It even says it in the Torah. But what does it mean?
How can God love us if God is perfect and can’t be hurt?
If you love someone, but it doesn’t hurt you when they don’t respond to you, is that love?
If you say “I love you, but what you do with that piece of information doesn’t matter to me,” the love is a lie.
If you say, “I love you, but if you don’t love me, I don’t care,” the love is a lie. There cannot be love without vulnerability.
The truth is, God is vulnerable. When we don’t reciprocate his love, it hurts him immensely.
What we do matters to him, because God has a purpose in creation, and if we stand in the way of his purpose for the world, it hurts him, because his purpose is real.
We can hurt him, which is why his love for us is real.