The Purpose of Creation

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Our Sages teach in Pirkei Avos (Ethics of our Fathers) that the world stands on three things: Torah, Service (now understood to mean prayer), and acts of loving kindness. Our Rabbis teach that this means that these three things are the basis for why G-d decided to make the world. For the sake of the Torah, prayer, and acts of kindness.

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzatto, the Ramchal, writes that G-d created the world for the sake of giving us the pleasure of cleaving and connecting to Him. We assume that G-d did not need to create a world for His entertainment, to sit Upstairs with a bottle of wine, laughing at us as we struggle to manage our lives during quarantine. He created the world as an act of immense kindness in allowing us to become close to Him.

I have read before, I believe from Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, that in the realm of the physical world, the way we become close with someone is, by physically being in close proximity with the person or object with whom we seek closeness.

However, in the realm of the spiritual world, it does not work this way. We cannot become physically close to the spiritual, since it lacks any physical form. Therefore, the way that we become close with G-d in the spiritual sense, is by emulating His ways. The Talmud tells us this much: Just as G-d is compassionate, so too, we are meant to be compassionate. By mimicking G-d, we achieve closeness to Him.

Therefore, I believe we can come full circle. Our sages teach that there are three things that hold up the universe— the three things for which G-d decided us make a world. As He created the world for our pleasure, and our ability to develop a close relationship with Him, it must be that these three things serve that exact purpose: to come close to G-d. 

Thus it would seem that we achieve this close relationship with the Almighty through these three ways: The Torah, which is G-d’s way of communicating with us; prayer, which is our way of communicating with Him, and acts of lovingkindness, which is how we emulate G-d. The Rambam writes in the laws of Purim, that when a person gives to the poor, taking care of the widow and orphan, he is domeh l’shchina— similar to G-d Himself.

By performing acts of loving kindness, then, we are realizing our purpose for existence by cleaving to G-d, by emulating His lofty ways. 

Hopefully as we conclude these days of quarantine and isolation we can work on ourselves to become more kind, giving, and indeed, God-like. 


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