The Complete Unity and Unlimited Power of God

 

 The Passover Haggadah text states about the Exodus from Egypt:

The Holy One, blessed be He, did it in His glory by Himself! Thus it is said: “In that night I will pass through the land of Egypt, and I will smite every first-born … I, God.” [Meaning] … I and not an angel; … I and not a seraph; … I and not a messenger; … it is I, and none other!

The mistaken concept of sheetuf (a “partner” with God) is the idea that there is an independent creation or being (for example, an angel) that functions independently of God. The Jewish people are commanded from the verse (Deuteronomy 6:4), “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One,” to believe and accept the truth that there is no independent existence other than God. Everything “else” is created and truly is only functioning according to God’s decree, like an axe that is used in the hands of a woodcutter. The exception is a human being, who uniquely is given free will, and who is permitted by God to function as he likes.

Although Gentiles are not commanded that they must reject the false concept of a sheetuf (a “partner” with God), nevertheless, a Gentile has no permission from God to worship some existence other than Him, that the person imagines to be a sheetuf. One can imagine a sheetuf simply as a being that is independent from God, which contradicts the verse “Hear O Israel, the L-rd our God, the L-rd is One.” One can also imagine a sheetuf that has an independent power over physical or spiritual matters, which contradicts the verse, “You shall not have for yourselves any other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). In either case, it is obvious that worshiping any type of sheetuf is idolatrous. It is obvious that thinking that an angel (for example) is independent does not force one to worship it. Therefore, one who worships any sheetuf transgresses the universal prohibition of idolatry. One who thinks or believes that worship of a sheetuf is a worthy conduct, even though he does not actually worship a sheetuf himself, denies a fundamental principle of Torah faith.[1]

Mankind is even forbidden to worship a person, despite the fact that a person has the unique quality among the creations of having free will, which even angels do not have.


Footnotes:

[1] See Rambam,  Laws of Repentance 3:7.

by Rabbi Moshe Weiner

author of Sheva Mitzvot Hashem, The Divine Code, and Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge

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