Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik
by R. Aharon Ziegler
Moshe Rabbeinu, in Parshat Va’etchanan, declares, “Mi Keil BaShamayim U’vaAretz Asher Ya’aseh k’Ma’asecha veChigvuro’teicha” [“What power is there in the heaven or on the earth that can perform according to Your powerful deeds and according to Your ‘mighty acts’?]
According to Rav Soloveitchik, the terms ‘mighty acts’ or powerful deeds refer to The Creation of the world. In Kabbalistic terms, the Creation of the world is based on the concept of tzimtzum, contraction. HaShem, the Infinite, the Ein-Sof, contacted Himself in order to allow for the existence of the world. If not for this fact, a finite world could not co-exist with the Infinite. G-d’s contraction is thus defined as an act of Gevurah, leaving “room” for Creation.
The Rav added, that this quality of tzimtzum is reflected as well in the fact that HaShem chose to reveal Himself to the Nation of Israel and award them the Torah. Why did G-d not reveal Himself to the entire world at once, thus immediately realizing the hope of our Tefillot on Rosh HaShana, “Meloch Al Kol Haolan Kuloh Bich’vo’decha” [“Reign over the entire universe in Your honor”? Why did He choose to make Himself known to 600,000 slaves, a stateless people who were wandering in Yeleil Yeshimon, (Devarim 32; 10) a howling wilderness? G-d could have chosen all the world’s inhabitants for His Revelation, but He chose instead to manifest Gevurah and again engage in tzimtzum, in order to limit His Revelation to the people He loves, to Am Yisrael. That’s why we say in Pirkei Avot [3:18] “Beloved is mankind for being created in G-d’s image; but more so, Beloved are the people of Israel , for they are described as children on the Omnipresent”
By revealing Himself exclusively to us and only to us, G-d has shown His special love for us. It Halachically behooves us therefore, to show our love for Ahavat HaShem at every opportunity.