Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin
DOES G-D EXIST?
REFLECTIONS ON SABBATH IN THE WORK PLACE:
AT NYU TO BE EXACT
What connection could there possibly be between G-d's existence and trying to observe a traditional Sabbath at NYU?
NYU is located in The Village, which is part of planet Earth. The Earth, Heavens, and everything else were, according to the book of Creation (Genesis), created by G-d.
Now as difficult as this may seem to most people, there is a growing minority of young Jews at NYU who accept that; in order to illustrate that G-d exists they ergo observe the traditional Shabbat.
Some of these people commute to college from their homes in Queens and Brooklyn. Others stay in the dorms of NYU. This latter group makes its presence felt in the Kosher Kitchen at the bottom of Loeb Student Center every Saturday.
Under the tutelage of the resident Chabad rabbi, they conduct religious services, eat traditional foods, and most of all, really "keep" Shabbat.
Imagine, you eat a piece of geflite fish at NYU, and somehow or other, you actually prove the existence of G-d.
Okay, so what's the scoop? How can I really be so tongue-in-cheek about such a heavy subject?
It's actually very simple: Judaism teaches that by observing the laws and customs of the Jewish Sabbath, I actually demonstrate my belief that G-d created the world.
G-d "rested" on the seventh day of creation from all the "work" of the first six days. If I emulate what he did on the seventh day, I therefore show that I accept the fact that he created the Earth.
If I accept that G-d did all of the above, that is "work" and "rest", I therefore accept and in fact prove, that G-d exists!
Now wait a minute, you might say. What "nuts and bolts" proof is this that G-d actually exists? The problem with this question is that we worship an "invisible G-d," so what good is any "nuts and bolts" proof? Ultimately, my recognition of G-d and my acceptance of his existence must take place in my MIND. All the physical avenues of proof or circumstantial evidence must be collected, judged, and classified in my head!
It is within the recesses of the human skull that G-d's existence is finally appreciated. The evidence is physical, but the conclusion is mental or intellectual.
To prove my point, I'll tell you what I learned from my teachers:
They ask, what did the creation of Man on the sixth day add to the world? After all, animal life on earth, in the air, and under the ocean was already created. Was Man just another kind of animal? Also, before Man's creation there was already a perfect unspoiled ecosystem, so what more was needed?
They answer that what Man had above all the creations was the capacity of speech. Not just animal communication of sounds, but the ability to conjure up abstractions and give names to everything.
Intelligent speech is proof of a mind, and it is the mind of man that recognizes all of creation and the force behind it.
Now pay attention!
Man was created at the end of the Sixth Day of Creation. He had a mind that could appreciate all of Creation. What came next was the Seventh Day. G-d tells Man to keep the Seventh Day HOLY. This is achieved by the MIND.
The MIND of Man, realizing that G-d created All, now knows that it must observe the Sabbath to keep it Holy, because this is the ultimate or completion of Creation.
Which brings us full circle back to the BODY. The perfect person is the one whose body and mind (by the way, there are other components, but that's another essay) work in harmony.
By actually following physical laws, customs and guidelines, I demonstrate and act out my knowledge and beliefs.
So therefore, when I refrain from mundane acts, and come to eat a Sabbath meal at the Kosher Kitchen I show indeed what my mind knows to be true:
(Peace to you on Sabbath, Brothers and Sisters!)