This week’s Torah potion, Vaetchanan, contains the verse, “And you shall know this day, and take it to heart, that the L-rd is the G-d in the heavens above, and upon the earth below; there is none else.” This recognition of G-d’s unity may be divided into three distinct areas: “heaven,” “earth,” and “there is none else” (which, according to the Midrash, refers to G-d’s oneness “even within the very depths of the earth.”
Why does the Torah go to such great lengths to emphasize the oneness of G-d? Would anyone seriously entertain the notion that there is another G-d hiding in the murky depths of the sea or in the earth’s core? Why is it necessary for the Torah to explicitly command us to “take it to heart?”
Chasidic philosophy explains that this verse not only negates the possibility of another deity’s existence, G-d forbid, but rather emphasises the fact that there is no existence at all besides G-d. G-dliness is the only reality; everything else is an illusion covering up the true essence within. Were we able to clearly perceive that there is no independent reality except for G-d, we would easily recognise that it is only G-d’s constant re-creation of the world, every minute and every second, that sustains both physical and spiritual reality. In truth, “there is nothing else.”
Because one may mistakenly think that only spiritual matters are G-dly, the Torah specifically mentions “the earth below.” The physical world, with its multitude of creations, is also a vessel for G-dliness, and must be properly utilised in the service of G-d.
This division is also symbolic of man himself: “Heaven” refers to man’s G-dly soul; “earth” refers to his corporeal body, the vessel in which the G-dly soul illuminates; and “the very depths of the earth” refers to man’s actions.
By stressing this verse, the Torah emphasises that this awareness of G-d must be brought into all facets of our lives – spiritual, physical and practical. By recognising G-d’s unity and reflecting it in our every action, we ready the entire world for the complete revelation of G-dliness that will take place with the coming of Moshiach and the Final Redemption, speedily in our days. Moshiach NOW!!!