It is common for people, especially Americans, to sell short the Oneness of our Creator. At face value, the concept doesn’t seem all that exciting. There is only one God; big whoop, right? It is with this grade-school mindset of God’s Oneness that I would like to tackle and dismantle this description of God that has most likely made you bored of this post already.
I came from Christianity, which does say that God is One, but that also that God is three. Because of this, I could never quite grab a hold of the magnitude of what it means that God is, in fact, One. I also think part of this is because of Christianity’s need to have pictures of images of God; which are really images of us because, supposedly, the “image of God” is meant to mean that He probably had one head, two arms, two legs, a torso, etc..
The other reason why I was never able to fully grasp the weight of the Oneness of God is because I was reading it all wrong; literally. Understanding what the Torah meant in Deuteronomy 6:4 cannot be understood with the common understanding of the English translation. Most people are used to this thought pattern which is expressed in the “God’s Word” translation of the Bible:
“Listen, Israel; The LORD is our God. The LORD is the only God.”
Sounds good, right? Did it wake you up at all? Me neither. I started nodding off in my chair just reading it. Why? This isn’t what the Torah says!
The Torah says this:
“שמע ישראל יהוה אלהינו יהוה ׀ אחד“
“Hear, O Israel. The LORD is our God. The LORD is One.”
What is the difference? Here is the difference:
You see, having a single God is nothing new and doesn’t expand our minds at all. We have one President, nations have one king, we each have one father, and having One God is nothing new. But the fact that God is One changes everything.
You see the sky? The God is the sky. You see the ground? That’s God, too. Look at your own hand. God. Look at your lunch. God. Even when you look at suffering, pain, evil, and depression, that is all God. God is laughter. God is sorrow. God is…you get the picture.
Now, when you speak to your fellow man, recognize that he is, in essence, part of God’s Oneness; so speak respectfully. When you talk to your wife, to your children, to your husband, your mom, your dad, they are also a part of God’s Oneness. The words you’re putting out there are part of God’s Oneness, so don’t borrow part of God’s Oneness to tell a lie or insult someone.
Now that we know that God is One and that everything is part of His Oneness, what do we do with that Oneness?