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I heard couple claims that Nachmanides had the belief that the Shechinah is not a caused and distinct emanation but rather God himself or even a person (hypostasis), the Artscroll edition of Ramban's commentary and I read it on Sefaria which the translation seems to hide this by using translation to say "created for the occasion" when it simply says נברא. I will be quoting the Hebrew for people to CTRL F. Another reference is Ramban's commentary on Genesis 46:1,1 on Sefaria. So did Ramban believe in another uncreated entity besides God, or not?

והמתפלל לכבוד נברא כעובד אלילים

על שם השכינה שהוא האל יתברך

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    For those versed in chassidic language, from our finite point of view, we see Torah talk about Hashem from three angles. Mimaleh Kol Olamim (fills all worlds), Sovev Kol Olamim (surrounds all worlds) and Atzmus - Essence, Himself. There's no real difference, of course, Hashem is One and Pashut, but from a creation standpoint we see it this way. The Shechina is Mimaleh Kol Olamim, Hashem's presence that fills creation itself.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Dec 4, 2022 at 10:44
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    It's true, we have to be careful and warey about these subjects, but this would be the same question as is there multiple Gods if we have Elokim, Havaya, etc. Is Elokim (which is "lower" than Havaya) not God? What is He then? Just like Elokim, the Shechina is just another title for the same, One God. For further understanding on these topics, I recommend Nefesh Hachaim, as well as plenty of Chassidus! It's not for amateurs and so needs to be studied deeply to not fall into any of the aforementioned concerns and issues. Christians love to use this against us.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Dec 4, 2022 at 13:28
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    @RabbiKaii the question was about nachmanidies not chassidus, which was only invented about 500 years later
    – Double AA
    Dec 4, 2022 at 14:12
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    @DoubleAA do you oppose using the works of later, relevant, Rabbis to help understand/explain the words of earlier ones? Especially ones who were building on the previous works? I wasn't answering the question directly, but clarifying one of the points raised in the question, which I believe is what comments are for. I apologise if I have been inappropriate. Also, I must take issue with the word invented, it has political connotations, that are unfair for such a short response
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Dec 4, 2022 at 14:30
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    @RabbiKaii The works, no. The language, yes. You can't use 18th century hasidic jargon to interpret the language of rishonim writing hundreds of years earlier. They didn't use words the same way. If you weren't doing that then I have no complaints. I haven't read the whole post, but it certainly seemed like you were doing that. Why recommend "lots of chassidus" and being well versed in chassidic language to understand ramban?? Why point out how chrisitians misunderstand chassidus against us if we're talking about understanding ramban? Just quote ramban and say what he means.
    – Double AA
    Dec 4, 2022 at 15:13

2 Answers 2

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There are worlds above נברא. Creation implies from nonexistence, the worlds above creation are caused and contingent on Necessary Being but not created. To argue what the Ramban meant until you know חן would be unproductive.

The Ramban does not believe in a separate independent reality from the First Cause. If you think the Ramban thought there were other Absolute Beings, then he would be wrong and a heretic.

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  • Hey i think it is clear he meant the Shechinah is not temporal or created as in the hebrew word ברא, more like יצר. is there more evidence for this interpretation of Nachmanides outside of this? like his students or modern pskims as evidence? Dec 6, 2022 at 22:43
  • How can something be caused/contingent and uncreated? That sounds like a logical impossibility
    – Nahum
    Jan 24 at 14:43
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I don't understand the question. The Ramban is clealy coming to avoid the view that the Shechina is something distinct from the Godhead. He's saying that according to Maimonides that it is a כבוד נברא then how can we direct our prayer to it, as that would constitue idolatry (והמתפלל לכבוד נברא כעובד אלילים)? from this the Ramban proves that the Shechina is not somehing "created", or something distinct, rather it is to be identified with God himself. So it seems clear that the Ramban did not believe that the Shechina is another entity or being.

The question to be asked though is how the Ramban reconciled this with the belief in the absolute unity of God. The Ramban's belief seems to be irreconcilable with the belief in the oneness of God. This is something I am grappling with. See my question here.

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  • Seems to me that youre both basically asking the same q. He isn't necessarily identifying it with God and is therefore wondering about its implication, you are and are struggling to reconcile with God's simplicity. No?
    – Nahum
    Jan 24 at 14:52
  • @Nahum No. Read again.
    – Bach
    Jan 24 at 15:19
  • Care to explain?
    – Nahum
    Jan 24 at 15:29
  • If you're unwilling or unable to explain that is fine however I don't appreciate the condescension.
    – Nahum
    Jan 24 at 15:54

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