1

B"H

Often times regarding the first halacha of Yesodei Hatorah chapter 1, I hear from different people that the Rambam is discussing the concept of G-d as a "necessary existence" as opposed to the world as an "optional existence".

To elaborate on some questions I have about this idea:

The difficulty is that what is the necessary proof that if everything else would cease to exist, He alone would continue to exist (which is seemingly the simple meaning of "necessary existence")?

I would think necessary existence means that logically it's necessary it exists, which means it can be proven. It's the proof just that it's passed down that He's the necessary existence?

If so, he doesn't seem to give a source for that. (The verse anochi Hashem elokeicha that he brings doesn't seem to suggest this idea).

I'm not sure where to look to find details about this, does anyone know if any sources of this specifically in commentaries of the Mishnah Torah, or sources that reference specifically this first halacha of Yesodei Hatorah and explain the Necessary existence concept from it?

8
  • 1
    Not commentaries on the MT so just a comment. This is discussed in Sefer HaIkkarim 2. See also Derech Mitzvotecha He'Emanut Elokut sec. 1 and 11.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Apr 2 at 19:13
  • @RabbiKaii thanks looks interesting Apr 3 at 5:12
  • 2
    What is meant by the necessary existence of x is the absence of external cause for x. Accordingly the Rambam states that if all entities in the universe ceased to exist, God would continue to exist... He is "self-caused", He exists of necessity. The rest of creation is contingent existence, it does not exist of necessity. Which aspect are you having difficulty understanding? Apr 3 at 11:59
  • See More Nevuchim 1:69 and part 2 introduction (19-20) and chapter 1 (third way)
    – b a
    Apr 3 at 12:50
  • @Deuteronomy the difficulty is that what is the necessary proof that that is true,? I would think necessary existence means that logically it's necessary it exists, which means it can be proven. It's the proof just that it's passed down that He's the necessary existence? If so, he doesn't seem to give a source for that. (The verse anochi Hashem elokeicha that he brings doesn't seem to suggest this idea) Apr 3 at 16:39

1 Answer 1

1

Rabbi Tauber's commentary on Derech Mitzvotecha:

Every other being was created; brought into existence from utter nothingness. In other words, the truth of every other entity's existence is non-being. Since there was a time when it did not exist, even now when it does exist, its fundamental state is non-being. Although it can exist, there is no necessity that it exists. Instead, it exists only because G-d wills that it be.

G-d's existence, by contrast, has no reason and no motivating rationale. He just is. And He always was and always will be. The very definition of Him as G-d implies that He was not brought into being at any time or by any other cause. Instead He exists independently. He must be, for He is the truth of existence. This is implied by the term mechuyav hametzius.

As R Albo states in Sefer HaIkkarim, His existence must be. His existence is from Himself, and is not the result of any other cause which preceded it.

The proof of this is therefore the logic of the matter, and this is also a teaching of our tradition: As we know, Avraham Avinu discovered Hashem through a process of logical deduction, and coming up with the definition of Hashem's existence that He is definitionally the ultimate power and source of everything else (brought in MT AZ 1:3, see Maaseh Rokeach on OP's halacha: MT Y'HT 1:1).

As for Rambam's source, Migdal Oz writes on this halacha:

כתב רבינו משה ז"ל יסוד היסודות וכו' עד בלא יד ובלא גוף. זה מקבלתו וחכמתו ואמתת אמונתו ואמונתנו וכללו במצות אנכי ה' אלקיך:

Our teacher Moshe [Rambam] wrote [this halacha] 'The foundation of foundations' etc. until 'with not a hand nor a body'. This was what he received, understood, and is his true faith, and our faith, and is included under the mitzva "I am Hashem your God".

Derech Mitzvotecha makes a strong case that the Mitzva of knowing and believing in Hashem means not knowing and believing that He exists, but deeply understanding this very point, and as such getting to know Him. Without that, it is impossible to feel anything when serving Hashem, and we might end up like the theif who davens to Hashem for success, ch'v (HaEmunat Elokut 1-3).

9
  • But why is there a difference between Hashem and creation in terms of needing to exist Apr 5 at 21:16
  • @Awtsmoos--עצמות if Hashem stopped creating you, could you continue to create yourself into existence? If not, the reason why not is the answer to your question
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Apr 7 at 11:09
  • Hi. The question is why did and does Hashem need to exist logically Apr 7 at 16:05
  • @Awtsmoos--עצמות sorry, I don't follow the question. He exists because of Him, nothing/nobody else. Where in that are you asking why?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Apr 7 at 16:51
  • I mean the idea of a necessary existence should consist of a definition that explains how and why it is necessary. I can also just say "this chair" is a necessary existence", but what actually makes it necessary, other than saying it is? Apr 8 at 8:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .