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14.2.12

I like Spinoza very much. If he had proved his point about pantheism I would probably not be knocking the different groups of chasidim that preach pantheism

I like Spinoza very much. If he had proved his point about pantheism I would probably not be knocking the different groups of chasidim that preach pantheism and also say that what they are teaching is authentic Judaism. But personally to me it does not seem that Spinoza proved his point. Several of the things that he writes right at the beginning are of interest. He uses Descartes' idea of a clear idea as being evidence that it is true. (I only wish this were so. I have a clear idea that I have a million dollars!)(Of course Descartes was mathematician, so in that context this idea makes sense but as a general rule it does not). Next Spinoza puts a restraint on substance that also is not intuitive and to me makes no sense; i.e. that no substance can effect another substance in any way. Next most of the proofs do not prove what he is saying and he uses many terms that he does not define. While I admit his work is admirable and an amazing attempt to create a rigorous philosophy as for me I think I will stick with the Rambam. I also appreciate that he does not claim to be teaching authentic Judaism as opposed to chasidut which also teaches pantheism (or panetheism)and yet teaches that it is authentic Judaism. In any case, pantheism is not the faith of the Torah.

This is the philosophy part. Also, Arizal does not agree with pantheism. To the Arial (and the Zohar), only Azilut is godliness, not the lower worlds. Also the Zimzum has nothing to do with pantheism. To use the issue of the Zimzum was a smoke screen made up by chasidim to try to show why the Gra put Chasidim (or rather "the disciples of the Magid from Metzritch") in cherem. but the Gra does not mention the zimum. Also it is not relevant. Hashem might have condensed his light or Himself and still everything might not be godliness; i.e. it could be he condensed his light or himself. Then he sent down his light into the empty space and made the lower worlds. That still does not mean that the lower world are Divine. It is simply irrelevant. And in fact, anyway it says in many places in the beginning of the Eitz Chayim that Hashem condensed Himself.
To sum this up simply the faith of the Torah is monotheism. This goes for the Rambam and Saadia Geon and the Arizal. The principle of creation something from nothing is the basis for Torah as the Rambam also holds. Something from nothing does not mean something from ain sof (infinity). So for chasidim to present pantheism as kabalah or as Judaism is not right.