This shiur is l'ilui nishmat Marat Menya bas Hertzel
In the previous shiur we looked at the different understandings of the nature of G-d amongst Rishonim. I found in Prof. Menachem Kellner's book "Must a Jew Believe Anything?" an interesting source which is connected to thsi idea - Teshuva Radbaz vol. 8 number 191. There he distinguishes between "The G-d of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov" and "The G-d of Aristotle", and clearly states that Rambam, Rav Saadia, Kuzari and others were in the latter camp (though he says that was only for 'kiruv' purposes).
There are conceptual problems with each of these approaches. To say that G-d has a body is too difficult for us to comprehend, and is almost a denial of how we understand monotheism. On the other hand, Rambam's G-d is unknowable, and therefore unaffected by anything we do, and is so far removed from our experience that from our perspective there is nothing He can do for us. It is impossible to have a relationship with such a G-d, and difficult to understand how G-d could have a relationship with us.
In this shiur I look at the chidush of the Arizal, which resolves this machlokes by distinguishing between two aspects of G-d. Before tzimtzum (and outside the space of tzimtzum) we have the "G-d of Rambam" who is unknowable and indescribable. Conversely, in the world of tzimtzum we can speak about aspects of G-d, including midot, sefirot, partzufim, and the ways in which they interact with each other and with the world. In this post-tzimtzum world in which we live, G-d almost becomes physical, and in this way we can have a reciprocal relationship with Him.
There is also a discussion at the end of the shiur about whether it really makes a difference. Why should we even think about G-d? Isn't it enough just to be a good Jew and do the mitzvos?
Here is the shiur
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Tzimtzum Revolution (right click and 'save as')
and here are the source sheets to go with it
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