Nothing Other Than God

אין עוד מלבדו

“There is nothing other than Him (Hashem).”

This is sentence basically communicates the entire essence of Torah, especially as viewed through the lens of Chassidus. For all the various descriptions of the seder hishtalshelus (order of descent of the Divine Light) and advanced concepts as taught in the Kedushas Levi and Tanya, along with the cyclical and profound Torahs in Likutei Moharan, everything ultimately boils down to the fact that there is nothing in the world but Hashem. In Likutei Amarim Perek 36 the Baal HaTanya writes there that regardless of the various levels of “Levushim,” the Garments that conceal Hashem’s Light, even the Sitra Achra and all the wicked aspects of created reality are included in Him. The only cause for those to exist is Hashem’s need to conceal Himself from us so we can have some amount of Bechira (Free Will).

The key way to break through the illusion and gain greater Daas (experiential Knowledge) of this inyan is through tefillah, simply through prayer. There is a great meditation I learned from a Yerushalmier Breslover chossid, simply to repeat the phrase אין עוד מלבדו at least ten or so times, focusing on the meanings of the words. Through concentration on this to the highest degree, meaning through examining an object or situation and its relation to the Divine, this helps build true Emunah and appreciation for how Hashem completely fills the world, that everything is under His control, and that there is absolutely no separation between us and Him.

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