You are My Witnesses: A Need on High

by tillerofthesoil

“Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai taught: ‘You are My witnesses,’ says YHWH, ‘and I am God’ (Isaiah 43:12). When you are My witnesses, I am God. When you are not My witnesses, I am not, as it were, God” (Sifrei, Deuteronomy 346, cf. Pesiqta de-Rav Kahana 12).

“Is the blessed Holy One מִשְׁתַּבַּח (mishtabaḥ), praised [or: enhanced], בְּשִׁבְחַיְיהוּ (be-shivḥayyehu), through the praise [or: enhancement], of Israel? Indeed, as is written: YHWH you have proclaimed today to be your God [and to go in His ways and to keep His statutes and His commands and His laws and to heed His voice] (Deuteronomy 26:17). And it is written: And YHWH has proclaimed you today [to be to Him a treasured people, as He has spoken to you, and to keep all His commands, and to set you high above all the nations that He made, for praise and for acclaim and for glory, and for you to be a holy people to YHWH your God, as He has spoken] (ibid., 18)” (BT Berakhot 6a).

“When the blessed Holy One took counsel from the Torah—whose name is Prudence—to create the world, she answered Him: Master of the Worlds: If the king has no army and no camp, over what does he rule? And if there is no people מְקֻלָּסִין (mequllasin), praising, the king, what is that king’s glory? The Lord of the World listened and it was pleasing to Him. Torah said: The blessed Holy One took counsel from me to create the world, as is said, Mine is counsel and prudence, [I am Discernment, mine is might. Through me kings reign, and rulers decree righteous laws] (Proverbs 8:14)” (Pirqe de-Rabbi Eli’ezer 3, cf. Zohar 3:69a).

“The ministering angels said to the blessed Holy One: Master of the World! What is man that You should note him, and the human creature, that You pay him heed? (Psalms 8:5). This trouble, for what has it been created? He said to them: If so sheep and oxen all together (ibid., 8), why were they created; why were birds of the heavens and fish of the sea (ibid., 9) created? A tower full of good things and no guests—what pleasure has its owner in having filled it? They said to Him: Master of the World! YHWH our Master, how majestic Your name in all the earth! (ibid., 10). Do what pleases You!” (Bereshit Rabbah 8:6).

And the gain of the earth is in all—a king [opposite a field] (ibid., 8)—what is יִתְרוֹן (yitron), the gain? The Place from which the earth was hewn, and He yitron, surpasses, what was  [cf. Ecclesiastes 2:13: And I saw that wisdom yitron, surpasses, folly as light surpasses darkness]. And what are they yitron, profited? Every thing in the world: when inhabitants of the world are able to take from its splendor then it is a yitron, gain” (Bahir §95).