וגם כי אין לו דמות הגוף

And although He has no bodily likeness,

How, then, can we possibly say that G‑d possesses an “eye” and “ear”, organs that are part of a physical body?

הרי אדרבה, הכל גלוי וידוע לפניו ביתר שאת לאין קץ מראיית העין ושמיעת האזן, על דרך משל

yet, on the contrary: i.e., this is the very reason that everything is revealed and known to Him infinitely more than, for example, through the physical medium of sight and hearing.

When we say that G‑d does not possess any bodily likeness, we mean that He is not bounded by the frailties of a physical body. A physical eye can observe corporeality, but not spirituality; it can see only when there is adequate light, and only up to a given distance, and so on. Physical hearing is likewise limited. G‑d’s “seeing” and “hearing”, however, possess only the merits of these faculties, but none of their physical limitations. For it goes without saying that any quality possessed by created beings is surely possessed by their Creator.

רק הוא על דרך משל, כמו אדם היודע ומרגיש בעצמו כל מה שנעשה ונפעל באחד מכל רמ״ח איבריו, כמו קור או חום

By way of illustration, G‑d’s “seeing” and “hearing”, and the fact that everything is revealed to Him and known by Him, are like a man who knows and feels within himself all that is happening to and being experienced by each of his 248 organs, such as cold and heat,

ואפילו חום שבצפרני רגליו, על דרך משל, אם נכוה באור

feeling even the heat in his toenails, for example, as when he is scorched by fire;

וכן מהותם ועצמותם

so also their essence and substance,

I.e., not only is a person aware of all that is happening to his organs; he also feels the organs themselves.

וכל מה שמתפעל בהם יודע ומרגיש במוחו

and all that is affected1 in [ or: by] them, is known to the person and sensed in his brain.

One need not use his eyes or ears to see or hear what has happened to a limb of his body, such as the pain of a burned hand or foot, for he knows and senses it in his mind.

וכעין ידיעה זו, על דרך משל, יודע הקב״ה כל הנפעל בכל הנבראים עליונים ותחתונים, להיות כולם מושפעים ממנו יתברך, כמו שכתוב: כי ממך הכל

In a similar manner of knowledge, by way of analogy, G‑d knows all that befalls all created beings of both higher and lower worlds, because they all receive their flow of life from Him, as it is written:2 “For from You come all things.”

Just as the brain, which is the source of life for the whole body, knows what transpires within it, so too does G‑d, the Source of all life, know what is happening with all of creation.

וזה שאומרים: וגם כל היצור לא נכחד ממך

And this is the meaning of what we say:3 “...and no creature is hidden from You,” inasmuch as all created beings emanate from Him.

וכמו שכתב הרמב״ם [והסכימו לזה חכמי הקבלה, כמו שכתב הרמ״ק בפרדס]

And as Maimonides speaking as a philosopher has said (4and this has been agreed to by the scholars of the Kabbalah, as Rabbi Moses Cordovero writes in Pardess),

שבידיעת עצמו, כביכול, יודע כל הנבראים הנמצאים מאמיתת המצאו וכו׳

that by knowing Himself, as it were, He knows all created things, whose source of existence is His true existence.

However, G‑d provides creation with life in a different manner than the manner in which the soul provides life to the body. The soul must garb itself in the body in order to provide it with life. By doing so it is affected by the body (for “enclothing” implies that the clothed object undergoes a change). G‑d, however, is of course not subject to change when He provides life to creation. Hence:

רק שמשל זה אינו אלא לשכך את האזן, אבל באמת אין המשל דומה לנמשל כלל

This analogy of soul and body, however, is only to “calm the ear” — to make it possible for man’s ear and intellect to perceive how one may know about something without having to actually see or hear it. In truth, however, the analogy of soul and body bears no similarity at all to the analogue of G‑dliness and creation.

כי נפש האדם, אפילו השכלית והאלקית, היא מתפעלת ממאורעי הגוף וצערו מחמת התלבשותה ממש בנפש החיונית המלובשת בגוף ממש

For the human soul, even the rational and the divine soul, is affected by the events which transpire with the body and its pain, by reason of its (the rational and divine soul’s) being actually clothed within the vivifying soul (i.e., the soul which provides the body with physical life) which in turn is clothed in the body itself.

אבל הקב״ה אינו מתפעל, חס ושלום, ממאורעי העולם ושינוייו, ולא מהעולם עצמו

G‑d, however, is not (heaven forbid) affected by the events of the world and its changes, nor by the world itself,

He is not affected by the existence (the essence and being5) of the world;

שכולם אינן פועלים בו שום שינוי, חס ושלום

none of them effect any change in Him, G‑d forbid, nor in His absolute unity; just as He was One and Unified before He created them, so, too, does He remain One and Unified after their creation.

והנה כדי להשכיל זה היטב בשכלנו, כבר האריכו חכמי האמת בספריהם

In order to help us understand this well with our intelligence, the Scholars of Truth (i.e., the Kabbalists) have already treated it at length in their books, and an explanation will be found there.

אך כל ישראל מאמינים בני מאמינים, בלי שום חקירת שכל אנושי, ואומרים: אתה הוא עד שלא נברא העולם וכו׳

However, all Jews as descendants of the Patriarchs who believed in G‑d, are “believers, descendants of believers,” without any speculation of mortal intellect whatever, and they declare:6 “You were [the same] before the world was created,” and so forth,

The passage concludes: “You are [the same] since the world has been created”; thus, all Jews firmly believe that the world’s creation causes no change in G‑d,

כנ״ל פרק כ׳

as has been explained above in ch. 20.