You say the Torah is the mind of God. How does God have a mind? He doesn’t have a body. Is God more than the mind of God?
Since God has no body, He therefore cannot have a mind as EJ points out. The only way we human can try, and I emphasize, “Try” to decipher God’s overall blueprint for our existence, is by contemplating our environment and ourselves and try to make sense of it. From our perspective, we say that we are searching for God’s mind. We know rationally that God does not “think”, want, wish, have thoughts, emote or do any of the things we humans do, as that would indicate change, qualities that cannot exist in a unique transcendental entity. We however cannot imagine that the results we observe could come about from any entity that does not “think” the way we do; we therefore refer to it as the “mind” of God or Chochmato in philosophical discourse.
This brings us to the next question:
How does love of God equal knowledge of science and/or God? What is knowledge of God?
Love is a feeling that results from intimacy. We love a loved one because we know that person intimately. That differentiates love from lust between man and woman. We cannot try to know God, who does not exist in the sense we know existence, except by observing the results of His actions. Recognizing that there is a First Cause, a non-contingent entity, there is only one way to get some inkling about that entity, by understanding to the extent we can, the results of His actions by observing these results. Understanding our environment and ourselves, the results of His actions [please remember “action” is a human term for how these kinds of results can come about], is the only hope we have of getting to know God. This is not easy and requires discipline, personal self-improvement to overcome our natural narcissistic tendencies and developing our capacity for objectivity. As we acquire more and more knowledge, we become more intimate with God and love develops.
Do we become one with knowledge by knowing the sum total of true beliefs or only a subset, like all true mathematical sentences? What about knowing the names of our children? Optional?
Medieval thinkers understood that knowledge becomes one with the mind and the mind with knowledge. We have a different understanding of how our brain works. However, we still believe that knowledge transforms the human mind from potentially knowing to in-actu knowing. That transformation is described as becoming one with knowledge. Maybe knowing the names of our children is not transformational, but knowing them certainly is.
Do you believe istakel beoraisa oobaraw almaw? [translation: He looked into the Torah and created the world]. Do you accept oraisa vehakadosh borachhoo chad hoo [translation: Torah and God are one] and ditto for yisrael veoraisa [translation: Yisrael and Torah are one]?
These quotes are Zoharic and like all Midrashim cannot be taken literally. These are concisely presented statements of medieval thinkers such as Ramban and Rambam, told in a metaphoric language and these contain a lot of thought in few words. Accepting the idea that Torah encompasses all knowledge [not only Halacha, as contemporary Yeshivot want us to believe], it is not far fetched when Torah is seen as God’s blueprint. It being God’s blueprint makes it one with God whose mind cannot be differentiated from His essence. Yisrael, the committed Torah learners, Torah in its broad sense of course, as they do what they are meant to do, become one with that knowledge. I know that readers will react by saying aren’t the “secular” scientists the ones who developed our understanding of our environment? How can you credit the Torah and those who learn it for the advances in science? The way I see it, myths of antiquity and idolatry and their followers, were a major barrier to open minded inquiry. When one can explain a phenomenon as magical, there is no further need to investigate; indeed investigation is dangerous as it might upset the magical powers that use their esoteric knowledge as tools of control. The core of Halachik Torah is the fight for the abolition of idolatry. The people that practice the Torah, in their human frailty, at times seem to be supporting and going in the wrong direction but then, every so often a person like Rambam appears on the scene and nudges us back onto the right path. It is only because of that partially successful fight against superstition and idolatry that western civilization, greatly influenced by the Judaic culture via its misguided offshoots, Islam and Christianity, made the strides that brought us modern science and empiricism.
In closing, I would like to explain my emphasis on the word “try”, conveying a tentative sense to our knowledge of God and His world and the importance of not deluding ourselves that we have all the answers or even some of them. In Mishlei 16:4-5 we read:
ד כֹּל פָּעַל יְהוָה, לַמַּעֲנֵהוּ; וְגַם-רָשָׁע, לְיוֹם רָעָה. 4
Each act of the Lord has its own end; even the wicked for an evil day.
Rambam in MN3:13 comments on this verse:
The words, " Each act of the Lord has its own end "express therefore the same idea as the following verse, "Everything that is called by my name: I have created it for my glory, I have formed it; yea, I have made it" (Isa. xliii. 7); that is to say, everything that is described as My work has been made by Me for the sake of My will and for no other purpose.
The idea is that in observing that what God made, a person contemplates His will. Lest a person think that he has apprehended God and His will in this contemplation, Shlomo Hamelech immediately warns us –
ה תּוֹעֲבַת יְהוָה, כָּל-גְּבַהּ-לֵב; יָד לְיָד, לֹא יִנָּקֶה. 5
Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; my hand upon it! he shall not be unpunished.
In other words, do not think and act with certainty based on that contemplation. Humans do not have the ability to really apprehend HKBH’s ways, they can try and as long as they are aware of their limitations, they can act with caution and humility. The certainty of the zealot is an abomination to HKBH.