Author Archives: Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Da’at Tevunot 3:5 (¶s 116 [end] – 117)

Da’at Tevunot 3:5 (¶s 116 [end] – 117)

1.

              Ramchal says that he’s going to expand upon things he’d said above 1 and reveal things that are “deep” about “the very makeup of the universe” which will prove to be true “throughout its various time-frames” 2.

              The overarching principle is this, he says: At bottom G-d wants to emanate His goodness upon us, so He brought about a mechanism for the emission of light and emanations from His being that would be appropriate for us 3.

2.

              G-d originally meant for it to be an emanation of sheer holiness 4 and for the eventual consequences of it to be holy, too, like angels. Thus, Ramchal remarks, the main reason why G-d brought about this emanation was for us to eventually enjoy an element of His own holiness 5.

              But, since G-d specifically wanted a lesser, lower world to exist, He saw to it that that emanation would be diminished and would bring about lower, material phenomena 6, despite the fact that that’s clearly a downgrading of the emanation’s nature and was not the reason it was created in the first place 7.

              Thus ironically, the coarse and material things that we see in the world that were produced by these emanations are in fact a diminution and a degradation of this mechanism which is from G-d Himself, who is the source of perfection and holiness.

              Nevertheless, it was G-d’s plan to cover-over His emanations with darkness for the meanwhile, until He will see to it that the emanation will no longer be covered-over, and reality itself will prove to be “holy to G-d” 8. That is, the emanation will continue to be covered-over that way as long as we function in this realm 9. But that those covers will eventually be stripped away.

              Thus we learn that the impetus behind all of the various twists and turns of time and human history is to vary and to eventually fully elevate it until the world will achieve its ultimate goal of allowing for all of creation to be holy.

3.

              The point of the matter is firstly that G-d allowed for an emanation to emit from Himself to us whose purpose was to draw holiness down to us from Him. Secondly, that He created mechanisms that were to allow for lesser and lower emanations despite the emanations’ inherent holiness 10. And thirdly, that He created within this emanation itself the various instances of ruination we’d mentioned, and He rooted all of this in the eventual revelation of His supreme sovereignty as we’d cited 11.              

              Thus, all of these lesser things are a product and fundamental element of G-d’s having hidden His “countenance”, while His eventual revelation of His supreme sovereignty will ultimately result in the stripping away of these limitations 12.

Footnotes:

1                About the place and makeup of wrong and injustice, and specifically about its being a product of the “emanation” cited above (albeit a weakened version of it as we’ll see).

2                Frankly, could any student of truth, meaning, and ultimate purpose turn his or her head away when someone of Ramchal’s caliber says something like that?

3                One point is that this mechanism has to be tailored to our beings, as too much light and goodness would obliterate us and too little would barely maintain us. The other is that this mechanism isn’t at all intrinsic to the universe: it had to have been created. For, everything but everything — each moment, each phenomenon, each life, each spectacle, each wilt — each and every instance of this and that from time immemorial to time immemorial is rooted in and sustained by emanations from G-d’s own Being.

              It’s also important to understand that this discussion purposefully follows the one in 3:4 above about G-d having created “potentials” and “actualizations”, as his overarching point here is that wrong, evil, injustice, and the like were always potential in the creation of the universe and in G-d’s plans for it; and that what can’t be denied either is that G-d allowed for it to be actualized (for His own good reasons and by means of the diminished emanations discussed below).

4                See 2:5 above about the fact that holiness is a consequence of G-d’s shining His “countenance” upon us, which is spoken of below.

              Also see Clallim Rishonim 1.

5                See 3:10 below about this occurring in The World to Come.

              And see Ch. 1 of Messilat Yesharim.

6                That are oftentimes un-G-dly, wrongful and utterly unholy.

7                Which was to allow for a full-flowering of His beneficence.

              That is, despite the fact that G-d’s beneficence is boundless and lush, He still and all tempered and curbed it — and left it on what we might call a “brown-out”, a less than optimal level — in order to allow for some simply earthly and mundane, and even wrongful and unjust things to go on, which is our concern here.

              See 1:15 above.

8                See Leviticus 27:30 and especially Deuteronomy 14:2. Also see 4:10 below.

              See Ramchal’s Ma’amar Hareusin, Ma’amar Hayichud, and Adir Bamarom pp. 440-441 for a fuller, kabalistic discussion of the implications of this all, which helps to explain just why Ramchal refers to this all as a “deep” phenomenon that’s true of “the very makeup of the universe” throughout its “various time-frames”.

9                I.e., the realm that Ramchal refers to in the text is termed the era of Divine service, which is to say, the realm in which we continue to serve G-d through the mitzvah-system

10              Which are nevertheless appropriate to our world’s needs.

11              See 1:3 above, etc. Also see Klach Pitchei Chochma 39.

12              See 3:3 above about G-d hiding His “countenance” as well as 3:8 below.

              Some unnecessary repetition and redundancy follows in the text of this chapter which Rabbi Yoseph Spinner has discovered isn’t found in the first edition of Da’at Tevunot, so we’ll end this chapter here.

(c) 2019 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

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Rabbi Feldman’s new annotated translation of Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag’s “Introduction to the Zohar” is available as “The Kabbalah of Self” on Kindle here. His annotated translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here and his annotated translation of Rabbeinu Yonah’s “The Gates of Repentance” is available here.

He has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal” that can be subscribed to.

Da’at Tevunot 3:4 (¶ 116 [beg.])

Da’at Tevunot 3:4 (¶ 116 [beg.])

1.

            Ramchal is about to offer something that will serve as a prelude to what’s to follow 1. It’s that even though G-d certainly had the ability from the first to create a universe before He actually created it, He still and all can’t be said to have had a mere “potential” for doing it which then had to be “actualized” 2.

            In fact, believing that He only potentially had that ability and that it had to be actualized is one of the mistaken assumptions made by those who believed that the universe is eternal 3.

2.

            The truth of the matter is that since it’s simply impossible for us to comprehend anything about G-d Himself 4 before He created the universe 5, it follows then that we can’t speak about states of “potentiality” or of “actualization”, since that would necessitate arguments about things passing from a “potential” state of before creation to one of them being “actually created” afterwards, and we’re not equipped to do that.

            What’s true instead is that G-d created the notions and realities of “potential” and “actualization” along with everything else at the point of creation, and He then used that system to set everything in linear space and time 6.

            That’s why we’re taught that “(The phrase) ’In the beginning’ 7 is also a statement of creation” (Rosh Hashanah 32a), even though it’s different from all the others 8. Because the phrase “In the beginning” refers to the universe in toto in its potential state before it was actualized.

            it’s just that once G-d created the potential state, everything then actualized by means of the aforementioned “emanations”.

Footnotes:

1                Let’s quickly lay out the flow of ideas here so far and where they’ll lead. Recall that the overarching subject at hand is the whys and wherefores of wrong and injustice (see 3:1). Along the way we discussed the “emanations” that G-d uses to manage the cosmos (3:2) which will be cited below and play a major role in the creation of wrong and injustice. We then learned about the role of G-d’s will in those emanations (3:3), and we’re about to dwell on another truism that will help explain the existence of wrong and injustice.

            All of this seeming obfuscation is unavoidable, we’re afraid. For as we’d indicated very early on, one has to keep his “eye on the ball” when studying Da’at Tevunot (see 1:1:1), as so much is discussed in depth here that’s of such importance that a lot of groundwork has to be laid in order to understand the truths  to be revealed.

            Much of what’s touched on in this chapter will be discussed in 7:11 below, and was cited to a degree in 1:19:2 above. Also see Moreh Nevuchim 2: 14, 18.

2                He can’t be said to have changed from “being potentially able to” create the universe to “actually able to”, as His pristine self doesn’t experience change.

3                Those who believed that G-d had a latent trait that could only be actualized if a universe existed would then argue that since He’s eternal, then a universe in which He could eventually manifest that trait had to have always existed, too. But that’s not so.

4                And His “environment”.

5                Ramchal discussed this before; see 2:7 above for example. His point in repeating it here is to underscore the fact that even though we’re discussing the pre-creation state of things, we’re still and all not touching upon His inherent self.

6                The idea of things being purposefully made to proceed from “potential” to “actual” is discussed here because the analogous idea of things proceeding from “cause” to “effect” — which is a major pattern that G-d uses in His management of the universe — will be cited in 3:5 below. The point again is that all of that had to have been created outright; it isn’t an inherent part of reality.

            The other point is that their creation underscores just how radically thorough the act of creation was. We’re conditioned to thinking that there has never been a time when there wasn’t “time” (or, the notions of “before” and “after”, “potential” and actual, and “cause” and effect”) and that there’ll never be a time without any of that, as if they were all set and fundamental elements of reality. In fact, we’re also conditioned to think of “reality” as we know it to be a fundamental element of the cosmos, and that without it there’d simply be no existence.

            The truth is that everything but everything both abstruse and concrete had to have been created by G-d. Each instance of “something” was created anew out of the essential “nothingness” that preceded it. Time, reality, potentiality, cause, and everything else in the here-and-now could have remained un-created and forever subsumed in the vast and terrible never-to-have-been.

7                Which starts the statement that “In the beginning G-d created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

8                Because the others begin with a directive that’s immediately followed by a fulfillment, as in “G-d said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light” (1:3), “And G-d said, ‘Let there be an expanse in the midst of the water’ … and it was so” (1:6-7), etc.

(c) 2019 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

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Rabbi Feldman’s new annotated translation of Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag’s “Introduction to the Zohar” is available as “The Kabbalah of Self” on Kindle here. His annotated translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here and his annotated translation of Rabbeinu Yonah’s “The Gates of Repentance” is available here.

He has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal” that can be subscribed to.

Da’at Tevunot 3:3 (¶’s 103- 115)

Da’at Tevunot 3:3 (¶’s 103- 115)

1.

It seems logical, doesn’t it, that goodness would be a product of something that emanates goodness while wrongfulness would be a product of some other thing that emanates wrongfulness 1? But it’s not that simple, since it’s G-d alone who’s the source of all emanations 2, and He never emanates wrongfulness as He’s the consummate source of goodness.

But, where then does wrongfulness come from? Isn’t G-d depicted as “making peace and creating wrong”? (Isaiah 45:7).

2.

For one thing it’s written “creating wrong” rather than “bringing about wrong”; as while G-d certainly brought wrongfulness into existence —  otherwise it would never exist — He nonetheless never actually brings about wrongfulness Himself  3.

But there are a few other vexing verses that touch on G-d’s interactions with the world, including, “O L-rd, … You hid Your countenance and I became frightened” (Psalms 30:8), “You hide Your countenance and they are frightened” (Psalms 104:29) and, “I will abandon them and hide My countenance from them, and they will be consumed” (Deuteronomy 31:17) 4. What those verses allude to is the fact that while G-d brings about goodness through His emanations, to be sure, wrongfulness is a consequence of His withdrawing His emanation to one degree or another – or even annulling it by hiding His “countenance”  5.

3.

In point of fact, G-d’s emanations are always meant to bring about what’s ultimately best for their intended recipient, though they’re sometimes withheld. If they’re completely withheld from someone, then that individual would experience a complete and utter loss of some sort, whereas if it would only be withheld somewhat from him then he’d suffer a degree of loss, but no more 6.

And so, for example, when G-d’s emanation is in full force, its recipient is alive and vibrant, whereas he’d die if it were completely withheld from him, and become sick or made to suffer if it would only be partially withheld.

So there aren’t two separate sources of emanations, one for goodness and the other for wrongfulness. Everything is a product of one degree or another of G-d’s own emanation or His withholding of it.  As such, wrong is simply the lack of some degree or another of goodness.

4,

In fact, were we to somehow observe all of the instances of right and wrong in the world and truly comprehend their circumstances, we’d see for ourselves that all instances of wrongfulness are a consequence of a lack of righteousness 7. So there’s simply no logical reason to claim that there are two sources of emanation. Instead, there’s one single 8 emanation that either functions fully, partially, or not at all, as we’d said.

Indeed, the world is clearly intricate and complex, and full of instances of right and wrong. And everything that’s right and just is a direct result of G-d’s emanation while everything wrong and unjust is a consequence of His withdrawing of it to one degree or another, given that — even if we don’t perceive it as such — absolutely everything is ultimately from G-d.

5.

Now, you might wonder. though, how anything can come about at all if there’s some sort of a withdrawal of Divine emanation. And you might then assert that G-d must have created wrongfulness in fact, otherwise it simply couldn’t come about.

But it comes to this 9: when we refer to G-d’s having created the universe we need to realize that He first created the whole of nature and reality itself in broad strokes, and then their specific elements. And then He decided to create the elements of right and wrong in the mix. He emitted an 10 emanation to do that which was all good 11. But some of it was withheld, which was an innovation 12 and a contradiction of G-d’s pristine and all good emanation, and an aberration. And that was all for the allowance of wrongfulness.

Certain consequences just naturally came about once that happened of course, some of which are good and others bad. But even the bad consequences ultimately derived from G-d’s 13 emanations, given that absolutely everything does. Thus admixtures of right and wrong came about and continue to exist in the world.

So, the original emanation was never utterly withheld or else the world would cease to exist. It is only true that it was partially withheld.

That also explains why some people become ill rather than die from one thing or another — because they were to have been inflicted by the withholding of G-d’s emanation, but only to a particular degree rather than completely.  Thus diseases and the like are innovations, if you will, on the original fact of whole-hearted emanations.

Thus we see that G-d in fact does nothing wrongful Himself, but He sometimes withholds His emanations which result in wrongfulness 14. But there’s a lot more to be said about this, as we’ll see.

Footnotes:

1             This is a continuation of the discussion begun in the previous chapter, 3:2.

2                Ultimately, as there are many intercedents like sephirot, angels, and more.

3                See Ramchal’s discussion of human free will and our own subsequent ability to bring wrongfulness about in 1:11 above.

4                See 3:8 below for a discussion of G-d hiding His “countenance”.

5                That is, while G-d ordinarily brings about goodness proactively by emanating it full-forcedly, He nevertheless passively allows for wrongfulness by hiding His “countenance” — I.e., His immanent attention — to one degree or another from something or someone.

6                The idea of G-d withholding His goodness from someone for his or her own good is complex and often fraught with misunderstanding. In short it comes down to the idea of allowing someone to suffer to a small degree to prevent great suffering later on (much the way surgery, which is inherently dangerous and painful, is often utilized to prevent far greater danger and pain, which is alluded to below).

7                This seems to be a broad and unsubstantiated statement, but isn’t it true for example that we suffer harm when others aren’t kind to us? And aren’t crimes and acts of violence rooted in meanness and callousness?

8                Essential and primal.

9                See Clallim Rishonim 11 for a discussion of what’s to follow.

10              Single essential and primal.

11              It was all good because that’s the inherent nature of G-d’s pristine emanation.

12              That is, this phenomenon was created anew to serve its specific purposes in the created world.

13              Still-and-all inherently good.

14              In the end it comes to this. Acts of true and full goodness, justice, and righteousness are directly and vigorously nourished by G-d’s emanations, to be sure; but when it comes to acts of evil, injustice, and wrongfulness, G-d only enables those sorts of things to come about back-handedly, if you will, reluctantly, by reducing or undoing His emanations to them to one degree or another.

(c) 2019 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

Rabbi Feldman’s new annotated translation of Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag’s “Introduction to the Zohar” is available as “The Kabbalah of Self” on Kindle here. His annotated translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here and his annotated translation of Rabbeinu Yonah’s “The Gates of Repentance” is available here.

He has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal” that can be subscribed to.

Da’atTevunot 3:2 (# 98 – 102)

Da’atTevunot 3:2 (# 98 – 102) 

1.

Ramchal starts to explain the role of wrong and injustice in the world with a proposition derived from Rambam1. It’s that when G-d creates or sustains something He does so with wafts of life-energy radiating toward it known as Divine “emanations”2. And that emanation defines that person, place, or thing’s makeup 3.

An analogous phenomenon in our experience, he offers, is the way the constellations emanate upon 4 things in the world, Ramchal offers 5. Indeed, they affect and color everything that happens in our world. For as our sages put it, “each and every blade of grass down here has a ‘constellation’ up above that strikes it and says to it, ‘Grow!’”(BreishitRabbah 10:6).

2.

But know that those constellations only bestow upon and control things that they’d been told to by G-d, as G-d alone is the source and impetus behind each and every act of emanation6. For as Rambam put it 7, it’s G-d alone who is the ultimate source of the existence of everything.

Yet recall that His ways are not our ways8. And nothing He does as He interacts with this universe emanates from His own pure Being itself which transcends everything.

Everything that He has occur here 9has been bestowed upon according to His will by an agent10. And everything is to be bestowed upon exactly the way He decreed it should be, and is to fit into the makeup and needs of this world specifically.

3.

It turns out then that both the agents that generate this world that G-d created as well as the persons, places, and things they helped to generate are created phenomena — not just the latter. It’s also true that G-d created different manners and degrees of emanationaccording to the things He wanted to be created.  And each agent of emanationis to affect a specific thing. Isn’t it true, after all, that the emanationof wisdom is one sort, that of strength is another, and that of wealth is yet another, etc.

But why would G-d have done it that way when He could have had everything bestowed upon by a single agent rather than by a number of them?

That’s because what emanationis at bottom is what G-d provides to His created beings so as to accomplish one thing or another. It’s not up to us to consider the makeup of that emanationfrom G-d’s perspective, since we can’t fathom what He Himself does, but rather from our own perspective. So when G-d bestows might, for example, to something or another He does through the agent that bestows might since G-d wanted that thing to be powerful. And when He wants something to experience wisdom He has it bestowed upon by the agent of wisdom, etc. 11.

Let’s consider goodness and wrongfulness12. How are they bestowed upon?

Footnotes:

1                While this doesn’t seem to touch on the subject at first blush it will be explained on later.

2             See 1:14 note 7 above for an explanation. Also see Ramchal’s statement below that “what emanation is at bottom is what G-d provides to His created beings so as to accomplish one thing or another”.

The point here is that G-d has to effulgently grant either life itself or the ability to continue to live and exist upon a person, place or thing in order for it to do that.

It’s because of this mechanism in fact that G-d is termed “the fountain of living waters” (Jeremiah 17:13) and “the source of life” (Psalms 36:10).

3             That is, the strength, character, and configuration of G-d’s emanation shapes and “colors” the person, place, or thing it’s bestowed upon (much the way the degree and quality of love or the lack of it that a parent bestows upon a child defines and shapes his or her being).

Ramchal cites MorehNevuchim2:10, but see 2:11 there, too, as well as Ramchal’s discussion of much this idea in Derech Hashem 1:5:2.

4             Or, control and fuel.

5             “Constellations” in this context can also refer to any higher celestial phenomena that have control of lower ones, and so on downward, snf need not refer to the physical constellations we know of (since the Hebrew term is mazal, which has both implications).

6             That is, G-d Himself is the source of every emanation, whether it’s His very own or one of His dutiful agents.

7             See 2:12 there.

8             As we’re told, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways’, declares the L-rd.” (Isaiah 55:8).

9             Both the processes G-d uses to create and maintain things, and the makeup of things themselves.

10              That is, though G-d indeed fuels the emanations that would be necessary for all the instances of wrong and injustice in the universe, nevertheless that emanation isn’t directly from G-d or a part of His Being — it only serve a specific purpose.

This underscores the point that while G-d certainly allows for wrong and injustice since things only exist and go on with His awareness and approval, still the point is that it’s separate from His essence and only serves a temporary end which will be undone in the end.

11           That is, G-d does indeed emit what we might term a “composite” emanation — one single amorphous extension of His will, but we don’t experience it that way. It’s just that when it touches upon our own situation it takes on as particular hue and tone specific to the task at hand, whether it’s to allow for intelligence, strength or the like.

12           In light of all this now, rather than traits as we have been.

(c) 2018 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

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Rabbi Feldman’s new annotated translation of Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag’s “Introduction to the Zohar” is available as “The Kabbalah of Self” on Kindle here. His annotated translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here and his annotated translation of Rabbeinu Yonah’s “The Gates of Repentance” is available here.

He has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal” that can be subscribed to.

Da’at Tevunot 3:1 (# 96 – 97)

Da’at Tevunot 3:1 (# 96 – 97)

1.

Probably the most vexing problem of all is why evil, injustice, and wrongdoing exist in a world created by a good and benevolent G-d, who expects and enables us to be good and just! After all, what purpose does wrong and injustice serve? Why did G-d allow for them in the first place and why does He let them go on?

Ramchal set out to explain a lot of this effulgent theme in this chapter which serves as an introduction to Da’at Tevunot’s next principle: reward and punishment and the existence of wrong.

2.

The first point Ramchal makes to settle all of this is that we need to recall that man’s role in this world is to serve G-d by rectifying all wrongdoing in the world 1. His second point 2 is that wrong will be undone in the end 3. Then he gets into some of the details.

As to rectifying all wrong, we’re expected to undo it from within ourselves at first and then from our surroundings 4. After all, we’re told that “each person is obliged to say, ‘the world was created for my sake’” (Sanhedrin 37) 5. And he cites a parable: Once there was a huge boulder in the middle of a road that was obstructing things. So the king ordered that it be chipped away piece by piece in the meanwhile and that he’d do away with it for good in the end (Yalkut Shimoni, Hoshea 532) 6.

Let’s first explore the makeup, limits, and consequences of wrong, the source of its great power, and what will eventually undo it.

3.

The first thing to assert is that wrong was created outright and intentionally from the first by G-d 7, and for the express purpose of testing our mettle and providing us with a basis for Divine service 8. The second thing is that there wasn’t even a hint or indication of its existence 9 or anything like it 10.

For G-d Himself is utterly good and perfect, and anything that’s good is somehow connected to Him; but wrong is the exact opposite of Him, and it had no connection to Him before it was created 11.

Yet He could still and all create it because He’s utterly omnipotent and could thus even create something as utterly antithetical to His own being as it 12!

And He saw to it that wrong would be undone in the end and that it would have the limitations, makeup, and laws He wanted it to have. After all, it was created so that the righteous who would have been successful in conquering it themselves would be rewarded for that 13.

Footnotes:

1                The point of the matter is that wrong thwarts all of that, so why does it exist? This section of Da’at Tevunot delves into all of that and explains just how undoing wrong and injustice enables us to enjoy the profound reward of closeness to G-d. And that reward and its opposite, punishment, are what will be concentrated on here (see Ramchal’s Introduction above).

There’s a shorter discussion of the matter in 1:2, 1:6-10, and 1:14.

2                Which will come up shortly.

3                That alludes to the fact that it will eventually be undone (see 3:6, 11 below and Derech Hashem 3:2:8) whether we have a role in that or not (though there will certainly be a grand and occult reward for those who helped undo it).

4                We’re reminded of what R. Yisroel Salanter once said that when he was a young man he wanted to improve the world, but he found that it was too hard to do that so he tried to improve his people. When he found he couldn’t do that he began to focus on his town. When he couldn’t do that he tried to improve his family. Then he finally began to realize that the only thing he could ever improve would be himself, and he perceived the fact that if he had improved himself long ago, that he could have made an impact on his family, they and he could have made an impact on their town, which could have improved his nation, and he could indeed have improved the world.

5                That is, everyone is challenged to improve his world.

6                Again the point is that we’re to do our part, but that in the end G-d will see that it succeeds.

7                Thus its creation wasn’t a mistake, an afterthought, or the creation of any other being.

8                That is, if wrong wasn’t there to serve as a nemesis and opponent, what challenges would we meet and how could we ever grow better in the face of it (which is the aim of Divine service after all).

9                Before creation.

10              And yet it was somehow created by G-d, as we’ll now see.

11              That is, wrong is so diametrically opposite to G-d and was such an innovation that (literally) came out of nowhere that its creation is completely inscrutable. Yet we’re assured that G-d created it indeed and with good reason.

12              See Adir Bamarom p. 396.

13              See Clallim Rishonim 12 for the Kabbalistic bases of this chapter and more, and see 3:3 below for a discussion of how wrong managed to have been created by a benevolent and loving G-d after all.

(c) 2018 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

Rabbi Feldman’s new annotated translation of Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag’s “Introduction to the Zohar” is available as “The Kabbalah of Self” on Kindle here. His annotated translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here and his annotated translation of Rabbeinu Yonah’s “The Gates of Repentance” is available here.

He has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal” that can be subscribed to.

Da’at Tevunot 2:12 (# 91 – 95)

Da’at Tevunot 2:12 (# 91 – 95)

1.

Now, from another perspective, all of reality can be broken down into three epochs of time rather than the five we cited 1. There’s the current state of reality that will last for a total of six millennia which will be followed by a seventh millennium that will culminate in the utter ondoing of the universe as we know it, and then a point at which G-d will eventually create an entirely new order of reality (see Sanhedrin 97b). So, let’s expand on that 2.

We’re taught, Ramchal offers as illustration, that G-d will provide the righteous with “wings” at a certain point in time with which they’ll soar over the seas (Ibid. 92a). Now, setting aside the particular details we can derive from this statement that there’ll indeed be three epochs of time: the sixth millennia which we know of now, a seventh, and one in which an entirely different order of reality — known as the era of the resurrection of the dead — will come about, in which it will somehow be possible for the righteous to develop “wings” 3.

2.

As such, the way things stand now, the body 4 reigns supreme much like “a lord of the manor”, given that this world is its “home”. But at a certain point in the seventh millennium the righteous will ascend upward and the body will be like someone who’s suddenly somehow out of his element and away from home 5. The body will have some sort of presence then, but only the very subtle sort that Moses’ unearthly body had when he ascended to heaven while yet alive.

Our sages depicted the seventh millennium as one long Shabbos (Ibid. 97a) characterized by eternal rest without any labor. The implication we can derive from this is that the body will serve some sort of function there since there won’t yet be a total overturning of reality, but that once the new reality in which we’ll earn our heavenly rewards (see Eruvin 22) comes about, the body won’t reign any longer — given that it could only do that in the first place in order to enable us to earn that reward — and it will be subsumed to the rule of the soul which will eventually “bask in the celestial Goodness forever”, as Ramchal depicts it.

3.

Now, some would actually argue that we really shouldn’t discuss the seventh millennium and the new reality at all, since it will all be so arcane. But Ramchal asserts that we may speak of them to a point since we know something of their makeup as we saw when we discussed the interplay of the body and the soul. It’s just that since we couldn’t ever fathom the specific details we shouldn’t bother to try to go that far, Ramchal says.

As such, while we understand the sixth millenium and many of its details, we only dare speak about the epochs to follow that one — in which bodies will lose their reign, and souls will regain their original celestial status — in broad terms 6.

Footnotes: 

1                That is, reality in all of its phases can be depicted from the perspective of the ongoing relationship of body and soul as was done in 2:11, or from the larger perspective we’ll be offering here.

2                See Ma’amar Haikkurim, B’Geulah and Clallim Rishonim 9.

3                Ramchal spoke of an eighth, ninth, and tenth millennium (based upon the teachings of Sefer Brit Menucha) in Klach Pitchei Chochma 97, though he somehow didn’t seem to think it necessary to cite that here or in Adir Bamarom p. 191.

4                Once again see our several references in this section to the fact that the “body” in this context also refers to the sense of self, etc.

5                That will come about in the course of the aforementioned undoing of the world.

6                This completes section 2 of Da’at Tevunot which focused upon man’s role, his rewards and punishments, and on the resurrection of the dead.

(c) 2018 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

Rabbi Feldman’s new annotated translation of Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag’s “Introduction to the Zohar” is available as “The Kabbalah of Self” on Kindle here. His annotated translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here and his annotated translation of Rabbeinu Yonah’s “The Gates of Repentance” is available here.

He has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal” that can be subscribed to.

Da’at Tevunot 2:11 (# 88 [cont.])

Da’at Tevunot 2:11 (# 88 [cont.])

1.

Whereas the soul will reign supreme in the ultimate epoch, as we saw 1, it will nonetheless have less and less of a presence the further down along the five epochs of time we go, when the body will have more 2.

And so the next epoch downward — the second — is the one in which the body will actually be more manifest, while the soul will be less active and somewhat demeaned then 3.

The body’s situation then would be like that of someone having a vague and general memory of things, like “someone who’d had a lot of troubles” in his life who nevertheless had only a “vague recollection of them” then, and whose mood was somehow “dampened”, as Ramchal himself puts it here in the text. That’s what we’ll experience when the soul won’t reign supreme any longer, and it would experience a sort of “heaviness of heart”, if you will, “without quite knowing why” 4.

2.

While the body will manifest itself indeed in the third epoch downward, it will only be able to do so to a degree 5.

The body will be manifest in the fourth epoch downward 6, but it will be “like the soul is in the world (now) — (which is to say,) a foreigner of sorts”, as Ramchal puts it. That’s to say that the soul will hold sway and the body will have to obey it. But the body would have to follow the “customs of the land” 7.

In other words, Ramchal offers, the body’s situation then would be like Moses’ was when he stood atop the actual and physical Mount Sinai yet dwelt in Heaven, if you will, at the same time, when even though he was still very much alive and a physical entity he nonetheless didn’t eat or drink the way one would act in Heaven 8.

3.

It’s in the course of the fifth and lowest stage, however 9, that the body is in its full flower and is “like the master of the house”, Ramchal says, with all of its faculties intact 10.

But there are potentially two degrees of that stage. The body could function on an animalistic level 11, or it could function on a holy one with noble and pure intentions 12 (as would have been the case had Adam and Eve not sinned). After all, we all need to eat and drink and the like, but we could do those things in a holy way 13.

Footnotes:

1                See 2:10 above.

2                It’s clear that a lot is being alluded to in this chapter rather than spelled out. We’ll do our best to provide some of what’s hinted at here.

The first thing is that the ultimate epoch cited above corresponds to the World to Come (see note 1 to 2:10 for the laying out of the chronology here as well the footnotes below). While there will be a body then, it will be a very subtle and hardly-detectable material but non-material and porous sort of body.

Now, given that the “body” under discussion isn’t just the physical self, but the personality, sense-of-self, etc. as we’d been indicating in our notes here all along, it seems reasonable to conjecture that this refers to the idea that while one’s immortal soul will be manifest in the World to Come, one’s sense-of-self, self-consciousness, self-awareness, and personality will only be amorphous at best or perhaps even negligible but present nevertheless.

3                This corresponds to the Day of Judgment.

4                That is, the self will be able to recall its life and its sins and their consequent sorrows then, but at a certain remove. And it would consequently be able to assess those sins and itself more objectively, in keeping with the spirit of the Day of Judgment.

5                This corresponds to the time of the resurrection of the dead, when the sense-of-self will be stronger, but it will be secondary to the sense of soul.

6                This corresponds to the messianic era.

7                Ramchal cites Breishit Rabbah 47:5 which says, for all intents and purposes, “When in Rome, (the body would have to) do as the Romans (i.e., souls) do” (see Baba Metziah 86a as well).

8                That is, the self will be so stunned by its radical change of circumstance in the messianic era that it could do nothing other than to acquiesce to its reality.

9                This corresponds to the world as we know it now.

10              As now, when we’re sure that we’re in charge of our circumstances and we believe that we needn’t acquiesce to our soul’s needs.

11              Giving in to the body’s needs alone and the ego’s satisfactions.

12              Acknowledging the ego and body’s needs, but dedicating them to Heaven, the way we’re expected to act on Shabbos, when we eat well while nonetheless sanctifying the meals through Kiddush and with the sense of the holiness of the day in mind all of the time (see Ch. 26 of Messilat Yesharim).

13           Ramchal has presented things from the highest level downward which makes it more difficult to grasp his points, so we’ll now present them from the lowest level upward.

The lowest level would be our current experience, where the body, as well as our sense-of-self or ego, hold sway and the soul is in check. His final point is that we can draw upon the soul even in this lowest of circumstances by living a physical life that’s still and all rooted in spiritual goals, otherwise we’d be nothing better than animals.

Things will then begin to change in the next, messianic era in that the soul will be more prominent while the sense-of-self and ego will begin to be less important in our minds and in reality. That will be all the more so true with the approach of the day of judgment then the resurrection of the dead, when the sense-of-self will grow more and more negligible, and the soul will shine more brightly and assertively. And the ultimate experience will be in the course of the World to Come, when we will experience just the barest, slimmest sense-of-self in the face of the fullest most robust reality of the soul — and the presence of G-d — possible.

(c) 2017 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

 

Rabbi Feldman’s new annotated translation of Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag’s “Introduction to the Zohar” is available as “The Kabbalah of Self” on Kindle here. His annotated translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here and his annotated translation of Rabbeinu Yonah’s “The Gates of Repentance” is available here.

He has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal” that can be subscribed to.

Da’at Tevunot 2:8 (# 82 – 84)

Da’at Tevunot 2:8 (# 82 – 84)

1.

We’ll soon touch on the epochs of time that the body and soul will experience together that we’d just alluded to 1. But we’d have to focus on something else beforehand.

Ramchal makes the point that the world is so stunningly awash in systems and processes that it’s hard for us mortal souls to capture it all. Didn’t the psalmist say, “You have done great things — You, O L-rd my G-d! Your wonders and Your thoughts are … too numerous to tell of” (Psalms 40:6); “How great are Your works, O L-rd! Your thoughts (alone) are very deep” (Ibid. 92:6), and, “How great are Your works, O L-rd! You have fashioned them all with wisdom; the (whole) world is full of Your possessions!” (Ibid. 104:24).

So he says that it would be best for us to speak of things in broad rather than in narrow and specific terms in order to be able to grasp this topic — or just about anything. After all, there are only so many broad categories, and while we can’t contend with a lot of specifics we can easily grasp the broad generalizations they fall under.

Indeed, our sages said that we’re to “always lay Torah concepts out in broad terms rather than in specific ones” (Sifrei, Ha’azinu 32:2) 2.

2.

In any event, let’s recall that G-d’s hiding or revealing His presence are the very root causes of the body and soul respectively. So we’d need to dwell upon those two phenomena if we’re ever going to truly understand the makeup of the body and soul.

For in fact these two phenomena play themselves out everywhere, with G-d’s presence being alternatively hidden and manifest, manifest and hidden, at one at the same time, as we’d already indicated 3. We’d also need to discuss the consequences of the combination of the two, and the predominance of one over the other.

We’d thus need to concentrate on three ultimate realities and events: G-d’s hiddeness versus His revelation of Himself, the reality of their functioning simultaneously, and the consequences of that combination as well as of the predominance of one over the other.

Footnotes:

1                As we’ll see, they include the sixth millennium (which we’re in the course of now, and only 200 some odd years away from completing at this point) and the more esoteric seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth millennia to come. The body and soul will interact in different ways in the course of each.

2                Ramchal always favored short, over-arching statements to close depictions of details. See his introduction to Derech Hashem and his letter 39 in the Yarim Moshe edition.

3                See 1:17 above

(c) 2017 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

Rabbi Feldman’s new annotated translation of Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag’s “Introduction to the Zohar” is available as “The Kabbalah of Self” on Kindle here. His annotated translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here and his annotated translation of Rabbeinu Yonah’s “The Gates of Repentance” is available here.

He has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal” that can be subscribed to.

Da’at Tevunot 2:7 (# 80 [middle) – 81)

Da’at Tevunot 2:7 (# 80 [middle) – 81)

1.

The idea just discussed that the body models one thing about G-d while the soul models another was best explained by a quote from the Zohar (3:257b) 1. The Zohar there also addresses the point we’d made early on that while we attribute many traits to G-d, those traits don’t depict G-d Himself but rather what He does when He interacts with us 2.

So it would do us well to address both of these things, then go on to relate them to the body and soul. The Zohar there also underscores the fact that the soul’s perfection alludes to G-d’s own perfection just as its unknowable nature alludes to G-d’s own unknowable nature.  So, we’ll touch upon that, too.

2.

Let it first be said that the traits that G-d exhibits here weren’t formed ad hoc when the world was created. For nothing about G-d ever suddenly appears out of the blue. G-d in fact always had the ability to manifest those traits within His being 3. It’s just that there came to be a point when one trait or another was appropriate to what was happening in the world and needed to be “called upon” just then, if you will.

3.

Now, the truth be known, we can’t even refer to G-d by a name, let alone depict Him 4. We call Him “G-d” in order to refer to Him, to be sure, but that’s not His actual name since we can only apply a name to something or someone that we can grasp, and we simply can’t grasp G-d. Also because a name defines whomever or whatever it refers to, and G-d Himself can’t be defined 5.

We likewise can’t attribute traits to something we can’t define or comprehend. And yet we seem to comprehend certain things about G-d, don’t we?

The point of the matter is that we comprehend what He does when He interacts with us, as when He seemingly exhibits compassion, governance, and the like. So we use those terms to depict Him even though those depictions don’t befit G-d Himself. But we only do that because He allowed us to.

We can now better understand something of the makeup of the body and soul, given all of this.

4.

As we know, the body is comprised of various component parts with distinctive functions 6 while the soul is a single, indivisible entity that’s utterly unlike the body 7.

And yet the soul lies behind the body’s functions. It’s what hears with the body’s ears, sees with the body’s eyes, and the like, even though the soul itself is beyond such things 8.  As such, the soul functions within the body’s components 9 and since the soul uses these component parts to do what it does, it’s somehow associated with those functions.

This contrast between the soul’s actual makeup and its functions in the body, then, is analogous to G-d’s makeup and His use of the traits attributed to Him when He interacts with the world.

For, even though He Himself is utterly removed from such traits, He nonetheless wants them to be attributed to Him. And so by virtue of the fact that He uses those traits to function in this world, He’s said to have those traits when He really doesn’t and He hasn’t any inherent connection to them 10.

We’ll soon see how this discrepancy between G-d’s being and His functions in the world also helps us to understand the relationship between the body and the soul, which itself will explain the human situation at all junctures 11.

Footnotes:

1                This theme will prove to be the thrust of this chapter, but that won’t become clear until the end since a number of other points will need to be made. That makes the chapter difficult, but keeping this idea in mind will help us to understand it. See footnote 10 below.

Ramchal explained this citation from the Zohar in a number of his works including Haga’aot Otzrot Chaim 9, Klach Pitchei Chochma 27, 29, and Iggerot Pitchei Chochma V’Da’at. Also see Eitz Chaim 1:1.

2                See 1:12 above where many of the very same points made here are first offered. The difference will lie in the fact that this idea is tied in here with the relationship between the soul and G-d’s interactions with the world.

3                So they could be said to lie latent somewhere deep in the Upper Reaches somehow, but not manifest.

4                The English term “G-d” itself, incidentally, is said to be derived from the Proto-Indo-European term for “that which is invoked” or prayed to, which thus refers to what G-d does rather than what He is.

5                This is a stunning statement, since we attribute many names to G-d and call out to Him by those names in our prayers to Him and the like. But the truth of the matter is that the four-letter name of Y-H-V-H referred to in the Torah which is said to be His “definitive name” (as opposed to E-L-O-H-I-M and the like which refer to His traits) only serves to depict His immortality (i.e., it contains the Hebrew words for “was”, “is”, and “will be”).     And, as the Kabbalists explain, the four letters of that name themselves actually stand for certain phenomena that function in creation and afterwards and the like, and have nothing directly to say about G-d Himself. But all of this is beyond the subject at hand.

6                And those various functions are analogous to the different depictions of G-d, as we’ll see.

7                The soul’s oneness is analogous to G-d’s own oneness which is utterly unfathomable.

8                Just like G-d’s own being is behind every trait that He exhibits in the world even though He’s beyond it.

9                Just as G-d, who is unlike anything in this world, functions within it by means of various traits.

10              This is the gist of what Ramchal is saying here. We already know that the body models one thing about G-d while the soul models another, as we indicated in footnote 1 above. He’s saying here that that theme also plays itself out in the difference between G-d’s essence and His role in the world and the soul’s.

For, just as the soul is unknowable, singular and beyond the doings of the world, G-d is likewise unknowable, singular and beyond the doings of the world. Yet both G-d and the soul interact with the world. The point is that just as the soul only “uses” the body’s many and variable parts to interact with the world even though it’s removed from those body parts by nature, G-d likewise “uses” or exhibits many and variable traits to interact with the world even though in His essence He’s removed from the world. So we see that the body models G-d’s ways when He interacts with the world while the soul models His ways when He doesn’t interact with the world.

11              This alludes to the five junctures of time to be discussed in 2:10 below.

(c) 2017 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

 

Rabbi Feldman’s new annotated translation of Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag’s “Introduction to the Zohar” is available as “The Kabbalah of Self” on Kindle here. His annotated translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here and his annotated translation of Rabbeinu Yonah’s “The Gates of Repentance” is available here.

He has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal” that can be subscribed to.

Da’at Tevunot 2:6 (# 80 [beg. – middle])

Da’at Tevunot 2:6 (# 80 [beg. – middle])

1.

Ramchal reveals an important insight here — that this principle of G-d’s alternately concealing or revealing His presence explains many things about our body and soul. And conversely that our body and soul explain many things about G-d’s hiddenness or revelation, too, since they’re all interrelated 1.

As such we’re told that not only is the body a product of G-d’s hiddenness, it also serves as a model of it, just as the soul serves as a model of G-d’s presence. And G-d’s concealing or revealing His presence also explains many things about ourselves, given that we were all created in G-d’s “image and likeness” (Genesis 1:26) 2 and we reflect all of His ways in our makeup.

So, let’s see how this works.

2.

As we’ve explained before, the body is rooted in darkness 3. In fact, even if you’d purify your body as much as you possibly could it would never be a soul, since the soul is a lofty and illuminated product of G-d’s presence while the body is simply not 4. The body is rooted in G-d’s hiddenness. Indeed, the body could only be purified to the point where body and soul nearly touch, but no further 5. For, your soul will always be a soul and a perfect entity, while your body will always be imperfect, no matter how much you purify it 6.

It’s also obviously true that your body is comprised of a large number of parts with specific functions: with eyes to see with, for example, ears to hear with, etc. But that’s not true of your soul. All of your soul’s “parts” 7 are merged together rather than separate. And that’s connected to the body’s being a product of G-d’s hiddenness and the soul being a product of G-d’s presence 8.

Now, this is all rooted in a well-known principle that perfection is rooted in oneness 10 and can’t be disproportionate 11. But there are times — when G-d’s presence is hidden — that He doesn’t want perfection to be in place, as when He allows for reward or punishment 12 for example. And when He sees to it that there are instances of multiplicity and disproportion 13 in the world 14.

3.

This paradigm also manifests itself in our having been created in G-d’s image, as cited above. Let’s see how.

Our body-parts correspond to the traits that G-d uses to interact with the world. And so our eyes correspond to the “eyes” that G-d observes and judges us with, our ears correspond to the “ears” that He listens to our prayers with, and our mouths correspond to the “mouth” that G-d uses to converse with, etc., as all of our body-parts correspond on some level to G-d’s traits in this world.

The fact that we’re comprised of a left and right side for our eyes, ears, hands, feet, etc. corresponds to G-d’s ways of interacting with us with either His “right”, loving side or His “left”, critical side 15, which He displays when His presence isn’t manifest 16.

It’s also true that just as our body-parts are differentiated by function, our experiences in this world are likewise all different from each other, as a consequence of G-d’s hiddenness. Whereas perfection, which is rooted in oneness as we said and in G-d’s presence, would undo all shortcomings, it wouldn’t be comprised of various parts, and it would see to it that everything achieves perfection 17.

4.

In any event, know that at bottom, the point is to have the soul take command of the body and purify it so that G-d might manifest His perfection here on earth and to rectify all of the world’s imperfections.

The body would then suffer judgment for having taken command of our souls, for having contributed to G-d’s hiddenness and for leaving humankind and the world to suffer all of the vicissitudes and upheavals that define the human situation.

So the body is equipped with all the parts it needs to contend with such vagaries and for the environment in which perfection is hidden away, and also to help bring perfection about. While the soul on the other hand has what it needs for perfection and in order to rectify each imperfection, so that it might be encouraged to do all of that – if only we’d improve our ways and allow the soul to reign 18.

Footnotes:

1                See Clallim Rishonim 23, “V’ha’pen hasheini hu”; and Klach Pitchei Chochma 4, end of perush, “shehanivraim atzmam”; and 9, perush, “ach yesh metziut achas”.

2                This will be reiterated below. But refer to the following works on this vital concept: Kuzari 4:3; Moreh Nevuchim 1:1; Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah 4:8, Hilchot Teshuva 10:6; Siach YitzchakLikkutim, p. 286; Nephesh Hachaim 1:3; Michtav M’Eliyahu 1, p. 32; Derech Hachaim 3:14; Zohar Chadash 1:28b, etc.

3                 I.e., in the fact that G-d’s shining countenance is hidden from it. See 2:5:2 above.

4                Even though we said above in footnote 6 to 2:1 that body and soul actually derive from the same root, it’s still and all true that that reality changes once the two are manifested in the world.

5                According to R’ Yoseph Spinner, some older manuscripts eliminate what’s said from this point in our text all the way to the beginning of section 4 below. That of course disallows for much of this chapter’s insights, but it also does away with a lot of its obscurity and wordiness, which makes it so difficult to understand. (It’s unclear, though, whether Ramchal edited out the extra text or added it in later.)

Moving the text in question to these notes and explaining it with bracketed comments would have helped clarify things and made the text itself easier to read, but we decided against that simply because all of the existing versions of Da’at Tevunot include the text in question.

6                     This is an instance of our body and soul modeling G-d’s hiddenness or presence.

7                     I.e., all of its inchoate elements, functions, and gradations of holiness.

8                     This is another instance of our body and soul model G-d’s hiddenness or presence.

9                     … which is also a product of G-d’s presence just as the soul is…

10                  I.e., in a single, sheer cohesive entity without differentiations.

11                See Clallim Rishonim 6.

Interestingly, Ramchal is thus defining “perfection” here as an instance of amalgamation and of flawless proportion. A “perfect person” would thus be someone who’s consistent in his or her righteousness and would be an example of Rambam’s temperate, righteous personality (see Ch. 4 of Sh’mone Perakim).

12               For the sake of free choice in an imperfect world.

The other point is that since there’d only be goodness and reward if G-d’s presence were to be manifest; instances of reward or punishment thus only come about when His presence is hidden.

13              … which are instances of plurality and imperfection …

14                This is an instance of G-d’s hiddenness or presence manifesting itself in the world.

15                                See the second introduction to Tikkunei Zohar, Zohar 1:109b.

16                Thus is an instance of our body being a model of G-d’s hiddenness or presence.

17                  This is another instance of G-d’s hiddenness or presence manifesting itself in our body and souls.

18                  And this all is a vision of our overcoming G-d’s hiddenness and having Him

manifest His presence in the world, which is our life’s purpose.

 

(c) 2017 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

 

Rabbi Feldman’s new annotated translation of Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag’s “Introduction to the Zohar” is available as “The Kabbalah of Self” on Kindle here. His annotated translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here and his annotated translation of Rabbeinu Yonah’s “The Gates of Repentance” is available here.

He has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal” that can be subscribed to.