Derech Hashem 2:5:6

Derech Hashem 2:5:6

1.

Yet, G-d can change the laws of nature at any time1. An example of that would be His formation of miracles2.

Miracles can be set in place at any time and affect anything; and they’re formulated according to specific circumstances and for the overall and ultimate well-being of things 3.

2.

Now, we’re taught that G-d had originally established the fact that He wouldn’t change the natural course of things 4, yet miracles do just that. So what’s the implication of that?

The point of the matter is that G-d can certainly change things as He sees fit. It’s just that at the moment of creation He informed the celestial roots of things what their essential nature and over-all purpose would be, what they’d bring about in the world and would encounter, and they were informed of their ultimate destiny 6. And they understood that all would be for the good for all in the end, which pleased and gratified them7.

When G-d informed them of all of that He also let them know that their need to facilitate perfection would involve there being miracles either for our people’s sake or for the sake of specific righteous people 8.

3.

While that information was given to the celestial roots, the reality of all that would need to be come about. So, certain angels were appointed to allow those miracles to occur within the natural course of events 9. Yet if G-d so wills it,, He can also order those angels to suspend their duties, which would then affect the laws of nature accordingly.

The decree for a miracle can be issued in different ways. It could come about much like a routine royal statute, or perhaps like a tirade that an angry potentate would display, depending on time and circumstances10.

Footnotes:

1          After all, they’re only “laws” because they were instituted as such by The Lawgiver who can abrogate them as He sees fit.

2                See Ramchal’s Ma’amar Haikkurim, Inyan Hanisim, on the whole subject of miracles.

3             Hence, a miracle is a purposeful decree on G-d’s part — an alternative Divine option — that transcends the natural course of events and is based on a specific need to “fine tune” things in order to achieve ultimate perfection.

4             See Breishit Rabbah 5:4.

5             As was pointed out, behind every entity in the world stands a transcendent force that’s linked to it on a vital, mystical level (see 1:5:2 above).

6             Aren’t these the very things that we would love to know about ourselves? The point seems to be that we’d lose our free will if we knew much of this.

7             That’s true despite the fact that there’d need to be miracles from time to time which would seem to lessen the efficacy of these celestial roots.

8             Hence, the reality of and need for miracles was implanted into the laws of nature from the first in their innermost roots.

9             That is, though miracles are exceptions to the laws of nature, they nonetheless manifest themselves in the physical world that functions according to those laws for the most part.

10           That is, miracles would not only be unusual but they could likewise be benign or disruptive.

(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.

Derech Hashem 2:5:5

Derech Hashem – The Way of G-d 2:5:5

Never forget, though, that G-d Himself oversees everything in Heaven and on Earth, observing both the root causes of things and their material consequences 1. And His ultimate aim is to see to it that universal perfection be achieved, for it is the spoke around which everything pivots 2.

But one’s own place in all of that depends on a number of factors according to which he or she would either be rejected or approved of, purified or left as is 3, as well as everything else that would need to come about to bring on that universal perfection.

Footnotes:

1         That is, the selfsame system that G-d set up to manage the universe spoken of above could be altered — or even undone — in a moment if G-d wants that to happen, both on the core root level of things and on their offshoots. Since G-d is beholden to nothing and no one, and He always “keeps His eyes on things”, so to speak..

Among many other things, that overseeing of things and its possible consequences also explains the miracles G-d brings about when called for (see 2:5:6 below).

2          See Da’at Tevunot 50 for a discussion about G-d’s two “agendas”: that of reward and punishment (which will eventually be undone), and that of achieving universal perfection (which will be achieved). Also see 2:8:1 below.

3         See Da’at Tevunot 58 and Clallim Rishonim 34. Also see the second chapter of this section for a discussion of what affects one’s spiritual status.

(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.

Derech Hashem 2:5:4

Derech Hashem – The Way of G-d 2:5:4

1.

G-d saw to it that each appointed angel would work at and fulfill its assigned role, and that it would only be prevented from accomplishing it in ways that He Himself set up.

And so, for example, the angel appointed over trees 1 would just naturally do all it could to keep them fit. Yet, G-d could have the angel appointed over wind 2 overpower some trees and thus over-rule the reign of the angel appointed over those trees, and knock them over 3.

2.

Obviously, all of this is played out in very many ways and in different realms. For example, there are angels assigned over natural phenomena and their laws, and others that function as agents of Divine judgment. And the latter may affect and sometimes even countervail natural phenomena in order to carry out a judgment. There are likewise very many instances involved there, all of which are rooted in G-d’s own hidden ways 4.

Footnotes:

1                Overall, as opposed to angels appointed over specific trees.
2                Also overall, as opposed to angels appointed to each instance of wind.

3                See Sod Hashem Liraiav 17 and Ari’s Sha’ar Hagilgulim 25.

That is, every angel has a nature and “post” which it never abandons — unless G-d wants it to. In fact, that’s the model we’re to follow in our service to Him; we too are to be sure and fixed in our beings rather than wind-driven and hesitant, and to always  be braced and set to fulfill G-d’s will.

That’s also to say that G-d saw to it that there’d be an orderly delegation of duties in the world (see 2:5:3), but that there’d also be conflicts of interest which He would manage. Conflicts of interest play themselves out in human society, too, of course.  It’s just that the human sort is often motivated by selfishness while none of that plays itself out in the angelic realm.

4                See Pitchei Chochma V’da’at 108-112, 125.

(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.

Derech Hashem 2:5:3

Derech Hashem – The Way of G-d 2:5:3

1.

And when it comes to G-d’s influence upon things 1 — that refers to what He does to manifest His will here in the world in the manner and to the degree that He wants it to be manifested.

As such, G-d intentionally set up everything to function as a series of steps and sequences 2. He wanted this system to function from the beginning and to continue on from there. And He uses it to maintain everything and to influence their circumstances and connections to each other

3.

Nonetheless it’s G-d alone who’s ultimately responsible for the maintenance of everything on each on every level 6, as He alone enables things to continue to exist and to develop in their own way. But bringing about things in the material world as they are and in their context is the function of the system we cited above.

Footnotes:

1      Which was referred to in 2:5:1 and will be the focus of the following chap.

2      As when orders pass down from a CEO to a VP, to a department administrator, to an employee; or as when things pass from G-d’s will down to a series of angels who carry it out, as we’ll soon see.

Understand that G-d could very well have set up an entirely, radically different construct had He wanted to since He’s omnipotent, but He intentionally chose this system because it best serves His purposes,

The significance of this particular construct is discussed in several of Ramchal’s works. See for example Klach Pitchei Chochma 10, 30,

3                See 2:1:2 above.

4                When He wants to manifest something here by using the system of steps and sequences.

5                See Ramchal’s Assara Perakim 9 and Pitchei Chochma V’da’at 125, Klallim Rishonim 23, Klach Pitchei Chochma 63, as well as 1:5:2, 10 above.

6                See Da’at Tevunot 160.

(c) 2018 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

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AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman’s translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here at a discount.

You can still purchase a copy of Rabbi Feldman’s translation of “The Gates of Repentance” here at a discount as well.

Rabbi Yaakov Feldman 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 on www.torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal”.

 

 

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AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman’s translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here at a discount.

You can still purchase a copy of Rabbi Feldman’s translation of “The Gates of Repentance” here at a discount as well.

Rabbi Yaakov Feldman 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 on www.torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal”.

 

 

Derech Hashem 2:5:2

Derech Hashem – The Way of G-d 2:5:2

1.

Now, when it comes to G-d’s ability to perceive things, we know that He is all-knowing and that there’s nothing that He doesn’t know. For, He can see absolutely everything that’s happened in the past, what will happen in the future, and what is happening in the present, without exception 1.

2.

But we say that He perceives things 2 and that He judges or ordains things accordingly, though He limits this to the time-frame in which He wants to react to then 3. But we’ll expand upon that last point later on 4.

Footnotes:

1                That is, G-d sees and instantaneously understands what will happen in the future as a consequence of the past and the present — as well as what would have happened had things been otherwise. Aside from that, He also knows what He wants to happen in the ultimate future, and sees how to bring that about in light of the past and present provided Him.

Rambam says as much about G-d’s omniscience in Yesodei Hatorah 2:9, but Ramchal expands on that here and addresses G-d’s reactions to His knowledge.

2                Aside from knowing, which we’d just focused on. That’s to say that He also perceives the implications and consequences of what He knows.

3                See Avodah Zara 55a.

4                See 2:6:3 below. 

(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.

Derech Hashem 2:5:1

Derech Hashem – The Way of G-d 2:5:1

Till now we’ve been discussing the rules G-d Himself set up for our interactions with Him and His with us 1. From now to the end of the chapter we’ll touch upon the mechanisms He set up to implement those interactions 2.

But let’s first cite the fact that G-d interacts with the world on two levels overall 3 there’s His perception of things, and His influence upon them.

Footnotes:

1 As when we discussed why the righteous sometimes suffer and the wrongful succeed, why we don’t understand G-d’s ways, the makeup of the Afterlife, etc.
2 Such as the establishment of courts and laws, the role that angels play, etc.
3 Though there are an infinite number of offshoots.

(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.

Derech Hashem 2:4:10

Derech Hashem – The Way of G-d 2:4:10

And even though as a rule G-d doesn’t directly govern them 1, He might still do so for our sake. And that would fall under the rubric of means-to-an-end rather than ends themselves which we’d discussed earlier 2.

Footnotes:

 1                I.e., He has appointed angelic administrators over them as we saw in 2:4:8.

2                See 2:3:12 above and our note 7 there.

(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.

Derech Hashem 2:4:9

Derech Hashem – The Way of G-d 2:4:9

So, G-d has allotted to us the repairing and elevation of all of creation 1, as we’d indicated 2. And He allocated all of His supervision of the world to the things we do 3, if you will 4, having given us the ability to grant light 5 and bestowance 6, or to hide and conceal 7, G-d forbid.

Others’ actions, though, neither bolster nor weaken creation 8, nor do they reveal G-d’s presence or hide it. Their actions do, though, affect themselves for better or for worse, either bodily by strengthening or weakening them, or spiritually.

Footnotes:

1                After Adam and Eve’s error.

2                See 2:4:3 above.

3                See Zohar at the beginning of Parshat Bo as well as Nephesh Hachaim 1:3-4.

4                This withholding of a bold statement of utter human control of things is meant to underscore the undeniable fact that while G-d allocated a lot of control to our actions, at bottom, He’s in complete control of things (see 2:8:1 below and Da’at Tevunot 9),

5                I.e., growth,

6                I.e., blessings.

7                G-d’s presence.

8                Still and all see Da’at Tevunot 126 where Ramchal makes the distinct point that all of creation plays a role in bolstering creation, underscoring the point by saying that “everything is intertwined, and everything is needed to fulfill the mission that G-d had in mind when He created the universe”. Also see Pirkei Avot at the end of Ch. 6.

(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.

Derech Hashem 2:4:8

Derech Hashem – The Way of G-d 2:4:8

G-d appointed 70 angelic administrators 1 to oversee and govern the other nations in detail, albeit under His purview, while He Himself only does so broadly 2.

As such, it’s written, “you alone have I known among all the families of the world” (Amos 3:2) 3. That’s not to say that G-d is unaware of them: He’s intimately aware of them as He is of everything and everyone 4. The point is that He doesn’t supervise or impact upon the particular details of their lives, as we’ll see below 5.

Footnotes:

1                     Every nation was said to have its “genius” – its unique nature, gift, and contribution to humanity – which was said to be derived for its “genie” or “guardian spirit” in antiquity, all of which is close to the subject at hand. Ramchal’s point seems to be that a nation’s angelic administrator epitomises that nation’s character and type and thus sees to it that it be brought about and maintained.

                  See 2:4:3 which discusses the division of the world into 70 primal nations (aside from our own). Also, see Klach Pitchei Chochma 31 and the end of Pitchei Chochma v’Da’at.

2                     2:4:1-7 above serve as a sort of prelude to this section and to 2:4:9. For the entire thrust of Part 2 is on Divine Providence, and while we’d learned how G-d interacts with the Jewish Nation up to now, Ramchal is now touching upon that here in relation to others.

His point here is that G-d only interacts with them broadly. Yet in Da’at Tevunot 36 Ramchal indicates that G-d Himself oversees all things and all people in great detail! That’s quite a discrepancy,

As such we’d say that whereas G-d has His angels tend to others for the “meanwhile”, in the end He alone will have proven to have overseen each and every entity without exception – including the 70 Nations and the administrators that ruled over them.

Also see 2:1:1.

3                 It’s important to stress that the rest of this verse reads, “therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities”, which underscores the responsibility that goes with chosen-ness. And what’s soon to follow, which underscores the continued relationship that G-d has with others as well,  likewise lessens the gleam of chosen-ness.

4                     See 2:5:2 below.

5                     See 2:5:3, but especially 2:6.

(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.

Derech Hashem 2:4:7

Derech Hashem – The Way of G-d 2:4:7

Their righteous earn a place in the world to come, too 1. But their experience there would be unlike our own 2.

They’ll serve a supplementary and subservient role there, though, like clothing to a body 3. As that is all they could ever hope for, given the phenomena we’d cited above 4.

Footnotes: 

1                     See Sanhedrin 105a, Hilchot Teshuva 3:3; though also see Zohar Chadash 78d and T.Y. Berachot 9a.

A “righteous gentile” is defined classically as a non-Jew who accepts the seven Noachite Mitzvahs (see 2:4:6) with certain conditions (see Hilchot Malchim 8:11). In any event, this underscores the idea that an individual can be judged for his own actions, rather than one of a multitude of descendants of a particular “branch”.

2                     Thanks to the merits of our ancestors and to the eternal covenant that G-d and we entered into. See more about this in Avodat Hakodesh 2:41, Reishit Chochma Yirah” 13, and in a number of other traditional sources.

3                     This arresting image can either be off-putting (a piece of clothing rather a full human being) or perhaps even flattering (along the lines of “clothing makes the man”), but Ramchal has a wholly unexpected take on it in Adir Bamarom. He speaks there (p. 609) of humankind having been born with souls and clothing at first, and that the latter had to be removed once Adam and Eve sinned and to be “converted” (i.e., returned to their native purity by becoming a part of the Jewish Nation), which would ultimately happen (see p. 353 there) and be the ultimate act of rectification.

4                     That is, given our people’s role in the wake of Adam and Eve’s sin and in the course of G-d’s intentions for humanity.

(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.