Monthly Archives: January 2014

Derech Hashem 1:3:6

Class can be found here.

1:3:6

Indeed, Adam and Eve’s gross misjudgment caused a vast and central change in the cosmic reality. For while humankind was to have been comprised of a body and a soul with commiserate leanings toward either righteousness or wrongfulness; and whereas each person was to have been evenly drawn toward both, and given the ability to choose righteousness and align himself with the soul overall and achieve eternal perfection as we’d learned above, that changed when Adam and Eve sinned [1].

Their having chosen wrongfulness affected themselves, us, and the world to a frightening degree [2].

Notes:

[1]       See Da’at Tevunot 40 and 126 for an analysis of Adam and Eve’s status before and after their sin, and what would have happened had they not sinned.

[2]       Let’s not cluck our tongues at them, by the way, and be surprised at how “asinine” they must have been, for they are us. We, too, settle for something that seems to be good at the moment, but which clearly proves not to be that in the end. We accept that in ourselves, simply because we’re “merely human” and “imperfect”, as we put it. Yet, they too were merely human — in the manner in which we depicted it — and proved to be imperfect; and they too thought they were right. It would thus obviously do us well to step back the next time we’re faced with a moral choice.

Nonetheless they erred, and as a consequence of it the original equibalance of good versus evil tipped toward the side of evil. And it became easier to err, and harder to rectify.

Evil took on a life of its own, it began to grow accustomed to the power it had attained, and has since become entrenched in the world. What would have seemed clearly wrong now seems de rigueur, normal, and just part of human nature. And it has therefore become much more difficult to choose to be good; much harder to abandon our faults and earn perfection.

And whereas once all humanity would have needed to do was to conquer its own tendency for wrong and go on from there, now it must work twice as hard as a consequence of Adam and Eve’s cosmic error. It must not only fight its own battles and win — it must also fight Adam and Eve’s. This is the crux of the human condition.

(c) 2014 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”.

Preview of 1:3:6

Indeed, Adam and Eve were in that state of balance and full opportunity, and would have gone on from there to have achieved what was beyond that, but they didn’t.

ו. הנה אדה”ר בעת יצירתו היה ממש באותו המצב שזכרנו עד הנה. דהיינו שהנה הוא היה מורכב משני החלקים ההפכיים שאמרנו שהם הנשמה והגוף, ובמציאות היו שני הענינים הטוב והרע, והוא עומד בשיקול ביניהם להדבק במה שירצה מהם. והנה היה ראוי לו שיבחר בטוב, ויגביר נשמתו על גופו ושכלו על חומרו, ואז היה משתלם מיד, ונח בשלימותו לנצח:

(c) 2014 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

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 1:3:5

The class can be found here.

 

“But the human situation has in fact changed greatly” Ramchal says. “What we see and determine about it now isn’t what it was originally”. And the difference came about through Adam and Eve’s sin [1].

This change is vastly important and it affects a nearly infinite number of small and large details. We’ll speak about some in broad terms below [2], but we obviously can’t point to or tie-in all of the details.

As such, there are two main epochs of time in the human experience: before Adam and Eve sinned, and after [3].

Notes:

[1]       We’ve alluded to this above, in note 1 to 1:2:5, note 3 to 1:3:1, and note 1 in 1:3:4.   It’s important then to keep in mind that it was Adam alone who was created “out of the blue” and infused by G-d Himself, along with Eve, with quick life, while everyone else was born and slowly nourished into life because of them and those they’d borne. In fact, everything they first were, did, thought, and said left an indelible and utterly profound impression upon their offspring and the world at large, while everything we are, do, think, and say only figures into the mix. And the material things they came into contact with only truly came alive and became meaningful the first time Adam and Eve saw, heard, tasted, smelled, or touched it, while our seeing, hearing, smelling, or touching things merely confirms and reconfirms Adam and Eve’s existence.

Thus, while we matter and are of consequence in the aggregate, Adam and Eve’s very beings were of utter, utter consequence — until they ate of The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, when both they and we were changed. Doing that, they affected our blood and bones as well as their own, which left an indelible and utterly profound impression upon our beings and theirs, and gave a whole new (albeit lesser) meaning to our material selves as well as theirs.

In a sense, then, they became what we are. For, while they’d once been perfectly balanced, they’d gone as off-kilter as we; and while all they needed to do was to opt for all-goodness and they’d have achieved it, they didn’t.

[2] See 2:4:2.

[3] The two epochs of time could be termed The Balanced (or, “Adamic”) Epoch, and The Unbalanced (or, “Late Adamic”) Epoch. But there’d actually been another Adamic Epoch — when the Torah was granted us and we were returned to that earlier state (Shir HaShirim Rabba 5:1). And there’ll prove to be a third and final Epoch as well — The Rebalanced or “Post-Adamic” one of The World to Come, when we’ll supersede Adam’s level and accomplish what he could not.

(c) 2014 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

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”.

Preview of 1:3:5

As we’d been saying in our notes until now, this perfectly balanced world of utter free will and appropriate physicality and spirituality, came to an end when Adam and Eve sinned. Nearly everything changed, and there were thus two epochs in time.

ה. וממה שיצטרך עוד לדעת, שהנה המין האנושי, אין ענינו הראשון כמו שאנו רואים ומבחינים אותו עתה, כי אולם שינוי גדול היה בו, והוא ענין חטאו של אדה”ר, שנשתנה בו האדם והעולם ממה שהיו בתחלה. ואולם פרטי השינוי הזה ותולדותיהם רבים, ועוד נדבר בם לפנים בס”ד. ונמצא שהדיבור במין האנושי וההבחנה בנשואיו – כפולים, כי ידובר בו ובנשואיו בבחינתו קודם החטא, וידובר בו ובנשואיו בבחינתו אחר החטא, וכמו שנבאר עוד בעז”ה:

 (c) 2013 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

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”.