Monthly Archives: February 2014

Preview of 1:3:9

Another consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin was our having to experience death (as well as the universe itself, which has to experience a form of it). Since the body (and the physical world) couldn’t be cleansed until it went through that, and then returned in another form in the course of the Resurrection of the Dead and The World to Come.

ואולם מלבד כל זה גזרה מדת דינו ית’, שלא יוכלו לא האדם ולא העולם מעתה, הגיע אל השלימות עודם בצורה שנתקלקלה, דהיינו הצורה שיש להם עכשיו שבה נתרבה הרע. אלא יצטרך להם בהכרח עבור מעבר ההפסד, דהיינו המיתה לאדם, וההפסד לכל שאר ההוים שנתקלקלו עמו. ולא תוכל הנשמה לזכך הגוף, אלא אחר שתצא ממנו תחלה, וימות הגוף ויפסד, ואז יחזור ויבנה בנין חדש ותכנם בו הנשמה ותזככהו. וכן העולם כלו יתחרב מצורתו של עתה, וישוב ויבנה בצורה אחרת ראויה לשלימות. ועל כן נגזר על האדם שימות ויחזור ויחיה, והוא ענין תחית המתים. ועל העולם שיחרב ויחזור ויחודש, והוא ענין מה שאמרו ז”ל, שיתא אלפי שנה הוי עלמא וחד חרוב, ולסוף אלף שנה הקב”ה חוזר ומחדש את עולמו:

(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”.

Derech Hashem 1:3:8

The class can be found here.

1:3:8

All in all, Adam and Eve’s sin had tremendous and catastrophic consequences that we’re still contending with.

While they were purposefully created imperfect [1] so that they could fairly contend with the choice between doing the right or wrong things as we indicated [2], and to achieve perfection on their own [3], that imperfection was further aggravated by their sin. They and everyone else were demeaned in the process [4]. And it has thus become harder for us, their descendants, to achieve perfection.

For, G-d had originally seen to it that it would have been easy enough for us to make the right choices and to achieve perfection. But it became that much more difficult for us to achieve it to this very day. And humanity has sunk deeper and deeper yet in the mire, as yet another step has been added to the process: we must not only go ahead and achieve perfection on our own, but we also have to backtrack and achieve what Adam and Eve didn’t.

Notes:

[1]       This calls for a thorough explanation of the creation of the universe. That would necessarily draw us far afield, so let’s offer the following inadequate but terse explanation.

In the very beginning (before all beginnings), all there was, was G-d Almighty Himself. At a certain point He decided to create reality, but in order for it to exist it would need to somehow be separate from Him (otherwise it would be subsumed in His Being, and couldn’t exist after all). So G-d allowed for a supernal “empty space” to come about that would be devoid of Him, so to speak, which is the first instance of un-G-dliness and imperfection. (See the beginning of Eitz Chaim for this recondite idea known as Tzimtzum, as well as Ramchal’s Klach Pitchei Chochma 30 for its connection to humankind).

Like everything else, humankind is an offshoot of this phenomenon, and it’s thus intrinsically un-G-dly and imperfect. Ramchal is thereby underscoring the fact that Adam and Eve (like everything else other than G-d Himself) suffers from an intrinsic imperfection — aside from the ones they brought upon themselves with their sin.

[2]       See 1:3:2 above.

[3]       See 1:2:2 above.

[4]       See note 1 to 1:3:6.

Ramchal and many others speak of the negative matter accrued upon us as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin as a kind of spiritual “filth”. See Da’at Tevunot 72 and Adir Bamarom 2, p. 54.

(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 1:3:8

Things changed in a big way because of Adam and Eve’s sin, and we’ll see how. We’ll also see what’s expected of us as a result.

ח. וכיון שחטא נשתנו הדברים שינוי גדול, והוא, כי הנה בתחילה היו בבריאה החסרונות, שהיו בשיעור מה שהיה מצטרך לשיהיה אדה”ר במצב השיקול שזכרנו, ויהיה לו מקום להרויח את השלימות ביגיע כפיו. אמנם על ידי חטאו נוספו ונתרבו חסרונות בעצמו של אדם ובבריאה כלה, ועוד נתקשה התיקון ממה שהיה קודם.

פירוש – כי הנה בתחלה היה נקל לו בצאת מן החסרון המוטבע בו וקנות השלימות, שכך סידרה החכמה העליונה את הדברים על פי מדת הטוב והיושר, כי יען לא היה אדם סבה לרע ולחסרון שבו, אלא שכך הוטבע בו ביצרתו, הנה במה שיסיר עצמו מן הרע ויפנה אל הטוב, ישיג מיד צאת מן החסרון וקנות שלימות.

אמנם בחטאו, כיון שעל ידו נסתר השלימות יותר משהיה, ונתרבו החסרונות, והיה הוא הגורם רעה לעצמו, הנה לא יהיה עוד כל כך קל לו לשוב לצאת מן החסרון ולקנות השלימות, כמות שהיה בעת שלא היה הוא גרמת חסרונו אלא שכך נוצר מעיקרו וכמ”ש. וכל שכן שבהכרח השתדלותו המצטרך עתה להגיע לשלימות, הנה הוא כפול, כי יצטרך תחלה שישובו האדם והעולם אל המצב שהיו בראשונה קודם החטא, ואחר כך שיתעלו מן המצב ההוא אל מצב השלימות שהיה ראוי לאדם שיעלה:

(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 1:3:7

This hasn’t appeared on torah.org yet.

1:3:7

While we’re aware of our soul only thanks to our vitality and our consciousness [1], it has another, more clandestine function. The soul purifies and uplifts our body and physicality, step by step. In fact, it even elevates it to the point where the body can bask in spiritual perfection just as the soul itself will in the World to Come [2].

In any event, Adam and Eve would have achieved that instantaneously had they not sinned, and would have brought themselves and the entire universe to that point. But they didn’t.

Notes:

[1]       That is, we experience our soul when we realize that our being animate and aware isn’t simply a fact of life, but actually a product of a higher force beyond it. Otherwise we don’t tend to experience it. It can be experienced, though, through fervent prayer and devotional music, and the like, but that’s beyond the scope of this discussion.

See last paragraph to note 1 of 1:3:2 above for the various parts of the soul. Also see 1:3:12 below regarding the soul’s effect on the body; and Zohar 1, p.80,

[2]       This purification process will take place in the course of the Resurrection of the Dead (discussed in 1:3:9, 11, 13; 1:4:2; and 2:2:4 below) and come to full fruition in the World to Come (discussed in 1:3:4, 9; 2:2:-2; 2:4:6; and 2:8:4 below).

See Da’at Tevunot 88 for an analysis of the process and Klallim Rishonim 9 for a more esoteric explanation.

(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 1:3:7

Ramchal seems to turn off the road here and to begin addressing the makeup and function of the soul. But we’ll soon see how this ties this in with what had been and will be said about Adam and Eve, and our role in life.

ז. וצריך שתדע שאע”פ שאין אנו מרגישים לנשמה בגוף פעולה אחרת זולת החיות וההשכלה, הנה באמת יש בחוקה שתזכך עצם הגוף וחומרו, ותעלהו עילוי אחר עילוי, עד שיהיה ראוי להתלוות עמה בהנאה בשלימות. ואמנם לדבר זה היה אדה”ר מגיע אלו לא חטא, שהיתה נשמתו מזככת את גופו זיכוך אחר זיכוך, עד שהיה מזדכך השיעור המצטרך ונקבע בתענוג הנצחי:

(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”.