Monthly Archives: August 2015

Preview of 2:2:1

As we saw, man’s goal is to merit a place the World to Come. In fact, the ultimate goal of everything that occurs is the World to Come. But G-d has seen fit to have us start off in this world, which would be the first stage in the ultimate goal.

Everything that occurs in this world is thus rooted in the idea of it being a stage in what’s to be in the World to Come.

. הנה כבר הקדמנו היות תכלית בריאת המין האנושי לשיזכה ויגיע לטוב האמיתי, שהוא ההדבקות בו ית’ לעוה”ב, ונמצא שסוף כל גלגוליו הנה הוא המנוחה לעוה”ב. אמנם גזרה החכמה העליונה היות ראוי ונאות, שיקדם לזה מצבו בעוה”ז נקשר ונגבל בחוקות טבע זה העולם, שזה תהיה ההכנה האמיתית והראויה להגיע אל התכלית הנרצה.

ולפי השרש הזה סידר כל עניני זה העולם, להיות להכנה ולהזמנה למה שיהיה אחר כך בעולם התכליתיי שהוא העוה”ב:

(c) 2015 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 2:1:3

2:1:3

We humans are unique because of our free will and our inherent ability to achieve perfection or not to, and because we’re active, vital agents in this universe rather than passive ones [1]. So the sort of Divine supervision touching on us is necessarily unique, too.

All of our activities are overseen and all of their consequences — everything we do and everything that comes about as a result is scrutinized, and G-d reacts to each one of us in light of all that [2], measure for measure [3].

That’s not true of other beings. They’re reactive rather than active agents and merely exist to maintain their species in ways set out by their roots [4]. So they’re supervised in ways appropriate to that.

But since we humans are indeed active and we affect things on our own, we’re each explicitly overseen [5] in light of our actions. But we’ll expand on this later [6].

Footnotes:

[1]         We discussed free will at length above. See note 2 to 1:3:1 for references.

[2]         Indeed G-d interacts with us, rather than just oversees or supervises us as He does other species as we’ll see. Because we are His “partners” in the universe (see Breishit Rabbah 11:6).

See Ch. 3 of this section below for more on this as well 4:9:3, and Ma’amar HaIkkurim,B’Hashgacha” and “B’Torah uMitzvot“.

[3]         See 4:8:4 below as well as Da’at Tevunot 48, Klach Pitchei Chochma 94, and Messilat Yesharim Ch. 4.

That’s generally understood to mean parallel and equivalent recompense, with an arithmetically equal reaction to each action, tit for tat. But it may simply refer to a generally fitting and appropriate though not exact reaction to goodness or wrongfulness.

See 2:2:3-4 and 4:8:4 below on reward and punishment. Also see Shabbat 105b, Nedarim 32a, and Sanhedrin 90a as well as Sefer HaIkkurim 4:9 and Moreh Nevuchim 3:17.

[4]         That’s to say that G-d merely oversees the actions and experiences of other species and the consequences of them on a broad, more all-encompassing scope.

They often-enough play more vital — albeit passive — roles in the course of things, but that’s only so as to move things along according to G-d’s plans aside from keeping their species going. See Ma’amar HaIkkurim,B’Torah uMitzvot“.

[5]         And judged.

[6]         The difference between G-d’s supervision of humans as opposed to other entities can be likened to how a teacher relates to an outstanding student as opposed to how he acts toward more pedestrian students.

The outstanding student (i.e., humankind) enjoys the teacher’s special attention and he’s allotted certain special privileges. The teacher watches over him and reacts to him proudly, almost dotingly; he duly notes and rewards the student’s contributions to the class, and the teacher may even parry from time to time with the good student. Should the bright student somehow test his teacher’s mettle and go too far, that would be noted too, and the “star” student would then suffer the consequences of that.

The pedestrian students (i.e., other species) are certainly observed in class and encouraged to do what they do best, but because they neither shine nor significantly contribute to the quality of the class, they’re observed only enough to see to it that they get what they can from the class, in order to maintain order and progress. But they’re still-and-all not doted over.

[5]         See Ch. 3 below.

 

(c) 2015 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 2:1:3

 

Humans are unique because of our free will and our being active agents. So the Divine supervision touching on us is necessarily unique, too.

All of our activities are overseen and all of their consequences. Everything we do and everything that comes about is thus scrutinized, and each one of us is reacted to by G-d.

Other created beings are reactive agents and exist to maintain their species. So they’re supervised in ways appropriate to that.

Humans, though, are each explicitly overseen in light of our actions.

 

(c) 2015 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 2:1:2

2:1:2

Now, as we’d already said [1] the creation of the material world began with the Transcendent Forces, out of which emitted all physical things and their specific qualities. For there is nothing in the material world — either major of minor — that isn’t somehow rooted in some element of those Forces [2].

That being in place, G-d Himself then oversees each thing along the lines He created them, in that He first oversees the Transcendent Forces and everything that results from them, then He oversees the angels [3] and sees to it that they carry out their duties [4].

Footnotes:

[1]         See 1:5:3.

[2]         Ramchal cites the realm in which the transfer of things from the Transcendent Forces to the material world takes place, as well as the process involved, in other works. See Adir Bamarom 1, p. 222 and 2, p. 71; and Kitzur HaKavanah p.28

[3]         See 1:5:2.

[4]         See note 1 to 1:5:3 which refers to G-d’s on-going interactions with the Transcendent Forces and the angels

Ramchal’s over-all aim here is to underscore the idea presented in 2:1:1 that since “every single being — celestial or earthly — was created to play a specific and important part in the ultimate goal of the universe”, G-d thus “decided to oversee each thing” including the Transcendent Forces and the angels “in order to keep it on the specific course He wanted it to follow”.

 

(c) 2015 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 2:1:2

As we’d already said, the creation of the material world began with the Transcendent Forces, out of which emitted all physical things and their specific qualities. There’s nothing in the material world that isn’t somehow rooted in those Forces.

G-d Himself them oversees each thing by first overseeing the Transcendent Forces and everything that results from them, then by overseeing the angels to ensure that they carry out their duties all of the time.

(c) 2015 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 2:1:1

2:1:1

It’s clear that every single being — celestial or earthly — was created to play a specific and important part in the ultimate goal of the universe, Ramchal assures us [1]. Thus, everything’s makeup was specifically formulated by G-d to fulfill its role in that [2].

Since everything was created for a reason, it follows then that everything continues to exist specifically in order to benefit the whole [3]. That’s why when G-d created everything He decided to oversee each thing, in order to keep it on the specific course He wanted it to follow [4].

Footnotes:

[1]         That goal is to attach unto G-d in the world to come, which was discussed above in 1:2:5 and elsewhere. and will be reiterated in 2:1:2. Also see Da’at Tevunot 124.

One of the points made here — among many others too numerous to cite — is that not only do celestial beings contribute to that ultimate goal, as one would expect, but the more earthly, lower things do too, as one might not expect. Conversely, not only do earthly, more mundane things contribute to that ultimate goal, as one might hope, but more celestial things do too — even though they won’t ultimately determine it since they only support the earthly and mundane, as we’ve learned.

[2]         Thus, nothing is by accident or unintentional; everything’s existence is calculated and deliberate; and each and every thing as well as each and every one of us is a “player”.

Reality as such is a great “cholent” (stew) with each and every element adding to the rich flavor, and whose absence would somehow or another detract from the final product’s success. It would also help to see G-d as the great Conductor and Composer, and ourselves as instruments in a great orchestra playing His own composition our unique way.

After all, a purposeful G-d would never allow for anything superfluous in His world. Everything would either have to serve His purposes or simply cease to exist. There’s no room for happenstance in G-d’s creation.

See Ma’amar HaIkkurim (“b’Torah u’Mitzvot” and “b’Inyan haNissim“).

[3]         That is, whatever exists must exist and whatever no longer exists no longer has to and was replaced by another thing that is now vital for the goal. That might perhaps help us to understand the reality and necessity of death.

[4]         The sorts of supervision that come into play and the definition of the term itself will be explicated later on in chapters 2,4,5 below. In short, though, the term refers to the process that G-d uses to fulfill His will in the world and to manage it.

The idea is that G-d continually oversees each and everything to make sure it fulfills its intended role and to maintain those that do. Would that we all understood the profundity of this reality! Could anyone knowing this ever wonder if he or she mattered ? Dare anyone take anything for granted in light of that?

Also see Ma’amar HaIkkurim {“b’Hashgacha“).

(c) 2015 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”.