Derech Hashem – The Way of G-d 2:3:11
Thus we find that all sorts of things contribute to our standing in the world, be they beneficial or harmful. The point isn’t that everything that happens is a direct result of one or another of the causes we’d cited throughout this chapter, but rather that each contributes in one way or another. And that G-d wisely evaluates absolutely everything 1 to bring on the great rectification 2.
It’s actually impossible for each specific cause to bring on the exact same effect as there are times when they cancel each other out. As when you may deserve to be wealthy thanks to your ancestors’ merits while your own deeds would have you be poor and the overarching agenda would suggest either one or the other 3. And the same can be true when it comes to your own actions, as one thing you did could have earned you a reward while another could cancel it out.
The point is that G-d’s wisdom weighs and balances everything to bring on what’s best and sees to it that one factor results in one thing and another in another, and that everything that happens is in some way or another a consequence of one or another of these factors. We have no way of knowing the specific details involved of course, but our knowing the general principles 4 is nonetheless a great advantage 5.
1 That is, each cause and effect, and everything else.
2 … as that is His ultimate goal; our particular lives are secondary to that. See 2:3:1 for an allusion to that.
3 Here we have a conflict between one determinant in your life versus another, and the overarching universal aim. Only G-d Almighty could balance all that and determine which will play itself out in your own life.
4 That we’d cited.
5 See the second section of Ramchal’s Introduction above and our note 2 there for more on general principles. And wee Da’at Tevunot 164 and Clallim Rishonim 34 for other insights.
(c) 2017 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
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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).