The Way of G-d 2:6:2
G-d appears in each Sanhedrin and court, influences it, and sees to it that justice is served 1.
Now, in some instances He Himself serves as the judge 2. As we’re told, G-d was found to be “seated on His throne 3 and all the Host of Heaven 4 were standing by Him, to His right and on His left” (1 Kings 22:19). The “right” side in this citation refers to the angels of defense, while the “left” refers to the prosecuting angels (Midrash Tanchuma, Shemot 18) 5. And Daniel reported that “thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days sat down; …. Justice was established, and the books 6 were opened” (Daniel 7:9-10).
The point of the matter, though, is that everyone is judged precisely when on trial as we indicated before 7. Now, in general everyone has his or her claims to truth based on various factors, and all of that needs to be judged accordingly in a trial. In fact each and every action has its guilty and innocent aspects as each and every thing in this world is a combination of incongruous or conflicting elements that go in one or another 8 direction 9. All of that is to be presented to the celestial court where it will be sorted out and set in order, and the most beneficial decision will be rendered.
Each angel present in court is to present one aspect or another, until each and every factor is revealed. Then each is considered and a just decision is made by the presiding judge.
If the case takes place in a court that G-d Himself decided to preside over then He pronounces the final judgment. But the following is also true: G-d allows the angels involved in the case to present their arguments as they understand the facts, and He allows for the case to be completed accordingly — even though He knows everything beforehand 10.
1 That’s to say that G-d sometimes serves as the actual presiding judge (as we’ll soon see) while at others He functions as a sort of Chief Justice who establishes court criteria for every exigency, who’s still and all not present at every case.
2 See Sha’arei Orah Chapters 5-6 for a depiction on the various Sanhedrins and courts.
3 Of judgment.
4 That is, the angels.
5 This is actually a parenthetical statement since Ramchal primarily set out here to illustrate his statement about G-d Himself serving as a judge from Torah verses. He only inserted this statement here to further depict the makeup of the courts.
See Shemot Rabbah 31:14 and JT Sanhedrin 1:1.
6 That is, court records.
7 See 2:1:3 and 2:3:4.
9 This is true of the world itself, as Ramchal pointed out in Adir Bamarom p. 288, and in esoteric terms in Klach Pitchei Chochma 72, 75.
10 See Bereishit Rabbah 8:5 as well as Pirkei Avot 4:11.
That’s to say that even though G-d has supernatural insight into the matter that may contradict the findings offered by the parties involved in the case, He disregards that because He wants cases to be decided in the usual manner.
See Clallei Milchemet Moshe 2 and Klach Pitchei Chochma 63.
(c) 2019 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).