Preview of 2:3:10

Preview of Derech Hashem – The Way of G-d 2:3:10

There’s another thing to factor into our successes or failures: our past lives. The point is that G-d’s judgments about our standing in this life are precise and that He takes all exigencies into account.

In any event, your standing in the World to Come will be based on your cumulative status.

We haven’t the wherewithal to reckon what to take into account in all of this. All we know is that G-d’s wisdom determines our circumstances and enables us to achieve perfection.

י. עוד שורש אחר נמצא להנהגה בעניני העוה”ז, והוא שהחכמה העליונה סידרה להרבות עוד ההצלה כמ”ש, שנשמה אחת תבא לעוה”ז פעמים שונות בגופים שונים, ועל ידי זה הנה תוכל לתקן בפעם אחת את אשר קלקלה בפעם אחרת, או להשלים מה שלא השלימה.

ואולם בסוף כל הגלגולים, לדין שלעתיד לבא, הנה הדין יהיה עליה כפי כל מה שעבר עליה מן הגלגולים שנתגלגלה ומן המצבים שהיתה בם.

והנה אפשר שיגיעו ענינים לאדם שנשמתו מגולגלת, כפי מה שיוגרם לה מצד מה שעשתה בגלגול קודם, וינתן לאדם ההוא בעולם מצב כפי זה, וכפי המצב שינתן לו יהיה המשא אשר יוטל עליו וכמש”ל.

וכבר דינו ית”ש מדוקדק על כל אדם לפי מה שהוא בכל בחינותיו, פירוש – בכל פרטי מצבו. באופן שלא יעמס לעולם על אדם לעוה”ב שהוא הטוב האמיתי, אשמה שאין לו באמת, אבל יגיע לו מן המשא והפקודה בעוה”ז כפי מה שתפלג לו החכמה העליונה, וכפי זה יידונו מעשיו.

והנה פרטי בחינות רבות ימצאו בענין זה של הגלגול, איך יהיה האדם נידון לפי מה שהוא בגלגולו, ולפי מה שקדם בגלגול אחר, לשיהיה הכל על פי המשפט האמיתי והישר, ועל כל זה נאמר, הצור תמים פעלו כי כל דרכיו משפט וכו’.

ואין בברואים ידיעה שתוכל לכלול מחשבותיו ית”ש ועומק עצתו, רק הכלל הזה ידענו ככל שאר הכללים, שאחד ממקורות מקריהם של בני האדם בעוה”ז הוא הגלגול, על פי אותם החוקים והמשפטים הישרים שהוחקו לפניו ית’ להשלמת זה הענין כלו:

(c) 2016 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 2:3:9

Derech Hashem – The Way of G-d 2:3:9

We’ve spoken about people succeeding or not 1 based on their spiritual standing 2, but we’ll now focus on how it touches on certain aspects of nature we’d cited before 3.

It comes to this: sins just naturally sully and pervade our beings and the world at large 4 and they have G-d’s light grow dimmer and dimmer 5. But that light becomes brighter and brighter again 6 the more thoroughly sin is cleansed, and we become purer as a consequence of that cleansing 7.

But, what cleanses? It’s tribulations that cleanse us and the world overall. And it’s the tribulations that the righteous and pious who don’t deserve to suffer but who do so nevertheless whom we’d cited 8 that manage to cleanse the world on an ongoing basis, and to subsequently lead it to perfection.

Footnotes:

1                Spiritually or materially.

2                Or on that of the righteous people they depend upon, as cited in 2:3:8.

3                See 2:2:5.

4                That’s to say that aside from having personal repercussions for the sinner based on his ethical standing, sins also affect the tone and quality of his and the world’s reality.

5                It’s important to realize that G-d’s light only appears to dim as a consequence of our sins, for in fact nothing could ever actually diminish or otherwise affect G-d’s light itself which is constant. The point is that we and the world suffer because of the impression we have of G-d’s light diminishing when we sin which we wouldn’t have if we didn’t sin.

6                To our eyes (see previous note).

7                See 1:2:3.

8                See 2:3:8.

(c) 2016 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 2:3:9

Preview of Derech Hashem – The Way of G-d 2:3:9

Sins sully and pervade our beings and the world and have G-d’s light grow dimmer. But that light becomes brighter the more thoroughly sin is cleansed, and we become purer as a consequence.

It’s tribulations that cleanse us and the world overall. And the kinds of tribulations that the righteous suffer that manage to cleanse the world on an ongoing basis and subsequently lead it to perfection.

ט. והנה כל זה שזכרנו עד עתה על צד המשפט, מתבאר עוד על צד המציאות כפי אמתת סדריו וכמש”ל.

כי הנה בחטאים מתרבית הזוהמא ומתעמצת בבני האדם ובעולם, וגורמת לאורו ית’ שיסתר ויתעלם העלם על העלם. וכפי התמרק הזוהמא הזאת והטהר הבריות ממנה, כן חוזר אורו ית’ ומתגלה גילוי על גילוי.

ואמנם היסורין הם הממרקים את הזוהמא בין בפרט בין בכלל, ועל ידי יסורי החשובים האלה, מתמרקת והולכת לה מכלל הבריאה כלה, ומתקרב העולם מדריגה אחר מדריגה אל השלימות:

(c) 2016 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 2:3:8

Derech Hashem – The Way of G-d 2:3:8

There are other ways to succeed overall, too, that are rather extraordinary 1. This touches upon the makeup of the World to Come discussed earlier, the overall rectification of the universe 2, and our people’s interdependence.

The fact is that the World to Come won’t only be comprised of those who earned a place there by themselves: people of a lower spiritual level who depended on the intercedence of a righteous person will also be a part of it 3. The only difference, though, is that such a person would be on a lower level in the World to Come than the righteous person, and would be subservient and dependent upon him 4. So for the most part, the only people who wouldn’t be in the World to Come would be those who neither earned a place there on their own or didn’t depend on the intercedence of the righteous. As such, fewer people than we might have imagined will be in the World to Come.

This principle is rooted in the fact that, as we’ve been taught, all of our people have been bound to each other from the first. As it’s said, “All of Israel are responsible for one another” (Shavuot 39a). Now, this interdependence obviously implies that we can also perhaps harm each other’s spiritual standing 5, but G-d’s mercy is abundant and He allows for more good to come about by this association than harm.

Sadly enough, though, the righteous person who assumes this role would suffer in his life as a consequence. But that would actually enable him to atone for people of his generation 6. Those righteous people would nonetheless have to lovingly accept those tribulations — just as they’d be expected to accept the tribulations due them in their lifetimes because of their own errors — in order to affect this phenomenon. But in the end they would have atoned for their generation and become leaders in the World to Come.

There could be even loftier righteous people than they who could even rescue and benefit those of their generation who deserved to be utterly annihilated were it not for these righteous souls’ own sufferings.

And there can even be a more exalted sort of person whose withstanding even greater trials and tribulations would allow for the chain of events that would help bring on the state of ultimate perfection 7.

At bottom the explanation for all of this 8 is rooted in the fact that from the first there was an unfathomable, esoteric need for that pious individual to suffer in order for him and the world at large to reach perfection. And that’s rooted somehow in the phenomenon discussed before of G-d hiding His light and countenance, and in mankind’s status being exacerbated over and over again by one serious sin after another, which would have brought on an even greater degree of G-d’s hiding His goodness.

In fact, the world would have come to be in such a bad state that G-d’s unfathomable wisdom would have had to bring about very many things to undo all of that harm, which would include all of mankind having to suffer all sorts of travail. But G-d arranged things from the first that a few select righteous and pious individuals could rectify things for the sake of sinful people, which is why these especially laudable individuals would have to endure Heaven’s judgments more so than others.

It’s just that since they’re so lofty and actually deserve reward, they’d suffer less than those of lower standing would have had to. And these lofty people will be rewarded all the more so because of their tribulations, which would then enable them to help yet others to be a part of the World to Come — even those of the past. And those righteous individuals will be among the very loftiest souls in the World to Come and the people closest to G-d.

Footnotes: 

1             That is, how to ultimately succeed as we’ll soon see. This harkens back to earlier discussions about why some people succeed either materially (see 2:2:9, 2:3:4, 6 ,7, etc.) or spiritually (see 2:2:3, 2:3:7, 4:2:2, etc.) while others don’t.

2                See 4:2:2.

3             This could be taken to imply the bond between a Rabbi and his disciples or a Chassidic Rebbe and his Chassidim. The Rabbi or Rebbe could help the others by their prayers, advice, intercedence in Heaven, and the like. But we’ll see that there are other ways to affect the less-than-righteous, too.

4             Sadly enough Ramchal doesn’t explain the implications of the sort of “subservience” and “dependence” cited here, but that’s likely because this will be occurring in a realm we simply can’t fathom to begin with.

5             That is, the wrongful can be a bad influence on the righteous.

6             See Babba Metziah 84b, T.Y. Berachot 2:8, Breishit Rabba 33:1, and Zohar 3:20b, Tikkunei Zohar 76b, and Zohar Chadash 25a.

7             See Da’at Tevunot 162 and Clallim Rishonim 34.

8                I.e., the reasons why certain pious individuals could salvage the souls of sinful people with their own pain and suffering, and could even foster the great redemption, and why they themselves would have to suffer …

9             See 1:2:3 and 1:3:4.

10              The clear implication of all of this is that very nearly no one will be excluded from the great redemption and the World to Come.

There’s apparently a problem here, though. Because at first blush the idea that someone so lofty could exist to redeem the world, and would suffer for the sins of others in the process would seem to smack of Christianity to some! But we’ll now show how rational and traditionally Jewish an idea this is.

First off, if it only took one person (who suffered as a consequence) — Adam — to doom humankind, it would logically only take one or a select few people to suffer as well in order to redeem it.

Secondly, Abraham and Sarah apparently had to descend to Egypt in the course of a famine and to experience that humiliation and the deprivations of the famine themselves  in order to save the entire proto-Jewish nation they’d formed (see Genesis 12:10-20).

And we’re taught that there have been righteous individuals who could have redeemed everyone (see Breishit Rabbah 35:2 which singles out R’ Shimon bar Yochai and his son Eliezer who suffered by being exiled to a cave for many years, according to Shabbat 33b), and upon whom all of our people depended (Ta’anit 24b). Also see Messilat Yesharim Ch’s 13 and 19, and Isaiah 53:5.

(c) 2016 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 2:3:8

Preview of 2:3:8

The World to Come won’t only be comprised of those who earned a place in it for themselves on their own: people of a lower spiritual level who depend on the intercedence of someone righteous will also be a part of it. Those righteous individuals will assume a lofty position in the World to Come.

Yet the righteous person who assumes this role can suffer as a consequence, but that would actually come to him so as to atone for his generation. Those righteous people are to nevertheless lovingly accept those tribulations..

There could even be a loftier righteous person than those — one who would have been stricken for the sake of those of his generation who’d nearly deserve to be annihilated were it not for him. He would have benefit them greatly in the world to come.

And here’s an even greater sort of person — one who’d perfected himself even more so who’d nonetheless have to suffer even greater trials and tribulations so as to allow for the perfection of all of us.

That’s because from the first there was a need for that individual to suffer in order for himself and the world at large to reach perfection. This was instituted and made to come about by G-d’s hiding His light and countenance.

For, the world would have come to be in such a lowly state that G-d’s unfathomable wisdom caused very many things to come about including mankind suffering all sorts of travails. But G-d arranged things from the first so that a few select righteous individuals could rectify things, as discussed above.

These righteous people will be rewarded even more because of their tribulations, and that would then enable them to help even those of the past. They will be among the very loftiest souls in the World to Come.

ח ואמנם מלבד כל זה יש עוד ענין אחר נמשך משני חלקי ההנהגה שזכרנו, האישיית והכללית, והוא כי הנה השקיפה החכמה העליונה על כל מה שהיה ראוי שימצא לתיקון המין, שיעשה ממנו קיבוץ השלימים שזכרנו למעלה. וראתה שהיה ענין נאות להם מאד, שיהיה בכח קצתם להועיל לקצתם ולהטיב להם. פירוש – שלא יוחלט הדבר, שרק מי שיגיע בכח שלו עצמו אל השלימות יהיה מן הנמנים בקיבוץ בני העוה”ב, אלא גם מי שכבר יגיעוהו מעשיו שבהתלותו באחר זכאי ממנו, יוכל ליהנות בשלימות, הנה יכנם בכלל ההוא, אלא שיהיה במדריגה תחתונה, שהיא מדריגת הנתלה בחבירו. ונמצא שלא ידחה מן השלימות לגמרי, אלא מי שלא יהיה ראוי ליהנות בו, לא מצד עצמו ולא מצד התלותו בזולתו. ונמצאת על ידי זה ההצלה מרובה, וירבו יותר הנהנים. ואולם הנהנים ומהנים לאחרים, ודאי שאלו יהיו היותר גדולים בקיבוץ ההוא, והם יהיו הראשים, והצריכים לתלות בם יהיו משועבדים להם וצריכים להם. וכדי שיהיה מקום לתיקון הגדול הזה, קשר מתחלה את האישים זה עם זה, והוא ענין, כל ישראל ערבים זה לזה שזכרו ז”ל, כי הנה על ידי זה נמצאים מתקשרים קצתם בקצתם ולא נפרדים איש לעצמו. והנה מדה טובה תמיד מרובה, ואם נתפסים זה על זה בחטא, כל שכן שיועילו זה על זה בזכות. ואמנם על פי שרש זה נסדר, שיגיעו צרות ויסורין לאיש צדיק, ויהיה זה לכפרת דורו. והנה מחיוב הצדיקים הוא, לקבל באהבה היסורין שיזדמנו לו לתועלת דורו, כמו שהיה מקבל באהבה היסורין שהיו ראוים לו מצד עצמו. ובמעשה הזה מטיב לדורו, שמכפר עליו, והוא עצמו מתעלה עילוי גדול, שנעשה מן הראשים בקיבוץ בני העוה”ב וכמ”ש. ואולם מזה הסוג עצמו ימצא עוד מין אחר יותר גבוה במעלתו מאותו שזכרנו. וזה כי מה שזכרנו, הוא שילקה הצדיק על בני דורו שהיו ראוים לעונש גדול מאד וקרובים לכליה או לאבדון, והוא ביסוריו מכפר עליהם ומצילם בעוה”ז ומועיל להם גם לעוה”ב. אמנם יש עוד יסורין שניתנים לחסידים היותר גדולים המושלמים כבר בעצמם, והם לעזור למה שצריך לכלל גלגולי ההנהגה שיגיעו אל הסוף שהוא השלימות. ופירוש הענין, כי הנה מצד הסדר הראשון שהוסדר להנהגת העולם וגלגוליו, כבר היה צריך לאדם שיסבול קצת צער, לשיגיע הוא וכל העולם עמו אל השלימות. והוא מה שהיה מתילד ונמשך מהעלם אורו ית’ והסתר פניו, שהושם לאחד מיסודות עניני מצבו של אדם כמש”ל. וכל שכן אחרי שרבו הקלקולים בעולם, מצד חטאים על חמאים גדולים ועצומים שנעשו בו, הנה נתרבה יותר ההסתר ונעלם הטוב, ונמצא העולם ובריותיו במצב שפל ורע. וצריך על כל פנים, שעל ידי גלגולים שתגלגל חכמתו הנפלאה בעולם, יגיעו הדברים אל תיקון. ומעיקרם של גלגולים הוא, שיקבלו בני האדם עונשים כדי רשעתם, עד שתמצא מדת הדין מפויסת. ואולם סידר האדון ב”ה, שהשלמים וחשובים יוכלו לתקן בעד אחרים וכמ”ש, ותפגע בהם מדת הדין תחת פגעה בכלל העולם. ואמנם כיון שהם בעצמם שלימים וראוים לטוב, שהם מתיסרין רק בעבור האחרים, ודאי שתתפיס מדת הדין במועט בהם כבמרובה בחוטאים עצמם. ולא עוד, אלא שעל ידי זה זכותם נוסף וכחם מתחזק, וכל שכן שיכולים לתקן את אשר עיותו האחרים. והיינו כי לא די שיתקנו למה שבבני דורם, אלא גם לענין כל מה שנתקלקל העולם מאז נהיו בו חטאים ועד עתה. ובודאי שאלה יהיו אחר כך בקיבוץ השלימים, ראשי הראשים והיותר קרובים אליו ית’:

 

 

 

(c) 2016 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 2:3:7

2:3:7

It’s important to know that G-d oversees each and every particular person’s 1 precedents and antecedents, and supervises all of the elements involved when He interacts with us with an eye toward the big picture and with a view as to how they’re all interconnected 2.

As such, every individual is judged with his ancestry, his progeny, and his own situation and circumstances in mind. And he’s only handed his charges, challenges, and unique path in serving G-d after all of that’s taken into account 3.

But that’s only true of his worldly situation. The truth is that one’s situation in the World to Come will only be determined by his or her own actions. That’s why the prophet said that “a son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, and a father shall not bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself (alone), and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself (alone)” (Ezekiel 18:20) 4 .

So if it’s decided, for example, that someone is to be born wealthy and powerful, then his children will be wealthy, too, unless their situation changes 5, and they’d only be wealthy in this instance because of him. (The same idea is in place when it comes to poor parents and their children.)

Indeed, parents endow their children with a number of things, our sages pointed out 6. So, one can be born into good circumstances thanks to his parents’ situation or sometimes because of his parents’ merits, or into bad ones for those same reasons. Or he can be worthy of success for his own children’s sake. It’s also true that a person could succeed or fail because of his environment or associates 7.

Footnotes:

1                And thing’s …

2                That is, while we only take our own situations into account when we consider our standing, G-d is like a chess-master who oversees each piece in relation to the others and moves with an eye toward positioning and the endgame.

See Da’at Tevunot 124 where Ramchal likens the workings of the universe to a clock whose pieces all work together in synch and with close, precise interaction.

3             Also see 2:3:1 above and 2:3:10 below.

4                That is, one’s worldly standing is influenced by many factors, as each one of us is part of the community at large and is judged in regard to his or her place in it; but one’s eternal standing is rooted in his or her own efforts alone.  For, while we’re all cogs in the wheel of history, we’re each the lone factor in our own existential standing.

5                That is, unless other things factor into their worldly standing that leave them undeserving of wealth.

6                I.e., their looks, strength, wealth, intelligence, and longevity (Eduyot 2:9).

7                So, not only do the people we’re most attached to affect our situations — oftentimes situations and people we don’t even know about factor into it.

 (c) 2016 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 2:3:7

Preview of 2:3:7

G-d oversees each element’s precedents and antecedents with an eye toward the big picture and to the connection of all the elements.

As such, everyone is judged with his ancestry, progeny, situation and environment in mind, and is handed his own charges, etc. after all of that’s taken into account.

But that’s only true of his worldly situation. One’s situation in the World to Come will only be determined by his or her own actions.

So if it’s decided that someone is to be born wealthy, then his children will be wealthy, too, as a rule. But the latter would only be wealthy (or poor, in those circumstances) because of their parentage.

So, one can be born into good or bad circumstances thanks to his parents’ situation or their merits. Or he can be worthy of success for his children’s sake. It’s also true that a person could succeed or fail because of his environment or associates.

ז.  עוד צריך לדעת, שהנה ההשגחה העליונה, בכל פרט מהפרטים, משגחת על כל הנקשר בו מן הקודמים ומן המאוחרים. וסוף דבר, משגחת בהשגחת כל פרט על כל הכלל כלו, מצד כל מה שמתיחסים כל החלקים עם כל חלק לבנינו של הכלל.

וממה שיושקף בדינו של איש מהאישים, הוא מדריגתו ומצבו במה שקדמו לו, דהיינו האבות, ובמה שיתאחרו לו, דהיינו הבנים, ומה שעמו, דהיינו בני הדור או בני העיר או בני החברה. ואחר כל ההשקפות האלה, יוגזר עליו החלק בעבודה ובנסיון שזכרנו למעלה, ויותן לו המשא לעבוד לפניו ית’.

ואולם הנך רואה שזהו רק בענין הדין של העוה”ז, והוא מה שאמרתי שיוגזר עליו החלק בעבודה, דהיינו באיזה מצב ימצא בעוה”ז, שכפי אותו המצב, כך יהיה המשא שעליו. אך לעוה”ב אין אדם נידון אלא לפי מעשיו, כפי המצב שהיה בו, והוא מ”ש הנביא, בן לא ימות בעון האב.

וזה, כי הנה אם יזכה אדם שתפסק לו גדולה ועושר, הנה בניו יולדו עשירים, ואם לא יתחדש עליהם ענין, יהיו עשירים ובעלי גדולה, וכן להפך. נמצא שלא הגיע העושר ההוא לאותם הבנים, אלא מצד היותם בני אותם האבות. ואולם אמתת הענין כך הוא, שהאדם זוכה לבניו בחמשה דברים שמנו ז”ל, וכבר אפשר שיולד אדם בטובה, מצד היות אביו כבר מוחזק בה, ואפשר גם כן שמצד זכות אביו, תגיע לו טובה בזמן מן הזמנים או להיפך. ומצד אחר, אפשר שתפסק הצלה או טובה לו על זרע שעתיד לצאת ממנו. וכן מצד מקומו או חברתו, אפשר שתפסק עליו טובה או רעה מטובות העוה”ז ורעותיו:

(c) 2016 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 2:3:6

2:3:6

It’s important to know that the wrongful can only do harm for a limited time [1]. As soon as they’ll have reached that limit they’ll be removed from the world. Our sages referred to this as their having “filled (their) measure (of guilt)” [2].

Thus, while they can succeed in wrongdoing until then that’s only so that they’d have the opportunity to [3] be undone. As our sages put it, “The doors are (always) opened for anyone who tries to defile himself” (Yoma 38b) [4]. Once this limit is reached they’ll be undone, as G-d’s anger will have been roused, and some sort of catastrophe will come about that will be their undoing.

Footnotes:

[1]      Ramchal is clearly referring to the sort of thoroughly wrongful, indeed wicked, sort of person referred to in 2:3:4, since he speaks just below about that person’s complete destruction.

Along other lines, this sentence could also be read to mean that they can only do so much harm and no more. The point is that their reach is limited either because of their mortality of course, because one can only succeed for so long in everything, or most especially — and this is his underlying argument — because G-d will only allow for so much of it.

[2]      See Sotah 9a. As Ramchal indicates in the text, this is alluded to in the verse that reads “they are (to be) crushed when (their) measure (of guilt) is filled” (Job 20:22).

See Da’at Tevunot 142 and Adir Bamarom pp. 329-330

Esoterically, this could also refer to the fact that the Yetzer Hara itself can only last so long in the universe before being undone. See  Da’at Tevunot 40, 96 and Adir Bamarom Ibid.

[3]      … first do teshuva, which is denied no one, or if they chose not to do that, then to…

[4]      … to defile himself indeed.

The obverse of this is the statement there that “if someone comes to purify himself, he’s helped”, meaning to say that while one is always enabled to do wrong if he wants to, anyone who wants to do good will not only be enabled to — he’ll be helped along, too.

(c) 2016 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 2:3:6

Preview of 2:3:6

The wrongful can only do harm for a limited time. As soon as they’ll have reached that limit they’ll be removed from the world.

While they can succeed in wrongdoing until then, that’s only so that they might have the opportunity to be undone. And once this limit is reached they’ll be undone.

ו וצריך שתדע, שגבול ניתן למרשיע עד מתי יניחוהו שיהיה מרשיע והולך בבחירתו הרעה, וכשיגיע לאותו הגבול, הנה לא ימתינו לו כלל וישמד מעל פני האדמה. והוא מה שקראו חז”ל, מילוי הסאה, ומה שאמר הכתוב, במלאת ספקו יצר לו.

והנה עד הזמן ההוא אפשר שיצליח וילך מן הטעם שזכרנו למעלה, שהוא לפתוח לו פתח האבדון, והוא מה שכתבו ז”ל, הבא ליטמא פותחין לו. אך כשיגיע לאותו הגבול, כבר הגיע לאבדון ויאבד, והנה אז יחרה אף ה’ בו ותפול עליו שואה שיושמד בה:

(c) 2016 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 2:3:5

2:3:5

Based on this we can now understand why some people suffer trials and tribulations [1]. A person who’s mostly righteous, or somewhat righteous and somewhat wrongful [2] could be subject to tribulations because he warranted being prodded to examine his ways and to do teshuva [3].

These particular tribulations wouldn’t come to him to atone for his past sins, like those cited before [4] whose aim is to purify a person of his sins while he’s yet alive. These particular tribulations would be meant to stir him to teshuva [5].

After all, people only suffer punishments when they sin and don’t do teshuva [6], as G-d wants us to not sin or to at least do teshuva if we do. But one can still be cleansed if he didn’t do teshuva through tribulations.

So tribulations sometimes come our way to inspire us to do teshuva. If we’re not moved to do that, though, we’re sometimes made to suffer tribulations in order to be cleansed [7]. For as Elihu told Job, “(G-d) opens their ears to discipline and bids them to repent of their sins” (Job 36:10).

Footnotes:

[1]         I.e., based on the idea that our successes or failings in life are often rooted in G-d’s input as cited in 2:3:4.

[2]         It’s clear that the thoroughly or almost thoroughly wrongful won’t experience this.

[3]        See Berachot 5a as well as 2:2:5 above.

Ramchal is touching on why the righteous sometimes suffer which seems so unfair, which we discussed above in 2:2:9 (see note 1 there) and will return to in 2:3:8-9.

Here’s how he explains it. He’d said in 2:3:1 that G-d distributed challenges among us all as a part of His plans for us, and that while we don’t know how things work along these lines (which makes them seem so unfair when they’re really not) we’re nonetheless to realize that in the end everything will function as it must. In 2:3:2 he underscored the fact that G-d Himself decrees what’s to apply to whom based on what’s most fitting (showing that G-d understands the implications of all of this), and he made much the same point in 2:3:3.

Then Ramchal went on to contrast the experience of the righteous and the wrongful as far as that’s all concerned, saying in 2:3:4 that righteous people (often) experience different degrees of Divine assistance, while wrongful people are often held back, but “the point of the matter is that G-d brings all of this about (too) … so as to ultimately benefit humankind” and that “He factors in everyone’s situation when He decides what’s to come about”.

His point here is that sometimes the mostly- or nearly-righteous are tried too which also seems unfair, but that G-d does that also for a very good reason: to encourage them in their righteousness.

[4]         See 2:2:5.

[5]         That’s to say that one who’s righteous for the most part but who has sinned too much for his own good and was potentially fully righteous might be made to suffer a setback in the hopes that he’ll then come to wonder what brought it on, conclude that it was his sins that did, and would decide there and then to repent. And all because G-d cared about his well-being and was willing to prod him on toward righteousness.

See Da’at Tevunot 40 where Ramchal expands upon the fact that there are only three ways to achieve perfection: by being righteous, engaging in teshuva, or suffering tribulation.

[6]         See Messilat Yesharim Ch. 5.

[7]         “Cleansing” will be discussed in 2:3:9 below.

(c) 2016 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”.