Derech Hashem 2:3:12

Derech Hashem – The Way of G-d 2:3:12

It’s important to know that two sorts of things occur to us, overall: the things that function as “means” 1 and others that function as “ends” 2. Things function as “ends” when they’re brought on by one of the phenomena cited above in this chapter 3, and they’re “means” when they only occur to bring on something or another that you’ll experience 4.

This principle is best illustrated by the verse that reads, “I will thank you, G-d, for being angry with me” (Isaiah 12:1) 5. Our sages explained that it refers to those times when things that seemed to have been bad at first proved to be good in the end — as when, for example, your cow breaks its leg on the way somewhere yet you uncover a buried treasure there (see Breishit Rabbah 42:1), or when you missed your boat and find out that it sunk at sea (see Niddah 31a) 6.

And while all sorts of bad and good things could come about either for your sake or for someone else’s, nonetheless at bottom the point is that it’s G-d’s will that determines just whom it’s going to happen to and the circumstances under which they’ll come about, and for the ultimately very best of reasons 7.

Footnotes:

1                To an end, but are themselves just seemingly incidental.

2                Unto themselves, and are thus purposeful.

3                That is, when they occur with the goal of testing our spiritual mettle.

4                That is, when they occur without a specific goal in mind.

But let’s dwell on a couple of things now, for nearly everything in this entry is confusing.

For one thing, why are the things brought on by the circumstances cited earlier on said to be ends unto themselves? Aren’t they in fact means to an end – to our achieving spiritual growth? (See 2:3:1 where it’s pointed out that we’re all placed in various circumstances to test our mettle.)

5                This verse doesn’t seem to bolster the points made above. Ramchal cites it elsewhere in his writings to allude to a specific idea which we’ll expand upon below, but why is it here?

6                This entire paragraph doesn’t seem to follow what’s been said until now. What are we to understand from it?

7                This paragraph is also off-kilter too, somehow. What’s its point?

Let’s try to explain all of this now, as Ramchal’s points here are erudite and not at all obvious.

Ramchal cites the verse from Isaiah — “I will thank you, G-d, for being angry with me” — in a number of his works (see for example Da’at Tevunot 118, 128 and 155, Clallim Rishonim 7, Iggerot Pitchei Chochma v’Da’at p. 404 and elsewhere) for a specific and important point. For while the verse clearly has Messianic implications in its context (especially in light of the chapter in Isaiah that precedes it), Ramchal understands it to also refer to that Post-Messianic Age — when G-d’s very presence and sovereignty will be manifest, and when all bad will be overturned to good.

As such, the verse should be understood to read as follows: “I will (eventually) thank you, G-d, for having been angry with me” in the past and having had bad things come my way. Because I’ll come to recognize that like my apparent bad fortune when my cow broke its leg, when I missed my boat — all of the bad I’ve gone through will prove to be fortunate in the end.

“And” — to quote from the final paragraph above — “while all sorts of bad (at-first) but (ultimately) good things could come about …, at bottom, … it’s G-d’s will that determines just whom it’s going to happen to and the circumstances under which they’ll come about… for the ultimately very best of reasons” – which is, to reveal His presence and turn all of bad into goodness. (See 2:3:1 for the idea that “G-d distributed these challenges among us all as a part of His plans for us”; and 2:3:4 where it’s said that “G-d brings all of this about … so as to ultimately benefit humankind”.)

For it will ultimately be proven then that nothing is incidental – everything is purposeful (see Adir Bamarom p. 248, Klach Pitchei Chochma 49 [in the comments]) and meant for the end we just indicated, even if we don’t experience that just yet.

Thus, the ultimate point here is that everything is part of G-d’s plan to have us and the universe at large reach perfection, to have everything resolve itself in the end, and for us to honestly say, “I thank you, G-d, for (once) being angry with me” (Isaiah 12:1).

 

(c) 2017 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

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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).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal” that can be subscribed to.

Preview of 2:3:12

Preview of Derech Hashem – The Way of G-d 2:3:12

Two sorts of things happen to us overall: circumstantial and intentional ones. Things are “intentional” when they happen because of one of the factors cited earlier in this chapter, and they’re “circumstantial” when they only occur to bring something else about.

And so while one’s fortune might seem to be bad for one reason or another, it could prove to be good. Indeed, purposeful events could come about either for your sake or for others’. Nonetheless, at bottom, it’s G-d’s will that determines whom these things are to occur to and under what circumstances, and for the best of all reasons.

יב ואולם צריך שתדע, שהמקרים הקורים לבני האדם יש בהם שני מינים, האחד – מקרים תכליתיים, והשני – אמצעיים.

פירוש – תכליתיים, מקרים שיהיו נגזרים על האדם להיותם ראוים לו מצד אחת מהסבות שזכרנו למעלה. ואמצעיים, מקרים שיקרו לו כדי שעל ידם יגיע לו מקרה אחר שראוי לו.

והוא כענין, אודך ה’ כי אנפת בי, שפירשו ז”ל, שנשברה רגל פרתו ונפלה ומצא סימא תחתיה. או שימלט ממקרה שראוי שלא יגיע לו, כגון שנתעכב ולא הלך בספינה שהיה רוצה לילך, וטבעה הספינה בים. וגם אמצעיים אלה אפשר שיהיו לצורך עצמו של האדם שיקרו לו, ואפשר שיהיו לצורך זולתו, לשתבא על ידי זה טובה או רעה לזולתו. ואמנם החכמה העליונה כמו שתשער הענינים שראוי שיגיעו לאדם, תשער גם כן האמצעיים שעל ידם יגיעו לו, עד שימצא הכל נגזר בתכלית הדקדוק למה שהוא היותר טוב באמת:

 (c) 2017 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

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).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal” that can be subscribed to.

Derech Hashem 2:3:11

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.

Footnotes:

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

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

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).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal” that can be subscribed to.

Preview of 2:3:11

Preview of Derech Hashem – The Way of G-d 2:3:11

Thus, all sorts of things contribute to our standing. Not everything that happens is a direct outcome of the causes cited, but each contributes to our situation. And knowing what will bring on the great rectification of creation, G-d evaluates everything to bring it about.

There are times when the causes actually cancel each other out. You may for example deserve to be wealthy thanks to your ancestors’ merits while your own deeds would have you deserve to be poor, and the overarching agenda would suggest you be either. 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 that out.

The point is that G-d’s wisdom weighs everything and sees to it that one factor results in one thing, and another in another, and that everything that happens is a consequence of one or more of these factors. We have no way of knowing the details, but our knowing the general principles is nonetheless a great insight.

יא.  נמצאו לפי כל מה שביארנו, סבות שונות ומתחלפות למקרי בני האדם בעוה”ז, אם לטוב ואם למוטב. ואמנם אין הענין שכל מקרה שיקרה ימשך מכל הסבות האלה, אבל הענין הוא, שמכל אלה הסבות ימשכו מקרים לבני האדם בעולם, וימצאו מקרים נמשכים מסבה אחת, ואחרים מסבה אחרת.

ואמנם החכמה העליונה היודעת ומשקפת תמיד על כל מה שהוא נאות לתיקון כלל הבריאה, הנה היא שוקלת בעומק עצתה כל הדברים ביחד, ועל פי זה מנהגת את העולם בכל פרטיו.

כי אולם אי אפשר לכל הסבות האלה, שיולידו תולדותיהם תמיד בשוה, כי פעמים רבות אפשר לאחת שתכחיש את חברתה. כי הנה דרך משל, אפשר שלפי זכות האבות יגיע לאדם אחד עושר, ולפי מעשיו עוני, ולפי החילוק הכללי עושר או עוני. ואפילו לפי המעשים עצמם, כבר יעשה איש מעשה אחד, יהיה הדין בו שתבא לו טובה אחת, ומעשה אחר, יהיה הדין בו שתחסר לו הטובה ההיא.

ואולם החכמה העליונה שוקלת ומכרעת את הכל על הצד היותר טוב, ומזמנת לכל איש ואיש ענינים ממין אחד וענינים ממין אחר, פירוש – ענינים נמשכים אחר אחת הסבות, וענינים נמשכים אחר סבה אחרת, אמנם לא יקרה מקרה לאדם שלא יהיה כפי אחת מן הסבות שזכרנו. והפרטים אי אפשר לאדם שידעם כלם, וכבר ידענו הרבה כשידענו כללי הענינים למיניהם וכמ”ש:

(c) 2017 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 2:3:10

Derech Hashem – The Way of G-d 2:3:10

We’d seen before that G-d grants us various means of achieving perfection 1 and we’ll find that there’s yet another one 2. We’re taught that we’re incarnated again and again, and that that enables us to either rectify things in this life that we’d damaged in previous ones, or to perfect things now that we hadn’t been able to before 3.

The individual soul 4 will be judged at the end of all of these incarnations based on everything that happened to it in the course of them and on its standings in them 5.  In any event, your current spiritual or material successes or failures may thus be a consequence of what happened to you in past lives.

It’s important to know that G-d’s judgments about your standing in this life are utterly precise and that He takes all exigencies into account 6. And He’ll see to it that in the World to Come, which is where your ultimate standing will manifest itself, you’ll bear no blemish that wasn’t your own doing but was a consequence of the situation G-d placed you in and the burden you had to bear then.

Needless to say, very many of your past-life events might dispose G-d to arrange one thing or another to happen to you in your present one, but at bottom the operative principle is always that G-d’s “works are perfect and all of His ways are just” (Deuteronomy 32:4) 7. It’s just that we haven’t the wherewithal to know what to take into account when it comes to all of that, yet what we do know is that they’re among all of the other things that go into determining your circumstances in life and that lead to your eventual perfection.

Footnotes:

1                See 2:2:4 and 2:3:8.

2             … which also helps to explain our spiritual or material successes failures, as we’ll soon see.

3                Ramchal’s point is that we thus all have numerous chances to better ourselves in the course of different lives, and that what you would have succeeded at on a spiritual level in a previous life might explain your spiritual or material success here in this one just as what you’d failed at then could explain your current failings.

Many don’t realize that reincarnation is a factor in the Jewish Tradition, but it certainly is. We grant you that Judaism doesn’t tout it as much as others do, but that’s probably because there’s the concern that if you depend on being reincarnated you might not exert yourself in the here and now to grow spiritually, thinking that you can always “come back and try again”, so to speak. In any event, one’s actions in past lives certainly help explain some seemingly unjust and otherwise inexplicable things like the suffering of the young and the righteous, etc. in this one.

Ramchal cited reincarnation a number of times in his works. He offered the very fascinating idea that each one of us is comprised of five soul-components termed nephesh, ruach, neshama, chaya, and yechida, and that each one of them are themselves comprised of a nephesh, ruach, neshama, chaya, and yechida of their own, etc. His point is that any one of those elements might have to be reincarnated themselves depending on circumstances, which opens our eyes to the complexity of factors that go to explain our situation in this life (Ma’amar HaChochma).

He indicates that one is only given three chances to be reincarnated and no more, since one shouldn’t be given a chance to fail yet again, though others say we’re given seven chances or as many as needed (Pitchei Chochma v’Da’at 119-123). And see Clallot HaIlan HaKodesh 10:3 and Peirush al Ma’amar HaZohar Reish Mishpatim (found in Ginzei Ramchal p . 272) for the role that reincarnation plays in the grand design aside from one’s own personal growth.

And for other traditional discussions of reincarnation see Zohar 1:94a, 186b, 3:215a; Tikkunei Zohar 22b, 76b, etc. Also see Sefer HaBahir 195, Ramban’s Sha’ar HaGemul, and Ari’s Sha’ar HaGilgullim.

4                I.e., you, who will have lived again and again.

5                That’s to say that reincarnation isn’t necessarily a gift: one could lower his standing in one life or another as well as raise it, and you’ll be judged for the lot of them.

6                I.e., those of your past lives and your current one.

7                I.e., G-d’s judgments are perfectly attuned to everything, and He’s utterly fair.

(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 2:3:10

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”.