The solution (Part 2)

Let’s go in order here: First of all he depicts the “space” left by the factoring in of the Tzimtzum as an instance of God granting a place for existent beings to be and function — a specific environment, as we’d term it. That’s what’s so radically original about this outcome of the Tzimtzum; existent beings simply couldn’t exist without it. But now that this environment has indeed come about there “needs to be existent beings, so the matter can be completed, otherwise the space would be empty”, and there needs to be a connection between them and their Source (Klallim Rishonim 4). That’s to say that God does nothing by mistake or unintentionally, and He never separates Himself from anything He does.

Ramchal then depicts the next factor, the trace, as “a small remnant of what had been removed” with the onset of the Tzimtzum process which nonetheless serves as the “root of the universe’s various phenomena and of its governance”. As he goes on to say, the trace-environment “is the source of the imperfect nature of existence” and of the system of “(relative) good and evil” as opposed to the fully good that would be manifest in a perfect world (Klallim Rishonim 5). In other words, the environment in which we now exist is the basis of all the good and bad, justice and injustice, fairness and unfairness, light and darkness, and the like that comprises the human experience. It’s imperfect to be sure, but purposelessly so.

But the line is a whole other thing, as we’ll see.

(c) 2011 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

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3 responses to “The solution (Part 2)

  1. I think that in today’s lexicon, we would speak of this “space” as being along a probability axis. Tzimtzum is HQBH opening up a range of possibilities that we could make manifest.

    We can’t use the word “potential”, because that implies the peices to make a causality happen. Think of the word “koach”, which means both potential and energy. Or for that matter “potential energy”.

    The word “space” implies a hole, and then we’re stuck reminding ourselves that Hashem wasn’t filling the universe and then moved out to give objects room to exist and vacuum between them to move in. “Environment” shares that problem.

    It’s really a range of possibilities, IMHO. Within Havayah, Hashem as Source of everything, everything is equally possible, and thus everything happens. The ball stays stil, the ball moves, the ball doesn’t exist, the ball is red and blue and… Which is the same as nothing happens. Tzimtzum limits the range, dividing events into possible and impossible, and thus even within the possible, some will occur, and some don’t.

  2. Sorry for meandering on a related topic rather than really commenting on the post.

  3. As to your remark “The word ‘space’ implies a hole, and then we’re stuck reminding ourselves that Hashem wasn’t filling the universe and then moved out to give objects room to exist and vacuum between them to move in. ‘Environment’ shares that problem”

    “Place” — an alternative — presents the same problem, but the original “makom” doesn’t leave us much “space” to wiggle. “Environment” at least allows for non-materaility, which is what drove me to use it.

    Thanks for your comments, Micha.

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