Mankind’s role in it all (4)

And a lot is said indeed about mankind’s exalted status in the Zohar. We’re told, for example, that “When the Holy One, blessed be He, created the world, He … created man over everything… for man sustains the world” (1, p. 205b); that “The Holy One, blessed be He, wanted to make man superior to all creatures so that he might be as unique in this world as He is in the realms above (Zohar Chadash, p. 10a, Midrash Ne’alam)”; and that “Everything in the world came into being for man’s sake alone, and everything continues to exist for his sake alone…. When man was created, everything was set right, above and below, and everything was incorporated in him” (3, p. 48a).

Ar”i and the other Kabbalists spoke at great length about just how primal mankind is to it all, and filled in the details about just where in man this occurs (both literally and as representative of where it occurs in the Sephira and Partzuf system) and how exactly man affects the heavens and the earth. But let’s see next just what Ramchal said elsewhere about this before we record his remarks in Klach.

We’ll take this opportunity to wish you all a k’sivva v’chassima tovah and to take a break till the end of the Yom Tov season.

(c) 2012 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

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4 responses to “Mankind’s role in it all (4)

  1. Related to this discussion might be a contrast between the Bavli and the Y-mi about Rosh haShanah.

    The Bavli, the same text that we saw concluded “it would be pleasanter for a person had he not been created”, is the source of an old Ashkenazi a custom of fasting half of Rosh haShanah.

    In contrast to the Yerushalmi, who contrasts the person who comes before a human court quaking in fear, but comes before the Heavenly Court on Rosh haShanah in his finest white celebratory clothes.

    If we assume the Zohar and the Y-mi reflect the same Israeli tradition, and add in what you wrote about fear vs love, and there seems to be a basic split about the human condition between the sages of EY and those of Bavel.

  2. What are you referring to vis a vis fear versus love?

  3. See R’ Hutner’s Pachad Yitzchaq, RH #7. RYH is dealing with a Maharal that discusses why the gemara says “It’s all in the ‘Hands’ of [the One in] Heaven except for yir’as Shamayim”, and why it doesn’t say “… except for ahavas Hashem” — why does free will revolve around fear rather than love?

    He writes that yir’ah expresses the frightening aspect of bechirah — the possibility of making the wrong decision. The lover wants to step in for the Beloved, he embraces bechirah. The yarei would instinctively not want bechirah. From a position of yir’ah, noach lo le’adam shelo nivra. However, a person can rise above that to ahavah and find nachas (using the word because our gemara says “noach lo le’eadam…”) in being a free willed creature.

  4. Nice! Best wishes for a k’sivva v’chassima to you and yours.

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