Now, since we’re essentially a ratzon l’kabel and everything that happens to us and all our circumstances are replete with that corrupt ratzon which was only created from the first to be eradicated from the world in order to bring on the perfect third era at the final reparation, (know that) we and all our circumstances are as ephemeral and mortal as a passing shadow that leaves nothing behind.
And that’s so because the ratzon l’kabel will be undone in the end (see 19:2).
But in view of the fact that the immortal soul is essentially a ratzon l’hashpia and everything that happens to it and its circumstances are replete with that (lofty) ratzon which already existed in the eternal first era as well as in the third era that’s due to come about, it is not at all ephemeral or mortal. It and its circumstances are eternal and will exist forever.
In fact, not only will the soul not experience nonexistence when the body dies, on the contrary, the nonexistence of the body will actually strengthen the soul and enable it to ascend to the Heavens.
The soul will come to full flower once the body and ego are undone because the soul will no longer be held back by the effect of the ratzon l’kabel and it can thus adhere onto God.
We’ve thus clearly demonstrated that the immortality of the soul is in no way dependent on the concepts we acquire, as certain philosophers claim. Instead, its immortality is inherent, meaning to say that it’s in its ratzon l’hashpia which is its essence. And any concepts it acquires will be its reward rather than its essence.
(c) 2011 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
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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).