Derech Hashem 2:2:7

Somehow this one never made it here, so things are out of order. Sorry.


There’s one other important point, though. The community of perfected beings we’d spoken of [1] will be comprised of people on various levels; not everyone will be equal there [2]. There’ll be the lowest level, consisting of those just minimally capable of attaching onto G-d’s presence and enjoying it, and other, higher levels.

Anyone who can achieve that lowest level at least will be a member of the community and will remain there forever. Somebody who hasn’t attained that level, though, will be turned away  from the community entirely and be undone, while someone who has reached a higher level will be in a loftier community [3].

Now, since G-d has determined that we’re to be the masters of our own destiny by our own actions [4], both in general and specifically, we’re to be on the level that we ourselves strove for. As such there’ll be especially exalted individuals and less exalted ones, giants of the spirit and more pedestrian ones there — all depending on that individual’s own efforts [5] and without any ill-feeling on anyone else’s part.


[1]         See 2:2:4.

[2]         See Baba Batra 75a, Da’at Tevunot 88-94, Clallim Rishonim 9, Adir Bamarom pp. 188 and 398, as well as 1:3:13 above and 2:3:9 below.

That is, while we might think that just as all of the wholly evil will be undone point blank in one fell swoop, then all in the World to Come should enjoy one sort of experience as well. But apparently that’s not so. The point seems to be that the righteous will retain their distinctiveness, while the wicked will be undone and discarded en mass. But as we’ll see in the following note that that’s not how Ramchal sees it elsewhere in his writings.

[3]         Ramchal explained the makeup of the World to Come in quite a number of his works.  He described it as the environment in which “the human edifice will come to completion” (2:8:4 below); in which “all wrongfulness will be turned around to righteousness” (Klach Pitchei Chochma 42); where “peace and tranquility will reign” and “fear and sorrow will disappear” (Mishkanei Elyon); and where the “final redemption … the ultimate (state of ) perfection” will come about, in the course of which “all damages will be repaired”, i.e., all wrongs will be made right (Klach Pitchei Chochma 30).

But this seems to be a human, this-worldly perspective of things rather than the supreme viewpoint that those who’d dwell there would ultimately achieve. Elsewhere, though, Ramchal points out that we know absolutely nothing about the ultimate level of the World to Come — which will be come about in the course of the Tenth Millennium and onward (see the discussion in Klach Pitchei Chochma 97-98). “G-d’s sovereignty will be revealed … to all of creation” then  (4:4:1 below), all there will “be eternally attached onto G-d’s presence” (2:2:4 above); and “everything will return to the state of supreme oneness” (Pinot HaMerkava).

And he also offers this: “everything will once again be as it had been at the (very) beginning” before the creation of  this world in the presence of G-d then, “with no distinctions between things” (Kitzur Kavanot p. 196). Thus, the depiction of distinctions between the righteous individuals in note 2 above isn’t always true, as there’ll apparently be no such rankings ultimately.

At bottom the point seems to be that while the initial stages of the World to Come will be those in which this world will be perfected and made right and where some of the makeup of this world, like its multiplicity, will be retained for the meanwhile. The latter stages on the other hand will be like nothing we know of, and all will be as one on all levels.

[4]         See 1:2:2.

[5]         See Da’at Tevunot 70.

(c) 2016 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

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