Derech Hashem 2:6:1
In the course of His interactions with the world 1, G-d arranged it so that phenomena that affect both the things that humankind brings about 2 and those that He Himself brings about in creation 3 should function like a government. That’s to say, with upper and lower courts along with all of their procedures and rules 4. As our sages put it, “The kingdom of Heaven functions like a human kingdom” 5.
He thus established different “court systems” for the spiritual realm with rules and procedures 6, which work on various levels, feature certain spiritual entities 7, and follow particular sequences 8. And everything that’s to be judged is to appear before those courts and is to be subject to its decisions 9. As it’s said, “By the decree of the overseers is the sentence decreed” (Daniel 4:14) 10.
1 This chapter is termed “The System behind Divine Providence”, which is a subject that necessarily touches on our interactions with Him and His with us.
2 Out of their free will and are to be judged for.
3 That are somehow or another adjudged or at least subject to decisions about placement, role and the like, too.
4 The point is that G-d purposefully arranged for the universe to function in a comprehensible, linear, and over-all orderly manner — despite the fact that it’s rooted in preternatural mystical “nothingness” and primal “chaos” — so that we can understand the “rules of the game”, interact with Him within our own contours and limitations, and to thus draw close to Him.
5 Ramchal is referencing a statement in Zohar 1:197a and Berachot 58a that is worded differently.
6 Of their own that mirrors the rules and procedures of earthly courts.
7 Which function as the “overseers” that are cited below.
8 See Ma’amar HaIkurim, “B’hashgacha“.
9 See Adir Bamarom p.68.
10 See Sanhedrin 38b, Shemot Rabbah 6:1, and Zohar 2:6a.
We’ll see how all that plays itself out in our interactions with Him.
(c) 2019 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
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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).
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