Right and Wrong (3)

First of all, where did wrong, injustice, and evil ever come from anyway if God is all-good [1]? Like everything else, it too was created by God, as it’s written, “I form the light and create darkness… I, the Lord, do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7); “Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?” (Lamentations 3:38); and “are we to accept good from God and not trouble?” (Job 2:10). And as Ramchal puts it here, “Wrong isn’t a power onto itself God forbid, but rather something that He Himself created” (commentary to Petach 2).

So at what point was wrong created if it isn’t inherent to God Himself? At the creation of non-Godliness, when God allowed for the constriction of His being known as the Tzimtzum and then in what’s referred to as the Reshimu. We’ll delve into these arcane phenomena at length later on but that’s our point for now [2]. Ironically enough, though, the ultimate source of the creation of wrong and evil was God’s own desire to benevolent [3].



[1]       The Hebrew term “rah” denotes all of these. The term “evil” is overused and is often inappropriate as a translation as not all instances of rah are evil. There are some that are analogous to misdemeanors, others to felonies, and others to acts of out-and-out wickedness with many shades of gray in between. While Halacha certainly recognizes the difference, the idea of rah itself often isn’t spelled out when under discussion, hence our use of wrong, injustice, and evil depending on circumstances.

Ramchal discusses rah at great length in several Petachim beyond this first section including 30, 33, 37, 44, 45, 47, 53, 63, 83, and 108; also see Da’at Tevunot 96-133; Derech Hashem 1:2:5, 1:3:6, 1:5:7-9, 3:2:8, 4:1:3, 4:4:1,9, and 4:9:1; and in various other writings to be cited.

[2]       The Tzimtzum will be discussed in Petachim 24-25, 30; see Petachim 26-27 for the Reshimu (as well as Klallim Rishonim 5). Also see Adir Bamarom pp. 457-458.

[3]        As Ramchal worded it elsewhere, “Know that God is utterly good and wants to express utter benevolence; but know as well that the ultimate act of benevolence would be to have even wrongfulness revert to goodness“(Adir Bamarom p. 393) and to reveal His Yichud in the process.

(c) 2010 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org


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One response to “Right and Wrong (3)

  1. Pingback: Ramchal on all not being right with the world (1) « Ramchal

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