Constellations (3)

The first thing that becomes clear from his explanation of the constellations in Derech Hashem 2:7:1-4, where he lays out most of its main points, is that the subject of the constellations harkens back to a couple of vitally important themes in Klach as well as in so much of Kabbalah and Jewish Thought in general — Divine Providence (hashgacha) and Emanation (hashpa). For when God governs He does so by means of both. Suffice it to say for our purposes now, though, that both come into play in Ramchal’s understanding of the role of the constellations.

Let’s follow his train of thought here because it will enable us to not only understand the constellations, but also the interplay between all the instruments of God’s governance.

Ramchal says that “everything material has its roots in the Supernal Forces (i.e., the Sephirot)” and that the process of bringing about material things and phenomena from such lofty spiritual sources has to follow a certain hierarchical order from highest up, to next highest, to lower, to lowest, by degrees. Only then can material things assume their proper form (Derech Hashem 2:5:3).

While we aren’t privy to the reasons behind their “quantity, quality, or component makeup”, since “the Highest Wisdom (alone) determined that” still and all we do have traditions about their makeup and function (Derech Hashem 2:7:1) which we’ll now explore.


(c) 2011 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

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