As Ramchal laid it out elsewhere, “among the fundamental things that God instituted” when He created the world “were the factors of ‘measure’ and ‘dimension’”, which is to say sequence and the subsequent reality of relativity, “… because He wanted (the world) to function sequentially, … (so that) one (thing) would be beneath another one, and so on down the line” or some other thing would be above another. The point is that God created sequence so that things would compare and contrast with each other positively or negatively, both physically and morally, as we’ll discuss below (Da’at Tevunot 118).
We’re thus told that God purposefully created a world of relativity, opposites, multiplicity, nuance, and — the truth be known — doubt. For “thanks to” measure and dimension we have the ability to catch sight here and there of God’s intention, but we’ve nevertheless been forbidden entrance into God’s own realm of unity and absolute truth in the process. That affects our thoughts, utterances, and actions; it influences our inner beings very, very deeply; and it too has great bearing on our moral and spiritual standing.
Before we discuss Ramchal’s view of human morality though, let’s see his other major point about God’s usage of sequence.
As he points out at a certain juncture, “sequence is what allows for time” to exist (comment to Petach 121). That’s a very important point, needless to say, given that we depend on time for our knowledge of the world and ourselves. Yet he points out elsewhere that “time … won’t exist in the World to Come” (Adir Bamarom 1, p. 107) indicating that it’s a temporary phenomenon. Still and all it is indeed a vital factor, for as Ramchal says elsewhere, the sort of universal perfection we’re promised with the revelation of God’s Yichud “won’t occur in one fell swoop but rather sequentially” and in the process of time (comments to Petach 42).
(c) 2011 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
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Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).