Ramchal on the role of Torah (2)

His Derech HaChochma is dedicated to explaining the advantages to studying the various corners of Torah over other scholarly concerns, and it lays out a Torah curriculum of sorts. And another hardly-known book, Derech Tevunot, explicates many of the complications of Talmudic language and logic.

But Ramchal then gets rather rhapsodic about the Torah at a number of points elsewhere. He characterizes it, for example, as “truly one single light that was granted to Israel to bask in”, as “a holy thing that exists in the very highest heights”; as such “when someone engages in it below its light beams upon his soul so as to have it reach the most hidden-away heights, God’s own hidden realm”  (Derech Eitz Chaim). He offers that the mystical implications of the Torah is encapsulated by the notion of “the roots (i.e., the higher realms) providing the needs of the branches (i.e., the lower realms)”, given that “everything is in it”. He contends that it enables us to “eradicate the filth of the snake” given that it has the “power to purify” (Kinat Hashem Tz’vaot). He terms Torah “eternal life” and assures us that it embodies the “mystery of Tikkun (personal and universal rectification and perfection) and the soul’s (ultimate) reward” (Adir Bamarom pp. 109, 111-112), and reveals that it’s “rooted in the very roots of the Sephirot” (Ibid. p. 333) and it’s infinite (Ibid. p. 279).

(c) 2011 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

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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).

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