Tzimtzum: the solution (part 4)

The final and most fulsome series of statements about the makeup and purpose of the Tzimtzum is offered in Petach 30. They hearken back to remarks made earlier on in this work about why one should study Kabbalah [1], and about God’s intentions for the universe. But Ramchal adds other elements.

Rooted in the Tzimtzum is the principle that everything in the created world would follow a natural course until the end. He’ll soon explain it to mean something else, but part of the idea of things “following a natural course” has to do with the notion that offered in his comments that “the first thing to be understood about the governance of the universe”, which is our aim here in this work of Kabbalah, is that the governance of the universe “depends on (the existence of) levels and measurements” — on finitude, definition, and limitations, which are all lacking in God’s presence, and which were only established by reality of the Tzimtzum. His remark here in the body of the Petach about things following a natural course, though, is this one.

That’s to say, that flaws would exist in the course of things but that in the end — when God’s Yichud will be seen (or “exposed” if you will) for what it is — everything would return to its ultimate perfection. We’d addressed that major theme before, too [2]. In other words, God saw to it that there’d come to be a system of right and wrong, and that a hard-fought and intense struggle between the two would go on until the end — but that there would be an end, indeed, and that right will ultimately triumph [3]. (He thus understands the term “a natural course” as referring to a so-very-human and imperfect state of being that will ultimately give way to a Divine state.)

But there’s more.


[1]       See our extended discussion of this in 1:1 and in note 2 there. His statement here, in his comments, is that “the science of Kabbalah in its entirety is intended to (help us) understand the governance of the Supreme Will, God’s purpose for having created all the various creature phenomena, what He expects of them, what will come about at the end of all the sequences of the universe, and how to explain all of these odd sequences of events”.

[2]       See 1:4 and the various notes there, and see Ramchal’s many remarks about this in his comments to this Petach.

We’d add that Ramchal also engages in a long-enough analysis of the source, make-up, and role of evil and wrongdoing in his comments here that the reader would do well to study. This theme became eminently important to Kabbalists and Chassidic thinkers in Ramchal’s time and soon afterwards (and continues to be now, to some degree) because of the statements of disciples of the notorious Sabbatei Tzvi. But a full discussion of all that would take us far afield so we’ll mostly avoid it in this work; but we’ll touch on some of it.

[3]       See 1:5 and the various notes there. We’d again advise the reader to see Ramchal’s many remarks in his comments here about this.

(c) 2011 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

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