Wrong, Evil, and Injustice (Part 4)

But as to the source of rah, Ramchal tells us that it’s the “trace” (the Reshimu) of the original light (Petach 26) — the remnant of Godliness left behind despite the Tzimtzum process as we’ll see — which is “the source of all imperfect lower phenomena” (Klallim Rishonim 5) [1]. Rah is also rooted in the phenomenon known as the existence of the “Primordial Kings” and of their “shattering” which produced “the Sephirot of the Other Side” (Klallim Rishonim 11) — perhaps best described as a very purposeful rupture in the creation process (to be explained later on in this work). And it’s depicted as being a product of Malchut of the world of Assiyah (Klallim Rishonim 29) — i.e., of the lowest aspect of the lowest realm, as one would expect.

He characterizes this trace as a mere shadow of God’s actual and full presence (Da’at Tevunot 48), and thus portrays rah as a sort of perceived lack or diminution of God’s presence, again making the point indicated above that rah isn’t a separate, intrinsic phenomenon. In fact he reiterates that point in his comments to Petach 27, where he says that, “there is no rah in God’s presence — rah only exists in the absence of His perfection; (and in fact,) rah will cease to exist once His perfection is revealed” [2].

And Ramchal lays out the distinctions between the holy and the unholy Sephirot and realms in the Zohar addressed above his comments to Petach 30. There are three differences between them as he lays them out: “The first … is that while the Sephirot are (the expression of) the (full) will of God, … the Other Side is merely a single (specific) creation which the Lord made (ad hoc, if you will) because He wanted it (for a particular and isolated end) ….Thus rah is subordinate to the One Lord and dependent upon Him, and is merely charged with carrying out His order….The second difference, which derives from the first, is that the power (i.e., actions, consequences, etc.) of the Sephirot was exactly calculated to function in accordance with God’s will…. It appears that the Other Side can challenge them and disallow them to function, but (in truth), if Ein Sof had wanted to, He could have increased the power of the Sephirot as much as He would have wanted to and the Other Side would (thus) not have the slightest ability to challenge the Side of Holiness. For (in truth) the Other Side is truly limited in scope compared to the power of the Sephirot…. And the third difference is that the source of goodness was primordial and did not have to be brought into being…, while the source of the Other Side was an innovation”.


[1]       See Da’at Tevunot 48.

[2]       See Adir Bamarom 1, pp. 397, 404-405, 457-458; Da’at Tevunot 148.

From Ramchal’s comments to Petach 30: “Initially all was perfect; it was only afterwards that imperfection emerged. Its existence is due to the underlying power of Din (Judgment), which was only revealed by means of the Tzimtzum. It brought about concealment, void and emptiness, and every sort of imperfection that could possibly exist”.

(c) 2011 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org


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