The solution (Part 2)

Let’s go in order here: First of all he depicts the “space” left by the factoring in of the Tzimtzum as an instance of God granting a place for existent beings to be and function — a specific environment, as we’d term it. That’s what’s so radically original about this outcome of the Tzimtzum; existent beings simply couldn’t exist without it. But now that this environment has indeed come about there “needs to be existent beings, so the matter can be completed, otherwise the space would be empty”, and there needs to be a connection between them and their Source (Klallim Rishonim 4). That’s to say that God does nothing by mistake or unintentionally, and He never separates Himself from anything He does.

Ramchal then depicts the next factor, the trace, as “a small remnant of what had been removed” with the onset of the Tzimtzum process which nonetheless serves as the “root of the universe’s various phenomena and of its governance”. As he goes on to say, the trace-environment “is the source of the imperfect nature of existence” and of the system of “(relative) good and evil” as opposed to the fully good that would be manifest in a perfect world (Klallim Rishonim 5). In other words, the environment in which we now exist is the basis of all the good and bad, justice and injustice, fairness and unfairness, light and darkness, and the like that comprises the human experience. It’s imperfect to be sure, but purposelessly so.

But the line is a whole other thing, as we’ll see.

(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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