The forest for the trees

Ramchal offers this warning in Iggerot Pitchei Chochma v’Da’at 2 which we’ll conclude this part with:

“After we come to know all the many teachings of R’ Chaim Vital (Ari’s redactor) we realize that we actually know nothing”, given all the many bewildering and seemingly contradictory or unfinished technical details that Ramchal had laid-out just before this. At bottom, he offers, “all we’ve done has been to accept them (at face value), and (to know) that we’d need to remember them, to say ‘thus and such (happened in the process)’ and to not respond (i.e., to not question the details)”.

There’s only one solution to rectify this condition, he goes on to say, and that is to at least make the system available. As such, “given that it’s surely impossible for one who doesn’t understand (the system) in broad terms to understand its (very, very many) particulars,” Ramchal proposes, “I will … explain (Ari’s system) in broad terms as best I can”, which will lighten the burden for us all.

We will follow that lead in this work, too, as we lay out the Kabbalistic system, so the reader won’t be overwhelmed by one esoteric detail after another.

(c) 2011 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

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