Ramchal reports that the world of Nikkudim was like a single mass out of which all the details, i.e., of Atzilut, Briah, Yetzirah, and Assiyah, had to come about” (Petach 39). We’ll return to this theme soon.
For now, though, he makes a number of other points about the nature, meaning, and purpose of rah. He notes that it couldn’t have derived from a higher point than the world of Nikkudim. Since “higher up than that there’s nothing that can be relevant to any feature of the other side whatsoever. In Nikkudim, though, something’s revealed that does bear some relation to the function of the other side” (comments to Petach 44).
He draws an analogy between the Breaking of the Vessels and our people’s state of exile: “The primordial kings remained broken for just as long as it took to allow the powers of rah to be revealed in them. To explain this more fully (i.e., to use an analogy we‘ll point out that) The Nation of Israel went into exile and must remain there for as long as it takes for all … that exists in the wrongful phenomena that rule over them to unfold. In much the same way, these kings remained in their state of destruction for just as long … as was necessary to produce the various divisions of rah. (Once that will be complete, though,) the Supreme Will (i.e., intentions) will be revealed … and the mystical process of Yichud” will come about (comments to Petach 47).
And he raises the question as to why rah was produced in the first place. There are a number of answers to that, including the idea that we wouldn’t be privy to free choice if there wasn’t a good versus bad paradigm. While that’s discussed elsewhere in his works, Ramchal offers here that rah had to exist for the meanwhile since it served a valuable albeit temporary role in the long process of cosmic progression. For God’s “ultimate goal wasn’t to produce rah per se, but rather to have it turn back to goodness: it’s just that it couldn’t turn back to good until it first actually existed as rah” (comments to Petach 39).
(c) 2012 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
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