Ramchal on all of this in Klach (4)

And finally, quite a lot is said here about the aforementioned and counter-intuitive usefulness of the “necessary evil” that is rah [1].

Ramchal makes the point in Petach 39 that everything in creation exists only for the glory of the Creator…. In this are included all created beings — good and bad — as the whole of it is a single system and a single phenomenon of a creation that implements the revelation of the sovereignty and glory of Ein Sof.

That is, everything contributes to the eventual revelation of God’s utter sovereignty, including rah. Consequently, rah is good, too — if we understand “good” to mean contributing to the ultimate goal [2], which it does.

After all, “if God had so wanted,” Ramchal points out, He could certainly have produced the universe “rectified from the first, without rah at all. But He wanted rah to exist and … to not be rectified until the end, when all that was withholding perfection (i.e., rah and its offshoots) was removed” (comments to Petach 36).

Here are some other statements to the effect that rah simply had to be so as to no longer be in the end, and so as to thus prove God’s greatness for having thwarted so mighty a seeming threat to His sovereignty.

“Everything linked in any way to rah must return to good so that through this overall return, the veracity of God’s Yichud will be revealed and made manifest. Thus, if any aspect of these details is missing, then the overall intention — the revelation of this Yichud — would remain unfulfilled…. For God’s Yichud will be revealed through the good created entities when the good in them is strengthened, and it will likewise be revealed through the ‘bad’ ones, when despite the fact that they are bad, they will have returned to good” (comments to Petach 39).

“Despite the great power of rah, it’s (nonetheless) one small matter that God wanted to display in order to demonstrate His perfection” when it’s to be undone by the revelation of His Yichud (comments to Petach 41).

And, “rah thus has two aspects. The first is when it first appears, when it brings about all sorts of blemishes and it functions as a ‘stain on the glory of the King’, so to speak, since it restricts the flow of His blessing…. The second aspect, though, is after it has already existed but God’s Yichud takes control over it…. Rah then evidences the glory of the King’s great sovereignty, as if to say, ‘This is what the King prevailed against by His great perfection!’” (comments to Petach 49).

That’s all to say that, according to Ramchal, rah was set up as a sort of straw-man — a false premise — which was to have its day, to thrive, and to seem a potent nemesis, but which will eventually be undone. And it’s having been undone will underscore and prove God’s sovereignty, as if to say that if so rampant, noxious, malignant, and potent a phenomenon can apparently be allowed to hold sway but then be undone, it’s having been undone in fact adds luster onto the face of its Undoer, Almighty God.


[1]       See 1:5 and 4:3.

[2]       See Moreh Nevuchim 3:13.

(c) 2012 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org


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