So logic would seem to indicate that we assume the very opposite of what appears (to be true) and declare that we’re truly good and noble creatures (at bottom), and of inestimable worth — as worthy as one would expect our Producer to have made.
How radical a theology this is: that at bottom mankind is just-so, and purposefully so! And that our having been created by God Almighty is proof of that! But what about all of the manifest wrong and fraudulence out there, all the treachery and moral rot? The answer lies in the fact that…
And that whatever faults you may find in our bodies (i.e., our selves)…
… rather than in our moral choices …
… can only be attributed to God’s will no matter how you (may otherwise try to) explain it, since it’s He who created us as we are. It’s also clear that it’s He alone who created us, not we. And that He also knows all the consequences of our natures and of the “wrongful” attributes He implanted within us.
God is perfectly aware of all the wrong, having set it all in motion; and He’s clearly mindful of the ramifications of our having been created the way we were. Our apprehension about all this, though, lies in our human provincialism, if you will (which God granted us, too, of course, and which thus also serves its purpose — but we’ll get to that later).
So as we said (4:1), we’d do best to look at the culmination of events (rather than to peer midcourse), for only then will we be able to understand it all. As the expression goes, “Don’t show a fool a project that’s only half done”.
The mortals that we are, we miss the end of the story, and thus overlook the big picture. So we misread (and underestimate) the characters involved and can’t imagine how well things will turn out in the end. That’s not to deny our experience of evil and wrong, though, for there’s a teeming world of it. It’s just to trip-off the realization that while there will be chaos and ugliness as the work progresses, the painting itself will be effulgent and luminous in the end.
(c) 2010 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
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AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman’s translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here at a discount.
You can still purchase a copy of Rabbi Feldman’s translation of “The Gates of Repentance” here at a discount as well.
Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).