R’ Ashlag’s “Introduction To The Zohar”: Ch. 25

This is a rather complex chapter that draws upon a lot of what has been said and raises a lot of questions of its own which will be left unanswered for a while. We’ll do what we can to encapsulate what’s said here at the end, and to point out where this whole chapter will be taking us. Then we’ll allow Ashlag to spell it all out for us.

We now have a solution to our fifth inquiry.

See 3:2.

We asked there why the body will be resurrected, seeing how base it is and given that its (immortal) soul won’t appear in it in all its purity until the body decomposes. (We can also now offer a solution to) our sages’ statement that “The dead will be brought back to life with all their defects (in place) so that they won’t be mistaken for anyone else (and that all those defects will be cured afterwards)” (Zohar, Emor 17).

But we’d first have to review the following in order to explain all that.

(Know, that) all of this is in keeping with the original intent behind creation in the first era. For, as we’d said, God intended for His creations to experience pleasure.

See 6:1.

So He created an enormous and comprehensive enough willingness to take-in all the vast amount of bounty that lay behind the intention of creation, since (the ability to take-in) a great deal of pleasure and (the need to have a correspondingly) comprehensive ratzon l’kabel go hand in hand.

See 6:2-3.

And so as we also said, this enormous ratzon l’kabel was the only thing created anew.

See 7:1-2.

… since God didn’t need to create anything else to carry out His intentions for creation, and (also) because it’s only natural that a perfect Producer wouldn’t produce anything extraneous.

We also said that this comprehensive ratzon l’kabel was withdrawn from the four worlds of holy-A.B.Y.A. and placed instead in the four worlds of defiled-A.B.Y.A., from which derived the bodies of this world, their sustenance, and all their circumstances.

See 10:2.

And we said that one only begins to attain a holy soul when he reaches age thirteen (or twelve, in the case of a young woman) thanks to his involvement in Torah and Mitzvot (with the intention to please God), and he starts to be nourished by the four worlds of holy-A.B.Y.A. to a degree that corresponds to the size of his holy (immortal) soul.

See 11:2.

We likewise said that during the six thousand years that we’d been granted to engage in Torah and Mitzvot, the body — i.e., our comprehensive ratzon l’kabel — wouldn’t be rectified (of its own accord). All the rectifications that will come about would be as a consequence of our efforts alone, and would only touch upon the Nephesh (i.e., the lowest degree of soul), from which rectifications will ascend upward through the various degrees of holiness and purity in order to (eventually) enhance the ratzon l’hashpia that evolves along with the soul.

See 11:2.

(Just know, that) all that helps to explain why the body is doomed to die, be buried, and decompose. After all, the body wouldn’t have been rectified in any way, and yet it can’t remain in that state (forever). However, if the (body’s) comprehensive ratzon l’kabel would be (prematurely) removed from the world, then God’s intentions for creation — that everyone would be granted all the great delights that He wanted them to — wouldn’t be carried out, God forbid. After all (as we alluded to above), a great ratzon l’kabel and (the ability to sustain) a great deal of pleasure go hand in hand, and one’s ratzon l’kabel diminishes to the selfsame degree that his delight and pleasure upon receiving diminishes. (So, what’s the solution?)

All Ashlag cited above begins to explain why the body must die and decompose before it’s to be resurrected, so let’s synopsize it. As we learned, God intended mankind to derive pleasure in this world. So He quite logically instilled a desire for pleasure in our beings; and He likewise quite reasonably provided us with as great a desire for pleasure as the pleasure itself would be. And so God created our ratzon l’kabel.

But it’s important to realize that it needs to be rectified. We’ll get back to that below.

We also learned that we only begin to develop an immortal soul once we start to live out the mitzvah-system and to delve into the Torah; and that the greater and purer our engagements in that, the greater and purer will our soul be.

Nonetheless, that process won’t rectify our problematic ratzon l’kabel unto itself. All we’d have accomplished by engaging in Torah and mitzvot would be to have advanced our soul upward by degrees and to have eventually bolstered our ratzon l’hashpia — which is no mean feat at all! But we will not have undone our ratzon l’kabel.

So how will our ratzon l’kabel be undone in the end as it must be in order to accomplish God’s plans? Why must we be resurrected? And why indeed did our sages say that the “dead will be brought back to life with all their defects (in place)” in order not to “be mistaken for anyone else” by that point? We’ll come to uncover all that in the next few chapters.

(c) 2011 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org


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