Da’at Tevunot -- The Knowing Heart
Section 1, Chapter 9
The truth be known, the whole nearly unbearable, arduous process of exile
and eventual redemption  could be shortened to nearly nothing -- both
for the world at large and for ourselves individually.
As Ramchal lays it out elegantly, each one of us would simply need
to “recognize the truth” of G-d’s sovereignty as enunciated above, “and to
abandon the sham ways of this world” that most of us accept as truth “in
the wish to draw close to the Creator” and that would be it. All the great
and bountiful light of G-d's presence would be made manifest.
Needless to say, though, it entails a life of spiritual application with
many mishaps along the way; and it’s a complex and often circuitous route
t hat’s far from simple (despite the grace of its portrayal). But it’s
possible. For it doesn’t demand perfection per se so much as holy
determination, appropriate action, and a clear-headed understanding of
what matters and what doesn’t .
The world wouldn’t need to come to tumult and near-ruin for G-d’s Yichud
to be manifest. For, the only point of that would have been to force the
issue, so that we’d recognize G-d’s utter sovereignty that way . Our
recognizing it on our own in quiet reflection and quick realization would
do the trick . As, “once it will have become clear, it will have become
clear” in fact, Ramchal declares: there’s no inherent need for calamity
and high drama whatsoever.
In point of fact, the great revelation could have happened nearly from the
first, had Adam and Eve initiated it. For they too could have decided to
adhere to G-d’s wishes after reflecting on the truth of His presence and
would have thus prevented G-d from concealing His sovereignty, and they’d
have staved off 6,000 years of spiritual darkness. So, let’s explore their
Adam and Eve had been exposed to G-d’s overarching sovereignty through the
act of creation, and to the idea of wrong in the body of the Tree of the
Knowledge of Good and Evil. And so they could have reflected on both, seen
the disparity between the two, and chosen well.
But even though they were prophets and sages , they were still and all
seduced by the fact “that the tree seemed good to eat (from) and was
pleasant looking“(Genesis 3:6), and they were thrown. They should have
known and believed that “whatever went against what G-d explained was the
true way to rectify the world was false and a sham” as Ramchal words it.
They should have held fast to their faith for if they had, G-d’s Yichud
would have become manifest. But they didn’t do that.
Instea d, there suddenly seemed to be two options for them: to either eat
from the tree that seemed so sublime to them right there and then, or not
to and thus obey G-d whose presence had also been so sublime (on a whole
other level, of course). But as we all know, they became so bedazzled, so
overtaken by the fruit, that they obeyed its call over G-d’s own .
What were they thinking? It apparently struck them that if there were two
options, then there had to be two masters to answer to: G-d or their
sudden inclination. They simply -- ruinously -- opted to answer to their
inclination and to deny G-d’s absolute sovereignty, and they thus suffered
the consequences .
What they should have done was to have opened their own eyes (see Genesis
3:5, 7), to have realized that the tree’s pull was a sham, and to have
then risen above its lure. But they didn’t, to our terrible and profound
Had they only stood firm in their faith and acknowledged that G-d reigns
supreme right on the spot, they would have overcome all illusion, and the
truth of G-d’s Yichud would have been fully realized. G-d would then have
done 6,000 year’s worth of work, if you will, in a day. He’d have
annihilated wrong right there and then in the Garden of Eden (since wrong
would have no longer served any purpose). And humanity would not have to
endure the 6,000 years it might take in the end to reveal G-d’s Yichud
(unless we take it upon ourselves to strive for that realization on our
own, as we said).
Indeed, the utter truth of G-d’s Yichud would have been proven to Adam and
Eve empirically and in infinite detail. They would have been struck to the
core by the fact that wrong decisions and everything tinged with and made
attractive by phantasm was off-the-mark; and they would have seen for
themselves the huge and terrible presence of wrong and hardships in the
world come undone.
We, their progeny, could do the same by dwelling deeply upon the reality
of G-d’s absolute sovereignty and come to realize on our own just how true
it is, and that would be it. The great and ultimate cosmic goal would be
achieved, as it will be one way or the other. And there’d be no need to
endure the lengthy process of progressive revelation.
But we don’t. Like Adam and Eve, we too fall for appearances and overlook
G-d’s full and prevailing presence in our midst. The point is, though,
that G-d will do for us what we refuse to do for ourselves in the end, and
will manifest His Yichud, Ramcha l reiterates.
Understand, though, that we pay a dear price for our failure. For while
not only have certain esoteric things like true scholarship and wisdom
deteriorated because G-d’s presence is hidden from us, more mundane things
have declined too, like the taste and aroma of fruit, and the presence of
common civility .
That will all change, though, with the great revelation of G-d’s Yichud.
As Ramchal puts it, our “understanding will be set aright”, there and
then, and everything we do “will once again be just so” because
humankind “will cling unto its Creator”. As20G-d Himself expressed it to
the prophet, that will be when He “will pour out (His) spirit upon all
flesh” (Joel 3:1), and as a consequence, “no longer will anyone (have to)
instruct his neighbor or … his brother, saying, ‘Know G-d!" for they will
all know Me from their smallest to their greatest” (Jeremiah 31:33); "many
nations will go and say, 'Let us go forth and ascend G-d’s mountain. Let
Him teach us His ways, and let us walk in His paths'" (Isaiah 2:3);
and “the wolf will dwell with the lamb“(Isaiah 11: 6).
 I.e., of the concealment and ultimate revelation of G-d’s
 Profound realizations followed by repentance and fresh intentions
often come about in a flash; see Avodah Zara 17a for one instance.
 See R’ Friedlander’s note 56; also see Adir Bamarom p. 416 as cited in
R’s Shriki’s note31.
 This follows on the heels of Ramchal’s discussion of both knowing and
reflecting upon truths in section 2 of his introduction as well as in our
third footnote there.
 Proof that they were prophets was the very fact that they met with and
spoke to G-d, face to face; and we learn from the tradition that they were
sages, too (see Moreh Nevuchim 1:2). Also see Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer (13),
Bereshit Rabbah (8), and Midrash Tanchuma (Pekudei 3).
 Lest you think you wouldn’t make that mistake, ask yourself now how to
live the most exemplary life you could. You’d admit that you’d have to be
virtuous, do a lot of good, and be self-abnegating to one degree or
another. Ask yourself if that describes you now or in the foreseeable
future, and you’re likely to admit that it doesn’t. Ask yourself then how
to be the best parent, friend, son or daughter that you can be, and
reflect once again on your ways; then ask yourself how to be as healthy as
you can be and reflect again, etc. The analogy is obvious. We too see the
truth right before our eyes but are seduced and waylaid by this or that to
be the people we’re capable of being.
 We’re assuming that they succumbed to the second of the five
misperceptions Ramchal enunciated in Ch. 5 above, though he doesn’t speak
to this point whatsoever. The one that we focused on above in our
depiction above -- the mistaken belief that there are two “deities” --
seems the most appropriate since it fits Adam and Eve’s dilemma.
 Ramchal depicted the possibilities and failures of Adam and Eve a
number of times in his works see Derech Hashem 1:3:6-8, 2:4:2, as well as
Sha’arei Ramchal, p.250.
 See the observation that "the flavor of fruits has been lost” since
the destruction of the Holy Temple (Sotah 48a) and that "audacity will
prevail” in the days before the redemption (Ibid. 49b). Note, though, the
irony of the fact that the very thing that seduced Adam and Eve away from
revelation -- the flavor of fruit -- will be undone in the course of the
exile, measure for measure.
Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has translated and commented upon "The Gates of Repentance", "The Path of the Just", and "The Duties of the Heart" (Jason
Aronson Publishers). His works are available in bookstores and in various
locations on the Web.