Fundamentals of the Jewish Faith
Chapter Two: The Spiritual World (Part 4)
Let's dwell upon the makeup and function of the Transcendent Forces first.
We're told that they're utterly supernatural entities that are removed
from all physicality and beyond our experience, and they're said to be
merged with G-d's own being. Ramchal depicts them as being "closest to G-d
Presence" over which He "manifests Himself all the time". He points out
that depending on their context they're sometimes termed "Wheels of the
(Divine) Throne" (to indicate the central role they play in G-d's
interactions with the world), "Ophanim" (a type of Archangel like Cherubim
and Seraphim), or the like.
(They're also known as the "Sephirot" in Kabbalistic literature, and
subsequently as "Partzufim", "Olamot" and more, but Ramchal doesn't use
those terms or any other such expressions in this work because
Fundamentals of the Jewish Faith isn't intended for experts so much as for
the rest of us. He terms them "transcendent" to express their complete
otherworldliness, and "forces" to underscore the fact that they're what G-
d uses to empower everything.)
We'd tend to think the Transcendent Forces have no connection with this
world as a result, but in fact they do and could be said to be the points
at which heaven and earth meet. They're sort of like the soul of the
physical universe, for like souls they too are removed from all
physicality yet they're connected to it by virtue of the fact that they're
In truth, the idea of things being flanked by both heaven and earth plays
itself out in various ways in the Jewish Faith. We're taught that only G-d
Almighty is pure and simple, wholly Himself and nothing else. Everything
else is a mix of this and that, a marriage of heaven and earth. For
even "pure" evil isn't entirely so, since it's animated by G-d's will and
thus tinged with the smallest amount of goodness.
It's that perspective, by the way, that has us accord the human body its
due respect and to not despise it as others do. For it too straddles
heaven and earth. Understand of course that all things vary in their
particular permutation of heaven and earth, with some nearly one hundred
percent "heaven" and others nearly one hundred percent "earth", but the
point is that everything other than G-d Himself is alloyed to some degree.
Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org.