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Fundamentals of the Jewish Faith

Chapter Eight: The Redemption (Part 2)

The world has striven for full spiritual achievement for eons, though -- since Adam and Eve in fact. But they failed from the first, as we all know. Our forefathers realized great and lofty degrees of it, which they then passed on to us. And we were granted the Torah which we have been utilizing to fulfill that goal. But humankind hasn’t achieved its ultimate goal, because of our slip-ups. And so we still await the moment.

We will achieve it, though, Ramchal assures us, sometime within the framework of the 6,000 years that has been established -- which is to say, within the next 230 some-odd years! The world will then be “transformed into a whole other form”, as Ramchal terms it here, “that will be appropriate to the new reality”, and the deserving will begin to delight in G-d’s presence then.

The process will be initiated by a descendant of King David who will be seen to be the true Moshiach. As the prophet put it, “A shoot will spring forth from the stem of Jesse, and a twig will sprout from his roots. And the spirit of the L-rd will rest upon him, a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and heroism, a spirit of knowledge and the fear of the L-rd. He will be animated by the fear of the L-rd, and neither with the sight of his eyes will he judge, nor with the hearing of his ears will he chastise. He will judge the poor justly, chastise with fairness the humble of the earth, he will smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he will put the wrongful to death.… The land will be full of knowledge of the L-rd as water covers the sea bed. And it will come to pass on that day, that the root of Jesse, which stands as a banner for (all) peoples, to him shall the nations inquire, and his peace shall be (with) honor” (Isaiah 11:1-4, 9-10).

Here’s how Ramchal depicted the dynamics that will set off in the heavens then. “Know that a great aperture was originally opened upon the Holy Land, which was the gate from which all blessings and peace were to go forth fully and without restriction. But this gate was closed off when (our) sins caused the Holy Temple to be destroyed, and small windows were opened in their place, which have far less command than the gate had …. Now, once these (small) windows were opened they were set in order and assigned to stay open throughout the exile, and to not close up for even a moment… Once the redemption comes about (however)… the gate that had been shut will be reopened, and we won’t even recall the windows …. Thus as soon as it comes time for the redemption the (great) gate will begin to stir awake and to open, and that stirring will bring on a great illumination that will (even) pass through the (small) windows, since nothing else will be able to rule by then. And from that day onward the gate will grow greater and greater in all its details, as the windows disappears in stages” (Ma’amar HaGeulah, 62).

Ramchal expands upon the fact of there being two Messiahs in the course of it all -- the first from the House of Joseph, and the ultimate one from the House of David cited above (See Ma’amar HaGeulah, as well as Sukkah 52a). It’s the latter, we’re told here, who will “perfect the Jewish Nation to a great degree, as well as all of creation in its wake”.

We’re then told that “goodness will flourish in all realms” by then, “and all wrong” whether of a spiritual or of a material kind, “will be undone”. Our “heart of stone” will become a “heart of flesh” (see Ezekiel 36:26), we’ll no longer be inclined toward the physical but will be disposed toward serving G-d, and we’ll grow in our spirits. The world will prosper as a result and be tranquil, “folly will cease to exist, and all hearts will be filled with wisdom”. Divine inspiration will flourish; as it’s said, “It will come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions” (Joel 2:28). And everyone will grow upward and onward.

But it’s vitally important to understand that as Ramchal explained elsewhere, the coming of the Moshiach will only begin the greater process of universal perfection (Klach Pitchei Chochma 49).

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.



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