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.