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Da’at Tevunot -- The Knowing Heart

Section 1, Chapter 10

1.

Let’s reiterate the secrets of the universe we ’ve been privy to so far since they’re so wide-ranging and challenging, and go so far to explain the workings of the universe. And besides, seeing this all laid out plain will remind us of just who we are at bottom and what’s expected of us.

In general it comes to this: G-d “wanted from the first to reveal His Yichud”, as Ramchal puts it, which is to say, to demonstrate that nothing whatsoever can thwart His wishes. And He established that as the underpinning of all of reality (see 1:3:3, 1:4:3, 1:6:1, 1:7:3).

G-d purposefully concealed His Yichud at first, though, which then allowed fo r wrong and injustice to exist; but once He will have revealed His Yichud all wrong and injustice will be undone (see 1:6:2, 1:7:2-3, 1:8:1). And He presented us with the mission of perfecting ourselves (see 1:1:2, 1:2) within the period of time between the concealment and revelation of His Yichud.

2.

Now, all this not only has countless ramifications upon our day-to-day, to say nothing of our eternal lives, it also affects all of reality.

For, “once G-d decided to follow this path”, i.e., of first hiding His sovereignty and allowing for wrong and injustice, then revealing it and undoing all that, “He then provided the space”, i.e., the wherewithal, for us “to achieve true perfection” Ramchal asserts [1].

That means to say that now that this dynamic has been set in place, it follows that everything functions in accordance with it, that this is the essential universal pattern, and that it offers us the means of growing and reaching our full potential as G-d wants us to. In any event, knowing this, we can now understand how the world is at once deeply flawed, chaotic, and puzzling by all appearances, yet perfect, structured, and comprehensible, given this dynamic.

At bottom, though, we’re assured that G-d will indeed reveal His presence in the end either with or without human intervention (see 1:8:2-3, 1:9:1, 4), we’ll eventually no longer need free will and will have earned our eternal reward (see 1:1:2, 1:7:3), and the universe will have achieved perfection.

Notes:

[1] We wondered what it was that enabled us to perfect ourselves (see 1:2:4 at the end), and the answer (at least in part, since we’ll touch on this again later) is that it’s G-d's concealment itself that does, since it allows us the freedom to decide to pursue perfection (see note 7 there as well).


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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