Da'at Tevunot - The Knowing Heart
Section 3, Chapter 2
“I’d like to … present an essential and overarching principle”, Ramchal
offers, to help explain many things about the world, about G-d’s
interactions with it, and about the whys and wherefores of wrong and
injustice. And it’s this.
Despite the independence, autonomy, and personal impetus that each and every
thing in the world expresses, it only exists, thrives, and acts thanks to
wafts of Divine life-energy radiating toward it known as a Divine
The classic illustration of this phenomenon is the sort of unearthly
influence that the constellations have been said to have on all below. Our
sages alluded to it with the statement that “each and every blade of grass
down below has a (specific) constellation in the heavens that swipes at it
and says ‘Grow!’” (Breishit Rabbah 10:6). Rambam explicated the principle in
his Guide for the Perplexed (2:10 and elsewhere) as did many others of our
The important thing to realize, though, is that the extent, variety, and
duration of each emanation follows a series of Divine mechanisms specific to
each moment, situation, and recipient that’s not at all easily read from the
“outside”, except for those who “know the ordinances of the heavens, or (how
they) fix their rule over the earth” (Job 38:33).
It’s because of this mechanism in fact that G-d is termed “the fountain of
living waters” (Jeremiah 17:13) and “the source of life” (Psalms 36:10).
It’s important to realize, though, that given that G-d hasn’t a body, any
emanation that comes from Him isn’t a part of His Being itself -- any sort
of direct handing-off of one thing or another from Him to us, if you will.
Each emanation is a phenomenon that He created to do as He sees fit (see
Guide for the Perplexed 2:12) .
In fact, nothing that has to do with this world emanates from His essential
Being, which is far beyond this world, despite His interactions with us.
Everything here, good and bad, is a phenomenon that He created to do what it
has to. And it all follows rules that He set for it.
We, too, are phenomena that G-d created to do what we have to; and having
that in common with the Divine emanations that animate and empower us
connects us to them in a unique way.
Still the point remains that there are different shades of emanation, meant
to serve different earthly needs. There are “intelligence emanations”, if
you will, to animate intelligence, “strength emanations” to animate
strength, and the like.
Should you wonder, though, why there just wouldn’t be a single
all-encompassing emanation to serve all the needs of the world, that’s easy
enough to explain. G-d does indeed emit what we might term a “composite”
emanation -- one single amorphous extension of His will, but we don’t
experience it that way. It’s just that when it touches upon our own
situation it takes on as particular hue and tone specific to the task at
hand, whether it’s to allow for intelligence, strength or the like.
We’ll turn next to how this touches upon the various instances of wrong and
injustice in the world.
 See 1:14:3 above and note 7 there for an explanation. While the citation
there serves as a sort of comforting reminder that nothing is without its
Divine sustenance, the point to be made later on is that even wrong and
injustice are sustained by G-d’s emanation.
 Perhaps the simplest illustrations of the principle on a day-to-day
level are our vital need for oxygen, food and drink; our psychological need
for acceptance and love; our intellectual need for insight and instruction;
and our spiritual need for connections to G-d either in prayer, Divine
service, or Torah study . Doesn’t that all indicate something “out there”
feeding and nourishing, or inspiring something “down here”?
 See Derech Hashem 1:5:2-3, 2:7:1-2; see R’ Shriki’s very important note
63 for other sources, as well as some references to Rambam’s perspective in
contradistinction to Ramchal’s; and see R’ Goldblatt’s Kabbalistic
references in his notes 9, 11 and 14 and on pp.478-479.
 Ramchal is citing Rambam’s point here to eventually clarify the idea
that though G-d indeed fuels the emanations that would be necessary for all
the instances of wrong and injustice in the universe, nevertheless that
emanation isn’t directly from G-d or a part of His Being -- it only serve a
specific purpose. This underscores the point that while G-d certainly allows
for wrong and injustice since things only exist and go on with His awareness
and approval, still the point is that it’s separate from His essence and
only serves a temporary end which will be undone in the end.
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.