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Da'at Tevunot - The Knowing Heart

Section 3, Chapter 5

1.

Thus, rather than being the final stop after a series of random causes and effects, skipping about and vying for a spot in the sun, reality as we know it has always been the product of one single source. And that is G-d’s desire to share of His beneficence with others, whom He created just for that purpose [1].

Hence, everything but everything -- each moment, each phenomenon, each life, each spectacle, each wilt -- each and every instance of this and that from time immemorial to time immemorial is rooted in and sustained by emanations from G-d’s own Being [2].

Each was to have been one instance of holiness, followed by another and another, so that the whole world would be manifestly full of His Glory. And each was purposefully chosen by G-d to exist and to partake of His beneficence and holiness.

2.

Nonetheless despite the fact that G-d’s beneficence is boundless and lush, He still and all tempers and curbs it to allow for some simply earthly and mundane, and even wrongful and unjust things to go on. And that’s our concern here.

The latter wouldn’t have been purposefully formed to be that; they simply needed to exist (to allow for free will), so they’re sustained and endured but on what we might call a “brown-out”, a less than optimal level [3].

It’s nonetheless true that they, too, are rooted in G-d’s emanations -- in Divine goodness and holiness -- albeit backhandedly. But there will come a time when G-d’s emanations will unloose their moorings and allow for pure holiness and goodness alone to reign.

But as long as humankind has free will and has its mission to grow and do good alone, there will be these restrictions on G-d’s emanations. Once our work here is done, though, those Divine emanations will flow fully, and all wrongdoing, evil, injustice, and hurt will be undone. But that won’t happen until then, for some very cogent and complex reasons, and so as to bring it all to perfection.

The important thing to reiterate is that these emanations -- with all their components and machinations -- were purposefully and specifically fostered anew from the beginning. They are what allow for this material world, they act as its underpinnings, and they help bring G-d’s plans to fruition [4].


Notes:

[1] See 1:6:2 where we enunciated the principle that “there’ll come a time when G-d will openly display His absolute sovereignty, His Yichud. For, as we’re taught, it was toward that end alone that G-d established the world and all of its ways”. That addresses the point at hand about G-d’s intentions for the universe, and the statement below about G-d’s eventually revealing His sovereignty (which will prove to be the greatest act of beneficence).

See R’ Friedlander’s iyyun 8, on p. 18 of his edition.

[2] See R’ Shriki’s Kabbalistic references here in his notes 70, 70*, and 71. Also see R’ Goldblatt’s notes 2-4.

[3] In this instance, as much Divine “energy” is used to withhold light as is used to emanate it in the case of wrong and injustice. Thus, what we term the “brown-out effect” here is actually equal in capacity to the full effect of G-d’s emanation. It’s just that the effect is divided (i.e., half going to withholding, and half going to emanating) in the case of wrong and injustice, and is thus experienced by us as less powerful. In fact there’s as much emanation connected with allowing for wrongdoing as there is with allowing for goodness.

[4] We thus see two things: first, that wrong and injustice are rooted in G-d’s restricting His emanations rather than in separate and independent causes and effects, as was discussed in the previous chapter. And second, we see that the restrictions will be undone in the end, and will thus prove not to have been independent (see R’ Friedlander’s note 210 along these lines.)

Ramchal recapped his contentions here in the text itself with this statement: “In sum, G-d purposefully fostered emanations anew from Himself onto His created beings which, in essence, are irradiations of His own holiness. He also purposefully fostered degrees of emanation anew that are lesser and lower than those original holy emanations. And He likewise purposefully fostered anew within those (lesser) emanations their (eventual) undoing and annihilation. And all this (i.e., the disclosure of all this) hinges on the (eventual) revelation of His sovereignty which we’d cited before. For as long as His presence is hidden these (lesser) emanations function, but once His presence is revealed, all these restrictions (literally, these “coverings”) will be removed, as we’ll see later.”


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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