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Da'at Tevunot - The Knowing Heart

Section 3, Chapter 6

1.

“In the end,” Ramchal promises, “G-d will bring about new heavens and a new earth that will have achieved perfection”. As it’s written, “For just as the new heavens and the new earth that I will make will remain before Me, says G-d, so too will your seed and your name remain (before Me)” (Isaiah 66:22).

But things will not change all that much until then; the “old” heavens and earth -- with all the wrongdoing and injustice that regularly characterizes it -- will be with us for a while [1].

Wrong and injustice will be undone, though, as soon as G-d sees fit to do that. But know that even though wrong was created from the first to be undone, what’s right, good, and unflawed will never ever be undone; they’ll enjoy life everlasting [2]. Still and all, wrong has been allowed to exist and to play a role in the course of history and in our lives, it’s just that its existence was limited from the outset.

2.

It stands to reason then that the series of Divine emanations that played a role in creation as it stands now -- that’s to say, in the creation of our world of good and evil, right and wrong, justice and injustice all jumbled together as it is -- is not at all the series of emanations that will bring about the “new heavens and … new earth” we yearn for. And that’s simply because the latter will never be undone, so they need to have originated from a completely different set of emanations. It’s that latter set of Divine emanations that will eventually weed out all evil, wrong, and injustice while leaving all good, right, and justice behind.

That set of emanations will not only limit the “lifespan” of wrong but the extent and degree of it, too. Because wrong has to exist; it’s a basic part of existence [3], but its reigns are held tightly from behind the scenes so that it not go about unbridled (with some catastrophic exceptions in the past, may G-d protect us!).

In short we could say that while there are control-switches being carefully fiddled with behind all instances of evil, wrong, and injustice that are in charge of the degree it fosters itself and forces itself upon humankind (all according to the Divine plan), there’ll nonetheless be a point when the controls will simply shut it all off for good.

Hence, the mechanisms that set up the set of realities that we find ourselves in now also set up its “planned obsolescence” if you will. Incidentally, it’s incorrect to suggest that G-d couldn’t have created a perfected world from the first, as He certainly could have [4] but that would have countervailed His wishes for the ultimate reality He had in mind.

3.

Let’s connect all this to what we’d spoken about before in terms of G-d hiding and revealing His presence in our midst. Recall that we said that all evil, wrong, and injustice derives from G-d’s hiding His presence from us, and that all good, right, and justice derives from G-d revealing His presence [5].

The point that was made then, though, was that G-d saw fit to make us a combination of body and soul. The idea here is that while He alternately hides from us now and appears to us from time to time, that’s so that we might live life in the world as it is now. That will eventually change, though, when G-d reveals His presence in full splendor in the end -- all so that His ultimate intentions would be realized.


Notes:

[1] Klallim Rishonim 12 presents the gist of this chapter in Kabbalistic terms. Also see R’ Goldblatt’s notes 5 and 10 (at end) in the text, and his notes 44-47 on p. 482 of his edition; and R’ Shiki’s notes 72 (end) and 73.

[2] That’s to say, all wrong had been “programmed” to exist for a limited amount of time and to then “implode” at a set instant, while all that’s good was “programmed” to exist forever.

It’s important to realize, though, that in the course of time that both exist together, right and wrong seem to be co-equal and equally convincing ethical options for us (which would have to be the case if we’re to remain free enough to make moral choices). But they’ll prove to have been wholly dissimilar entities in the end, with one being mortal from the first (wrongfulness) and the other being immortal (righteousness).

[3] Ramchal doesn’t cite it here but it’s important to recall that had Adam and Eve not eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, all wrong and injustice would have been undone right there and then, and the lustrous Heaven-on-Earth that is our destiny would have come about (see Derech Hashem 1:3). In any event, they did make that mistake and our condition has been worsened as a consequence -- for a while though, if you will; until wrong and injustice will be uprooted, and all mistakes (Adam and Eve’s included) will have been rectified.

[4] That’s to say that G-d didn’t fall back on a “Plan B”; He intended for a world of good and evil, and He likewise intended for it to be replaced by the world of all-good.

[5] See 2:6.


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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