Da'at Tevunot - The Knowing Heart
Section 4, Chapter 13
“Whoever could see from G-d’s perspective and could sense what He’s thinking
when He administers His justice,” Ramchal boldly offers, “would know why He
rules the way He does”. He doesn’t mean to say that no one does, since he
quickly offers that G-d “reveals His secrets to His prophets” and sages, and
that He does indeed “inform them about His administration of justice”. But
Ramchal's point is that the rest of us are simply not privy to any of that.
So he goes on to fill us in on some of the details.
As we’d said, Divine Justice is meted out either lovingly and tolerantly, or
strictly and intolerantly (or judiciously, which is a combination of the
two). And as we’d also said, G-d’s “natural bent”, if you will, is to judge
us lovingly and tolerantly, but that’s often overturned by circumstances in
A point to keep in mind about that, though, is that’s not simply because
things “need” to be that way, as G-d’s sovereignty is utter and complete,
and He needn’t do anything. He just decides for that to be so, and it comes
about. But let’s examine some of the details of the process.
As “each and every thing is comprised of details, circumstances, and
component parts”, that’s likewise true of Divine Justice, Ramchal remarks.
So for example, when G-d’s strictness comes into play, each (earthly and
heavenly) detail, circumstance, and component part is taken into
consideration; and each is made to fit just-so into G-d’s intentions. We
obviously can’t go into every detail involved, but we’ll do what we can to
lay out the general rules.
In short, G-d takes each matter into consideration when administering His
justice . After all, some things need to occur, others should, and many
others simply can occur; while some other things mustn't occur, others
shouldn't, and others could occur. At bottom we're to know that all of that
goes into the mix, as well as their consequences.
Then all the details, circumstances, and component parts we'd spoken of must
begin to play their parts after a judgment is rendered. Each is indeed set
into motion by G-d's will, and each is factored into the next phenomenon.
All those factors feed into the administration of Divine Justice. (The great
preponderance of it is frankly beyond our ken, since we're not privy to the
details and know nothing of what needed to be factored-it behind the
scenes). And the results often play themselves out with a great rush of wind
and a roar of the sea.
Some things ascend, others descend, and yet others move laterally or not at
all. And all at its own pace. But it's all heading in a single direction:
the fulfillment of G-d's ultimate goal for the universe.
Just rest assured that behind the "screen", if you will, lies the very best,
most exacting and most judicial blend of leniency and strictness called for
under each circumstance.
 See Klallim Rishonim 24 (near the end) for the Kabbalistic themes
referred to here, as well as R’ Goldblatt’s notes 6-7, 10-14, and his notes
71-73 on p. 486 of his edition; and R’ Shriki’s notes 124-125.
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.