"The Great Redemption"
Exile: Ch. 4
Let’s quote a bit from another one of Ramchal's works, "A Discourse on
Fundamentals", in which he presents his vision of the ideal, Messianic
world. For with that in hand we'll indeed be able to sense for ourselves
just what we're missing in galut. (We'll actually expand upon some of the
ideas here later on in this section in another context.)
He says there that "the truly best situation for the world to be in" which
will be fulfilled in the Messianic era, "would be for people to cling onto
wisdom and to serve their Creator." Which is to say that in the ideal
world, we’ll all be drawn instinctively to wisdom and would serve G-d as a
Now, that’s a curious, even a foreign thought for most of us. Simply
because “wisdom” is a hollow term today. For while we admire know-how,
acuity, acumen, and grasp, we don’t really admire or even know much about
wisdom. And that's because wisdom is rooted in the ability to discern
what’s right, true, and of lasting importance; and at bottom our age
doubts that anyone can (or even has the right to) do that.
Yet we search for wisdom all the time. It's what we want when we ask for
advice, since what we're hoping for in fact insight into what’s indeed
right, true, and of lasting importance in our situation. It’s just that we
can’t quite sit quietly by when someone makes such decisions about larger
issues -- matters that are outside of our small universe of concerns; it
vexes us when someone thus dares to make judgments about *ultimate*
rightness, truth or importance. But the truth be known, we suffer mightily
for our reticence.
In any event, humanity would indeed “cling onto wisdom” in the best of all
worlds; and will serve G-d as a consequence as we said, because serving G-
d will prove to be right, true, and of lasting importance in fact.
There’s more to it, though. "Truth would be manifest and unambiguous”
then, “tranquility and quietude will prevail”, and “there'll no longer be
tribulation, pain, or harm” in the best of all worlds. And what’s more, “G-
d will openly display His Glory to the world” and He'll “rejoice in His
handiwork as His handiwork rejoices in Him."
Now, that's clearly not the state of the world today, which seems the very
antithesis of all that. For indeed as Ramchal presents it, we now find
ourselves "awash in desires"; the great majority of us do indeed "despise
wisdom and are removed from it"; "very, very few if any" of us "tend to
serve G-d"; "truth has been dashed to the ground” in our day and age; and
consequently "there's hardly any quietude, and no tranquility"
for "tribulation and hurt" prevail instead.
Not only that, but as so many of us sense for ourselves, "G-d is hiding
His Glory from the world" now, "and everything seems to go about as if by
chance, as if entrusted to the laws of nature" alone. "G-d doesn't rejoice
in His handiwork, mankind doesn't rejoice in Him, and no one even
recognizes or knows what it means for all of creation to rejoice before
its Creator." And finally, as one would expect in such a world, "the
wrongful are in control while the good are subordinate."
Indeed, that's the very cast and composition of the galut that is our
lives now. For our world is ample yet empty; bright yet preposterous; and
awash in the sort of perfidy, anarchy, anguish, and murkiness that can
only come about when G-d is hidden -- when His very Presence is in galut,
if you will.
Now, the Tradition has been addressing galut -- and our redemption from
it -- since the inception, as we indicated before. So let’s start off by
providing the traditional layout of the how's and wherefore’s of
redemption, then go on from there to offer Ramchal’s unique revelations
about it from our source-work, "Ma'amar HaGeulah" (A Discourse on The
Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org.