"The Way of G-d"
Part 1: "The Fundamental Principles of Reality"
Ch. 5: "The Spiritual Realm"
At this point Ramchal lays out four term-pairs used in the Torah to depict
the two opposing states of G-d “shining His light” on the transcendent forces
and the world at large, which provides goodness; and His “withholding His
light”, which allows for evil.
Logically enough, the Torah often uses the term “light” for example to allude
to G-d’s bestowing goodness, and “darkness” to allude to His allowing for
evil. A good example would be the verse that reads, “I form light as well as
create darkness; I make peace as well as create evil“ (Isaiah 45:7).
Sometimes though the Torah uses other such term-pairs that aren’t that
obvious. And understanding their spiritual underpinnings helps to explain
Torah symbology. There’s “impurity” (“tumeh” in Hebrew) as opposed to
“purity” (“tahara”); “(spiritual) pollution” (“zuhemah”) as opposed to
“blessing” (“bracha”); “profane” (“chol”) as opposed to “holy” (“kodesh”);
While this isn’t the place for it, it would be useful to delve into the
implications of these terms, since they go far in explaining our being
encouraged to eat kosher (referred to as “pure”) foods rather than unkosher
(“impure”) foods; our being warned against “polluting” ourselves spiritually
by coming in contact with certain things; our being asked to pursue holiness
and avoid the profane, etc.
At bottom we’re being enjoined to draw close to the things that would foster
the shining of G-d’s light, and avoid the things that would withhold it. A
value judgement per se isn’t being placed on a person, place, or thing
labeled “impure” or the like.
Ramchal concludes this chapter by indicating that the consequences of G-d
shining or withholding His light touches upon the whole subject of Divine
Providence-- the way G-d manages and interfaces with this world, which is the
subject of the next section of this work. And that the particulars of His
Providence are carried out by specific “specialized” angelic intermediaries
So indeed we come now to the very end of the first section of “The Way of
G-d” entitled “The Fundamental Principles of Reality”. And we’re due to begin
the second section, “Divine Providence”, next time.
In broad strokes, we’ve “covered” the Creator, the purpose of creation,
mankind, human responsibility, and the spiritual realm (as well as so much
more) in this first section. And we’re due to touch upon the following in the
next one: Divine Providence in general, mankind in this world, personal
Providence, Israel and the other nations, how Divine Providence works, the
system of Divine Providence, the influence of the stars, the details of
Divine Providence, and much more.
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