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"The Way of G-d"

Part 1: "The Fundamental Principles of Reality"

Ch. 5: "The Spiritual Realm"

Paragraph 9

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”); and more.

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 or overseers.

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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