"The Way of G-d"
Part 1: "The Fundamental Principles of Reality"
Ch. 2: "The Purpose of Creation"
We come upon a most astounding revelation this time of Divine intent, and
Ramchal offers that it was G-d's intent that the recipients of His goodness-
that we-- be *personally responsible* for G-d's bestowment of His Self,
rather than just passive recipients of it! That's to say, we're to earn that
high favor rather than inherit it, "get it in the mail", or find it along the
way. We're to be proactive in our growth and ascent, initiators of our own
Otherwise, Ramchal continues, G-d's goodness would be imperfect. But let's
There are two opposing fundamental human forces most concretized by the two
most basic elements of our physical life: our heart-beats and our breaths. We
breathe in, we breathe out; our hearts pump blood out, they take blood in. On
an emotional, very deeply personal level that translates into the two
fundamental human forces of *taking* and *giving*.
(We're tempted to spend an inordinate amount of time speaking about the
mystery of heart-beats and breaths, as well as these two forces; about how
they define our days and occupy so much of our attention-- and about how they
touch upon whole areas of life we don't even realize are being affected by
them, like our tastes in music, our choice of friends, etc., etc.-- but we
I dare say that all of human actions and intentions can be judged by where
they fall in the continuum of those two basic forces (taking and giving), and
that our moral and spiritual health hinges upon the balance we achieve
That being said, it's important to realize that deep in one part of our heart
we most want to take; while deep in another we most want to give. The truth
be known, the need to take is very old, and originates in our very humanness.
All we did when we were babies was take, which is perfectly normal and to be
expected; it's just that some of us never lost the taste for it...
On the other hand, the need to give is older yet. For it originates in our
G-dly soul, which is characterized by giving. But it's often deeply recessed
in our beings (because of its Divine origin), and we more often than not
"stifle" the need to give when prodded by bodily urges.
Getting back to our text now (though we're not right there-- please be
patient), Ramchal is driving at the point that a baser, lazier, "spoiled
brat" side of us would simply love to take all the time. And the more
sensitive ones among us know only too well how often we're guilty of that.
We'd simply love to sit back and be served all the time, tickled where we'd
like to be tickled, scratched where it itched, and admired, adored, and
coddled our whole lives long. But such a person couldn't hope to function
healthily in the world.
On the other side, though, we sense a fierce and potent need within to
contribute, do, create, affect, influence, and the like. Which is to say, to
give-- on our own terms-- and to be in control. Ironically, a person such as
this couldn't hope to function healthily in the world either. And therein
lies the human dilemma.
Ramchal expresses that all here in an ideal balanced spiritual vein. And he
reveals that indeed we're to *take*, which is to say that we're to receive
G-d's goodness; but we're also to *give*, i.e., to take an *active role* in
its bestowment upon us.
Otherwise, as he pointed out, the bestowment wouldn't be perfect-- it would
have done us a disfavor by disallowing us the chance to fulfill our human
need to *give* (i.e., to be active).
He then goes on to point out that by indeed playing an active role in our own
growth, we thus *achieve something of G-d's perfection*. Which is to say, we
ourselves become "creators" and bestowers (albeit on a human scale).
His final point here is that the potential to perfect ourselves had to be
implanted in the human heart. For while G-d is intrinsically perfect (as has
been pointed out), we're only potentially and relatively so. And we had to be
allowed the ability to not only exist (which is a G-d-given gift, don't
forget), but to achieve perfection.
Hence G-d created us, and He created our potential. And He created the means
for us to achieve that potential. But He also created the possibility for us
to *not* achieve any perfection whatsoever.
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