Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

"The Way of G-d"

Part 1: "The Fundamental Principles of Reality"

Ch. 2: "The Purpose of Creation"

Paragraph 3

The last time Ramchal focused on the idea that G-d intended for us to achieve closeness to Him on our own by perfecting ourselves. Ramchal's point this time is that it's not just that we *earn* closeness to G-d by perfecting ourselves-- we in fact *become* close to Him through the very process of perfecting ourselves, as we'll explain.

But first this.

Some of us perhaps wistfully imagine how sublime drawing close to G-d Almighty must be; while the more doggedly material and this-worldly among us haven't even an inclination to do that. But tzaddikim (the righteous holy ones) *dream* about it in the deepest, most vivid corners of their hearts; they set out to do it; and they eventually do draw close to Him (see our discussion of this "d'vekus" experience in 1:2:1).

(In fact, I've long surmised that a person's true self can best be determined by the contrast between what he dreams of, and what he ignores. So I contend that it would do us each well to determine just where we ourselves stand on the "dream to get close to G-d" continuum in order to know our spiritual station.)

Accordingly, tzaddikim sometimes grow benignly impatient in their quest, and yearn for a short-cut, if you will. That's the issue Ramchal is addressing here.

The short-cut comes to this: As we've explained, G-d's Being is utterly perfect. And all other instances of perfection are thus "offshoots" of G-d's actual perfection, much the way a tree's branches are smaller yet corresponding offshoots of the tree itself.

Now, just as one holds onto the tree itself in a certain sense when he holds onto its branch, one "holds onto" G-d's perfection *and His very Being* in a certain sense by taking hold of and pursuing self-perfection (which is a branch of G-d's perfection). Much the way a drowning person who takes hold of a life-preserver is in a certain sense safely aboard the rescue ship already.

Thus, engaging in the process of perfecting oneself, and the process of drawing close to G-d are one and the same, for all intents and purposes. Thus the greatest short-cut to closeness to G-d is starting out to draw close to G-d!

And just as the more tightly one clings to one of the "tree's" branches (or to the "lifesaver"), the closer he is to his goal; the more one perfects him or herself, the more he or she attaches onto G-d Almighty.

Ramchal concludes with one final point. Which is that drawing close to G-d is referred to as the experience of "illumination", while distancing yourself from Him is referred to as the experience of "concealment". And that the more one perfects himself, the more illumination he enjoys. Those two paradigms are sometimes referred to as either "seeing" G-d "full face" or "from the back". We'll come upon these terms again and again in our studies.

Subscribe to Ramchal and receive the class via e-mail.


 






ARTICLES ON LECH LECHA:

View Complete List

The Lech Lecha Test Rates Higher Than The Ur Kasdim Test
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

Worthy of the Brocha!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

You Shall Live by Them
Shlomo Katz - 5758

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Kindness Factor
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5769

Lucky Man
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5767

Avram Lifted Up His Hand...So That You Not Say
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

> The Lesson of Avraham
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5763

Bordering on the Holy Land
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

Home Sweet Home
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Ordeal of Departure
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

Environmental Hazard
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

Lech Lecha
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5769

ArtScroll

Outsiders
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

Learning How To Walk
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

There's No Place Like Away From Home...
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

Keeping Focus
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5767



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information