Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Da'at Tevunot - The Knowing Heart:

Section 7, Chapter 8

1. An obvious question that needs to be asked is what exactly was the point of prophets being shown images: why didn’t G-d simply tell His prophets right out what He wanted them to pass along to the Jewish Nation?

On one level it comes to this, Ramchal says: “G-d wanted to reveal (things) to people in human terms” -- that is, in ways that would be understood by all, not just the most sophisticated of us, and in ways that would touch us emotionally. And since “people would (best) ‘see’ (i.e., understand) the celestial influences and G-d’s (generous) ways by means of the images” that the prophets told them about, He granted them just those sorts of depictions since they would exemplify the message being sent.

That’s to say, if G-d would have had His prophets simply report that He loves us and is bounteously generous, the best of us would accept that at face value and be moved to change. But most of us simply don’t function that way. We need to be stunned into action, and are thus best moved by dramatic images (which artists, writers, and advertisers know only too well). So we’d be far more affected by being told about a fountain or a wellspring in Heaven that would gush forth fresh water, for example, than by a statement of Divine love and effulgence.

So G-d “translated” His “influences and ways into mundane images that stand for and symbolize” His ways, since that’s what would work best. But that’s just one explanation.

2.Ramchal says it’s also true that “the very way that G-d chose to ‘translate’ His influences into mundane terms affects our very existence” and makeup, and he offers examples of that. G-d chose to grant us actual eyes so as to have us understand that G-d observes us. That explains why the Torah often speaks of G-d’s eyes (as in, “And Noah found favor in the eyes of the L-rd” [Genesis 6:8], “His eyes are on the ways of mortals; He sees their every step” [Job 34:21], etc.).

And along the same lines, G-d saw to it that our eyes would be comprised of different shades and hues -- to illustrate the subtly various ways He governs us (as such, the whites of our eyes represent G-d’s graciousness, the dark represents His judgment, and the more colorful band represents the more nuanced combinations of graciousness and judgment).

“The same is true of the content and quality of all things in this world, as well as of their taking one form under one circumstance and another in another” he adds, “they’re all beholden upon G-d’s decisions to ‘translate’ transcendent matters into mundane phenomena”.

As such, “this principle is a major source of human reality” and helps to explain, for example, why we’re comprised of left, right, and center aspects; why we stand on two feet, have doubled limbs and organs for the most part; and it goes a long way toward explaining everything else about our physical makeup (to say nothing of our spiritual makeup). It’s all there to express cosmic truths [1].

(So, rather than the opinion that the sages drew examples from our physiology to explain Heaven, the truth of the matter, it’s now clear, is that our physiology explains things about Heaven.)

Note:

[1] For Kabbalistic references to this chapter see R’ Friedlander’s Iyunnim 60, R’ Shriki’s note 183, and R’ Goldblatt’s note 44.


Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has translated and commented upon "The Gates of Repentance", "The Path of the Just", and "The Duties of the Heart" (Jason Aronson Publishers). His works are available in bookstores and in various locations on the Web.


 

ARTICLES ON VAESCHANAN:

View Complete List

With Your Own Ears
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

At Peace With Itself
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5765

Seeing the Blessing
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5772

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Irreplaceable
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

Addressing Concerns Part 1
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

Ahavas Hashem: For the Love of G-d
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

ArtScroll

The Formula to Achieve Contentment
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

For You Not Me
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5763

Shema Yisrael
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

> Simply- a Symptom of Love
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

A Different Light
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

How Can We Be Comforted?
Shlomo Katz - 5759

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The True Consolation Prize
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

Harpstrings of the Heart
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

Cause Hashem to Be Loved By Others
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

The Basis for Moshe Being Denied Entry into the Land
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5771



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