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Da'at Tevunot - The Knowing Heart

Section 3, Chapter 22 (¶132 - 133)


In order for all wrong and injustice to eventually be undone in the course of the great universal rectification, a number of enormous and towering “gears” had to be shifted in the heavens [1], depending on whether they’d been configured before Adam and Eve sinned or afterwards [2]. Here’s what happened in those two stages.

Recall that G-d had set up a series of emanations in the heavens from the first to establish reality as we know it [3]. Before the sin of Adam and Eve, G-d had set up a series of emanations that would contain an equal measure of right and wrong throughout the cosmos, from nearly the very highest reaches downward [4]. It is just that all of their wrong elements were originally set-up to be undone through Adam and Eve’s actions. But the entire system of equal measures of right and wrong was itself undone as a consequence of their failings.


G-d then instituted another system of emanations that would allow for us to undo Adam and Eve’s sin, and to eventually enable wrong and injustice to be completely undone forever. This second system was comprised of a series of higher and lower rungs.

The idea was for wrong to go lower and lower along the continuum of rungs and to eventually settle on the bottom-most one, both so that we’d have access to wrong [5] and so that we’d be able to resist it [6]. That system was not to be undone the same way the previous one had been.

It’s in that realm that we have our work cut out for us. For it’s there where we’re faced with opportunities for good and bad acts, for rectification or ruin. And it’s there that all wrong will be eventually undone in the end, according to G-d’s intentions for the world [7].


[1] There are several Kabbalistic references to this chapter including Klallim Rishonim 18, R’ Goldblatt’s notes 2,5, and 11 as well as his note 59 on p. 484 of his edition, and R’ Shriki’s notes 95-96 (also see R’ Shriki’s thorough essay on wrong at the end of this section of his edition).

In fact, we’re hard pressed to explain this arcane chapter other than from a Kabbalistic perspective, since Ramchal is speaking quite clearly about the core backbone elements of the universe that the Kabbalah addresses like Sephirot, Partzufim, and the like. But since Kabbalistic analysis isn’t our intention in this work we’ve settled upon the explanation we offer here which draws largely upon R’ Friedlander’s note 297 and our own conclusions based on Derech Hashem 1:3:8-10 and elsewhere.

[2] See Ch’s 3:12-17 and the notes there to references to Adam and Eve’s (and the universe’s) change of status.

[3] See 3:3-3:6.

[4] Understand of course that the very highest reaches are pure G-dliness, where wrong and the like are utterly irrelevant. The “nearly very highest reaches” did contain some arcane and for all intents and purposes imperceptible but true traces of it. The differences could only be spelled out if we use the Kabbalistic terminology called for, though.

[5] We’d need to have access to it if we were to have the freedom to chose wrong over right.

[6] For, wrong would have been too compelling if it hadn’t settled on the lowest reaches of the emanations, and we wouldn’t be free enough in our will to resist it.

[7] Thus, in response to the question of how G-d will undo wrong and injustice, it’s by allowing humankind to face it and vanquish it by our resistance to it. Should we fail, though, wrong will be undone anyway, but we will have not have earned the merit for having done it.

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.



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