Part 2: "Divine Providence"
Chapter 8: "The Details of Divine Providence"
Ramchal terms the following "an important principle that underlies all of
existence and everything that takes place". So we'll do all we can to lay
it out straight.
He starts out by reiterating a statement he'd made early on (1:4:3) that
the world as we know it is one of overall darkness and materiality, with
some light and spirit seemingly added on as an afterthought. What lies
behind all that is a phenomenon referred to as "the emanation of G-d's
light". Ramchal will make a couple of points about that soon, but we'll
take this opportunity to explain the concept itself.
One way to describe the emanation of G-d's "light" is to depict it as a
flow of occult and immaterial dynamism downward and outward from G-d's
Being to the world that allows for real and tangible phenomena.
But in order to bring it closer to our experience we'd compare it to the
process of speaking. For when we speak we produce sounds that, while not
occult and immaterial, are nonetheless rather abstract. Those sounds can be
said to flow "downward and outward" from our own being to others, and they
indeed produce "real and tangible phenomena" too -- as when I'd tell you I
love you, for example, which would have you blush and soften your
heartbeat. (The analogy between G-d's emanation of light and speech is one
of the reasons why the Torah depicts G-d as creating through speech, by the
In any event, it's the quantity and quality of G-d's emanations of light
that lies behind the state of the world, as well as behind the degree of
right and wrong here. As such, the greater the emanation, the deeper,
wider, more bountiful, rich and righteous the result; while the lesser the
emanation, the shallower, narrower, less bountiful, poor, and wrongful the
result. It's clear then, given the aforementioned predominance of darkness
and materiality, that G-d is emanating a lesser degree of His light in the
world now -- though that will not always be the case ... but that's a
subject far beyond the reaches of the one at hand.
(In more technical terms, G-d's emanating His light to us in abundance is
described as His "shining His face upon us", which we'd liken to His paying
full attention to us, while His restricting His light is described as His
"hiding His face from us", which we'd liken to His paying little attention
Suffice it to say that everything is thus maintained and directed by a
unique blend of emanations -- from fuller to lesser, to an alternately
brilliant and darkened complex combination of both. Know, too, that the
combination of emanations that goes into each and everything shifts and
rolls-about moment by moment.
This series is dedicated to the memory of Yitzchak Hehrsh ben Daniel,
and Sarah Rivka bas Yaakov Dovid.
Subscribe to Ramchal and receive the class via e-mail.