Part 2: "Divine Providence"
Chapter 8: "The Details of Divine Providence"
Had we the ability to observe past, present, and future head-on for ourselves
we'd note, we're taught here, that all of existence can be broken down into
four epoch periods. And we'd see that each period corresponds to one of the
four stages of human maturation, as if the whole of history was the story of a
single individual. (In fact, Ramchal and others often see the universe and all
of us in it as a single unit, with a vast body comprised of infinite
components, driven by a single labyrinthine spirit.)
The first period corresponded to infancy, in that it was the time when
everything and everyone was seeped in darkness and unknowing, and almost
known of G-d and His perfection. (Understand that there were many who
believed in G-d at the time; it's just that they knew nothing of His real
His perfection -- and thus tended to anthropomorphize Him or to declare Him
lofty for this world, and to worship "more approachable" idols instead.) The
sages refer to this period as the "two thousand years of desolation."
The second period is the one we're in now, and we'd liken it to childhood.
It's better than the first period, in that we know about G-d and His
we've been granted His Torah, and we worship Him. Yet, still and all, we're
not privileged to have prophets or Divine Inspiration, and we don't see any
out-and-out signs of G-d's will for ourselves. And while we can indeed acquire
knowledge on our own now, what we can come upon is nothing compared to what we
can learn by Divine means. In fact, the difference between the two is as vast
as the one between body and soul.
The third, which we'd liken to early adulthood, is a more exalted state. The
world was in that state when the Holy Temple stood. Israel was rich in wonders
and miracles then, and prophets roamed about. But G-d only bestowed those
kinds of things upon special individuals. And even they found it hard to
since there many impediments to it and a lot of effort was needed to
(Notice, by the way, that things aren't in chronological order, in that
"early adulthood" -- the era of the Holy Temple - came before our own era,
"childhood". Now isn't the time to dwell upon this, but suffice it to say
the sad reality that came about as a consequence of the destruction of the two
The fourth period, which we'd liken to full maturity, will be the greatest of
them all. It's the one the prophets saw coming about in the end, and it will
be characterized as being the time when there'll no longer be unknowing, when
Divine Inspiration will be bestowed upon each one of us effortlessly, when
humankind will have reached its pinnacle, and when we'll endlessly blossom
beings and to delight in G-d's Presence unto eternity.
This series is dedicated to the memory of Yitzchak Hehrsh ben Daniel,
and Sarah Rivka bas Yaakov Dovid.
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