Monday, June 14, 2004

R' Ashlag Ch. 5

Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag's "Introduction to the Zohar"

-- as translated and commented on by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman


Chapter 5.


"So logic would only demand that we assume the very opposite of what appears (to be true) and declare that we’re truly good and noble creatures, and of inestimable worth -- as worthy as one would expect our Producer to have made."

-- How radical a theology this is: that at bottom mankind is just-so, and purposefully so! And that our having been created by G-d Almighty is proof of that! But what about all the manifest wrong and fraudulence out there, all the treachery and moral rot? The answer lies in the fact that ...


"Whatever faults you may want to find in our bodies (i.e., in our physical, emotional, intellectual, ethical dispositions) can only be blamed on G-d no matter how you explain it, since it’s He who created us as we are. And it’s also clear that it’s He alone who created us, not we. He also knows all the consequences of our natures and of the “wrongful” attributes He implanted within us."

-- G-d is perfectly aware of all the wrong, having set it all in motion; and He's clearly mindful of the ramifications of our having been created the way we were. Our apprehension about all this, though, lies in our human provincialism, if you will (which G-d granted us, too, of course, and which thus also serves its purpose -- but we'll get to that later).


"For as we said, we’d do best to look at the climax of events (rather than peer midcourse), for only then will we be able to understand it all. As the expression goes: 'Don’t show a fool a project that’s only half done'."

-- The mortals that we are, we miss the end of the story, and thus overlook the big picture. So we misread (and underestimate) the characters involved and can't imagine how well things will turn out in the end. That's not to deny our experience of evil and wrong, though, for there's a teeming world of it. It's just to trip-off the realization that while there will be chaos and ugliness as the work progresses, the painting itself will be effulgent and luminous in the end.

(c) 2004 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

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