Wednesday, January 12, 2005

R' Ashlag Ch. 15 (sect. 3)

Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag's "Introduction to the Zohar"

-- as translated and commented on by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman


Ch. 15


"Now, that’s all the more so true if the second (i.e., the present) era were to be undone. For it’s the one in which we strive to accomplish everything that will come to fruition in the third era; in which we do everything that (either) repairs or impairs (the spiritual order of things); and in which we continue (to hone) the (different) levels of (our) souls. After all, how would the third era ever come about (if this one were somehow undone)? So we see that the third era needs the second one (as well)."

"And the same is true of the first era which is (already) in the Infinite and is where the perfection found in the third era (already) functions. It must conform to that (same principle); it too must demonstrate the (existence of the) second era -- as well as the third one in *all* its perfection."

-- Let’s draw an analogy to families in order to understand all this as best we can. It goes without saying that were it not for my grandparents I wouldn’t exist; yet it’s also true that if I (or my siblings and cousins) weren’t born, my grandparents might as well not have existed for all intents and purposes; since they would have been nothing more than a breeze blowing past a minor character in an epic drama, for all intents and purposes, since they’d have only come and gone (unless they’d have done something momentous in their lives, and would thus at least have been a character in the drama).
-- In much the same way, it stands to reason that if the first era (in which everything is bundled and set for delivery) hadn’t existed, then neither the second (in which the package is to be toyed with, probed, and used), nor the third (in which everything that was bundled is to finally be delivered, no worse for wear) could have existed. But it also stands to reason that if the second or third eras themselves didn’t exist, that the first one might as well not have existed either since it didn’t produce anything.
-- And besides, while the first and third eras (which are mirror images of each other and sort of alter egos) are utterly indispensable in the grand scheme, they still and all depend on the second era. For it -- the second era -- is the flowering of the kernel that is the first, and the blossoming of the fruit that is the third. So without it, the first and third will have been fallow and bone-dry.
-- It’s vital though to realize that that’s not to say that G-d depends on us as this might seem to imply -- and that without our efforts in era two His “plans” in era one and their manifestation in era three are doomed. It only means to say that His wishes for this world (and *not He Himself*) would have been stymied. But since the three eras are indeed utterly interdependent, and His plans and their manifestation are sure and inevitable, nothing we do or don’t do could affect that in the end.

(c) 2005 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

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