Wednesday, March 30, 2005

R' Ashlag Ch. 19 (sect. 1)

Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag's "Introduction to the Zohar"

-- as translated and commented on by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman


Ch. 19


"We can now also settle the fourth inquiry."

-- See 1:5.

"(Which was this:) How could G-d, who is all-good and innately benevolent, have purposefully created so many people who suffer and are tried their whole lives long?"

-- After all, as the question continues in the orginal, “Wouldn’t an all-good Creator be expected to be benevolent -- if not at least less malevolent?”

"It thus comes to this. The (reality of the) first era necessitated all our trials and tribulations. For we humans have to choose either the path of Torah or the path of trial and tribulation in order to achieve the complete immortality that’s due us (either way) in the third era (see Ch. 15)."

-- That is, the third era will come about one way or the other, as a natural outcome of the fact that the first era had *already* been. And since we learned that there are only two ways to earn a place in the third era: by either faithfully adhering to G-d’s mitzvot, or by suffering trials and tribulations (see 16:2), it’s clear that we shouldn’t be suprised by the existence of trials and tribulations, since they serve a profound and ultimately *benevolent* end.

"And (besides,) all those trials and tribulations only affect the husk that is our body (and person, but no deeper), which was only created (in the first place) to perish and be interred."

-- So while pain does indeed ache and oftentimes gnaws at our beings and grates at our bones, in the end that’s as far as it will ever go. For it will inevitably end up being nothing but a bitter and black memory that will itself vanish in the end, too (even though we *never* thought it would), much as our physical beings will.

(c) 2005 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

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