Monday, July 04, 2005

"The Great Redemption" (4)

"The Great Redemption" by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto

-- A Discourse on The End of the Exile and the Beginning of the Great Redemption

Translated by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman


The second imperfection has likewise been very great, and it follows in the wake of the first one I explained. It’s alluded to in the verse that reads, “Tyre said of Jerusalem, ‘She who was the gates of the people is broken and has turned to me; I will be full, now that she is barren’” (Ezekiel 26:2), about which our sages said, “for when one is full, the other is empty, and vice versa” (Pesachim 42B) [1]. For when holiness is weakened, impurity is strengthened and won’t itself be weakened until holiness is strengthened. But let me now explain this more fully.

(Know that) the power I spoke of before (i.e., the illumination of holiness) depends on two things. First, on its groupings being rectified -- for they’re now functioning in ways they hadn’t originally functioned, now that holiness was made imperfect and evil rearranged itself accordingly. And second, on the power they’d originally had at the time of the destruction.

Aside from that, many holy Luminaries descended which impurity itself then drew strength from and which they’d enstrenghthened, and that then allowed the other nations (to enjoy) a great deal of illumination, power, and dominion (over the Jewish Nation) which they hadn’t had before.

1. Understand that Tyre, while once an actual political and geographic entity, also symbolizes the force of impurity, while the Jewish Nation symbolizes the force of holiness.

When israel lost in its battles against her, Tyre declared Israel “broken” and depicted it as having “turned” or succumbed to it. Tyre said of itself that it “will be full” because Israel “is barren” since, as our sages depicted it, when one of the two is “full” (or, “successful”) the other one is necessarily “barren” (or, “unsuccessful”). For both couldn’t succeed at the same time; it was always “one or the other”. What that means to say is that holiness and impurity can never fully coexist.

(c) 2005 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

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