Monday, July 30, 2007

Petach 2 (Preview)

"The Emanator wants only (to do) good [1], so nothing but (manifestations of) His goodness will endure. Hence, all that's initially wrongful does not emanate from another sphere of influence that could oppose Him; instead it will undoubtedly (prove to) be good in the end, thanks to which it will be known that there's no sphere of influence apart from Him."

I'm working with three source-books: Rabbi Chaim Friedlander and Rabbi Yoseph Spinner's editions of Klach as well as Rabbi Shalom Ulman's Kitzur Klach Pitchei Chochma. Needless to say, Rabbi Ulman presents the work in short (from his own reading of it), but Rabbi Spinner also presents a (very) short encapsulation of each petach. Here are both short versions (in my own words) with a couple of notes to start us off.


G-d only wants to do good things, so things or beings that aren't good simply can't endure, and they certainly can't hold dominion or thwart His will. Hence, since wrongdoing goes against G-d's will to do only good it can't exist forever just as wrongdoing can't exist in a person's being forever. So wrongfulness was only allowed to come about so as to enable humankind to realize G-d's true sovereignty -- by first seeing things go on that seem to contradict His sovereignty, and then seeing them come undone.


Had G-d wanted us to grasp His sovereignty by means of a revelation from above, we'd have come to understand His sovereignty right away, and effortlessly. But since He wanted us to have free choice and to serve Him (on our own), He allowed for wrongdoing in the world. As a result of that, a fallacious axiom arose to the effect that one can only grasp something in contradistinction to its extreme opposite. And so if it were proposed that there were an all-beneficent G-d, there "had" to be a polar opposite all-wrongful G-d [2], otherwise there couldn't be an all-beneficent one. Those who thought that way believed that there were two sovereigns: one all-beneficent and another all-wrongful. G-d allowed for that thought despite its latent sacrilege for the sake of free will and our Divine service.

There thus came to be a need to prove G-d's dominion another way. And that was that wrong should be allowed to hold sway for a while, after which it would be subjugated and undone by G-d's beneficence. Once that would come about we'd understand that wrongfulness doesn't have any inherent power and permanence, but is in fact subject to G-d's willingness for it to hold sway.

As a consequence of that, not only would goodness become apparent within wrongfulness and would we recognize G-d's sovereignty – it will also become clear that wrongfulness is nothing other than a creation of G-d's that's sustained by Him for as long as it's needed. And G-d's sovereignty will become clear by virtue of the fact that He can create something that is His complete opposite.



[1] See Arimat Yadi (Ginzei Ramchal p. 226) about the fact that G-d is certainly not beholden to this principle which is only one option among an infinite number of them, it's just that He elected to subjugate Himself to it for His own ends.

[2] See Da'at Tevunot p. 14 (Friedlander edition, paragraph beginning "Min