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Showing posts from October, 2010

Pleasure in This World and in the Coming World

The Ramchal in Derech HaShem has established that the purpose of creation is for the Creator to bestow from His goodness to beneficiary.  I think that when non-religious people hear that, their first thought is something like:
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints; the sinners are much more fun.Worse, I fear that some religious people secretly wonder the same thing.  A few years ago a non-religious reporter in Bnei Brak asked an American ba'al tshuva to comment on whether he or the ultra-orthodox, chareidi children had a more difficult nisayon.  The ba'al tshuva surprised the reporter by saying, "They have a much more difficult nisayon, because they think there is some fun in the outside world that they are missing; I know that there isn't anything to miss!"

When the Ramchal says "bestow goodness", he doesn't mean harps and long white gowns living on a fluffy background of mist.  He means FUN! EXCITEMENT! WHOA!  R' Dessle…

Derech HaShem: 1.2 The Purpose of Creation

It is, I think, a testament to the genius of the Ramchal that he is able to express entire meaning of life in one short statement:
The purpose of creation is for HaKadosh Baruch Hu to bestow His goodness on another.That's it; the rest is commentary.  Please take a few moments to reflect on that before continuing.  Just reflect on what it means that HaShem created you and your entire environment (ie, all of creation) for no other reason other than to love you and shower you with His goodness.

The Ramchal now notes that true perfection exists only with respect to HaShem Himself, and as a consequence, the nature and experience of the beneficiary is attachment to the Creator Himself.  This is for two reasons:
HaShem is perfect and therefore anything He does will be in the most perfect way possible.  Since He is the ultimate in good, it follows that the greatest experience of goodness is attachment to HaShem Himself (to the greatest degree possible for a created entity).There is no rea…

Thought for the Day: This just in -- I caught my breath! Baruch HaShem

I had the following conversation with my son (via texting.... sigh, you do what you have to):
Me: Guess what!  This is mamash soooo exciting!!!!
Son: LOL what?
Me: Are you sitting?
Son: Yes
Me: I don't want you to get hurt when you are bowled over by this exciting news.
Son: I'm sitting....
Me: Arms on the chair?  Maybe it would be better if you were on the floor already...
Son: I'm in a car on the way home. Strapped in and everything.
Me: You better not be driving! x-(
Son: I'm not.
Me: Ok...
Me: Are you getting annoyed?
Son: No, I am not getting annoyed.
Son: But I'm hoping this is leading to something about receiving a check in the mail.
Me: Bigger than that!
Son: Kk. I'm excited... what is it?
Me: Do you know the body produces enough toxins to kill a person in just a few minutes?
Son: Ok...
Me: But... and this is the exciting news now...
Son: Wait.  I know: G-d lets us live.  Wow!!! Miracle!
Me: I KNOW!!!

So what prompted this?  We've had a rough few mo…

Derech HaShem: 1.1 Belief in and about G-d

The Ramchal begins by making six points of belief that are vital to an understanding of G-d and the entire system:

G-d exists; His existence precedes all and is eternal.We can never really know G-d Himself; that knowledge is beyond the capability of a created being.G-d exists perforce.  That is, the whole concept of existence only has meaning within the context of G-d.  In a sense, He precedes even existence itself.G-d does not depend on anything else, but everything else depends on Him.  He brings into being and constantly sustains everything.G-d is absolutely without parts or division.  When we speak of G-d's attributes (His knowledge, His mercy, His kindness), those are completely our perception and not something intrinsic to Him.  From G-d's point of view (so to speak), they are all one: Him.
G-d is unique and cannot not even be described in terms of anything besides G-d Himself.The importance and implications of (6) are discussed at some length in Da'as T'vu…

Derech HaShem - Preface

I am learning (once again) the Ramchal's Derech HaShem with a chavrusa.  The plan is to go very slowly and methodically to understand each concept before going on.  I've decided to write up notes as we go along both to clarify my own thoughts and to share them with any who are interested.  Even more than usual, I welcome comments, insights, and questions on these posts.  I will do my best to respond, expand, and disseminate those points that are not clear at first.  Please note: this is not a translation of Derech HaShem, rather something like marginal notes on the text.  As such, they may not be edited as some of my other posts; but I think it is worth getting the thoughts out sooner rather than waiting till I have time to pretty them up.

The Ramchal prefaces his work by introducing his system and approach.  He makes the point that when trying to understand a complex system, the system must be describable in terms of parts; each part has its own function and also a relatio…