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Derech HaShem: 1.2 More on the purpose of creation

The Ramchal has established that the purpose of Creation is for G-d to have a beneficiary with whom He can fulfill His desire to bestow good on another.  In order to most perfectly achieve that goal, the Highest Wisdom decreed:
  1. The beneficiary must be (as much as possible) the owner of its reward.
  2. The only true source of good and perfection is HaKadosh Baruch Hu, Himself; therefore the best and most perfect experience of good is a relationship with Him.
The first goal is achieved by allowing the beneficiary to realize and experience the good through its own efforts.  Something that is "owed" to it, and not just the result of being "at the right place, at the right time".  It is in some way like the difference between the experience of warmth at the beach versus the experience of warmth after exercising; or the difference between enjoying a symphony as a member of the audience versus as a member of the orchestra.  The second goal is achieved by making the goal of the created beneficiary self perfection.  As the beneficiary works to perfect itself, it becomes automatically more like its Creator and is therefore drawn to Him.  Note that besides resembling its Creator (as much as is possible for a created being) by its direct efforts, it also resembles its Creator in that it is master of its own perfection.  The result is that the work of becoming perfect and the enjoyment of that perfection (ie, a relationship with G-d) is all one thing.

Therefore, the beneficiary is created balanced between perfection (which is a result of HaShem's illumination) and deficiency (which is a result of concealment from HaShem's perfection).  The beneficiary is thus able to to increase its relationship with G-d by both turning toward the illumination and also removing the barriers which conceal His illumination.  The beneficiary is also placed in an environment that contains many dimensions of both perfection to be achieved and barriers to be removed as aids to helping him realize his potential.  It must be stressed that he (the beneficiary) is the primary and essential element of the entire creation. Everything else -- both those above him and those below him -- has been given existence for no other purpose than to provide the beneficiary with opportunities for perfection.

The Ramchal concludes this section by revealing to us that the beneficiary -- this primary and essential reason for creation -- is man.  The tools of perfection are our good midos and intellectual powers.  The work to be done is to remove bad midos and harness the physical to serve us.  The sefer Cheshbon haNefesh says this is something like the way elephants are used in India to work for their master.  Our body is a powerful and capable tool, but knows only what it wants right now.  The intellect knows the ultimate goals, but needs a body to realize those goals.  The elephant needs to be disciplined to direct its efforts appropriately, but too much restraint and the elephant rebels.  The intellect must carefully balance the immediate needs with the long term goals.  When done properly, the mind and body become fused into a perfect being that is tailor (self) made to receive and enjoy the unbounded Goodness of HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

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