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Derech HaShem: 1:3;9,10 The Butterfly Effect

The Ramchal has noted that one cannot talk about mankind without specifying whether one is referring to the situation before or after the Mistake.  We have discussed both the devastation that first mistake caused and how that changed our "game plan".  Whereas before the mistake our job was to remove the (small) imperfections that had been left there by our Creator.  Those imperfections were not so much introduced into a perfect being as they were the result of HaShem (so to speak) leaving the work of His greatest creation unfinished; thereby allowing us to be partners in our own creation.  Because of the Mistake, we not only failed to put the final touches on the creation, but we even ruined what we had been given.  We are now living in that ruined world striving to get back to where we were before the Mistake.  Even though the overall "mission of self-perfection and  has not changed, our primary focus now is to get back to the pre-Mistake conditions and try again.

As if the tremendous loss already described were not enough, the Ramchal tells us that Midas HaDin (the attribute of strict justice) demands that the human being in our current state (the condition of the body, in particular) cannot achieve perfection.  There must be a separation of the soul from the body, after which the body is completely destroyed (decomposes, to be more gentle).

Each of us must experience death, complete decomposition of our physical body, and resurrection (t'chiyas hameisim).  At t'chiyas hameisim the soul is (re)united with a completely rebuilt body -- a body which has now been returned to a state that the neshama can perfect.  Not only that, but the entire world must undergo a similar progression.  That is what Chazal mean when they tell us, "This world lasts for 6,000 years, followed by 1,000 years of [total] destruction.  At the end of [that] thousand years, the Holy One Blessed be He will return the world to a renewed state."  (Sanhedrin 97a)

Therefore, we must understand that our current situation is not one that is able to experience the true eternal experience that HaShem wants for us without first being completely disassembled and then put back together in a cleansed state.  At that point, the neshama will be able to complete the purification of the body; the neshama and body together as one (new) fused unit will be able to experience the full joy and glory of HaShem's true goodness.  The neshama will only be able to do that because of all the time it has been working against insurmountable odds.  The challenges of this world (in its present state) really are beyond us, but the struggle is what strengthens us to be able to achieve our intended purpose after the renewal (and only after the renewal).  Therefore, even though we do not see the benefits of our struggle now, those who have worked harder will achieve a much great purification after the resurrection.  The experience of Olam Haba will not be the same for everyone.  Each one will experience his Olam Haba according to the effort he exerted.

[Personal note: It was Feb 16, 2011 when I last worked on this piece.  I was struggling with how best to explain the necessity of death and what is accomplishes for us.  My father died on Feb 18, which certainly made the whole topic much more poignant for me.]

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