The where and what of The Unfathomable Beginning (2)

Ramchal adds that what happens there in Radlah is highly significant because it affects a great deal of the governance within the Partzufim as was explained in Petach 84.

He then begins to enter into this section’s major theme — the inscrutability of Radlah — with the remark that while neither The Unfathomable Beginning nor its offshoots within the Partzufim can be at all grasped or known because of various anomalies, it’s nonetheless true that at times certain movements can be detected in the Partzufim themselves which will be highlighted in the very next Petach whose sources are unknown but which still and all actually derive from The Unfathomable Beginning.

 

(c) 2015 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman’s translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here at a discount.

You can still purchase a copy of Rabbi Feldman’s translation of “The Gates of Repentance” here at a discount as well.

Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes on http://www.torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal”.

The where and what of The Unfathomable Beginning (1)

This section is entitled “The Issue of Radlah (רישא דלא אתידע — Reisha D’lo Ityada, “The Unfathomable Beginning”) and (certain) Anomalies about It” and it encompasses Petachim 85-89. The subject will come up again though, in Petachim 99 and 104.

Ramchal starts this section off with a definition of Radlah and he situates it in the continuum we’ve been dealing with until now.

Petach 85 points out that the realm in which all of the governance having to do with the conjunction of MaH with BaN occurs that we concentrated on in the previous section is termed “The Unfathomable Beginning” or Radlah.

That is, the Partzufim are situated in the exalted World of Atzilut but they’re actually rooted above that in Attik, as was pointed out. It’s in Attik’s uppermost stages though where MaH and BaN are conjoined, and that realm is termed “The Unfathomable Beginning” both because it’s so elevated and also because its actions are so inscrutable. The term is discussed in the Zohar (3, 288a), in the recondite section of it known as Iddrah Zuta.

(c) 2015 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman’s translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here at a discount.

You can still purchase a copy of Rabbi Feldman’s translation of “The Gates of Repentance” here at a discount as well.

Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes on http://www.torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal”.

Section 15 overall

The section starts out by situating Radlah in the continuum we’ve been dealing with until now, saying, The realm in which all of the governance having to do with the conjunction of MaH with BaN we discussed in the previous section occurs is termed “The Unfathomable Beginning” or Radlah. And what happens there affects a great deal of the governance within the Partzufim.

We then get into the major theme of this section — the absolutely inexplicable nature of Radlah, offering that, While neither The Unfathomable Beginning nor its offshoots within the Partzufim can be at all grasped or known because of various contradictions, it’s nonetheless true that at times certain movements can be detected in the Partzufim whose sources are unknown but which still and all actually derive from The Unfathomable Beginning. (Petach 85)

Then we’re introduced into variations of MaH and BaN that could have existed which still-and-all only occur in Radlah with the remark that All the possible combinations of MaH and BaN did indeed occur in Radlah, and the primary order of covert governance occurred thanks to those combinations. Now, there are other ways of combining MaH and BaN too, and both sorts exist within Radlah because that’s the way Partzufim are combined, and because both produce particular qualities in Partzufim.

While again accentuating the inscrutableness of Radlah it’s pointed out that while It’s important to know too that the way these combinations govern up above in Radlah determines what happens in the Partzufim down below, in Atzilut. It’s just that this, i.e., which combination is governing at any point, simply can’t be grasped or seen. Yet when variations in the Partzufim come about in various states of being and when certain other changes suddenly take place in them, we know in hindsight that they derived from Radlah, though in fact no one can see them for what they truly are. (Petach 86)

The fact that the connection between the upper and lower realms is made possible by Radlah, too, is pointed out here with the remark that Everything done or being done in the universe is subject to these connections, i.e., the various connections between MaH and BaN, for there is nothing here that is not rooted there in Radlah, be it a repair or a flaw.

And everything in the worlds of Atzilut and downward is governed in accordance with all these combinations as based on the actions of the lower creations. Likewise, everything is to be fixed in eternity in the great Day of Judgment in accordance with what has already been done, whether they’re, i.e., whether those are actions are, identical, contradictory, or the opposite of each other.

As such, these combinations rule all of the time, and God’s governance turns from one combination to the other in all instances, be they either identical, contradictory, or opposite, since God’s governance functions in every aspect. In addition, the states of the Partzufim shift from one to the other in the mode of “running and returning”.

We know this all to be true, nonetheless, that no one can understand or grasp anything other than what’s revealed through the order and rules that are visible in the Partzufim. But the source of the matter actually lies in these combinations in Radlah which are not at all revealed or known. (Petach 87)

The inscrutableness is underscored here as well with the remark that Radlah is a single emission that nonetheless contains all the aforementioned combinations of MaH and BaN. Yet it’s an emission that’s impossible to grasp or understand. Looking at it leaves us with all sorts of often contradictions, because it doesn’t seem able to contain all kinds of combinations but rather to be an emission that’s simply impossible to fathom.

In truth, we can’t see what’s in it, because sometimes a certain combination seems to be there and at other times another one that may even be its opposite seems to.

Thus even though we know it contains all the various combinations of MaH and BaN cited above, the emission itself exists in a way that’s impossible to understand, since it first appears one way and then. So at bottom we really can’t understand the rules of Divine governance on this level.

For if we were to try to follow something below this level, in Atzilut, and try to follow its root in Radlah, we “wouldn’t be able to find our arms and legs”, i.e., we couldn’t establish where we were standing, since we couldn’t judge anything about it. For, first it looks like this and then it looks like that, making it utterly impossible to understand. That’s in fact why it’s called the “Unfathomable Beginning”. (Petach 88)

Ramchal then differentiates Radlah from something seemingly similar to it with this final Petach, saying that, There’s a difference between “The Dew of Bedolcha” — “in which all colors can be seen” — and The Unfathomable Beginning. For while The Dew of Bedolcha presents all of the colors together, the Unfathomable Beginning presents itself as one thing in one instance and then it instantaneously presents itself as its opposite.     

In fact, though it stays in this transformative state in which an instances of ”yes” and one of “no” i.e., one thing and its opposite,  appear at the same time, we simply can’t grasp how both a “yes” and the “no” could exist at that same time. That is, we simply can’t understand how it seems to be an instance of “yes” and then immediately afterwards it seems not to be that at all. (Petach 89)

We’ll now go on to explain each Petach in depth.

(c) 2015 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman’s translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here at a discount.

You can still purchase a copy of Rabbi Feldman’s translation of “The Gates of Repentance” here at a discount as well.

Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes on http://www.torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal”.

Petach 89

יש הפרש בין ענין טלא דבדולחא דמתחזיין כל גוונין בגוה לענין רדל”א. כי טלא דבדולחא מראה שיש בה כל הגוונין ביחד. אך זאת מראה שהוא דבר אחד, ומיד נראה שאינו דבר זה, אלא היפך ממה שראינו. והיא עומדת תמיד בהתחלפות זה, ויראה ההן והלאו ברגע אחד. ואין משיגין בה אפילו זה – שיהיה ההן והלאו. אלא אין עומדין בה כלל, שלפעמים נראה שיש בה ההן, ומיד נראה שאינו כלל:

There’s a difference between “The Dew of Bedolcha” — “in which all colors can be seen” — and The Unfathomable Beginning. For while The Dew of Bedolcha presents all of the colors together, the Unfathomable Beginning presents itself as one thing in one instance and then it instantaneously presents itself as its opposite.     

In fact, though it stays in this transformative state in which an instances of ”yes” and one of “no” i.e., one thing and its opposite,  appear at the same time, we simply can’t grasp how both a “yes” and the “no” could exist at that same time. That is, we simply can’t understand how it seems to be an instance of “yes” and then immediately afterwards it seems not to be that at all.

 

(c) 2015 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman’s translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here at a discount.

You can still purchase a copy of Rabbi Feldman’s translation of “The Gates of Repentance” here at a discount as well.

Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes on http://www.torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal”.

Petach 88

רישא דלא אתידע היא הארה אחת שבה עומדים כל החיבורים האלה של מ”ה וב”ן. אך היא הארה שאינה מושגת, ואין עומדים עליה כלל. ומי שמביט בה, נשאר בכמה מיני ספיקות, שאין נראה שיהיו בה כל מיני חיבורים, אלא היא מין הארה אחת שאי אפשר לעמוד עליה.

 ובאמת אין נראה מה שיש בה, כי לפעמים נראה שיש בה חיבור זה, ולפעמים נראה שיש בה חיבור אחר, ואפילו הפכי מזה.

ונמצא שאפילו שכבר ידענו שיש בה כל החיבורים – ההארה עצמה עומדת בדרך שאין עומדים עליה, ונראה שהוא בדרך אחד, ונראה שהוא בדרך אחר. ומכח זה אין יודעים הנהגתה.

 כי בדבר אחד עצמו שיש למטה באצילות – אם נלך אחריו למצוא שרשו ברישא הזאת, הרי לא מצאנו ידינו ורגלינו, כי לא נוכל לדון בה כלום. אלא נראה שהוא כך, ונראה שהוא כך, בדרך שאי אפשר לעמוד בה, ולכן נקרא רדל”א:

 

Radlah is a single emission that nonetheless contains all the aforementioned combinations of MaH and BaN. Yet it’s an emission that’s impossible to grasp or understand. Looking at it leaves us with all sorts of often contradictory uncertainties, because it doesn’t seem able to contain all kinds of combinations but rather to be an emission that’s simply impossible to fathom.

In truth, we can’t see what’s in it, because sometimes a certain combination seems to be there and at other times another one that may even be its opposite seems to.

Thus even though we know it contains all the various combinations of MaH and BaN cited above, the emission itself exists in a way that’s impossible to understand, since it first appears one way and then. So at bottom we really can’t understand the rules of Divine governance on this level.

For if we were to try to follow something below this level, in Atzilut, and try to follow its root in Radlah, we “wouldn’t be able to find our arms and legs”, i.e., we couldn’t establish where we were standing, since we couldn’t judge anything about it. For, first it looks like this and then it looks like that, making it utterly impossible to understand. That’s in fact why it’s called the “Unfathomable Beginning”.

(c) 2015 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman’s translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here at a discount.

You can still purchase a copy of Rabbi Feldman’s translation of “The Gates of Repentance” here at a discount as well.

Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes on http://www.torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal”.

Petach 87

על פי כל החיבורים האלה נמצאים כל המעשים שנעשו ושנעשים בעולם. כי לא יהיה מה שלא הושרש כאן, לא תיקון ולא קלקול.

ועל פי כל החיבורים האלה מתנהגים כל הדברים לפי מעשה התחתונים, והולכים כל הדברים להיות נקבעים בנצחיות, כל דבר ודבר על פי כל הדברים כולם שנעשו כבר, בין המשתוים, ובין המתנגדים, וההפכיים.

על כן כל החיבורים האלה שולטים בכל שעה. וסובבת ההנהגה מזה לזה בכל דבר, מענין לשוה אליו, מענין להפכו, למתנגד לו, להיות כל ההנהגה בכל חלק. וכן מתחלפים המצבים ברצוא ושוב בפרצופים.

 ואין מבין ומשיג אלא מה שמתגלה לפי הסדר והחק הנראה בפרצופים. אבל מקור הדבר תלוי בחיבורים אלה, וזה אינו מתגלה ונודע כלל:

 

Everything done or being done in the universe is subject to these connections, i.e., the various connections between MaH and BaN, for there is nothing here that was not rooted there in Radlah, be it a repair or a flaw.

And everything in the worlds of Atzilut and downward is governed in accordance with all these combinations and in accordance with the deeds of the lower creations. Likewise, everything is to be fixed in eternity in the great Day of Judgment in accordance with what that has already been done, whether they’re equivalent, contrary, or the opposite of each other.

As such, these combinations together rule all of the time, and God’s governance turns from one combination to the other concerning everything, turning from one aspect to another one that may either be similar, contrary or opposite to the first, because God’s governance is found in each aspect. And the states of the Partzufim shift from one to the other in the mode of “running and returning”.

No one can understand or grasp anything other than what’s revealed through the order and rules that are visible in the Partzufim. But the source of the matter actually lies in these combinations in Radlah which are not at all revealed or known.

 

(c) 2015 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman’s translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here at a discount.

You can still purchase a copy of Rabbi Feldman’s translation of “The Gates of Repentance” here at a discount as well.

Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes on http://www.torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal”.

Petach 86

כל מיני החיבורים שהיה אפשר להמצא בין מ”ה וב”ן – באמת נעשו. ועל פי כולם היא ההנהגה העיקרית הנעלמת. ויש חיבורים הפכיים, ואף על פי כן שניהם נמצאים, כי הפרצופים מורכבים כך, ומשניהם נמצאים איכויות בפרצופים.

 ולפי שליטתם למעלה – כך נעשה מה שנעשה בפרצופים, אך אינו מושג ונראה כלל. אלא שהשינוים הנמצאים בפרצופים בכמה מיני מצבים, ומקרים אחרים המתחדשים בהם – ידענו שהם יוצאים מזה. אך אין שום אחד רואה אותם מה שהם באמת:

All the possible combinations of MaH and BaN did indeed come about in Radlah, and the primary order of covert governance came about thanks to those combinations. Now, there are other ways of combining MaH and BaN too, and both sorts exist within Radlah because that’s the way Partzufim are combined, and because both produce particular qualities in Partzufim.

It’s important to know too that the way these combinations govern up above in Radlah determines what happens in the Partzufim down below, in Atzilut. It’s just that this, i.e., which combination is governing at any point, simply can’t be grasped or seen. Yet when variations in the Partzufim come about in various states of being and when certain other changes suddenly take place in them, we know in hindsight that they derived from Radlah, though in fact no one can see them for what they truly are.

 

(c) 2015 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman’s translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here at a discount.

You can still purchase a copy of Rabbi Feldman’s translation of “The Gates of Repentance” here at a discount as well.

Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes on http://www.torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal”.