Right and Wrong (2)

On the face of it, evil, injustice, wrongdoing and the like are all taken to be “necessary evils” if you will — unavoidable by-products of human free-will. After all, if I’m to be free to make ethical decisions, I have to be liable to make available bad ones.

Now, while evil and the like and its mechanism, the yetzer harah or sitra achra, are all despicable in the eyes of the tradition since they draw us away from God [1] and distract our attention from our life’s goal, they’re also recognized as being contributory on some level. For were it not for such inclinations we “wouldn’t build homes, marry, have children, conduct business” or the like (Breishit Rabbah 9); it’s acknowledged as oftentimes functioning as a servant of God who must conduct His “dirty business” so to speak (Zohar 2, 163a); and it’s accepted that at bottom it isn’t all-bad, since it’s animated by some sparks of holiness and Godliness or else it simply couldn’t exist (Eitz Chaim, Sha’ar HaKelallim 2, 19:3).

But Ramchal has a very different view of it. His point is that wrong actually serves to bolster God’s goals and will actually be transformed into good in the end.

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Notes:

[1] That’s one explanation for it being referred to as “a foreign (i.e., alternative) god” so to speak (Shabbat 105b).

(c) 2010 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

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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”.

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