16 Iyar 5779 / Tuesday, May 21, 2019 | Torah Reading: Bechukotai
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Destination: Perfection    

Destination: Perfection

Perfection itself will manifest only in time to come, when "Torah will come forth from with Me" (Isaiah 51:4), meaning that a new level of Torah will come forth from Hashem…


Part 45 of "138 Openings of Wisdom" by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato

Opening 30, part 3
...the final state of repair... Here is the answer to why the flaws and deficiencies continue for so long. Sometimes a state of repair is evident, after which things go backwards and it turns out that perfection is still not visible as yet. But the truth is that from the first days of the world, the wheel has been turning towards one point only: the final perfection that will reign after everything. So far this perfection has not reigned at any time or on any occasion. On the contrary, the way of the cycle is to come near to ruin, then near to repair, then after approaching repair, to return to destruction and deficiency. So far perfection has not come in to do what is in its power. Only the final repair, which is the destined redemption -- may it come soon in our days -- and all that will follow in its wake, will be the complete revelation of perfection, when evil will turn back to good. After this perfection, there will be no flaws or deficiencies, for the wheel will be at rest from its movement, and the truth will have been clarified. From then on will be the time of delight: to delight in the truth that has been clearly manifested.
This is clearly proven by the fact that every time we thought the world was approaching a state of repair and that perfection was operating or starting to operate, the repair affected only Israel. But the nations of the world continued their rebellion, and the world remained in a state of ruin. There was still death, there was still impurity, and there was still an evil inclination. True perfection means there will be no more flaws and deficiencies, and everything will be rectified. Thus in time to come even the nations of the world will be rectified. The Bible explicitly states loud and clear: "On that day, Israel will be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth" (Isaiah 19:24). "For then I will turn to the peoples a pure language..." (Zephaniah 3:9). Even the animals will be rectified: "And the wolf will dwell with the lamb." (Isaiah 11:6). "They will not do evil and they will not destroy..." (ibid. v. 9). As for death: "He will consume death forever" (ibid. 25:8). As for impurity: "I will remove the spirit of impurity from the earth" (Zechariah 13:2). As for the evil inclination: "And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26).
These are examples of the operation of perfection, where evil itself turns back to good. However, all the earlier good times were caused by the operation of the Sefirot in the mode of reward and punishment. In this mode, everything is evenly balanced. Either the Side of Holiness can hold sway over the Other Side, so that the Other Side is subdued and unable to cause harm, even though it does not actually turn back to good but is tied up like a dog on a leash. Alternatively, God forbid, the Other Side can hold sway and perpetrate the worst evils in its power.
In the good times, holiness held sway to such a degree that even though evil existed in the world, it was unable to act but was bound and subordinate. Only the Generation of the Wilderness at the giving of the Torah were going on the way to the revelation of perfection through Moses, who was complete and was the embodiment of the inner essence, as explained in several passages in the Zohar. Accordingly it was said of that generation: ".the writing of God was engraved upon the tablets" (Exodus 32:16). The Hebrew word for "engraved" [charut] may be read as "freedom" [cherut], teaching that they were "free from the Angel of Death and free from servitude to the nations." (Eruvin 54b; Zohar II, 46a, 114a).
Even so, it was not perfection itself that was operating but rather the strongest force near to perfection: higher consciousness -- the "mental powers" (mochin) mentioned earlier. However, this too is considered part of the turning of wheel. For the mental powers that are included as part of the cycle come very close to perfection and have great power to rectify things. This was the great power of the generation of the wilderness. The Torah given to them is on the level of the unity which at least stands guard even during the period of flaws and deficiencies, for if it were not so, the world would be destroyed, God forbid, and therefore the Torah was given once for all eternity.
However, this is not called the operation of perfection, but rather the operation of concealment, which in any event does contain some aspect of God's actual unity itself. This is why we have said that the good times came about through the influence of these mental powers. For it is through the mystery of these mental powers that unity is to be found even in the time of concealment, because these mental powers are the force that is the strongest, nearest and most closely related to perfection. However, perfection itself will operate only in time to come, when "Torah will come forth from with Me" (Isaiah 51:4) -- meaning that a new level of Torah will come forth from God (see Vayikra Rabbah 13:3). This means that initially the only aspect of the Torah that was given was that which is bound up with the building of the cycle itself, a radiation of God's unity to keep the world in existence. However, in time to come the Torah will be given from its supreme Source, which is the unity operating as what it truly is in itself. For this reason, there will be no more flaws and deficiencies at all after this.
To be continued.
(Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum is the director of Azamra (http://www.azamra.org/). The 138 Openings of Wisdom is available for purchase online at http://www.azamra.org/Product_pages/openings.htm)

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