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The Fall of Man in Ramḥal's Thought as Exemplified in "Ma'amar Reisha ve-Sofá" / חטא אדם הראשון במאמר רישא וסופא של רמח"ל

רונלד גטשל and Roland Goetschel
Daat: A Journal of Jewish Philosophy & Kabbalah / דעת: כתב-עת לפילוסופיה יהודית וקבלה
No. 40 (חורף תשנ"ח), pp. 87-97
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24216835
Page Count: 11
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The Fall of Man in Ramḥal's Thought as Exemplified in "Ma'amar Reisha ve-Sofá" / חטא אדם הראשון במאמר רישא וסופא של רמח"ל
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Abstract

Among the topics tackled by M. H. Luzzatto in the second part of his 'Adir ba-Marom we find a serious discussion, entitled Ma'amar Reisha ve-Sof'a, about the Fall of Man. Drawing upon the Zohar (II: 25a), Ramḥal posits Adam's sin in relation to the problematic nature of freedom. The notion of God's infinite goodness inspired Adam's will to do good by acts of kindness and to reform harm, restoring it to its original state of goodness. This twofold course of action characterizes a free being, capable of recognizing the absolute unity of God. There are two ways to reveal this unity: (1) by direct expansion; (2) by forgetting. The first is the short way, designated Reisha, while the second is the long way, designated Sof'a. After Adam accomplished the tiqqun of the world on the level of plants and animals, all that was left for him to do was to restore the snake, the figure embodying the quintessence of harm, bringing it back to its original state by one single deed. Had Adam been victorious, all the worlds would have been repaired at once. However, in letting themselves be seduced by the snake, Adam and Eve, the first human couple, caused the history of mankind to follow the course of the Sof'a. It is only the Zaddik, whom Ramhal seems to identify with some messianic figure, who can take a short cut by following the Reisha, thus putting an end to the human distress caused by tediously following the common way of the Sof'a.

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