Maamar HaIkarim by R. M.Ch. Luzzatto Chapter 8 - The Redemption (Gheulah)


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Translated by Ralph Anzarouth and an anonymous friend

8. The Redemption

The cream of mankind is the Jewish people and they are the people designated for special closeness to Him, blessed be He. It is therefore fitting that they should be surrounded by an aura of great sanctity and the Divine Presence of the blessed One should rest upon them and be close to them, so that they may perfect themselves by it, until they merit the true Good.

And it must be borne in mind that even though the true Good is achieved by each individual on his own according to his deeds, however the whole of creation will not attain perfection until the chosen nation puts itself in proper order, perfects itself in all its splendor and will unite itself with the Divine Presence. After this, the world will reach its ideal state and every individual will receive his reward in accordance with his deeds.

However, from the beginning of creation until the present time this process has not yet been completed, since man sinned immediately after his creation. After this, from the time our patriarchs and their sons after them progressed to become the chosen people, this ideal state was never achieved because of sins which held them back from complete perfection. Nevertheless, we are required to reach this state, in which the nation will be perfect in all the criteria necessary for this and when the whole of Creation will be granted its own perfection. At this stage the world will be established in proper order, in which the righteous ones will be designated for eternal joy, and the intensity of this joy will depend on each individual's deeds.

Divine wisdom has set a limit of 6.000 years for man to work and strive for this perfection, after which the world will be reconstituted in a different form, fit for its subsequent function, which is to give eternal benefit to those who have earned it. And before the expiry of these 6.000 years, the chosen nation must achieve its ideal state, in order that things can progress to their eternal state, which we have been promised regardless. And this will be brought about by one of King David's descendant, whom the blessed Lord will choose, and will help him to succeed: this will be the anointed King [Mashiach - Messiah]. And in the time of Mashiach and by his means, the Jewish People will be brought one major step closer to perfection, and along with them the rest of Creation, and Good will be abundant in every sphere; evil will be totally eradicated both in the spiritual and in the material realm, namely the heart of stone will be transformed into a "Lev Basar"1, in that man's leanings towards Good will prevail, in a way that he will not be drawn at all after materialism, but he will constantly tend to Torah and divine service and will strengthen himself in this inclination. Correspondingly, his peace of mind and success will increase and he will suffer no damages or losses. This is what the Prophets have promised us (Isaiah 11, 9): "There will be no crimes or violence on all My holy mountain". And there will be no folly in the world, and all hearts will be full of wisdom and the spirit of holiness will be pervade every creature, in such a way that everyone will merit it without any difficulty, as the Prophet says (Joel 3, 1): "I will pour My Spirit on all flesh". Man will rejoice and delight in the abundance of good and will unite himself with the blessed Creator; and he will perform perfect service before Him and in this way he will ascend to ever higher levels until he achieves what is necessary in order to progress from his present condition to a condition of eternity in the renewal of the world.

In fact, all beings must die and return to dust for at least a short time prior to the Techiat Hametim (Resurrection of the Dead), when those who deserve it will rise and return to life.

At the time of the Resurrection, both the righteous and the wicked will rise and those wicked ones who have sinned but have not yet received in full their appropriate punishment, will then be punished as fit. And then, after the Techiah, there will be the Great Day of Judgement, on which the blessed Creator will pass judgement on everybody and will decide who deserves to remain for eternity and who deserves to vanish [forever]. Those who deserve to vanish will be punished in a proper manner and will ultimately be eradicated altogether. Those who are fit to remain will continue to exist in the world as reconstituted on the level deemed appropriate for them by the [Divine] judgment.

There will also be an intensive selection among those other nations of the world who will exist at that time. Those who deserve destruction will be wiped out by war, pestilence and all other forms of punishment. Those who deserve salvation will be saved and will remain and recognize the truth. They will forsake their false gods and become subservient to the people of Israel. It will be a honor for them to serve and minister to the people of Israel because they will be aware and understand that in this way they have achieved as much as it is possible for them to receive from G-d's holiness and light. The whole world will then be in a state where it is drawn to the service of the blessed Creator and there will be no service of "Avodah Zarah" (alien worship) at all. This is what the prophet of blessed memory said (Tzephania 3, 7): "For then I will purify the speech of the Nations" and it is written (Zecharia 14, 9) :"And that day, G-d will be One and His Name will be One".

And after those who are fit to remain for eternity have been brought into a proper state, each on his own level, this world will return to its state before the Creation, in other words it will loose all its form and will revert to a liquid state as at the beginning of Creation. In any event, the Holy One blessed be He, by [the power of] His word, will raise up those righteous ones designated for eternity like ministering angels, with no need for this world anymore. They will still not attain the true Good as befits them, until the world has remained in a state of oblivion, for such a period as the Divine Wisdom will decree. The world will then be reconstituted in a different form, suited for a state of eternity, and the righteous ones will return and reside and be established there forever, enjoying the true Good, each one according to his level.

Note of the translators:
[1] A "Lev Basar" is literally a "heart of flesh", which means a good heart full of humanity and controlled by the good instinct, rather than a "heart of stone", which is just the opposite.

Original text in Hebrew
Nostra traduzione in italiano - Our translation into Italian