Faith & Trust

Belief in the Ultimate Goal

What is the ultimate goal of creation according to traditional Jewish belief?

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In the generation prior to the coming of the Messiah we know that a large part of our personal growth is dependent upon emunah – pure belief and trust in Hashem. The Talmud1, when describing this generation says explicitly: "And upon Whom can we rely? Only upon Our Father in Heaven".
 
In order to increase and enhance one’s level of belief and trust in Hashem, my Rebbe in Mussar Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe of blessed memory, has written2:
 
"In order to acquire a true acquisition of emunah (belief) in one’s heart, we must constantly renew [the] images that strengthen and deepen all of the branches of emunah. The worshiper of Hashem finds this constant renewal in the creation, until the point where it becomes revealed to him - in accordance with the words of the Ramban – that the entire natural world is [really] one large image that reveals [what's beyond it] - the Creator and His Traits. Every form and every natural process hints to His Wisdom, to His Lovingkindness, to His Hashgacha (Providence) and to His Unity."
 
When a person recognizes the fact that Hashem’s Wisdom is always radiating toward him through his experience of this world and the hashgachah (providence) that permeates his life, it allows him to increase the levels of emunah and trust in Hashem that he builds in his heart.

Yet there is even a more basic tool that can be very helpful toward building levels of belief and trust in Hashem. It is one that is dependent on the knowledge of a single fact. Once you know it, it can change the way that you perceive all of your reality and your hashgachah (providence) and allow you to see it all in a more positive light.  

Unique Approach of the Ramchal

This single piece of knowledge is an axiom of traditional Jewish belief, one that is presented explicitly in the writings of Rabbi Moshe Chaim Lutzato (the Ramchal) z”l.
 
Perhaps the Jewish leader whose writings help us the most today to understand and clarify the most basic Jewish axioms of belief are the writings of the Ramchal zy"a. The intuitively logical organization of the deepest ideas in Torah that the Ramchal has set forth in his holy writings, gives us the ability to understand much more clearly a great deal of Hashem’s providence and actions toward us, even in our times today.

This ability, to be able to view the “happenings” in our daily lives with the proper perspective, can award us with the confidence and trust necessary in order to believe that the direction in which Hashem is leading us to is certainly for our greatest good.
Among the many axioms of Jewish belief found in the writings of the Ramchal, there is one specific axiom which can make it much easier for us to view all of our reality and hashgachah (providence) in a totally positive light, just like the Ramban describes.
 
The Proper Perspective 

The single specific piece of knowledge that can open a new perspective for us when viewing everything that happens in our lives is the definitive Jewish answer to the question of: “What is the goal of everything in creation?”

Without knowing the answer to this question, even after having learned extensively, a person will most likely find himself still "in the dark" as to where any given event in his life is headed to. Once he clearly knows the answer to this question, a person will most likely find himself feeling reassured that all the elements of “occurrences” in his life are headed only toward good.

What is the goal of everything in creation according to traditional Jewish belief?
 
The Ramchal defines it for us in a few succinct words in his Sefer Daas T’vunos3:
"…behold, at the end, he (man) will be the completer (of himself and everything that was created for him), and [then] he will receive pleasure in a good way – eternally".
 
And in his Sefer Mesilas Yesharim4 the Ramchal further describes what type of pleasure this ultimate pleasure is:

“What our Sages have taught us is that man was created only to take pleasure upon Hashem and to enjoy from the shine of His Shechinah (G-dly Presence), which is really the true delight and the greatest pleasure of all the pleasures that can possibly exist".
 
The description of "all the pleasures that can possibly exist" - by definition includes every enjoyment that exists in the finite creation. If the ultimate reward is “the greatest pleasure”, that is to say, even greater than all the pleasures that can possibly exist, then this ultimate pleasure must "border" on the level of Infinite5.
 
Ultimate Goal of Our Lives
 
So to summarize the Jewish answer to the question of “What is the "ultimate goal of everything?" according to the Ramchal, it is6: "Infinite Pleasure - Eternally"
 
That is the "goal of everything", and this is ultimately what Hashem wants to give to us. It is mind-boggling when you consider it.

So the next time you find yourself struggling to make sense out of some event that has arisen in your life, you can just find a calm place to regain your composure, close your eyes calmly and think: “I am sure that all this is only just another step that Hashem has orchestrated specifically in my life in order to lead me to Infinite Pleasure Eternally.”
 
Once you understand that G-d’s goal in creation is a total positive one – not just a little positive, but the greatest level of positivity and good that we could ever imagine – you can then begin to view the everyday occurrences in your life as successive “stepping-stones” toward coming closer and closer to receiving the greatest good possible.

Once you are clear on the ultimate goal, you can more easily begin to recognize the Loving-kindness and Wisdom of a Superior Being radiating at you through the events of your own world experience and your own hashgachah (providence).

You will most likely find yourself feeling more reassured and able to build new and greater levels of belief and trust in your heart for the One who you know now is constantly leading you toward the greatest levels of good possibly imaginable – Infinite Pleasure Eternally.
 
Notes and Sources
  1. Sotah 49b.
  2. Sefer Alei Shur, Chelek Rishon, Shaar 2, Perek 19.
  3. Ois 14.
  4. Beginning of Perek Alef.
  5. Even though it is not possible to say that the ultimate reward is ultimately infinite - because then we as finite beings would not have the capacity to receive it - we can say that it "borders on the infinite", meaning that it includes as much a level of infinity as we could possibly experience.
  6. This is how I heard it defined by Rabbi M. Kessin shlita, Dean of Tiferes HaRamchal Institute.
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| 11.07.17 | 11:42
Belief in the Ultimate Goal
In the generation prior to the coming of the Messiah we know that a large part of our personal growth is dependent upon emunah – pure belief and trust in Hashem. The Talmud1, when describing this generation says explicitly: "And upon Whom can we rely? Only upon Our Father in Heaven".
 
In order to increase and enhance one’s level of belief and trust in Hashem, my Rebbe in Mussar Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe of blessed memory, has written2:
 
"In order to acquire a true acquisition of emunah (belief) in one’s heart, we must constantly renew [the] images that strengthen and deepen all of the branches of emunah. The worshiper of Hashem finds this constant renewal in the creation, until the point where it becomes revealed to him - in accordance with the words of the Ramban – that the entire natural world is [really] one large image that reveals [what's beyond it] - the Creator and His Traits. Every form and every natural process hints to His Wisdom, to His Lovingkindness, to His Hashgacha (Providence) and to His Unity."
 
When a person recognizes the fact that Hashem’s Wisdom is always radiating toward him through his experience of this world and the hashgachah (providence) that permeates his life, it allows him to increase the levels of emunah and trust in Hashem that he builds in his heart.

Yet there is even a more basic tool that can be very helpful toward building levels of belief and trust in Hashem. It is one that is dependent on the knowledge of a single fact. Once you know it, it can change the way that you perceive all of your reality and your hashgachah (providence) and allow you to see it all in a more positive light.  

Unique Approach of the Ramchal

This single piece of knowledge is an axiom of traditional Jewish belief, one that is presented explicitly in the writings of Rabbi Moshe Chaim Lutzato (the Ramchal) z”l.
 
Perhaps the Jewish leader whose writings help us the most today to understand and clarify the most basic Jewish axioms of belief are the writings of the Ramchal zy"a. The intuitively logical organization of the deepest ideas in Torah that the Ramchal has set forth in his holy writings, gives us the ability to understand much more clearly a great deal of Hashem’s providence and actions toward us, even in our times today.

This ability, to be able to view the “happenings” in our daily lives with the proper perspective, can award us with the confidence and trust necessary in order to believe that the direction in which Hashem is leading us to is certainly for our greatest good.
Among the many axioms of Jewish belief found in the writings of the Ramchal, there is one specific axiom which can make it much easier for us to view all of our reality and hashgachah (providence) in a totally positive light, just like the Ramban describes.
 
The Proper Perspective 

The single specific piece of knowledge that can open a new perspective for us when viewing everything that happens in our lives is the definitive Jewish answer to the question of: “What is the goal of everything in creation?”

Without knowing the answer to this question, even after having learned extensively, a person will most likely find himself still "in the dark" as to where any given event in his life is headed to. Once he clearly knows the answer to this question, a person will most likely find himself feeling reassured that all the elements of “occurrences” in his life are headed only toward good.

What is the goal of everything in creation according to traditional Jewish belief?
 
The Ramchal defines it for us in a few succinct words in his Sefer Daas T’vunos3:
"…behold, at the end, he (man) will be the completer (of himself and everything that was created for him), and [then] he will receive pleasure in a good way – eternally".
 
And in his Sefer Mesilas Yesharim4 the Ramchal further describes what type of pleasure this ultimate pleasure is:

“What our Sages have taught us is that man was created only to take pleasure upon Hashem and to enjoy from the shine of His Shechinah (G-dly Presence), which is really the true delight and the greatest pleasure of all the pleasures that can possibly exist".
 
The description of "all the pleasures that can possibly exist" - by definition includes every enjoyment that exists in the finite creation. If the ultimate reward is “the greatest pleasure”, that is to say, even greater than all the pleasures that can possibly exist, then this ultimate pleasure must "border" on the level of Infinite5.
 
Ultimate Goal of Our Lives
 
So to summarize the Jewish answer to the question of “What is the "ultimate goal of everything?" according to the Ramchal, it is6: "Infinite Pleasure - Eternally"
 
That is the "goal of everything", and this is ultimately what Hashem wants to give to us. It is mind-boggling when you consider it.

So the next time you find yourself struggling to make sense out of some event that has arisen in your life, you can just find a calm place to regain your composure, close your eyes calmly and think: “I am sure that all this is only just another step that Hashem has orchestrated specifically in my life in order to lead me to Infinite Pleasure Eternally.”
 
Once you understand that G-d’s goal in creation is a total positive one – not just a little positive, but the greatest level of positivity and good that we could ever imagine – you can then begin to view the everyday occurrences in your life as successive “stepping-stones” toward coming closer and closer to receiving the greatest good possible.

Once you are clear on the ultimate goal, you can more easily begin to recognize the Loving-kindness and Wisdom of a Superior Being radiating at you through the events of your own world experience and your own hashgachah (providence).

You will most likely find yourself feeling more reassured and able to build new and greater levels of belief and trust in your heart for the One who you know now is constantly leading you toward the greatest levels of good possibly imaginable – Infinite Pleasure Eternally.
 
Notes and Sources
  1. Sotah 49b.
  2. Sefer Alei Shur, Chelek Rishon, Shaar 2, Perek 19.
  3. Ois 14.
  4. Beginning of Perek Alef.
  5. Even though it is not possible to say that the ultimate reward is ultimately infinite - because then we as finite beings would not have the capacity to receive it - we can say that it "borders on the infinite", meaning that it includes as much a level of infinity as we could possibly experience.
  6. This is how I heard it defined by Rabbi M. Kessin shlita, Dean of Tiferes HaRamchal Institute.
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