800.20 KNOWLEDGE AND FREEDOM (pps.112-114)

hard cover page 114

The kabbalists posit that the initial creation of the universe could only be brought about by a Divine contraction. We posit that man’s achievement of his potential necessitates elements of Divine contraction.

The receiving of the Torah at Sinai, the compilation of Scripture under Ezra in Babylon, the advent of the Mishnah, the emergence of medieval Jewish scholarship, the advent of great centers of learning in Europe-each of these would represent a quantum step-up in the disseminated knowledge for the people of Israel, in particular.

However, even on a less grandiose level, the ascent of an individual in any area affects the whole. The individual thus has an impact on the whole, and the whole has an impact on the individual.473

Whenever a person raises himself through good deeds, through a higher stirring of his yearning for godliness, for wisdom, justice, beauty and equity, he perfects thereby the spiritual disposition of all existence. All people become better in their inwardness through the ascendency of the good to any one of them. …Such virtue in any one person is due to spread among the general populace, to stir each one, according to his capacity, toward merit, and thus all existence thereby becomes ennobled and more exalted.

. . . every thought, every tremor of anticipation and desire on the part of man work their way until they reach the Holy One Himself, the Infinite, Blessed be He.

The dynamics of Tree of Knowledge/Potential mandate that the cumulative growth of knowledge necessitates an expansion of man’s freedom.

——————- NOTES ——————-

473 See Scherman, “An Overview: The Period and the Miracle,” p. xxx. “[David] was not permitted to build the Temple because his people could not measure up to this level of purity and righteousness (Yalkut Shimoni I1 Samuel 145) .”

474 Kook, Orot Hakodesh, vol. 3, quoted in Bokser, Abraham Isaac Kook, p. 24.

475 Steinsaltz, The Thirteen Petalled Rose, p. 47.

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