Friday, April 11, 2008

Vikuach's Conclusion

Shadal concludes his Vikach al Chochmat haKabbalah. (See previous segment.) He discusses whether it is proper to publicize this. Indeed, as we shall see in the Addendum (still to come), Shadal sits on this work for many years until persuaded to publicize this in order to combat the dangerous movement, chassidut. The text of the Vikuach follows.

The author: And you, if you will indeed listen to my voice and do what is right in my eyes, do the following: And any place to which you go, do not speak in the matter of kabbalah with any man in the world, unless you find a sage and true kabbalist, who is able to relate to you the mysteries of wisdom and to dispel all your doubts, and to enlighten your darkness with the light of wisdom and understanding, which gloom does not abide upon, and to bring you to the mountain of myrrh, the hill of frankincense, together will the sheep {?} of the All-Merciful, and you will draw water in joy from the upper spring, and rejoice upon Hashem in truth and faith, for He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who know understanding. For still, if you let your arguments be heard by people who have not learned the knowledge, or who have in it knowledge and do not have knowledge, your work will not be the work of one who loves wisdom, but rather the work of the Satan and the work of the tempter and one who pushes away. Will this be your glory, if on those who lack knowledge you triumph with your subtle reasoning and with your arguments?

And besides this, is it not that even according to your opinion, and even if all of the wisdom of truth is founded upon a plumb line of void and stones of emptiness, what damage is there to the general populace? Is it not so that they do not know its paths and do not understand its depths, and they will not receive any damage from it -- only a great use with they take from it, for from it their hearts will be strengthened to the worship of Hashem and the keeping of his commandments; And if you make their ears hear, and introduce into their hearts that all of it is a false vision, an illusion, and deity {?}, there is no doubt that you will weaken with this their hands from serving Hashem, and you are not fixing but rather causing a great ruin.

And specifically in this generation, where among those who consider themselves wise, the opinion of the Rambam in the matter of the reasons for the precepts, and many {then} say that now, in these days, the reason is annulled and so the decree has been annulled, there would only be left to us the secrets {sodot} of the kabbalah and the faith of the fixing and the defects in the spiritual worlds, to strengthen weak hands in the keeping of the statutes of our God, and the collapsing knees, to strengthen in walking in His Ways.

The guest: Perhaps the matter was such in the earlier generation, where the faith was strong in the land; However, now in our days, where all the eyes are opened and all the hearts investigate, and the number of those small of faith continuously grows, it is fitting to all who seize the Torah, those who love it and strengthen it, to refine and purify it from impurities which are mixed with it over the length of generations. For the common people who are not experts, when they find in it some matter of impropriety, they will turn from after it and despise it, and he does not know how to distinguish between good and bad, truth and falsehood, and {instead} he judges from the particular to the general, and he decides that the entire Torah are words of falsehood, because of a a few matters of falsehood, which he heard from his teachers, which they said were Godly sodot {secrets}, and hidden aspects of Torah.

The author: And shall we destroy the world because of the fools? Upon this is stated {Hoshea 14:10}:
י מִי חָכָם וְיָבֵן אֵלֶּה, נָבוֹן וְיֵדָעֵם: כִּי-יְשָׁרִים דַּרְכֵי ה, וְצַדִּקִים יֵלְכוּ בָם, וּפֹשְׁעִים, יִכָּשְׁלוּ בָם. {ש} 10 Whoso is wise, let him understand these things, whoso is prudent, let him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right, and the just do walk in them; but transgressors do stumble therein. {P}

And you, my friend, go in peace, and Hashem the God of Heaven should send his angel with you and make your way prosper. And it should be that when Hashem makes it good for you, and you find rest, which he makes good for you, write to me, and my heart will also rejoice.

The guest: I will not forget your words. And you, my master and honored friend , peace, and all that is to you should have peace.

The author: Peace, peace.

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