Photo Credit: Jewish Press

This is the penultimate Shabbat between Tisha B’Av and Rosh Hashana, and we will finish here our six-part tour of the Maamar HaGeulah of Ramchal. Our haftara this week begins with the expression, “Arise, my light, for your light has come” (Yeshayahu 60:1). This is an unusual formulation, which Ramchal uses to demonstrate one of his final points regarding the process of redemption because the return of the “hidden” light is a well-known motif linking the first day of Creation with its consummation in the last days. But to fully understand this message, it’s necessary to return to the beginning of the end of darkness and exile, and to examine the process by which the change occurs.

During our exile – and indeed our exile goes back to the original exile from the Garden of Eden – the forces of corruption that hold us back from realizing our true potential and separate us from our Creator suffuse the world of our experience. Ramchal explains that these dark spirits creep in from the edges of existence in order to sustain themselves on the good and the light that animates us. They never have the power to truly overrun our world, although sometimes it might appear to us that they are winning – never more than in the era immediately preceding our redemption. But one of the tricks they employ to break our will and to shake our confidence is to create the impression that Hashem is “sleeping” or that He is not attentive to what is happening during the time that He has turned His face from us.


As the process of redemption begins, the first order of business is to shake these parasitic growths off the “garment” of the Divine Presence (we saw this in last week’s haftara) and to rebuke the nations of the world for the cruelty they showed us until now. The redemption, when it comes, frees the body and the soul, but the soul has never truly been enslaved, so the initial stages of redemption most directly concern our physical being. The greatest corruption that spread in the world as a consequence of the misdeeds of Adam and Chava was the pollution of our physical forms and our immersion in all sorts of impure thoughts and actions. For the most part, our minds and our spirits are constrained and afflicted by this – the spiritual infirmity of our life force.

This is why, Ramchal explains, Moshe’s face radiated light after he had ascended to Heaven to receive the Torah. Moshe rose so high, in a time long before the revelation of the primordial light that has been hidden since Creation, that his physical body was permanently affected by the spiritual energy to which it was exposed. When this light is finally released into the universe, all of our bodies will be similarly affected and transformed into suitable vessels for receiving and transmitting this light.

By this time, almost as an afterthought, all of the wickedness – and, it goes without saying, the wicked people of the world – will have passed out of existence. In the presence of such revealed goodness and the reflected totality of the Divine Mercy, it is not possible for evil to stand. This is like the brief revelation in ancient Egypt that effected the Plague of the Firstborn, but a thousandfold, and affecting the whole universe at once.

It is regarding this time, may it come in this new year (if not sooner) that the navi speaks at the beginning of our haftara. Arise, light of Hashem – for we will have become beings of light; for your light has come – the light of the first day of Creation that had been preserved for the righteous at the end of time.


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Avraham Levitt is a poet and philosopher living in Philadelphia. He writes chiefly about Jewish art and mysticism. His most recent poem is called “Great Floods Cannot Extinguish the Love.” It can be read at He can be reached by email at [email protected].