|Insights into Messilat Yesharim|
|Written by Shiri Sher|
My husband and I were learning Mesilat yesharim and we were moving from the second level where man needs to understand that he is in the midst of a battle. Then the Ramchal says and if he looks deeper he will see that the world was only created to serve man, and that he stands in a great balance (shikul)
It seems that the Ramchal is saying that in fact the difference between the second level and third level, is a matter of perception. Each perception is more expansive than the next.
This is how I understand the levels the Ramchal outlines:
The first level- appeals to the nefesh, that seeks reward
The second level- the warrior, ruach that perceives the world in terms of conflict
The third level- the neshama, tuned into its environment and seeks to maintain an equilibrium
The neshama understands that the external reality is merely an expression of the internal. It can use the world, therefore, to correct itself (and also the world). Only when we understand there is no separation between the external and internal they are merely reflections of each other, we will no longer experience conflict.
This is the idea of ezer kenegdo from Rebbe's class, when we move away from seeing conflict and instead understand the opportunities the conflict yields for tikun, we no longer experience the conflict. Essentially the way I would understand ezer kenegdo is: the conflict is the helper!!! As long as we understand the conflict is the helper, we no longer get caught up in the conflict!!!
Then in megilat Ruth (Thank you so much for the sefer!) when it says that a man walked away, it seems connected to what the Ramchal describes as the third level, that man hangs in the balance, and he can both fix the world or destroy it, and it seems that Megilat Ruth opens up with this idea. This man walks away and he has wreaked havoc as a result of this action, both in his own family but also the greater community.
And this is also the midrash Kohelet the Ramchal brings up in mesilat Yesharim regarding Hashem instructing Adam to be aware not to take any action that would destroy the world.