It is expressly stated in the Ramchal that the energy of Pekidah is momentary, merely to grant the Shechinah strength to stand up from the dust of exile, after which it becomes hidden once more. After this will come an exhaustion, a vacuum of spirit, for indeed – that great light became hidden and concealed. These are his words: (Ibid)

It emerges that at the time of Pekidah, this unification is achieved, and the light proliferates greatly within with great strength. But this unification will not last, for it is only for a little while… This is as the verse states, “I opened the door for my Beloved, but my Beloved had turned and gone.” (Shir HaShirim 5:6). But one shouldn’t assume that this process of Pekidah didn’t affect anything, but rather simply left without leaving any impression. Thus, the pasuk responds and writes, “My soul emerged when He spoke,” for the soul, about which it is written, “My soul lays among lions” (Tehillim 57:5), has already left its imprisonment at the time that He spoke. Because indeed, this it its Pekidah.

This is the effect accomplished during the stage of Pekidah: The mystery of the soul emerging from its prison is this internal, hidden awakening; the mystery of the life-force which shines into our souls alone without manifesting externally in the minds and intellect of human beings. During the stage of Zechirah, that is when the light shines upon the external realm as well, the layer of awareness and consciousness of humanity.

Now, the Ramchal describes the stage between Pekidah and Zechirah, after the concealment of the light of Pekidah, writing that it is marked by a paucity of Torah. This is the heresy that we are seeing in this generation of Pekidah. The Ramchal says that a great weakness will arrive and persist until the revelation of the subsequent stage, the stage of Zechirah. In his words:

And now, understand that there is found in the spiritual lights an interior aspect as well as an exterior aspect, which we refer to with the analogy of “soul” and “body”. The rectification of the soul occurs during the stage of Pekidah, after which we need to rectify the body. This is why we find a darkness after it, a darkness which will be so great that the Torah is forgotten and every hand falters, every arm grows weak – until the eternal light will shine. This is why the verse states definitively, “Even though I sit in darkness, Hashem is a light for me.” This refers to the darkness that renews itself after the Pekidah which precedes the Zechirah – “For even though I have fallen, I will yet arise.”

The Ramchal explains that the spiritual lights are similarly arranged in the structure of interiority and exteriority, an inside and an outside, reminiscent of body and soul. This means that there is a light that shines for the soul alone, and there is a light that emerges outwardly, before the eyes of Man and his perception. In the stage of Pekidah, the rectification occurs in the inside, in the soul, without emerging to the outer realm, the perception of humanity.

The Ramchal is saying that between the stages of Pekidah and Zechirah, a great darkness will appear and the Torah will be steadily forgotten. A great secret is hidden here: in order for the “body” of am Yisrael to be constructed, we will need to experience a spiritual weakness. This is what the Ramchal writes, that a dark vacuum of Torah would open after Pekidah, and the Torah would be forgotten. In truth, all of this is for the purpose of the physical construction, because in order to invest all of our resources into its dedication, the spiritual framework will flounder – as is the nature of one who throws himself into physical labor with all of his strength; it is only natural that his spirituality will decrease. [1]

But this imbalance will pass, because the Jewish nation is unable to separate from Hashem – only for a fleeting period of time. The spiritual hunger of their souls will return and become revealed with great strength. On the contrary, it will proliferate greatly, becoming a ferocious hunger because of the paucity of spiritual sustenance. This is the mystery of Amos’ prophecy: “And I will send a hunger in the land… to hear the word of God.” (Amos 8:11) Pay close attention to his words when he says, “and I will send a hunger in the land”, for the hunger will manifest in the land, in Eretz Yisrael after the stage of its rebuilding. Then, balance will return to the Jewish camp, the synthesis of “Torah and material greatness in one place”, a mighty soul in a strong and powerful body.[2]

[1] See Eitz Chaim 6:3, Leshem Shevo V’Achlama, Hakdamos V’Shiurim 2.

[2] The Ramchal explains that the reason the Pekidah takes place in such a way, with a darkness and weakening of the Torah, is a kind of diversion to escape the notice of the negative forces. Man’s awareness would cause the matter to become revealed – it is only when something is not readily understood, it remains hidden and concealed. Therefore, because the power of the negative forces has not yet been nullified, the Pekidah must appear via all kinds of convoluted and confused ways, so that it will neither become known or understood that its redemptive nature so that they will not rise against it and prevent it from taking place. It is only after the matter has been firmly established and the negative forces have been sufficiently weakened, that Zechirah will arrive and reveal the meaning behind the entire process, from the beginning. In the words of the Ramchal: It is referring to the time of Pekidah that the verse states, “I called to You and I wasn’t answered.” (Shir HaShirim 5:6) for it is only a temporary situation, for fear of the Other Side… However, during the time of the Zechira, the effect will remain forever, for there will no longer be any fear of the Other Side. The rectification of redemption will begin from Pekidah, but its secret will only be known to the wise. However, because it will be concealed, and not revealed, it will appear like the situation of a fetus in the womb, before the child is born. But when the time of Zechirah will arrive and all its rectifications will be revealed, this will be likened to the birth of the child. At that time, “Hashem has gathered in my shame” (Bereishis 30:23). For, the entire time of Pekidah, rectifications are being accomplished, but because the Other Side is powerful, these rectifications remain incomplete, as we have learned. And this (heresy) causes much shame. But in the time of Zechira, the fear of the Other Side will decrease so that all the rectifications can be completed and the shame will pass.” (Razin D’Genizin, p.236.)

Rav Reuven Sasson
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