Description: Chapter 2 - 02
Section III – Chapter 2 - 02
The Ramchal now explains how its possible for a tzaddik, or a navi to perform miracles at will. How can they bend the natural world to do as they please – as we find that Eliyahu and Elisha, and much later Rav Pinchas ben Yair, split the Yarden to cross it, and many other such examples of miracles, not the least being reviving the dead, which both Eliyahu and Elisha did, and many Tannaim and Amoraim could.
As we discussed earlier, Hashem created many ways to call out to Him and become close to Him, which are the ‘shaimos,’ the holy names of Hashem. Each name is associated with a different aspect of hashpa’ah, each one brings down a different energy and power from Heaven. Being that every single part of creation is bound to higher spiritual powers, and they get their characteristics and behavior from the spiritual influx of power and energy, the hashpa’ah of ruchniyos, when that is altered, their behavior will change as well.
When a tzaddik calls out to Hashem, using Hashem’s name, and the usage of that name brings down a special shefah from Heaven, a spiritual energy which translates into a physical energy, he can change the way the world works, a shinuy hatevah. Eliyahu or Elisha called out to Hashem using one of His holy names, and thereby created a spiritual force, which translated into a physical energy in the water, which prevented the Yarden from flowing any further, creating a virtual wall blocking its progress. Through connecting to Hashem in this special way, they were able to daven and bring down this awesome force into this world, which by definition altered the normal pace of the natural world.
There is a whole other way which a person can affect a ‘shinuy hatevah,’ a miraculous occurrence. Hashem placed many angels in charge of different aspects of the world. We have discussed that there are many hundreds of thousands of angels, perhaps millions, which are assigned to every level of the physical world, and they are overseen by greater angels, who are in turn overseen by greater angels, and so on, until the highest level just before Hashem is reached. These angels have proscribed jobs and missions, how to conduct the natural world, but they have the inherent power to do differently, and to change how the natural world under their dominion behaves. The angel in charge of water can have water flow naturally, downhill with gravity, as it is meant to, but also possesses the ability to have water flow upwards and surge, and create a wall, or attack the Egyptians, and so on.
Hashem designed these angels so that they are bound to Hashem’s name, that when the proper name of Hashem is mentioned, which is associated with the power entrusted to those angels, they will be forced to perform with greater strength or different characteristics, based on the way the name of Hashem is applied. This is the concept referred to in midrashim as ‘hashba’ah,’ which means forcing the angels to do as the person desires through invoking the name of Hashem which controls them. This is another method of changing the natural world and performing a miracle.