P. 1
Parshas Terumah-English (1)

Parshas Terumah-English (1)

|Views: 15,425|Likes:
Rav Morgenshtern on the Parasha
Rav Morgenshtern on the Parasha

More info:

Published by: Harav Michael Elkohen on Feb 15, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

07/11/2013

pdf

text

original

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Terumah

Shalosh Seudos1 of Parshas Terumah 5767
ֹ‫"וְ עָ שׂוּ אֲ רוֹן עֲצֵ י שׁטּים: אַ מָּ תַ יִ ם וָחֵ צי אָרכּוֹ, וְ אַ מָּ ה וָחֵ צי רחבּוֹ, וְ אַ מָּ ה וָחֵ צי קֹמָ תוֹ. וְ צפּיתָ אֹתו‬ ִ ִ ִ ְ ָ ִ ְ ִ ִ ִ ".‫זָהב טהוֹר, מבַּ יִ ת וּמחוּץ תּצַ פֶּ נּוּ; וְ עָ שׂיתָ עָ לָיו זֵר זָהָ ב, סביב‬ ִ ָ ִ ְ ִ ִ ָ ָ
“And they shall make an ark of acacia-wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length of it, and a cubit and a half the breadth of it, and a cubit and a half the height of it. And you shall overlay it with pure gold, within and without shall you overlay it, and shall make upon it a crown of gold round about.”2

Rashi explains: “‘Within and without shall you overlay it’—Betzalel made three arks; two of gold and one of wood, and each had four walls and a bottom and were open from above. The wooden one was placed between the two arks of gold... ‘A crown of gold’—it was [a border] like a crown that surrounded it from above at its edge. The outermost ark was made higher than the inner one so that it extended slightly above the thickness of the kapores. When the kapores sat upon the thicknesses of the walls of the inner two arks, the crown extended somewhat higher than the thickness of the kapores, and it was meant to represent the ‘crown of Torah.’” The Soul of Moshe Rabbeinu It is well known that Moshe Rabbeinu was the root of all of the souls of future Torah scholars, and this is why the sages were also sometimes referred to as “Moshe”— as in, “Moshe, well said.”3 There is an aspect of the soul of Moshe Rabbeinu that is enclothed within each and every limb of true Torah scholars.4 However, this is on the
1 2

The lesson was delivered at the third meal of Shabbos. Shemos 25:10-11 3 Shabbos 101b; See Likutei Moharan I:4. 4 Likutei Moharan I:72 3

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Terumah

condition that the scholar studies every part of the Torah, both its revealed and hidden elements, and does not only focus on a single subject. The soul of Moshe Rabbeinu comprises aspects of the souls of both redeemers, Moshiach ben Yosef and Moshiach ben Dovid. The former is associated with the hidden Torah, and the latter with the revealed Torah. For this reason, if a person wants a spark of the soul of Moshe Rabbeinu to be enclothed within him to the extent that he himself is called after Moshe’s name, he must study every part of the Torah. Then he will be able to render halachic decisions that are absolutely Torah-true. This conforms with the teaching of the Chid”a, z”l, that it seems as though it would be impossible for any scholar to properly decide Torah law unless he derived from the tribe of Levi [who were blessed to be the teachers of the Jewish people]. However, by virtue of the scholar binding himself to the light of Moshe Rabbeinu who did indeed derive from the tribe of Levi, Moshe Rabbeinu’s soul is enclothed in him and he is able to render Torah-true judgments. “Moshe Rabbeinu Transmitted the Torah to Yehoshua” It is vital to be aware that the only one to receive the entire Torah was Moshe Rabbeinu, and he transmitted it with self-sacrifice to Yehoshua.5 [The term for transmission in Hebrew is mesirah, which is meant to also convey the concept of selfsacrifice or mesirus nefesh.] Yehoshua is the paradigm of the true tzaddik who binds himself to the soul of Moshe Rabbeinu, and by doing so becomes worthy of receiving from him the entire Torah. Without such binding, the scholar is only learning Torah at the lesser levels of Yehoshua’s “transmission to the elders, and the elders to the prophets...” This transmission was to multiple people at each level after the first, it is more diffused, and it is lesser than the “receiving” attributed to Moshe Rabbeinu alone.6 It was only Yehoshua who, by completely binding himself to the soul of Moshe Rabbeinu, merited to receive Torah in its entirety.
5 6

Pirkei Avos 1:1 Sefer Halikkutim, Parshas Ekev #8 4

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Terumah

The Mystery of Chanoch The Raavad in his commentary to the Sefer Yetzirah and the Bris Menuchah both explain that, to receive the Torah in its entirety, Moshe Rabbeinu had to ascend to the level of MaTaT [this is the angel/spiritual channel responsible for the Divine conduct of the weekdays, and is associated with the Mishnah, Ze’ir Anpin, and the world of Yetzirah / Formation], the spiritual “being” into whom Chanoch ben Yered was transformed. [This is not meant to be understood literally; these are symbolic references to soul states.] Chanoch ben Yered was Moshe Rabbeinu’s spiritual mentor.7 This is why any Jew who wants to merit to receive the “crown” of Torah must become incorporated within the soul of Moshe Rabbeinu, which is the revelation of the level of MaTaT / Chanoch. We know that Chanoch ben Yered was a shoemaker who “made yichudim” with each and every stitch. Rav Menachem Azariah MiPano explains that he recited Boruch Shem with every single stitch.8 Shoes represent all that exists outside the “form of Adam”—the lower worlds of Beriyah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah which have a character of division and separation. This was the greatness of Chanoch; that he was able to “sew shoes”—to sew and bind up all of the lower worlds to their source by drawing down the light of Hashem’s G-dliness into every area of obscurity. The letters of the word for sewing, ø"ôåú, are a re-shuffling of the letters of the word ú"øåô, as in, “Ben Porat Yosef...”—the biblical praise of Yosef HaTzaddik. The word [including its kollel] has a numerical value of 687, which is the total gematria of the permutations of the Divine Name: à"ð÷ ,â"î÷ ,à"ñ÷ ,ï"á ,ä"î ,â"ñ ,á"ò [72+63+45+52+161+143+151=687]. This joining of the external and the internal is symbolized by the two golden keruvim that overshadowed the kapores—the pair represented the angels MaTaT and SaNDaL, each associated with the respective worlds of Yetzirah and Asiyah, the respective aspects of Ze’ir Anpin [masculine] and Nukvah

7 8

Likutei Torah, Bereishis Asarah Ma’amaros III:22, “Eim Kol Chai” 5

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Terumah

[feminine].9 The angel MaTaT constantly unites the aspects of the Holy One and His Shechinah in the most lofty manner; he rises to the level of SaNDaL through “sewing shoes,” and by bestowing Hashem’s light onto the darkest places, he merits the light of the source of the Torah, the Torah of Atikah Sesima’ah. The Three Lights of Chashmal Before his sin, Adam HaRishon existed on the level of nefesh-ruach-neshamah within the world of Atzilus and embodied the aspect of the “supernal shine.”10 Chanoch was also at this level of the “supernal shine,” and the verse referred to him when it said, “I have been a youth and I have also aged, and I have never seen a tzaddik abandoned and his progeny begging for bread.”11 First, Chanoch came to the aspect of “holy youth” or the mochin d’achor [Divine awareness which is less complete and requires preliminary explanation], then he came to the aspect of “holy age” or mochin d’pnim [Divine awareness that is more complete], and finally he arrived at the level where he was able to make use of both types of awareness. [This is the implication of, “I have been a youth and I have also aged...”] This is the meaning of his name: Chanoch ben Yered, Chanoch who yarad, descended, to ensure that the lights of the highest levels reached all the way to the lowermost places so that they could be “bound up” with their source. These three levels are alluded to in the concept of Chashmal [this is the “electric” flashing fire of Yechezkel’s vision, which comprises the chash or “quiet” energy, along with the mal or “noisy” energy].12 At first, the true tzaddik apprehends the Torah’s teachings in the aspect of mal—in that he speaks words of Torah and shares them with the public. Afterward, the tzaddik ascends to the level of chash, of silence, when he begins to apprehend Hashem’s light that transcends the Torah’s teachings that can be shared orally. This is the aspect of the Torah’s inner dimension and mysteries
9

See Kehillas Yaakov on the subject of the keruvim. Zohar Shir HaShirim, “Ma’amar Adam v’Chanoch”; Emek HaMelech 5:32; Nahar Shalom 22b 11 Tehillim 37:25 12 Yechezkel 1:27
10

6

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Terumah

which are not meant to be shared publicly. Whatever the tzaddik actually shares is in the aspect of mal, the externalized aspect of the Torah’s secrets and not the secrets themselves. At first, the tzaddik exists in the state of “holy youth”—when he reveals Torah teachings publicly. Later, he ascends to the state of “holy age”—when he is silent. When that happens, it is possible to receive more illumination from him through seeing his face than it is from hearing his words of Torah. Ultimately, the tzaddik reaches the level of Chashmal, where both aspects of youth and age exist simultaneously—this is called the “370 lights of the crown.” At this stage, the tzaddik resumes sharing Torah teachings orally without it being any kind of a descent from the level he achieved in the silent state. He has ascended so high that he is bound up with Hashem Himself, and he is transformed into a “spinner of parables” like Shlomo HaMelech and other tzaddikim, and those stories are associated with the light of Chashmal as the Baal HaTanya explains. The tale / ma’aseh / ä"ùòî contains the same letters as the compound ä"î-ò"ù, that the aspect of M”H / Ze’ir Anpin can approach the level of the “370 lights of the crown” (ò"ù). This is the inner meaning of Megillas Esther; it is a deep tale that is at the high level of the 370 lights, like the stories of the tzaddik who makes use of the mochin d’achor [which requires the use of introductions and parables] in order to get to the mochin d’pnim, complete Divine awareness which is at the heart of the matter. Then, the aspects of youth and age are combined into something that is greater than the sum of its parts. The construction of the ark embodies the process of attaining these three levels. First, the outermost level is of gold; the tzaddik shares Torah teachings publicly, teachings that are “more desirable than gold, than an abundance of the finest gold.”13 Then, the tzaddik enters into the state of silent dveikus. This parallels the middle-most box of shittim [cedar] wood, because in the silent state, the tzaddik appears to be a shoteh, a fool, who has nothing worthwhile to say. Afterward, the tzaddik comes to the ultimate level of unified Chashmal, at which his words of
13

Tehillim 19:11 7

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Terumah

Torah have been infused with the light of dveikus. He returns to the aspect of gold, but this time for the purpose of sharing the “crown of Torah” with even the most benighted of Jewish souls. The two keruvim assumed the form of children to teach us that this is what Hashem really wants from us; to connect to Him in a simple and childlike way that surpasses logic and thinking, and that even surpasses “lights” and feelings. Just as a father, out of love for his child, will lower himself to teach his son the alphabet, so too does the “surrounding crown” sit upon the outermost ark, which represents reaching out to teach the Jewish people. The crown rises up past the level of the kapores and approaches the keruvim to represent the preciousness of the efforts of even the simplest Jew to connect to Hashem. Bearing the Ark We find in the Gemara that Dovid HaMelech was punished because he called Torah teachings, “melodies.”14 As the verse says, “Your injunctions were melodies to me...”15 He called them melodies because he had reached the level of the 370 lights, ò"ù ïéøåäð, where the Torah is a pure delight and where he took pleasure, òåùòù, in his study. However, the sages taught that Dovid’s statement led to the Divine orchestration of his stumbling into an error that even young children would have known to avoid: he had the returning ark carried on a wagon rather than borne on the shoulders of its carriers, as the Torah mandates.16 The shoulders are associated with the mochin d’achor, the “youthlike” mentality where holy concepts still must be explained through introductions and parables, and it is precisely on such shoulders that Hashem wants the ark to be carried. The bearing of the ark on the shoulders symbolizes Hashem’s desire that we serve Him not only when His words are melodious to us, but when we must “put our shoulder to it” and carry the yoke
14 15

Sotah 35a Tehillim 119:54 16 Divrei HaYamim I:13 8

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Terumah

no matter what we are going through in our lives. And it is only those tzaddikim who lower themselves to share Torah with even the simplest of Jews who really have a soul connection with the entirety of Torah; the word Yisrael itself is an acronym of the phrase äøåúì úåéúåà àåáø íéùù ùé—“There are six hundred thousand letters to the Torah”—and each Jewish soul parallels a letter. Only tzaddikim like Moshe Rabbeinu and Mordechai HaYehudi, who worked to save the greatest to the least, “from the youngest to the most aged,”17 merit to receive the crown of Torah. All of this is represented by the shoulders, for it was upon the shoulders that the kohen gadol bore the ephod where all of the names of the twelve tribes were inscribed. Only those who bear the twelve tribes on their shoulders are worthy of receiving the crown of Torah. This was Dovid HaMelech’s error—that he placed the ark on the wagon. The word for wagon, äìâò, has a numerical value of 108, which is the sum of the two Divine Names ä"éäà and íé÷ìà [21+87=108]. These two Names are associated with the levels of Binah and Malchus within the world of Atzilus—and this teaches us that Dovid HaMelech was only connected at that time to the feminine aspect in the highest of the four worlds, at a time when he needed to be connected with all of the souls in the lower three worlds, to draw down Hashem’s light so that these souls would be uplifted. In the end, however, the sages taught that Dovid HaMelech did bear the ark upon the shoulder, and was worthy of the crown of Torah. Standing before Hashem A tzaddik with the character of Chanoch ben Yered, who has passed through these three levels into the center of the ark where the tablets actually rest, doesn’t make distinctions between the times when he feels more or less elevated spiritually. It doesn’t matter to him whether or not he feels inspired by Shabbos or by his prayers, because he is living the truth of the teaching of the Baal HaTanya, that when a person really knows that he is speaking directly to Hashem in prayer, it isn’t possible for him to lose his
17

Esther 3:13 9

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Terumah

focus. He is always in the state of “face-to-face” contact with Hashem. So too, anyone who wants to experience the Torah’s light “face-to-face” must also never lose his focus. Even if he is temporarily in a slump, even if he is feeling the bitterness which is the work of Amalek [ø"î = í"ø = ÷ìîò; Amalek has the same gematria as the word for pride as well as bitterness] and despairs of ever reaching his spiritual goals, he must learn to do as the tzaddikim do. They ignore these feelings and doubts which are the work of Amalek and which are only designed to make them forget that they are in Hashem’s presence, and return to the awareness of the “face-to-face” relationship that exists. When “facing” Hashem, there isn’t any time to pay attention to thoughts of bitterness and doubt, the experience is one of dveikus, and it is in the merit of such focus that they come to have the soul of Moshe Rabbeinu enclothed within them. This is also true of Torah study, since the Torah is constantly being given by the Giver of the Torah, Hashem Himself. One must study Torah in the face-to-face state, just as the Torah was given—“Hashem spoke with you face to face...”18 When we fail to do this, the Torah falls into the hands of the Pelishtim, as it were, who were the first to place the ark within the wagon when it was captured among them. They placed it there to obstruct the Jewish people’s ability to “bear it on the shoulder,” to reveal Hashem’s glory in every single place and situation. The essence of the Pelishtim was cynicism, and their mission was to dampen the enthusiasm of the Jewish people for dveikus.19 This is the exact opposite of our purpose here in this world—we are to stand against the heretical opinion of Amalek and his ilk who claim that it is impossible to have a relationship with Hashem. There is no situation that is divorced from the possibility of dveikus. This lesson can be learned from the verse, “I will fulfill the number of your days...” The sages taught that this indicates that Moshe Rabbeinu died on the same day he was born—the seventh of Adar.21 The light of Hashem is revealed from the very
18 19

20

Devarim 5:4 Avodah Zara 19a 20 Shemos 23:26 21 Yalkut Shimoni, Devarim #3 10

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Terumah

place of darkness and obscurity, and the tzaddik is not discomfited by the challenge because he knows that Hashem wants him to uplift all of the Divine sparks from the furthest places. This is why the name of Shlomo HaMelech, who married a thousand women from every nation in his attempt to rectify the klippas nogah, bears the same letters as the word, “to Moshe”—äùîì. Only someone like Shlomo HaMelech merits to have the soul of Moshe enclothed within him. The Power of Simplicity We find in the verse that when the Pelishtim placed the ark on the wagons, “the heifers began to sing.”22 [Literally, the phrase úåøôä äðøùéå means that the cattle took the straight way even though they were not driven, however the use of the word va’yashorna can also be read to mean, “and they sang.”] When the Shechinah descends like Esther into the place of impurity, into the three lower worlds, and the Jewish soul feels distant from Hashem, we must remember the secret of the heifers that sang when the ark was upon them. The song of the cattle represents the singing of the angels that are compared to different holy paradigms of beasts. Whenever a Jew feels bitter because of his distance from Hashem, he should feel abashed for having forgotten that he is really always standing before Him. The feeling of distance was only orchestrated from above so that he would remember the secret of the heifers that sang. If he will only continue to do his simple Divine service of praising Hashem and reciting prayers and Tehillim, he will merit to embody the loftiest service of the angels who also sing Hashem’s praises. Rav Yisroel of Ruzhin taught that the recitation of Tehillim is the hardest Divine service of all for the tzaddikim; in truth, it is the loftiest form of service to recite Tehillim just as the simplest Jew does, with complete simplicity, like the “heifers that sing.” It was for this reason that Mordechai was known as “Mordechai HaYehudi”— Mordechai the Jew—because it was his highest aspiration to be a plain, simple Jew.
22

Shmuel I:6:12 11

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Terumah

This means knowing that we are always “face-to-face” [íéðôá íéðô, which also means “in the innermost place” of the ark], that the only thing that really exists is Hashem Himself. When a person knows that, he is constantly inspired to sing Hashem’s praises and is in a constant state of dveikus. Then, the keruvim embrace and the smoke of the offerings rises straight to heaven, to symbolize that closeness with Hashem and all of our fellow Jews is the real offering that Hashem desires from us. He wants us to make no distinction between the “greater” and the “lesser,” just as He wants us to pay no attention to the difference between how we feel when we are succeeding “more” or “less” in attaining our spiritual goals. “Let Your Soul Know Wisdom” This is the meaning of: "êùàøì øúë àéäå êùôðì äîëç äòã"—“Let your soul (nefesh) know (d’ei) wisdom (Chochmah) and it will be a crown (Kesser) for your head.”23 We must acquire the Torah’s wisdom in a way that it can penetrate down to the level of nefesh, Malchus. This relates to the Talmudic teaching that Mordechai taught the laws of kemitzah to the scholars of his time. Kemitzah is the technique of taking an exact handful for part of the offerings, but it also alludes to contraction within oneself— the need for a person to occasionally close himself off from others so that he can develop a one-on-One relationship with Hashem. Afterward, he needs to take the light of this private contact with Hashem and use it to uplift other Jews, like the terumah and tenufah offerings, and help them to learn Torah in a state of dveikus. Through this, he will come to another meaning of kemitzah—the aspect of Kesser [which is associated with the vowel komatz]. “It will be a crown to your head”—to the three head-points of the Kesser which allude to the three parts of the ark. For this reason, Mordechai HaTzaddik, the Baal Shem Tov, and many other tzaddikim taught children, because they were like the keruvim and teaching them is the ultimate expression of their ability to descend to the level of each and every Jew to help
23

From the Shabbos zemer “D’ror Yikrah,” based on Mishlei 24:14. 12

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Terumah

them become closer to Hashem. Similarly, the megillah itself appears to only be a simple story, yet it is filled with hints and allusions to the Divine Name—for the tzaddik is always revealing that which is hidden [Megillas Esther = megaleh hester = revealing the hidden]. May Hashem help us to enter into all of these aspects of Divine service so that we will never be thrown off course by any darkness in any situation. On the contrary, may any encounter with darkness inspire us to devote ourselves to study Torah in the way of the “face-to-face” relationship. The clearest and best way to do this is to recite Kriyas Shema with love for Hashem. May we merit to study Torah knowing and feeling how vital it is for us, in a state of dveikus. Then we will come to the level of the two keruvim and raise Queen Esther, the Shechinah, out of her exile with the arrival of our righteous redeemer, speedily and in our days. Amen

Translated and Adapted by Rav Micha Golshevsky.

13

Derech Eitz Hachayim

Part Eight

Derech Eitz Hachayim
Part Eight: Drawing the Torah Down to Earth

“And Hashem Was Mis’aber within Me, for Your Sakes” Aside from the innovations in the study of Kabbalah that chassidus brought, we need to consider that the Baal Shem Tov himself inaugurated a spiritual development which is significant on its own merit. Some essential change came about with the advent of chassidus that goes beyond opening up a new perspective in the study of Kabbalah; it is more elemental than that. It is a “new Torah that will come forth from Him.” We can begin to explore the matter by drawing upon the words of the Arizal: “In every generation, Moshe appears in the manner of ibur [which is alluded to in the words, ‘vayisaber Hashem bi’—not only that Hashem was angry with Moshe, but that Hashem brought Moshe to the state of ibur]…once every fifty years, because he is the source of the Jewish people [i.e. Moshe is a ‘collective soul’ that is bound up with all of the souls of the Jewish people] and can repair them… Moshe prayed many prayers that he should not have to return in the state of ibur in every generation [which is different from reincarnation—it is the indwelling of his spark within another Jew in order to serve a particular purpose]. But he was not answered. This is why he said, ‘And Hashem was mis’aber within me, for your sakes…’—I will have to return in the state of ibur every generation for your sakes, because of you… The meaning of ‘for your sakes’ is, in order to repair you… This is the deeper meaning of the fact that Moshe’s name was repeated [when Hashem was first revealed to him at the burning bush], ‘Moshe Moshe!’ without the Torah indicating a pause between the two calls. [Note: This is different from the three other prophets—Avraham, Yaakov and Shmuel—who were called by Hashem with a repetition of their names. In the other cases, there is a psik to indicate a pause. This highlights the vastly different nature of Moshe Rabbeinu’s prophecy when compared with other prophets.] The lack of a pause indicates that he
14

Derech Eitz Hachayim

Part Eight

comes in every generation, ‘He was numbered with the transgressors, yet bore the sin of many,’ for it is through him that the forgiveness of the sins of the generations is finalized, as well as the sin of Adam and Chavah.”1 We see, then, that the soul of Moshe Rabbeinu returns in every generation; at the very least, it returns at those times when the Jewish people sink so deeply into exile that they are at risk of forgetting the Torah, G-d forbid. At such times, Hashem provided the cure in anticipation of the malady and drew down a new and more powerful revelation of the Torah via the soul of Moshe Rabbeinu as it was revealed in each of those periods. We find a presage of this concept in the words of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai himself, who disagreed with the sages and declared that the Torah would not be forgotten among the Jewish people. As Rebbe Nachman taught (and as printed in the front matter of Likutei Moharan), Rabbi Shimon alluded to himself and the revelation of his own Sefer HaZohar when he asserted that the Torah would not be forgotten, no matter how deep we descend in exile. [‫ כי לא תשכח מפי זרעו‬has the final letters that spell out the name Yochai. The Torah will not be forgotten because of the seed of Yochai, who is Rabbi Shimon himself.] This is the principle that underlies Rebbe Nachman’s statement, “From the time of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai—who was a soul of astounding originality—the world was quiet until the Arizal. Meaning, between Rabbi Shimon and the Arizal’s times, no Torah that was original in the manner of Rashbi’s was revealed in the world throughout that long period [approximately 1500 years]. This lasted until the Arizal arrived, who was also a complete original, as is known. He revealed completely new Torah concepts; until his time, there was no one who could have revealed such concepts. From the Arizal the world was, again, quiet and lacking chiddush until the Baal Shem Tov came. He was a wondrous chiddush and he revealed truly new concepts. From the Baal Shem Tov until now, the world has also been quiet and lacking such a chiddush; the world has simply continued along in accordance with the
1

Sefer Halikutim, Parshas Va’eschanan, “Vayis’aber Hashem Bi” 15

Derech Eitz Hachayim

Part Eight

revelations made by the Baal Shem Tov. That is, until I [Rebbe Nachman of Breslov] came, and now I have begun to reveal completely wondrous new Torah concepts…”2 We also heard from Rebbe Nachman that, from his time until Moshiach’s arrival, there will be no further descent of truly fresh and new Torah. [Note: This does not mean chiddushim in the conventional sense, but rather completely new pathways in Torah that are sent to the world at specific stages of the exile via particular souls, in order to preserve the Jewish people. Torah chiddushim are always being developed by scholars; that is not the bigger revelation described here.] Our understanding of the matter is developed even further when we look to the tradition handed down among the original Breslovers. [Note: Rebbe Nachman’s main student was Reb Nosson; his main student was Rav Nachman of Tulchin; Rav Nachman of Tulchin passed on the tradition to his son, who is known as Rav Avraham b’Rav Nachman, who authored the work Kochvei Ohr, among others.] Rav Avraham b’Rav Nachman states that the process of drawing the Torah down into the world is carried out by five unique souls that existed during different periods; these are souls that Hashem chose to serve as vehicles to reveal truly new concepts. The Torah was first given by Moshe Rabbeinu. “…Afterward, in our descent into this final exile with its destruction of the second Beis Hamikdash that has made it so much more severe—which has led to our sinking into the fiftieth gate [of impurity] and falling constantly deeper beneath the breakers of the sea of the sitra achra—Hashem sent the cure in anticipation of the malady. Ten years before the churban, the soul of Rabbi Akiva awoke and he was driven to learn and to teach Torah, until he became worthy of having had the Torah given through him.3 [We see here that the sages also drew a parallel between the soul of Moshe Rabbeinu and the soul of Rabbi Akiva. Yet Rabbi Akiva’s originally army of students fell and he was left with only five new students, one of whom was Rabbi

2 3

Chayei Moharan, #279 (#39 of the section, “Gedulas Nora’os Hasagaso”) Sanhedrin 21a 16

Derech Eitz Hachayim

Part Eight

Shimon bar Yochai. He entrusted the revealed Torah to another, and the hidden Torah to Rabbi Shimon.] “Rabbi Akiva’s student, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, later joined together with him so thoroughly that he became worthy of receiving ‘a double measure of his rebbe’s spirit’—it was to him that Rabbi Akiva gave permission to reveal the hidden Torah to the world. Rabbi Shimon is rooted in the fiftieth gate of holiness, because he was invested with an element of the soul of Moshe. With that investiture, he rose even higher, as Rabbi Shimon declared in the Idra: ‘And Moshe did not know…yet I do know.’4 (See the Ohr Yakar of the Ramak on Tikunei Zohar I:89 and in the Ohr Hachamah II:141, and similarly what we find in the Semichas Chachamim on the beginning of Bava Metzia.) And even though the increasing corruption of the generations to follow caused Rabbi Shimon’s teachings to be hidden for hundreds of years, ultimately Hashem did extract it from its sheath, from hiding, until the time when his soul again descended within the Arizal, who began again to reveal more of the hidden Torah. This process repeated itself with the Baal Shem Tov, who continued with his work. From the Baal Shem Tov’s own line came the soul of our master and teacher, Rebbe Nachman, whose teachings and tales are themselves the hidden Torah and in its innermost part, sourced in the fiftieth gate. They are crucial in the bringing about of our final and everlasting redemption.”5 Rav Avraham b’Rav Nachman expanded on this subject in his comment to a statement of Rebbe Nachman’s: “Hashem is always running the world better and better”—the process of spiritual development is constantly getting more refined. “In Egypt, when the Jewish people were on the lowest level, in the forty-ninth gate of impurity, Hashem’s mercy was aroused and he sent them a faithful shepherd, Moshe Rabbeinu, to redeem them. Afterward, at the time of the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, His mercy was aroused and He sent them Ezra HaSofer ‘who was worthy [of having had the Torah given through him], had it not been that Moshe came first…’
4 5

Zohar III:132b Kochvei Ohr, Sichos v’Sippurim #38; Beiur Halikutim, end of lesson 22 17

Derech Eitz Hachayim

Part Eight

At the time of the destruction of the second Beis Hamikdash, when our [suffering] was severe, He raised up the ‘holy flame,’ Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. After that, the spark of Moshiach began [to be revealed by way of] the Arizal. Afterward, Hashem had mercy upon the generations that are continuing to diminish [spiritually], and He raised up the holy Baal Shem Tov and his students. Afterward, the hearts [capacity for spiritual perception] diminished even further, until—by the time Rebbe Nachman was born—the Baal Shem Tov’s light was beginning to set [on the horizon]. G-d’s mercy was aroused greatly, and He sent our holy Rebbe [Nachman of Breslov], who will serve to prepare [the way] until Moshiach arrives.”6 All of these five unique souls are all [manifestations of] the soul of Moshe. “It is known from the writings of the Arizal that, even though there was never a prophet among the Jewish people who could compare to Moshe, nevertheless he himself will arise again to redeem us from this exile as well. Moshiach is Moshe [the collective soulquality of Moshe, because only an all-encompassing soul can redeem all of the elements of the Jewish people]. '‫‘—'מה שהיה הוא שיהיה‬That which was [the initials spell Moshe], will be’ our final redeemer as well, with even more force. [Note: We should not be confused about the fact that Moshe is not from the line of Dovid. When the qualities of the redeemer are complete—the aspects of Dovid and Yosef—this is called the completed state of the soul of Moshe the redeemer.] He will come [fully invested] with the [awareness] of the fiftieth gate [which he only reached completely upon his death at Har Nevo—‫ ,]נ' בו‬and he will grasp it completely.”7 “Who for us is as great as Moshe Rabbeinu himself… [And he] needed to die and leave his world. But, in the end, he will surely finish… [Note: This echoes Rebbe Nachman’s final message, ‘I have been victorious and I will be victorious; I have finished and I will finish.’ Moshe Rabbeinu’s attribute is Netzach; Rebbe Nachman passed away on the third day of Chol Hamo’ed Sukkos, which is the day of Moshe Rabbeinu.] And from generation to generation, as well, when the destructive forces
6 7

Kochvei Ohr, end of Sippurim Nifla’im. Ibid., Introduction to the section Chochmah u’Binah, #42; Sichos v’Sippurim, from #36 onward. 18

Derech Eitz Hachayim

Part Eight

became overwhelming…and destroyed the dwelling place of supernal holiness [i.e. the first Beis Hamikdash] and the second Bayis as well…it was specifically then, during the most fierce period of destruction, that his [Moshe’s] nefesh and ruach returned within the ‘holy flame’ of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, ‘in whom the faithful shepherd [Moshe] shone,’8 and revealed the hidden Torah to us… It was hidden and secreted away again for several hundred more years until Hashem, in His pity, restored it to reappear and shine upon us as the second light, the Arizal, began to rise. It descended again in a ‘three-ply cord’ [‘…that is not easily sundered’], the Baal Shem Tov, but destructive forces rose up against him… Then the ‘crown of the elders are their grandchildren’ came, and our master Rebbe Nachman emerged from him. ‘This is the one who will console us [‫9”.]נחמן = ינחמנו‬ We learn from this that these five unique souls each drew down a new Torah to the world; and what is more, each one drew down a higher and more innovative Torah than that which had preceded him. In the beginning, when Moshe descended form the mountain to the people, he only revealed the written Torah [meaning, the “revealed” Torah of laws which are fully expounded in what we call the “written and oral Torah”]. When his soul manifested the second time, as Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, he drew down the hidden Torah which is loftier than the revealed Torah. Even so, he only revealed the Zohar alone [which is very cryptic and prone to misinterpretation]. Later, when he was manifest within the neshamah of the Arizal, he revealed the proper understanding of the words of the Zohar. Afterward, when he was manifest within the soul of the Baal Shem Tov, he drew down a new Torah that was even loftier than all of the others that had been revealed previously—this is the innermost vitality of the Kabbalah [meaning, its relationship to avodah]. And this is also true of the final manifestation of Moshe Rabbeinu’s soul, within the soul of Rabbeinu Hakadosh [Rebbe Nachman of Breslov], as we will explain shortly.

8 9

Zohar, Parshas Pinchas 256a Biur Halikutim, Part II, 71:31 19

Derech Eitz Hachayim

Part Eight

Chassidus: The Chayah and Yechidah of the Hidden Torah The common denominator among all of these five unique souls is that they drew the hidden aspect of the Torah down into the world. (The Torah’s revealed aspect is drawn down through a different means.) These five parallel the five soul-aspects of nefesh, ruach, neshamah, chayah and yechidah within the hidden Torah, and they entered the world in order, from lowest to highest. [Note: As the Torah has been revealed and “brought down” lower and lower, i.e. by making it more explained and more accessible, the spiritual force that enables this revelation is higher and higher.] It is known that the levels of chayah and yechidah are always “bound and exist together, and dwell as one.” The five soul-levels parallel the four letters of the Shem HaVaYaH together with the apex of the primary yud—the kutzo shel yud. The nefesh corresponds to the final hei; the ruach corresponds to the vav; the neshamah corresponds to the first hei; the chayah to the primary yud; and the yechidah to the apex of that yud. Since the primary yud and its apex are essentially a single letter, we know that chayah and yechidah—while they remain two distinct aspects and revelations—are nevertheless a single matter, since they are nearly equal. This is also true of the final two revelations that descended by way of the Baal Shem Tov and Rebbe Nachman of Breslov; in relation to the three levels that preceded them, they are like a single entity. And just as the preceding three are like the nefesh-ruach-neshamah aspects, so too are they of an entirely different nature when compared to the much loftier revelations that came by way of the Baal Shem Tov and Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. Before them, for thousands of years, it was too easy to fall into misunderstandings and misapplications of the wisdom of Kabbalah. But, what is perhaps more important, the path of chassidus brought down the vitality and essence [chayah and yechidah] of the wisdom of Kabbalah. This is the true inner nature of the teachings of chassidus. Yesterday and Today Based on what we have just learned, one might conclude that the later we travel in time, the higher we are compared to earlier generations. That is untrue; no one would
20

Derech Eitz Hachayim

Part Eight

ever come to such a conclusion [since we see clearly how the generations have grown smaller and weaker spiritually]. As the sages said, “If the earlier generations were like angels, then we are like mere human beings. And they were human beings, then we are like donkeys.” Shlomo HaMelech, in his wisdom, wrote, “Do not say, ‘What made it so that the earlier times were better than now, for you have not asked about this from wisdom.”10 Rashi explains, “Because the earlier generations were better and more righteous than the later ones, and that is why the earlier times were better than now. It is impossible that the latter times should be like the earlier times.”11 The underlying meaning of Rashi’s words is rooted into a spiritual axiom: the manner in which the higher spiritual faculties [mochin] enter into the vessels is in inverse proportion to the mochin and the vessels. The order of the development of the mochin is always from below to above; first, the lower aspects of the mochin—of Netzach-Hod-Yesod—are drawn down, and after that the mochin of Chessed-GevurahTiferes, and only afterward are the uppermost mochin of Chochmah-Binah-Da’as drawn down. But when we speak of these mochin entering into vessels, the order is reversed, and flows from above to below. When seen synergistically, the mochin of NH”Y are drawn down first, but they enter into the uppermost veesels of CHaBaD. Afterward, the higher mochin of CHaGaT are drawn down, and they also enter into the higher vessels of CHaBaD; in so doing, they force the mochin of NH”Y that had been in the higher vessels to descend further, into the vessels of CHaGaT. Finally, when the mochin of CHaBaD, which are the loftiest of all, are drawn downward, they enter into the vessels of CHaBaD and force the mochin of CHaGaT into the vessels of CHaGaT, and the mochin of NH”Y into the vessels of NH”Y. In this way, the structure of mochin and vessels [or “lights and vessels”] is brought to completion, each element in its proper place. We see from this arrangement that there is an inverse relationship between the vessels and the lights; when the lowermost lights are drawn down, the uppermost
10 11

Koheles 7 See Rashi’s comment on the words, “Al Tomar,” as cited in Rosh Hashanah 25b 21

Derech Eitz Hachayim

Part Eight

vessels are used, and when the uppermost lights are drawn down, they cause the lowermost vessels to be engaged. The Baal HaSulam explained: “It is of the nature of the supernal light, that when it extends outward to the partzuf [conceptual structure], it chooses the loftiest vessels within the partzuf in which to rest. Therefore, when the light of nefesh [which is that of NH”Y] extends, it chooses its place among the uppermost vessels of the ‘first three’ [CHaBaD]. Afterward, when the light of ruach [i.e. CHaGaT], which is more important than that of nefesh, is drawn down, the light of nefesh clears the space of the vessels of the ‘first three’ for ruach, and the light of nefesh descends to the middlemost vessels. When the light of neshamah [i.e. CHaBaD], which is the most important of all, is drawn downward, the light of ruach makes space for it in the ‘first three’ and the light of ruach descends to its true place, which is NH”Y.”12 This dynamic is also described in the Eitz Chaim: “Know, that when the upper elements begin to develop [i.e. the vessels], and afterward the lower elements begin to develop, meaning when the mochin enter into them, the lowermost mochin enter first. However, from the side of the vessels of Ze’ir Anpin itself, it is the uppermost vessels that develop first. And this is clear.”13 This is also the pattern of the “entry of the mochin within Ze’ir Anpin” that takes place during the recitation of Shema and Shemonah Esrei, as is known to all those who have been initiated in this wisdom.14 This matter is discussed at length by the Baal HaSulam in a number of places as well.15 The basic idea is that the loftiest mochin are only drawn down last, when the lowermost vessels are fully rectified. Even then, it is not that the loftiest mochin are entering into the lowermost vessels, since the more essential and lofty light still remains above; rather, in the completion of the entire structure, those uppermost lights are allowed to shine down into the lower vessels. In practical terms, what this means for us
Panim Masbiros 9:10 Eitz Chaim, Sha’ar 23, Chapter 6, Part I, p. 108a 14 Sha’ar Hakavanos, Drush #6 of Kriyas Shema, p. 22d, 24c; Drush #7 of Kriyas Shema, p. 25d; Drush #2 of Amidah, on the words, “Melech Ozer,” p. 33a 15 Pesichah l’Chochmas HaKabbalah, #24; Pesichah l’Peirush HaSulam, #10; Hakdamah l’Sefer HaZohar, #61 and onward; Talmud Eser Sefiros, Part IV—Eser Sefiros Shel Ha’akudim; among other sources in the Sulam; Sefer Yad Binyamin of Rav Binyamin Sinkovsky, p. 139-140.
13 12

22

Derech Eitz Hachayim

Part Eight

is that even though the later generations are certainly less than the earlier generations in the spiritual sense, the repairs being made to these lowermost vessels allow the higher light to descend in a fresh and lofty way which is entirely new. When the full structure is completed, the lower mochin fill the lower vessels and the higher mochin fill the higher vessels, to be sure. But, even so, the repair of the structure allows the light from above to flow and descend and fill the structure entirely so that its benefit is felt throughout, down to the very bottom. Now we take this model and it will help us to better understand the mechanism through which the hidden Torah has descended to the world. The hidden Torah is light, and so it develops from “below to above,” just like the mochin. When the Torah was first given to the Jewish people, only its nefesh-aspect was drawn down—that is the revealed Torah. This was accomplished via Moshe Rabbeinu, the faithful shepherd, who is the uppermost vessel—parallel to the vessels of CHaBaD. Afterward, the ruachaspect was drawn down; this is the hidden aspect of the Torah, and it entered first by way of vessel of CHaBaD [Moshe Rabbeinu’s soul], which forced the “reveal point” of nefesh down to the vessel of CHaGaT, which is Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. [Note: We can think of the descent of the mochin of NH”Y as the “reveal point,” and as it descends to different vessels, lower and lower, the level of Torah that is descending is coming from an increasingly lofty place. In this way, the lower vessels are revealing progressively higher Torah.] The higher level of Torah is always first being “received” into the vessel of CHaBaD as it descends, and in this way Moshe Rabbeinu remains always the primary receiver of Torah directly from above, and is always in the state of transmitting it so that its light can be passed down to progressively lower and more “down to earth” vessels, all the way down to the souls of the final generation. What this means practically is that even though the elements of the Torah that are drawn down during the final generations are loftier than that which was drawn down to earlier generations, the reason is not because we are greater than they were. Quite the contrary;

23

Derech Eitz Hachayim

Part Eight

they were far greater than we are now. And, truly, there never has arisen another prophet like Moshe among the Jewish people, who spoke with Hashem “face to face.” The Toras Chochom taught that the generations that lived during the first two thousand years rose higher during the second two thousand years. And they continue to rise with even greater force during the final two thousand years. This means that the lower elements are in need of the upper elements just as the upper elements are in need of the lower elements [since we are all part of a single structure that requires completion to operate as designed]. It is through the deeds of the lower elements [the later generations] that the lowermost beirurim [fine spiritual sifting out and clarification] is accomplished, and when this work is done, progressively loftier revelations are able to come through them. The lower elements are just as much in need of the upper elements, because when the higher levels receive a flow of Divine light, it is by way of them that the light is shared down below.16 It is crucial that we remember that the upper elements [more refined and loftier souls of the earlier generations] forever remain above, and those that are lower forever remain below. To express this idea, the sages said, “A person should always say, ‘When will my deeds reach the deeds of my ancestors”—reach as in touch even the least bit [because our souls are part of a great structure, and we are at the bottom, trying to touch the lowest level of those who came before us]. Remember this principle well, and do not fall into the serious error of thinking that those who come later are loftier, G-d forbid. It is untrue. The Baal HaLeshem discussed this concept when he tackled the issue of how, in this lowly generation, it is possible to involve ourselves in the study of such lofty wisdom. “It is known that the holy Torah spreads forth and is revealed at all times, and expands constantly in all of its constituent PaRDeS elements. However, even so, there is a great difference between its revealed aspect and its hidden aspect. Meaning, even though both are constantly expanding, when it comes to the revealed Torah the
16

Toras Chochom, p. 76a 24

Derech Eitz Hachayim

Part Eight

expansion is quantitative. The hearts of the latter generations are diminished [in their grasp and native understanding], and so they constantly need new explanations and interpretations which are discursive and lengthy so that they can understand the words of the generation that preceded them. When it comes to the revealed Torah, the more it expands quantitatively, the more it diminishes qualitatively. [Meaning, the quantitative expansion is meant to offset the qualitative diminishment.] However, when it comes to the hidden aspect of the Torah, this is not the case. All of its expansion is qualitative…for it is a reflection of the revelation of the Ohr Ein Sof [which is not diminished as its inifinite nature is progressively revealed]. The Ohr Ein Sof is perpectually expanding and being revealed within Atzilus to a greater and greater degree, and it is from this expansion on high that the revelation of the Torah’s hidden wisdom increases below. And it is magnifying exponentially at all times, more by far in the latter generations than was the case in earlier times… “And while it is true that the generations are diminishing spiritually as they go on—and how much is this the case presently, which is like ‘an ape before man’ even when only compared to the generation that directly preceded us—and how the world is being destroyed around us as we speak, literally, in every way, may Hashem have mercy. Nevertheless, it parallels that which took place during the exodus from Egypt: ‘And in great dread’—this is the revelation of the Shechinah [meaning, that the plagues were fearsome to us because the world was collapsing around us, nevertheless it was a necessary part of our redemption]; and so too when we were at the sea [and saw such wonders, even though we really were unworthy of such Divine intervention]; so too will it be during these latter generations. From the time of the Arizal and onward, since the fourth century [5300 and onward; the Arizal passed away in 5333], we have been under the influence of the sefirah of Chessed. Since that time, the light of the tikkun of Moshiach began to spark within the innermost aspects of the worlds [i.e. it is not revealed, but is providing vitality at the spiritual core]… It is getting closer every day, even if it is still at the stage of the pnimiyus of the worlds; the light of tikkun is drawn

25

Derech Eitz Hachayim

Part Eight

down from above to below, and from internal to external… Even though the external aspects are very terrible right now, and each day brings a greater curse than the day before it, nevertheless at the innermost place it is progressively improving and being repaired. The rectification is spreading from within to without. See our Sefer HaDei’ah, Part II, Drush #4:16 and other places in that work for a further discussion of this concept. “Now, the light of the Ein Sof spreads into Atzilus to a greater extent from day to day, and it is revealed there in new revelations, but as we have already explained this light is, right now, only at the level of the innermost aspect of Atzilus. It also is revealed at an even lower place within the innermost aspect of the Torah, via the new Torah concepts that are always secreted within the Torah itself. We can now better understand why entire areas of Torah study which were once off-limits to us have become permitted now. Any true student of the Torah, anyone who really delves into the Torah, feels this fact intuitively. There would have been matters that, during some time in the past, his very fear of heaven prevented him from even looking into, as the verse says, ‘And Moshe covered his face, because he feared to look…’ Yet, at some point in the future, the student can approach the matter and understand it easily. It is because the gates of apprehension of this concept down below have opened due to the fresh revelation of His great light above.”17

Translated and Adapted by Rav Micha Golshevsky.

17

Leshem Shevo V’Achlamah, Sefer HaBeiurim, Sha’ar 1:5:7, p. 21b 26

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->