D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Toldos

Shalosh Seudos1 of Parshas Toldos 5767
".‫רהָ ם הוֹלִ יד אֶ ת יִ צְ חָ ק‬ ָ ְ‫ אַב‬:‫רהָ ם‬ ָ ְ‫צחָ ק בֶּ ן אַב‬ ְ ִ‫"וְ אֵ לֶּה תּוֹלְ דֹת י‬
“And these are the generations of Yitzchak the son of Avraham; Avraham begat Yitzchak.”2

Rashi explains: “These are the generations of Yitzchak”—Yaakov and Eisav who are discussed in the parshah. “Avraham begat Yitzchak”—It was after Hashem changed Avram’s name to Avraham that he begat Yitzchak. Further on in the parshah, we find: "'ä ֹåëø Àa Å øÆÑ ùà  äãÈÒ Æ ù çé Ç ø Åk À éð Äa À çé Ç ø Å äà Åø À øîà Æ ÉiÇ å" — “And [Yiktzchak] said: Behold, the fragrance of my son is like the fragrance of a field that has been blessed by Hashem.”3 Rashi comments: “The scent of Gan Eden entered with Yaakov.” The obvious question is, how did Yitzchak identify the fragrance of paradise, the field “blessed by Hashem?” The Arizal explains that when Avraham Avinu ran after the cattle [to feed his three angelic visitors], he reached Ma’aras HaMachpelah which is the entryway to Gan Eden. He caught the scent of Gan Eden there, and he transmitted the knowledge of it to his son Yitzchak.4 This itself seems problematic. Why should the Arizal ask the question in the first place? Surely Yitzchak was fully familiar on his own with the byways of the spiritual worlds, with the “scent of Gan Eden.” Furthermore, how can Avraham Avinu have transmitted knowledge of a fragrance to his son, when a scent is not a concept that can be explained to another? To be experienced, it needs to be grasped by the senses.
1 2

The lesson was delivered at the third meal of Shabbos. Bereishis 25:19 3 Ibid., 27:27 4 Likutei Torah, Parshas Toldos 3

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Toldos

“I Will Speak with Him Mouth to Mouth” To understand the matter fully, we need to preface our explanation with the words of Rav Tzaddok HaKohen of Lublin. When the Arizal was alive, all of his students were able to effect the yichudim that he had taught them. However, after his death, it was only Rav Chaim Vital who could continue to make those yichudim, those spiritual unifications. This is because esoteric knowledge is not like a body of information that can be transmitted intellectually alone. If it were, it would be forbidden to teach Kabbalah publicly—and we see now that the students of Kabbalah are many. The Mishnah taught that one may not teach maaseh merkavah, deep meditative Kabbalah, to an individual student unless he is wise and able to grasp it.5 [Meaning, he must be sufficiently spiritually prepared, beyond mere mental capability.] Mystical knowledge is not an intellectual exercise, its main aspect is the state of dveikus to be found in the yichud, in effecting a spiritual unification. It was this knowledge that Avraham Avinu transmitted to his son, and Yitzchak Avinu was therefore certainly familiar with the byways of the heavens. Yitzchak then taught this wisdom to Yaakov Avinu, as we see from the blessing: “And Hashem will give you of the dew of heaven...”6 Although the facts of Kabbalah can be studied by anyone from written works, the actual transmission of the Torah’s secrets and a grasp of Hashem’s essence cannot be committed to writing. They must be conveyed orally, in an aspect of, “I speak to [Moshe] mouth to mouth.”7 The tzaddik must transmit the essence of the experience of the apprehension of G-dliness, not the external form that the study takes alone. This is reflected in the words of the author of the Sulam, Rav Yehudah Ashlag, that when a person exerts himself with all of his energy, day and night, on his Divine service and Torah study, eventually Hashem sends him a mentor who is “like an angel of G-d.” Either that, or he merits a revelation of Eliyahu HaNavi so that he can receive the
5 6

Chagigah 2:1 Bereishis 27:28 7 Bamidbar 12:8 4

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Toldos

Torah’s secrets and knowledge of Hashem. [Meaning, the way of understanding is opened for him from on high, without the intervention of a human mentor necessarily.] “...And Yitzchak Settled at the Well of Lachai Ro’i...” At the beginning, one’s Divine service is not contingent on the transmission of the Torah’s secrets or the apprehension of G-dliness. At the beginning, it is more of a “gift of service,” like the gift of the “dew of heaven,” that one receives after having spent days and nights longing to serve Hashem and draw close to Him. [The “gift of service” is how Hashem described the granting of the service of kehunah to Aharon’s sons.] Eventually, one is privileged to come into contact with a mentor who can transmit the knowledge to him directly. This is alluded to in the verse: íä Èø Èá Àà Ç ú Éåî éø Åç Âà Ç éä Ä éÇ À å" "éà Äø É éç Çì Ç øà Åa À íò Ä ÷ç Èö Àé Ä áÆÑ ùi Åå Ç ;åð É a À ÷ç Èö À Äé úà Æ íé÷ì Éà Á ê Àø Æá È éÇ À å—“And it was, after the death of Avraham, that Hashem blessed Yitzchak his son. And Yitzchak dwelled at the well of Lachai Ro’i.”8 Every single Jew fluctuates between periods of “death” and “life” [times when he is more or less connected with Hashem], but the main test of his worth is whether he holds fast to the inner anchor of faith and dveikus even when he is in a state of distance and the obscuring of Hashem’s presence. Even though Yitzchak had lost his father, even though he was in the state of “death,” nevertheless he was blessed and he dwelled at the “wellsprings of the vision of life”—Be’er Lachai Ro’i. The truth of the matter is that the main aspect of yichud begins from the very deepest place, from the “wellsprings of the vision of life,” and not from any external or observable aspect. The Jewish soul is hewn out from its source in the upper worlds, from the Divine throne, where it was originally in a state of absolute unity with the Shechinah. It descends to dwell in a desolate place, in this lower world. The tzaddik constantly recalls that his soul was once bound inextricably with the Shechinah despite the fact that at the present time it is sundered from its source. The

8

Bereishis 25:11 5

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Toldos

tzaddik dwells at Be’er Lachai Ro’I; even though he has been torn away from this state of dveikus, nevertheless he dwells at the “wellsprings of the vision of life,” he still can effect yichudim with the Shechinah. The Yichud of Mind and the Yichud of Middos Most people believe that the main element of yichudim is contingent on feeling dveikus extend throughout what is known as the vav kitzvos, the “six extensions,” which are the six attributes of Ze’ir Anpin [the sefiros from Chessed through Yesod]. These six are what we would call middos, or emotive attributes. However, it is impossible to join Ze’ir Anpin and Nukvah [Malchus] together without first effecting a state of unification at the level of Abba / Chochmah and Imma / Binah, on the mental plane. And if a person hasn’t first effected the more internal yichud within Arich Anpin, which depends on the higher yichud of Atik, and so on, until he comes to the highest level of all, which is that he unites with Hashem at the level of his source, [nothing else can progress]. These higher yichudim are not dependent on the yichudim at the level of the middos or even the level of the mochin, the mentalities of Chochmah, Binah, and Da’as. The ultimate level of yichud is to be found when the tzaddik unites with his Creator at Be’er Lachai Ro’i even though “Avraham died” and the serpent [the evil inclination] seeks to destroy him. The tzaddik transcends the state of death and distance from Hashem and achieves unity with his Creator. This parallels the statement of the sages, that when the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed, the Shechinah rose up and away from the destruction. There is always a place to which a person can rise so that he can transcend all of the darkness that exists within his body and soul and come into a more internal state of contact with Hashem. Even if he is incapable of really feeling this yichud at the level of the middos [because the damage in the lower areas of himself prevents the penetration of the experience that far], nevertheless he is able to draw down a renewed G-dly illumination into his mind that comes from the high place where he is able to make contact.

6

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Toldos

Constant Need for Renewal As soon as the Divine light is drawn into the middos, it is immediately blocked. This means that one must begin all over again and draw down further G-dly awareness. This phenomenon can be understood from a well-known parallel. As soon as a person develops a new Torah concept, he is filled with joy and excitement. However, the moment that he transmits his new idea to his friend, the joy states to wane. Similarly, when the light that has been accessed by achieving a yichud at the level of the mochin descends to influence the lower middos of Ze’ir Anpin and Nukvah, the six middos become like a key that has the power to both open and close the aspect of Yesod within Imma.9 [Although Imma / Binah is part of the higher aspect of the mochin, nevertheless each level of the sefiros are holographic in nature, they contain subdivisions that parallel the lower levels. So we have the concept of Yesod (which is a lower sefirah) within the higher sefirah of Imma. This means the lowermost aspect of Imma. The sefirah of Yesod / Foundation is associated with the organs of procreation, which in both their male and female manifestations comprise a “locked” and an “open” aspect. In the feminine manifestation (in this case, Imma), the “locked” aspect can be understood as the sealed state prior to penetration, the “opened” aspect is when the way has already been breached. Obviously, we are speaking at the level of allegory.] When the light descends to the middos, Imma / Binah reverts to a sealed-up state with her aspect of Yesod closed. This means that one must begin all over again to draw down a new G-dly awareness, because the light that was within Imma has been externalized among the middos. This is expressed in the words of the Zohar on the verse in Eishes Chayil: “She does not fear for her household from the snow, for all her house is dressed in scarlet wool (íéðù, shanim).”10 “Do not read the word as shanim, scarlet wool. Rather, read it as shnayim, double. For the Torah doubles itself with regard to its mitzvos, as we find: áéùú áùä—you will surely restore—÷éðòú ÷ðòä—you will surely bequeath— ïúð
9

Sifra D’tzniusa, Terumah p. 177; See Sha’ar Ma’amarei Rashbi, Peirush HaIdra Rabbah Mishlei 31:21 7

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D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Toldos

ïúú—you will surely give—çúôú çúô—you will surely open...”11 [The “double” language is always meant to convey an added emphasis, “you will surely.” It has a further meaning in terms of avodas Hashem, however.] Every act of Divine service one does requires repetition. Even if it appears as though one has already achieved a degree of Divine awareness, he must be clear about the fact that it is not sufficient. It will “seal up” again, he will re-enter the state of, “And Avraham died,” and he will have to draw down a new light all over again. Unity in the Bosom of Abba and Imma This concept can also be understood in another way. Prior to a birth, there must first be a joining at the level of the “bosom” [this is the allegory of an embrace], which is a place that is very elevated. [Before new light can descend to the level of the middos, one must experience a yichud and an illumination at a higher place.] This is the inner meaning of what was written regarding Chanah and Elkanah.12 “...And Chanah had no children. And this man [Elkanah] went up out of his city from year to year...”13 When “Chanah’s womb is sealed,” when the wellsprings of Chochmah are blocked, one must “go up” level after level, from the place of Ze’ir Anpin to the place of Abba and Imma, and from there to the place of Arich, and from there to Atik, and from there to the infinite light of Hashem Himself in order to effect a yichud at the source. The tzaddik effects a yichud at the level of pure will [which is the highest level] even when his feelings and his mind are blocked from experiencing the light in a revealed fashion. The withdrawal of light at the lower levels affects the tzaddik when he shares his apprehension of G-dliness with the world [much like the person who after sharing a chiddush loses his enthusiasm for it]. Like Elkanah, he must “go up” yet again to prostrate himself and bring offerings to G-d, he must go up again and again [the phrase in the verse means yearly, but literally it is written as “daily”], every single day. The
11 12

Zohar I:238b See Machberes Hakodesh, Shaar Chanukah 13 Shmuel I:1:2-3 8

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Toldos

tzaddik cannot be like ordinary people who fall into despair and paralysis the minute they no longer feel Hashem’s light in their hearts and minds, and stop making their pilgrimage to “ascend and see upon the mountain of G-d.” A Tzaddik, the Son of a Tzaddik "àåä Ä äø È÷ Èò  ék Ä ÉåzÀÑ ùà Ä çë Çð Éì À 'äì Ç ÷ç Èö À Äé øz Ç òÆ À iå Ç "—“And Yitzchak pleaded to Hashem opposite his wife, for she was barren...”14 The Zohar teaches that Yitzchak ascended to the level of Mazla Ila’ah, the “higher mazal” [this is the level of destiny and the channel of Divine influence that determines ones character and major influences].15 When Yitzchak realized that Rivkah was barren, he ascended to the highest places to effect supernal unifications. This is the meaning of the teaching that the prayer of a tzaddik who is the son of a tzaddik cannot be compared to the prayer of a tzaddik who is the child of a wicked person. [This is why Yitzchak’s prayers were answered—because he, unlike Rivkah, was a tzaddik who was also the child of a tzaddik. Rivkah was a tzaddekes, but her father was no saint.] The tzaddik who is the son of a tzaddik has the advantage of having learned from his father that there are worlds and levels that ascend higher and higher; these are the worlds that his own father traversed and he transmitted the knowledge of them. This level has a parallel within everyone’s Divine service. Although everyone begins on his own merit and must be propelled by his own efforts like the tzaddik ben rasha, ultimately his self-sacrifice and dedication make him worthy of being like the tzaddik ben tzaddik—gifted with Divine awareness like that gained by the tzaddikim. The higher he ascends, the deeper down he is able to draw revelations of G-dliness into external existence. For this reason, one should never make the mistake of thinking that when one feels close to Hashem when studying, praying, or performing a mitzvah, that the closeness is a result of the action that he is performing at that moment. The feeling of
14 15

Bereishis 25:21 Zohar I:137a 9

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Toldos

closeness is like a birth, but the birth was the product of a yichud that took place privately, beforehand—in the darkness of the obscuring of Hashem’s presence, when one held fast to right action even when His light was absent. Chanukah and the Upper Yichud All of this is connected with the essence of Chanukah. During Chanukah, one rises upon the flames higher and higher, in order to effect the most internal of yichudim. This is the root of the practice of many tzaddikim to place their menorah on the table [rather than by the door or window]. For those who mainly dwell “in the heavens”—in a state of dveikus at the highest levels—it is unnecessary to publicize the miracle before the eyes of everyone, in an external way. Their spiritual work at the highest levels is what brings the light of Chanukah into the public sphere to begin with—like the yichud of Abba and Imma that is drawn down into Ze’ir Anpin in a protected way so that the forces of negativity have no grasp on them. [This is the underlying idea behind keeping the menorah inside, away from the public eye. On the spiritual plane, the light goes to where it needs to without being co-opted by negative forces. Although this is not the halachah under normal circumstances, the Gemara discusses situations when such a practice was necessary.16] Selling the Birthright The sin of eating from the Tree of Knowledge resulted in the aspects of gevuros having to emerge before the aspects of chassadim. [This is the underlying reason why one generally needs to pass through challenges before experiencing good results.] Prior to the sin, the chassadim emerged before the gevuros. In practical terms, when a Jew serves Hashem by studying Torah, one would think that he should be devoured by its holy fire. When he studies the hidden Torah, one would think that all of the gates of the upper worlds should be thrown open before him. The only reason why this doesn’t happen is because the sin of self-absorption, which is the root of the Tree of Knowledge,
16

Shabbos 21b 10

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Toldos

has a hold on him. This is not true of the tzaddikim, who are connected to the Tree of Life. For this reason, when a person is beset by the self-absorption of the Tree of Knowledge—and the evidence of this is his intolerance of others, and his greed, lust, and striving for recognition—then it is necessary that he first draw down the gevuros prior to the chassadim. The sages expressed this concept in their statement: “When a girl [symbol of gevuros] is born first, it is a good sign for future sons [symbol of chassadim].”17 One must first serve Hashem through holy gevuros against the inclination of his own nature, with self-sacrifice. However, when one feels that Hashem’s light is hidden from him, when he is in distress and no longer suffers from his ego because he is so broken, it is then that he can rise to the level of the “bosom of Abba and Imma” and connect with his Creator. Then he is able to draw down chassadim first, and “give birth” to the “son” before the “daughter.” “These are the generations of Yitzchak...” Rashi said: “Yaakov and Eisav who are discussed in our parshah.” One would think that Rashi should have mentioned Eisav first, since Eisav was the firstborn. However, since the way in which their souls were brought down depended on Yitzchak rising to a lofty place where there is no sense of self, he was able to draw down the chassadim [with which Yaakov is associated] first. Yaakov Avinu had the beauty of Adam HaRishon.18 He had the purity of Adam before the sin, when the chassadim were drawn down first. Therefore, Yaakov was conceived first. However, when the time for birth into this post-sin world came, Eisav emerged first—the gevuros must emerge ahead of the chassadim. This finds expression in the fact that when the tzaddik studies and prays in public, even though he service is absolutely complete, nevertheless on the level of the external it appears as though it bears some flaw. All of this is meant to “confound the Soton” and give the appearance as though he too has preceded the chassadim with the gevuros. In truth, the birth of dveikus is set into motion by the yichudim that the tzaddik performed in secret, earlier. Even though Eisav appears to be the firstborn, Yaakov is the true heir to the birthright.
17 18

Bava Basra 141a Bava Metzia 84a 11

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Toldos

This is why the main subduing of the force of Eisav is through the sale of the birthright to Yaakov. Even though the klippos of Yishmael and Amalek are powerful, nevertheless their power derives from the apparent status of Eisav as the firstborn—that the gevuros must emerge before the chassadim. This is the spiritual root of what we see, that even when many expend their energy in serving Hashem, it is all tainted by anger, resentment, and impatience—as if Divine service is a burden. The forces of negativity capitalize on these feelings and level accusations against the Jewish people on high based on them. However, the entire edifice of their argument is false, because the Jewish people at the root of their souls are connected with the Tree of Life, they are very far from anger, and they are bound to the chassadim, like Yaakov the true firstborn. All of the Divine service offered by the Jewish people is really like the purest of olive oil, dedicated entirely to Hashem alone. We find in the Zohar that prior to the arrival of Moshiach, the world will be beset by all sort of troubles and wars, G-d forbid.19 However, it is only an external and superficial view of events that force us to say such a thing. Since the sin of the Tree of Knowledge, it has been necessary to draw down the gevuros prior to the chassadim on the level of the observable and external. However, the tzaddikim who meditate upon the highest levels declare that the truth is in that which was before the sin. The birthright really belongs to Yaakov, and the chassadim should be drawn down prior to the gevuros. All of the warnings that there will be wars and harsh judgments prior to the redemption are only meant to restore the birthright to Yaakov. The gevuros only need to be expressed first because people have been sundered from their source and state of unity with the Shechinah. That is why the tzaddik, who is himself like the Chanukah candle, effects a yichud with the Creator that is as pure as the purest olive oil, without the admixture of any harsh judgments at all. He does this in secret, as the oil exists within the olive secretly until it is expressed. Through this work of drawing down the chassadim first which is symbolized in keeping the menorah upon the table, he is able to
19

Zohar, Parshas Vayeira 119 12

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Toldos

subdue the forces of negativity associated with the gevuros and restore the birthright to Yaakov. Their spiritual work teaches us that we should always have mercy precede anger, so that the redemption will arrive in mercy and kindness rather than in pain and travail. The Birth of Yitzchak and the Redemption "äp Èø Ä eðð Å ÉåÑ ùìe À åðét Ä ÷åçÀÒ É ù àì Ån È Äé æà È "—“Then our mouths will be filled with laughter, and our tongues with joyous song.”20 The Zohar teaches that the “generations of Yitzchak the son of Avraham” is meant to allude to the laughter [ = ÷åçö = ÷åçù ÷çöé] that will ring out in the ultimate future when the body is brought into harmonious balance with the soul. Avraham is the symbol of chassadim, and he precedes or gives birth to Yitzchak, the symbol of gevuros. [Aside from each of their associations with the respective sefiros of Chessed and Gevurah, the facts of their lives bear out their relationship with these middos. Avraham was the giver and sharer of knowledge and sustenance; Yitzchak acted with the ultimate might and self-restraint during the akeidah.] The current need for the gevuros to emerge first does not have to take the form of suffering prior to the redemption, G-d forbid. The only reason why they need to emerge first now is because of the taint of self-absorption and ego that was the result of Adam’s sin. In truth, however, the Jewish people at their root are far from the sin of Adam. Even if it seems as though they are “rebels against G-d,”21 this is only superficial. Deep within, they are constantly bound to Hashem. The birth of the redemption [in mercy] is contingent on the extent to which this more primal and internal relationship with Hashem is revealed. This is the level of the tzaddikim, and it is the level that was transmitted from Avraham to Yitzchak. Like the faculty of smell, the one sense that was never damaged during Adam’s sin, the true work of drawing down the chassadim before the gevuros is
20 21

Tehillim 126:2 Devarim 9:7 13

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Toldos

internal and evanescent—it is of the heart, and not of the external faculty of the mouth that speaks words of Torah and prayer. This is the blessing that Yaakov received from his father—and he was suited for it, because his father could sense upon him the “fragrance of the field blessed by Hashem.” The Ramah Mi’Pano taught that a tzaddik who effects the highest yichudim is suffused by the scent of Gan Eden. Anyone who is in his proximity gets a taste of it in his own soul. The Digging of the Wells All of this is reflected in Yitzchak’s re-digging of his father’s wells. After the illumination passes from Abba and Imma to Ze’ir Anpin and Nukvah [the lower middos], the channel is blocked. Although Avraham Avinu transmitted the light of Hashem’s influence into the world, the channels he used were blocked and all of the work had to be redone because the Pelishtim came and sealed them. The Rambam taught that the main body of practical mitzvos was entrusted to Yitzchak by Hashem, not to Avraham. Although Avraham Avinu certainly occupied himself with the mitzvos, nevertheless the “Pelishtim” [forces of negativity] were able later to come and block up the channels of his illumination to the world. The light of Chessed is not sufficient—one must rise upon the flame of the Gevurah of Yitzchak and transcend one’s own feelings in order to come to the Tree of Life. The first two wells of Esek and Sitnah were sealed yet again because they were the products of the expression of the evil inclination [which we see from their names, “Conflict” and “Hatred”]. However, there was a third well that remained open— a well which is associated with the redemption after which there will be no further exile. “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.”22 Da’as means connection or joining, as the verse says: “And Adam knew

22

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

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Toldos

Chavah...”23 One must make the yichud on the level of Chochmah [Abba and Imma], and then it will be able to penetrate and influence the level of nafshechah, the lower aspect of soul associated with Ze’ir Anpin and Nukvah. But it is all really dependent on “the crown to your head”—on first making a yichud at the level of the will and Kesser. This is the key to the redemption. The Zohar teaches that the only way in which the Jewish people have been, and will be able, to survive the exile is by receiving a taste from the “great feast” that will be held in the ultimate future. How do we receive this taste? Be hearing about the greatness of the feast that is to come, when we will enjoy the light of the Divine Presence. As the verse says: “And they gazed upon G-d, and they ate and drank.”24 [The “gazing” is itself a form of “eating and drinking”—both nourishing and pleasurable.] Even during this bitter exile, one can be revitalized by the knowledge that it is possible to take more delight in Hashem’s presence than in eating and drinking, like Moshe Rabbeinu who was sustained by G-d’s presence for forty days and nights. One must be connected with the redemption even in the bitterness of exile and unify Hashem at the level of the Tree of Life. Then the “son” will be born before the “daughter”—the chassadim will precede the gevuros—and the future redemption will emerge in its [complete and perfected] “masculine” form, not like the earlier “feminine” redemptions [that were temporary and imperfect]. May Hashem help us to dig down and reveal the well of Rechovos—may He broaden the way for us and make us fruitful in the land so that we can unify His Name within the depths of our souls. May we delight in spiritual pleasures like the tzaddikim and not simply take pleasure in the material, and be worthy of the redemption. The Arizal taught that Kislev is the month of the hidden Torah, and the Chasam Sofer taught that this month is related to Sukkos. Just as the holy ushpizin are revealed on Sukkos, so too can one receive an illumination from the ushpizin during Kislev. The work of the month begins now, when we look ahead to the lights of Chanukah and effect a yichud
23 24

Bereishis 4:1 Shemos 24:11 15

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Toldos

within our hearts—the hidden place that is out of the reach of the chitzonim. In this merit, may we be privileged to see directly Hashem’s return to Tzion, with the arrival of our righteous redeemer. Speedily and in our days. Amen.

Translated and Adapted by Rav Micha Golshevsky.

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Yam Hachochmah 5772

Ma’amar Ohr Zarua laTzaddik

Yam Hachochmah 5772
“Light is Sown for the Righteous”, Part 61
Kuntres Ha’Hishtatchus of the Mittler Rebbe of Lubavitch, Continued

There are two reasons why it is necessary to travel to the holy resting place of a tzaddik to arouse one’s love [for him]: a) Simply put, the journey that is fueled by powerful yearning reflects the generation of an arousal from below. Afterward, when [the person] reaches [his destination], his great power of faith will bring him to a state of profound bitul. He will then prepare himself to approach G-d with a truly contrite spirit, giving over his soul and pouring out his words before G-d from the depths of his heart, [feeling remorse over] the utter distance [that he feels from his Creator]. This will catalyze a parallel dynamic, that G-d will send a spirit from above to rest upon him [“an arousal from above”], and the spirit [ruach] of his master in which he shares a portion which will invigorate his soul with the light of the teachings and the avodah of his master. b) The second rationale is connected to the deeper meaning of burying a corpse and the laws of mourning as revealed by the Arizal.2 To summarize the fundamental points of his statements: There are two dimensions to a person’s soul—those which are internalized and those which are of an encompassing nature [makifin—they surround from without]. This relates to the ‫“( צלם‬image”) of Ze’ir Anpin. The ‫ צ‬represents the spiritual attributes that are internalized, while the ‫ ל‬and the ‫ ם‬relate to the soul’s encompassing or encircling attributes [in the sense of them “hovering” around the person, rather than internalized within him]. The ‫ ל‬relates to three encompassing powers and the ‫ם‬, to four. While a person is alive, he is vitalized by all these seven powers.
1 2

This lesson is found in Yam Hachochmah 5772, “Ma’amar Ohr Zarua laTzaddik,” p. 722-760. See Ta’amei HaMitzvos, Parshas Vayechi. 17

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Thirty days before his death, however, these encompassing powers, “the image above his head,” depart from him. [Especially righteous people can even have a sense of this shift in their spiritual energy thirty days before they pass away.] This is alluded to by the Kabbalistic interpretation of the verse, “Before the day cools, and the shadows depart.”3 (The “shadows” [refer to these makifin].) They all, however, return to the person at the time of his death, so that they will also experience the pain of death as punishment, as it is written: “You take away their spirit, and they die.”4 (As is well known, each of the five levels of nefesh, ruach, neshamah, chayah, and yechidah, have their own ‫צלם‬, [i.e., their own array of internal and encompassing powers]. At the time of a person’s death, the neshamah and the ruach with their encompassing powers depart to the place which is fit for them. [This does not apply with regard to] the nefesh, and its seven makifin. [To explain:] The ‫ צלם‬of the nefesh divides into its internal powers and its encompassing powers. The internalized powers, the tzadi of the ‫ צלם‬accompanies the body to the grave, as it is written: “His soul will mourn over him.”5 The seven encompassing powers, i.e., the lamed and the mem of the ‫ צלם‬of the nefesh remain in the house of mourning. It is not so easy for them to depart [from this place], because this is where they died. This is the inner meaning of our rabbis’ statement that during all the seven days of mourning, the departed soul returns to his home.6 This is the mystic pattern followed by the encompassing powers of the nefesh. Nevertheless, these powers come and depart. Although they desire to be in the house in which they died, they also desire joining to the internal powers of the soul. Therefore, they go to the grave, and then return to the house of mourning.

3 4

Shir HaShirim 2:17; See Zohar, I:220a. Tehillim 104:29 5 Iyov 14:22 6 Rokeach, Hilchos Aveilus 316; Sefer HaPardes of Rashi, Hilchos Aveilim shel Geonim; Zohar I:218b 18

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Nevertheless, on each of the seven days of mourning, one of the encompassing powers departs from the body and remains clinging with the nefesh. This pattern is continued until the conclusion of the seven days of mourning, at which time all of them have completed their withdrawal and they become tied to the nefesh in the grave. This is the rationale for the seven days of mourning when the soul of the departed still remains in the house of mourning. While the encompassing powers [of the nefesh] are still in the house of mourning, the forces of klippah [impurity which is attracted to the vacuum left behind when holiness departs] become strongly attached to the nefesh of the deceased, for they cannot attach themselves to the makifin. Each day, the power of klippah wanes until the conclusion of the seven days, at which there remains only [a minimal influence] which necessarily remains as long as the flesh of the deceased’s body still exists. The order in which the encompassing powers [of the nefesh] begin to go to the grave commences with lamed of the ‫צלם‬. On the first day, the power of Da’as, on the second day, Binah, and on the third day, Chochmah. This is the fundamental time of the judgment of the corpse in the grave as is well known. From this time onward, when the influence of the mem of the ‫ צלם‬begins to be introduced, the judgment becomes lighter. For this reason, it is customary in the Ashkenazic community not to build a monument at a grave until after the seven days of mourning have passed. For the building of a monument is intended to empower the encompassing powers of the soul to rest there. But if the monument was built before [the encompassing powers come there, the monument] enables the power of impurity which is attached to the corpse to remain and not to withdraw. This could be compared to building a home but failing to mention G-d’s Name there [with the affixing of a mezuzah]—in such a case, the spirit of impurity dwells there. After the conclusion of the seven days [of mourning], however, when the makifin of the soul come [to the grave], it is a mitzvah to erect a monument, preparing a seat or foothold for the makifin. This concludes [the passage from] the teaching of the Arizal as recorded in Likutei Torah.
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From the above, it can be understood that the inner powers, represented by the letter ‫ צ‬of the ‫צלם‬, of a tzaddik dwell at his resting place, and at the monument erected there rest the makifin, represented by the letter ‫ ל‬of the ‫צלם‬, as explained at length in that text. Surely this is a holy place, at which it is possible to stir the soul of the tzaddik through the power aroused by the visitor through his love and fear. By concentrating his power of connection, a visitor will be able to stir the soul of the holy tzaddik. And it is likely that he will be able to cause his soul to cling to the soul of the tzaddik, and be stirred to [spiritual] arousal. [This, however, applies] only when he will truly concentrate on [the tzaddik] with a full heart, and will first turn to G-d in complete repentance, and genuinely desire to draw down a spirit from the ruach of his master as explained above. The strength of his faith and connection to the soul of the tzaddik and his power which conceives of the ‫צלם‬-image in a spiritual sense—for the inner dimensions of the soul of the tzaddik and the encompassing dimensions which are called the ‫ צלם‬are present there—enables [a visitor] to experience something of a parallel “spirit clinging to spirit” described above. This will enable him to draw down a portion of his master’s spirit which grant him new life from the light of his Torah and avodah as would occur when they were bound in a bond of faith during his lifetime, when he would see the radiance of his [master’s] countenance. Indeed, the influence will even surpass what was experienced during his [master’s] lifetime, for then [the influence he received] came through the garments of thought and speech, and at present, he receives from the essential spirit of his master. Similarly, prayers which he will recite there are surely more likely to be accepted. For as explained above in the name of Asarah Ma’amaros, the “atmosphere” of Gan Eden is dispersed around each one of the tzaddikim, for they always proceed with the “aura” of Gan Eden, as seen in the case of Yaakov Avinu [when he approached his father for the blessing]. In contrast, there is an aura of Gehinom which is dispersed
20

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around simple people [i.e. those who also perform negative actions] as explained in that text. When, however, a person comes to the resting place of a tzaddik and prays at his grave, his prayer is surely recited with desirable and whole-hearted feeling, from the inner dimension of his being. As such, when he places his head over the monument where the encompassing powers of the nefesh of the tzaddik rest, every single letter of his words and thoughts will be engulfed in the aura of Gan Eden which is present there. (For the ruach is called the “aura” of Gan Eden; this also applies with regard to the nefesh.) And then, when the nefesh of the tzaddik ascends upward, [the visitor’s] prayer will also ascend to the higher realms in the upper Gan Eden where it will bear fruit on both the spiritual and material planes. It is well known that all prayers must ascend to the spiritual realms through the entrance to Gan Eden in this world. For this reason, prayers recited at Me’aras HaMachpelah [Chevron] are very desirous and acceptable, because, as tradition maintains, the entrance to Gan Eden is there.7 In contrast, prayers which we recite in other places becomes funneled through the impure atmosphere of foreign lands, and it is possible that prayers recited for several years in those places will not ascend at all, as the Baal Shem Tov taught.8 [In this vein,] all of the graves of the tzaddikim resemble Ma’aras HaMachpelah. The prayers which we recite there can speedily ascend to the spiritual realms at the time when the nefesh of the tzaddik ascends. For the letters of this prayer become etched within the soul of the tzaddik. Moreover, if [the visitor] merits, [the tzaddik] will intercede positively on his behalf, and can bring about that his request will be drawn down to this material plane.

Zohar I:81a; Zohar Chadash (Midrash HaNe’elam) I:21a; See the text Meah Kashita (by the Rama of Padua). See also the sources mentioned in Likutei Sichos, Vol. XXV, p. 98. 8 See Ma’amarei Admor HaEmtza’i, Drushei Chasunah, Vol. II, p. 448; Shivchei HaBesht, p. 106. 21

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This concept, that a prayer which is recited is accepted there, is a fundamental principle which can be understood by all those who seek G-d. They journey to the grave of the tzaddik and pray there with great concentration from the depths of their hearts; they may be assured that their prayer will be accepted there rapidly. For the holiness of the place brings about two factors: i) That [the visitor] be able to concentrate his heart in prayer. For the strong power of faith [which he has in the tzaddik] will generate feelings of awe and fear, as above. ii) That he can be assured that his prayer will be accepted there. This applies with regard to any Jew, even one who was not a student of [the tzaddik] for the reasons described above. Surely, this applies with regard to a student who is connected to the light of his Torah. It is even relevant to those who did not know him or relate to him during his lifetime, but merely studied the texts which he left, and appreciate the light and radiation of his Torah, and are reinforced by them in their Divine service to proceed in G-d’s paths. They are also definitely considered as students, for they also share a connection to him, for they believe in the tzaddik and receive the light of his Torah. [The fact that they believe in the tzaddik shows they share a connection with him.] For a person who has no connection to the tzaddik does not believe in him at all. (As explained in other places, in every generation, there are individuals who do not believe in [the tzaddik of that generation at all] nor do they desire to receive his influence. On the contrary, their desire is the direct opposite. This is because they do not share any connection to him at all.) [This relates to the fundamental concept of faith.] Emunah, faith, is rooted in the Hebrew word oman [foster-parent, nurturer] as in the verse, “And [Mordechai] raised Hadassah….”9 [Faith reflects how an entity] is drawn to its source. Therefore, the

9

Esther 2:7 22

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Jewish people are described as “believers”—ma’aminim.10 For [the soul of every Jew] is “an actual part of G-d,” and thus they are drawn to their source.11 Similar concepts apply with regard to faith in tzaddikim. [This faith exists,] because the tzaddikim serve as “roots,” and the branches, [i.e., other souls,] are drawn to [these roots,] their source, as explained in other texts.12 [Based on these concepts,] it can be stated definitively that those who study the holy works [of the tzaddik] and follow the paths of G-d which he revealed, and who delight and derive great pleasure from the light of his Torah, are surely considered as his students. And they can cling to him with their souls in powerful bonds of connection as was possible during his lifetime. Support for the above can be derived from an incident related in the Talmud. A Torah scholar saw the carriage of Rabbi Chiya [in Gan Eden] and became blinded because of the great light. On the following day, he prostrated himself at the grave of Rabbi Chiya [and prayed to be healed. As part of his supplication,] he said: “I study the teachings of the master.” [As a result,] he was healed.13 We see, then, that the fact that [the scholar] had studied Rabbi Chiya’s teachings served as a merit for him, entitling him to gaze at [Rabbi Chiya], and he was healed for this reason. [This explanation is necessary,] for the scholar’s vision of the chariot of Rabbi Chiya as he ascended to the heavenly academy was surely a spiritual vision, not something that was actually seen. This is possible through one soul clinging to another soul, transcending [the boundaries of] material existence. There is also another concept explained in the letter from Iggeres HaKodesh cited previously: that there is another ray [from a tzaddik] disseminated to the students,

10 11

Shabbos 97a Sefer Tanya, Chapter 2 12 See Meah She’arim, Imrei Kodesh, Sec. 11, p. 29ff. 13 Bava Metzia 85b; Rashi explains there that the teachings in question are the Tosefta that Rabbi Chiya composed. 23

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but, unlike the first, it cannot be enclothed within their intellectual potentials. Instead, it shines upon them from above.14 [This light] is generated from the ascent of the ruach and neshamah [of the tzaddik] to the source from which it was hewn, i.e., the chakal tapuchin kadishin.15 [This ascent] brings about an arousal from below [including] all of his deeds, statements, thoughts, his Torah study, and his Divine service which he performed throughout his lifetime. [As a result,] sublime lights are sown in the chakal tapuchin kadishin (i.e., the spiritual correspondents of his Torah study and Divine service, for “the reward of a mitzvah is the mitzvah.”)16 These sublime lights shine to all their students who were motivated to become servants of G-d through his teachings and Divine service. This ray instills in their hearts thoughts of teshuvah and good deeds, which are called “fruits of the second degree.” This ray, however, is concealed, [to cite an analogy,] like the sun which shines forth to the stars from below the earth. As the Tikunei [Zohar] states with regard to Moshe Rabbeinu, “his radiation extends in every generation….”17 This concludes the passage from Iggeres HaKodesh. This ray extends to all of the students of the tzaddik equally, including even those who did not know him personally but merely studied his holy texts and delight in the radiance of his holy Torah and Divine service. Moreover, they serve G-d according to his path of conduct. [That this ray relates to the latter category of students] is evident from the wording used there: “All his students who became servants of G-d through his teachings and Divine service.” Similarly, this concept is apparent from the citation of] the instance
14 15

Iggeres HaKodesh, #27 Literally, “the orchard of the holy apples.” As seen in the Zohar, III:84a, this term refers to Gan Eden. See also Rashi’s notes to Bereishis 27:27. 16 Avos 2:4 17 It is possible that there is an error of transcription in the text of Iggeres HaKodesh, and the intent is the Zohar, for the concept is explained at length in Zohar III:273a. It is, however, also mentioned in Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 69, p. 112a, and 114a. See He’aros v’Tikkunim LeTanya and Igros Kodesh of the Rebbe, Vol. XVI, p. 304. 24

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of Moshe Rabbeinu whose Torah ([perhaps the intent is,] “whose radiation,” [as is in fact stated in Iggeres HaKodesh, as cited above]) extends in every generation to sixty myriad souls of the Jewish people—meaning, to all those who learn the Torah of Moshe. [This relates to the concept cited previously,] “I study the teachings of the master.” For when his ray shines upon him, he is entitled to gaze upon him. All of the above relates to the fourth rationale [given for visiting the graves of the tzaddikim]. The fifth rationale is the ultimate expression of prostrating oneself on the grave of a tzaddik, involving the consummation of sublime states of unity and the comprehension of lofty ideas, as intimated by the statement: “You shall see your [future] world in your lifetime.”18 This implies that the person actually tastes a portion of Gan Eden in his lifetime. This is possible because he elevates his nefesh, ruach, and neshamah to a higher plane to be fused to the nefesh, ruach, and neshamah of the tzaddik who is in Gan Eden and delighting in the radiance of the Divine Presence, apprehending G-diness as alluded to in the verse, “Those who sit in the gardens, friends listen to your voice.”19 This is interpreted to mean that the angels listen to the voice of the souls which sit in Gan Eden. Similarly, when the tzaddik reveal secrets of the Torah while they are alive in a physical body, the angels come to hear Torah from his mouth. This is reflected in the Talmudic narrative which relates that the ministering angels came [to listen to Rabbi Yehoshua’s discourse as people come to watch] the celebrations performed before a bride and a groom.20 And as stated in the Zohar: “[The angels] all listened to their voices and words.”21 This reflects a revelation of the level of yechidah, i.e., the revelation of the essential light of the soul, as it exists in the spiritual realms, cleaving to

18 19

Berachos 17a Shir HaShirim 8:13; See the comments of Shir HaShirim Rabbah on this verse. 20 Chagigah 14b 21 Zohar III:213a 25

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the living G-d. And as a natural consequence, one will merit the revelation of Eliyahu HaNavi and the spirit of prophecy, as explained in the writings of the Arizal.22

22

See the section of Sha’ar Hakedushah cited in note 26 of the first section of this ma’amar. 26

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