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D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Yisro

Shalosh Seudos1 of Parshas Yisro 5768
'‫. וְ יוֹם הַ שּׁבִ יעִ י שׁבָּ ת לַה‬‫"זָכוֹר אֶ ת-יוֹם הַ שּׁבָּ ת לְ קדּשׁוֹ. שׁשׁת יָמים תּעבֹד, וְ עָ שׂיתָ כָּל-מלַאכְ תּ‬ ַ ְ ֶ ְ ִ ֲ ַ ִ ֶ ֵ ְ ַ ַ ‫. כִּ י‬‫ אֲ שׁר בִּ שׁעָ רי‬‫, וְ גֵר‬‫ וּבְ הֶ מתּ‬‫ וַאֲ מָ ת‬‫, עַ בְ דּ‬‫ וּבִ תּ‬ְ‫א-תַ עֲשׂה כָל-מלָאכָה אַ תּה וּבִ נ‬ :‫קי‬ ֱ‫א‬ ֶ ְ ֶ ְ ֶ ְ ְ ְ ֶ ָ ְ ֶ ֶ -‫שׁשׁת-יָמים עָ שׂה ה' אֶ ת-הַ שּׁמַ יִ ם וְ אֶ ת-הָ אָרץ אֶ ת-הַ יָּם וְ אֶ ת-כָּ ל-אֲ שׁר-בָּ ם, וַיָּ נַח בַּ יּוֹם הַ שּׁבִ יעִ י, עַ ל‬ ְ ֶ ֶ ָ ָ ִ ֶ ֵ ".‫ ה' אֶ ת-יוֹם הַ שּׁבָּ ת וַיְ קדּשׁהוּ‬‫כּן בֵּ ר‬ ֵ ְ ַ ַ ַ ֵ
“Remember the Shabbos day to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is Shabbos unto Hashem your G-d, in it you shall not do any manner of work; you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates. For during six days Hashem made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. It is for this that Hashem blessed the Shabbos day and hallowed it.”2

Rashi explains: “‘And do all your work’—When Shabbos arrives, it shall be in your eyes as though all of your work is done, so that you do not remain preoccupied with labor.”3 Shabbos and the Torah of the Future Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught that in the future, “on the day that is entirely ְ ִ Shabbos,” the Torah of Atikah Sesima’ah will be revealed.4 As the verse says: ‫"אָז תּתעַ נַּג עַ ל‬ "‫“—הוי"ה‬Then [in the ultimate future] you will delight in [literally ‘upon’] Hashem-HaVaYaH.”5 We will delight upon HaVaYaH, which is the level of Atikah Sesima’ah.6 This is the main delight of Shabbos [and this verse is part of the extended kiddush of the morning meal]. Reb Nosson of Breslov explains that the main element of the sanctity of Shabbos derives from the Torah of Atikah Sesima’ah that will be revealed and shine forth in the ultimate future. Although the Torah will never be dispensed with, G-d forbid, and one should never think
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The lesson was delivered at the third meal of Shabbos. Shemos 20:7-10 3 Mechiltah 4 Likutei Moharan I:49 5 Yeshayah 58:14 6 Zohar I:219 3

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Yisro

that the Torah that we have now will ever be replaced, nevertheless the purpose of the arrival of Moshiach is to reveal a “new Torah”—to help us fulfill the Torah completely. Even now we can see that although Hashem commanded us to “be holy”—to sanctify ourselves to an added degree within the limits of that which is permitted to us7—nevertheless it is hard for us to find and follow a path that will lead us to fulfill this commandment completely. Similarly, we find ourselves falling short of fulfilling all of the Torah’s mitzvos perfectly, in all of their detail, without ulterior motives. And even though Hashem planted tzaddikim in every generation who provide us with guidance and instruction, still we feel far from genuine avodah because the Soton exerts efforts to upend all the best advice and intentions. However, when Moshiach arrives he will be known as Pele Yo’etz—“wondrous advisor”—[because his advice will achieve its purpose fully].8 Then we will see the fruition of the promise: “Behold, days are coming, says Hashem, and I will make a new covenant with the house of Yisrael and with the house of Yehudah. It is not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, for they broke My covenant, although I was a master over them, says Hashem.”9 This means that true guidance will be revealed that cannot be “broken” by the sitra achra so that the Jewish people will be able to fulfill the Torah’s commandments completely, and then they will attain an everlasting redemption. This level corresponds with the holiness of the Shabbos, because Shabbos comprises the letters ‫":תשוב‬‫קי‬ ֱ‫“—"וְ שׁבְ תּ עַ ד ה' א‬And you will repent/return to Hashem, ֶ ָ ַ your G-d.”10 As Rebbe Nachman expressed it, through observing the Shabbos, one draws the light of Moshiach and of repentance upon himself.11 Chometz and Matzah at Home, Together Rav Hillel of Paritsch bore a tradition stretching back to the Maggid of Mezeritch regarding how he came to truly understand the mechanism of the spiritual path of the Baal Shem Tov. He cited the Baal HaTanya, who heard from Rav Avraham HaMalach—the son of the Maggid—that his father had said that he came to understand the tactics of spiritual warfare when

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Vayikra 19:2 and Rashi there. Yeshayah 9:5 9 Yirmiyah 31:30-31 10 Devarim 30:2 11 Sefer HaMiddos 4

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Yisro

he saw that one of the King’s officers pretended to abandon the field of battle to lull the enemy into a false sense of security. Suddenly, however, this officer ambushed the enemy from the other side and this turned the tide of the war in his favor. Rav Avraham HaMalach said that this is the way in which we can understand the Baal Shem Tov’s battles against the sitra achra, and it is his Torah that is the first glimmer of the light of the Torah of redemption. This tactic is also at the root of why we have both a first and second Pesach offering. On the first Pesach, we eliminate the chometz from our homes and wage an open war against the klippos. However, on Pesach Sheini, “both chometz and matzah are with him in his home.”12 The deeper meaning of this is that, in the pathway of the Baal Shem Tov, the Jew who is not able to fully remove the “chometz” from himself and finds himself beset from negativity on all sides still has a way to purify himself. He can fill his mind and heart with thoughts of emunah and cleave to the secrets of the Torah [represented by matzah]. Even though this level of Torah is rooted in the higher world of Atzilus and this person is still enmeshed in the lower three worlds of Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah, nevertheless a clear road lies before him so that he can rise from Asiyah to Yetzirah, and from Yetzirah to Beriyah, and from Beriyah to Atzilus. To do this, he needs to “draw out the Echad” of Shema, and this isn’t accomplished by just enunciating the word slowly and covering one’s eyes. The real way to “draw out the Echad” is to recite all of the parts of the prayer—from the Korbanos associated with the world of Asiyah all the way through the blessings of the Shema and the Shema itself associated with the world of Beriyah—with real concentration. This purifies him so that he is worthy of rising to the world of Atzilus during Shemonah Esrei, which also corresponds to the secrets of the Torah. Yet there is an even higher level of the Torah’s secrets—that of razin d’razin associated with the highest level of Adam Kadmon—and this ultimate level is like a unifying force that extends from the uppermost level all the way through down to the world of Asiyah. The tzaddikim have already revealed that the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov are an expression of the razin d’razin, and they are the pathway of Pesach Sheini, where even though “chometz and matzah are with him in the home,” he can still achieve purity and holiness through focusing on the study of Chassidus. “I will envision Your face in righteousness, I will be satisfied when I wake to Your likeness.”13 By “envisioning His face,” by meditating on Hashem’s existence as

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Yerushalmi, Pesachim 9:3 Tehillim 17:15 5

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Yisro

both filling and transcending all worlds as expounded upon in the Chassidic works, one surreptitiously ambushes the sitra achra even in his “impure” place because he is filled with a desire to return to Hashem and mend his ways. Even though he is unable to fight the enemy outright, his stance of the false retreat actually places him in a better position. If a person knows that he is not yet able to eat and drink in holiness and sanctify himself within the parameters of the permitted, and if his soul is still unsatisfied with its avodah, he must take the roundabout route and push himself to study the Torah’s secrets. This will draw upon him a taste of the Torah’s light—the light of Atikah Sesima’ah and the redemption—which has the power to heal the human soul and repair one’s deeds and character. As long as a person avoids such study, he lacks true spiritual healing. It is only through the light of Shabbos which is illuminated by Atikah Sesima’ah that one merits to reach his ultimate rectification and holiness: “Remember the Shabbos day, to make it holy.” If a person want to “make it holy,” he must, “remember the Shabbos day.” The Vision of Yeshayah the Prophet In this week’s haftarah we find: “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw Hashem sitting upon a throne high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Above Him stood the Seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face and with two he covered his feet, and with two he did fly. And one called to another, and said: Holy, holy, holy, is Hashem, [L-rd of] hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory. And the posts of the door were moved at the voice of them that called, and the house was filled with smoke. Then I said: Woe is me! I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. For mine eyes have seen the King, Hashem [L-rd] of hosts.”14 Based on what we have learned so far, we have a clearer understanding of the meaning of Yeshayah’s vision. The prophet ascended to the world of Atzilus and saw a vision of Hashem, but at that point he feared for his life because he sensed that the lower worlds of BeriyahYetzirah-Asiyah were still not rectified. This is why he said, “Because I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” “...Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a glowing stone in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: Behold this
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Yeshayah 6:1-5 6

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Yisro

has touched your lips, and your iniquity is taken away and your sin expiated. And I heard the voice of Hashem, saying: ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said: ‘Here I am. Send me.’ And He said: ‘Go, and tell this people: hear, but do not understand; see, but fail to perceive. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they, seeing with their eyes, and hearing with their ears, and understanding with their heart, return, and be healed.’”15 Hashem revealed to Yeshayah that if the Jewish people would allow their eyes to be illuminated by the Torah’s innermost light with dveikus, they would merit to have their sins fall away and be forgiven. Then, as a matter of course, when they would see with their eyes and hear with their ears—when they would immerse themselves in the dveikus of Atzilus until they reached the level of Adam Kadmon whose “train fills the temple” because its “heels” extend all the way down to Asiyah—they would naturally repair the lower three worlds. In Beriyah [associated with Binah and the heart], their “hearts would understand,” and “repent” within Yetzirah, and “be healed” in Asiyah. The Perfidy of Amalek Unfortunately, Amalek lies in wait to blind the eyes and block the hearts of the Jewish people so that they will not believe in the sanctity and exaltedness of the Torah’s innermost secrets. Amalek knows and understands that their study can bring a person to genuine repentance and to also comprehend the Torah’s other parts completely. This because the innermost element of the Torah encompasses within it all of its other parts [in an encoded and spiritual manner, just as the DNA encompasses within it all of the information expressed in the outer body]. This is like the apex of the yud that represents Adam Kadmon; it is an integrated part of the whole yud that represents Atzilus. This is the actual meaning of Amalek’s attack: “He would cut off the foreskins and throw them heavenwards.”16 The sitra achra comes along and grabs hold of a form of Divine service that is really of much lesser value than that of the study of razin d’razin, and it “throws it heavenwards.” It exaggerates its importance so that a person will neglect the greater holiness of the Torah’s innermost secrets, because they have the power to bring the entire world closer to Hashem.

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Ibid., 6:6-10 Midrash Tanchuma, Ki Teitzei chapter 10 7

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Yisro

This is reflected in the words of Dovid HaMelech, who when he felt that he had no Torah, mitzvah, or merit to his name, consoled himself with the one merit he felt remained to him: “I will envision Your face in righteousness, I will be satisfied when I wake to Your likeness.”17 Similarly, when he was in the bathhouse, he consoled himself with the thought that he still had the merit of milah to his credit.18 Meaning, he realized the greatness of being connected to the tzaddik yesod olam, to the aspect of Yesod embodied in the tzaddik who reveals the Torah’s innermost secrets. Hevel’s Other Twin This relates to the root of Kayin’s flaw. We know that Kayin was born with a single twin who represented Leah [and Binah], and he himself was aligned with Binah and its “simple” avodah of struggle. He reasoned that the pathway of avodah through Binah is distinct from that of Rachel and Chochmah / Atzilus, and that they do not mesh with one another. [Rather, he assumed that one must only ascend in a linear way, by first cleansing the blemishes in the worlds of BY”A through extensive effort, and only afterward enter into the avodah of Chochmah at the level of Atzilus.] When he saw, however, that Hevel was born with two twin sisters—one representing Leah and the other Rachel—he was distraught. He understood the significance of the event; that Hevel would be able to synthesize the avodos of the lower worlds of BY”A and Atzilus into a single entity. Hevel “Gazing at the Shechinah” Even so, Hevel too fell into error—he “gazed” at the Shechinah. Gazing is another way to indicate the finalization of a yichud [or achieving intimacy through thought and vision]. The Shechinah also dwells in the lower worlds of BY”A, and it is forbidden to focus overly much on the alluring vision of the lower worlds unless a person has already reached the level of Adam Kadmon and complete dveikus [where his inner desires are all focused on Hashem alone]. Anyone who does so before reaching this lofty state can fall into great error, just as gazing at the colors of the rainbow constitutes a grave error all the while that a person is in a less than fullydeveloped spiritual state. The rainbow’s colors are known as the “three colors of the eye and the black of the pupil.” The three colors [red, white, and green representing CHaGaT or the roots of
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Pesikta D’Rav Kahana 11:14 Menachos 43b 8

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Yisro

Ze’ir Anpin] parallel the three lower worlds of BY”A, while the black pupil parallels the Shechinah in her “black” and downcast state in the lower worlds. Too much focus on the lower worlds can lead a person to lose sight of Hashem’s light as he loses himself in the transient pleasures and “colors” of this world. However, the tzaddikim do exist in a state of dveikus with the light of the future world, like the kohein who can enter and serve in the innermost chamber of the Beis Hamikdash and from there uplift all of creation. This is what is meant by the teaching that, in the ultimate future, the rainbow will shine “with illuminated colors.” This is why, even now, the true tzaddikim eat and their food is like holy offerings, and their every word is consecrated to Hashem’s service. Hevel reached the levels of Leah and Rachel, but he only received their light while on the level of Atzilus. Without first rising to the level of dveikus of Adam Kadmon, he involved himself in the lower worlds of BY”A and then failed to bind them all into a single entity dedicated to Hashem’s service. Each person on his own level must make sure to achieve a state of dveikus and immersion in the razin d’razin before he can presume to involve himself in the matters of this world and expect to be able to sanctify his experiences. After having done so, however, he will be able to purify the lower levels of BY”A and repent fully, and to rule over the upper and lower states, just like Shlomo HaMelech. The Baal HaTanya taught that one must always take care not to assume that he has reached the level of the tzaddikim unless he can follow their example in every matter. One must be wary of the flaw of Hevel, who thought that he was ready to “gaze at the Shechinah,” but was sorely mistaken. We must keep a respectful distance from the tzaddikim and accept that we are still very, very far from their level. And even if we have been privileged to taste a little of their Da’as, nevertheless we must never make the mistake of “gazing at the Shechinah” while she is still dressed in black. We must not arouse the jealousy of Kayin. Even though Hevel really does have the innate ability to unify the avodos of Rachel and Leah, it still takes many years of immersion in the Torah’s secrets. He must never desist from thinking about Hashem: “I will envision Your face in righteousness; I will wake to Your likeness.” All the while that we are still far from this and can only catch the barest of glimpses of the light of Atikah Sesima’ah, we must dedicate ourselves to the steady upward-seeking avodah of Kayin, the simple avodah of teshuvah and rising from level to level. We are not like the tzaddikim who can leap immediately to the avodah of Atzilus and disregard the simpler avodos. 9

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Yisro

Rather, we receive inspiration from their Torah of Atikah Sesima’ah so that our simpler avodah of straightforward teshuvah is well fueled. We must not be like those who spend a little time learning Chassidus and feel as though they have already grasped the truth and do not need to actually change their ways for the better. “And They Each Inquired after One Another’s Welfare” “And Moshe went out to meet his father-in-law, and bowed down and kissed him; and they each inquired after one another’s welfare; and they came into the tent.”19 This is meant to teach us that one must respect each of these pathways and make peace between them. [The idiom to “ask after one’s welfare” is “to ask after his peace” in Hebrew.] Yisro was an extension of the soul of Kayin, while Moshe Rabbeinu was of the soul of Hevel.20 Moshe Rabbeinu bowed down before Yisro to demonstrate that one must follow the path of Kayin and honor it; one must ascend along the simple ladder of gradual moral improvement. One must begin by accepting upon himself the yoke of heaven which is the avodah of the world of Asiyah; one must then arouse the emotions of Divine love and fear that are associated with the world of Yetzirah. After that, he must awaken the mental states of ahavah and yirah—not only while he prays, but all day long—which is the avodah of the world of Beriyah. Only then can he rise to the state of dveikus that characterizes the world of Atzilus, which is the pathway of Moshe Rabbeinu. The distinction between them is expressed in Yisro’s statement to Moshe Rabbeinu: “You will surely wear away...”21 If you follow the pathway of Atzilus exclusively, one runs the risk of falling away from avodah altogether. [The original phrase is ‫ ,נבל תבול‬which implies both the withering and falling away of a flower past its prime. This is echoed in the term ‫ ,נובלות חכמה‬the “fallout of Chochmah.”] On the other hand, Moshe Rabbeinu is the paradigm of the tzaddik who reveals the Torah of Atikah Sesima’ah that has the power to repair all of the lower worlds. So too, when one honors and sanctifies the Shabbos properly, one is energized to serve Hashem to a greater degree and fully repent his sins and personal flaws. All the while that we await the full revelation of the light of razin d’razin, we must capitalize on the little glow that is available to us through the

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Shemos 18:7 Sha’ar Hagilgulim, Hakdamah #32-33 21 Shemos 18:18 10

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas Yisro

tzaddikim and continue the path of simple avodah so that we can ultimately be victorious in our fight for the sake of heaven. “Let Your Soul Know Wisdom” This is the meaning of: "‫“—"דעה חכמה לנפשך והיא כתר לראשך‬Let your soul (nefesh) know (d’ei) wisdom (Chochmah) and it will be a crown (Kesser) for your head.”22 One must constantly immerse himself in Hashem’s Torah, and whenever one feels that the Torah’s meaning eludes him, he must throw himself into study and mitzvah observance with complete abandon. He must harness the lower level of nefesh for the higher purpose of Chochmah, and the Torah’s wisdom must likewise penetrate all the way down to his nefesh. Then he will rise to the level of yechidah / Kesser / razin d’razin within his own soul. Whenever a Jew expends all of his energies in Torah study, he touches upon the level of Arich Anpin [because such dedication requires a great deal of patience and longing] and he naturally merits full repentance through the Torah of Atikah Sesima’ah. [The “hidden Torah” can mean Torah that is actually a mystery, or that Torah which is still a mystery to the individual because his understanding has yet to penetrate its meaning.] Even though we are far from this, the tzaddikim have already shared a taste of this light of the future world with us. May we always remember how far we are from their level and how deeply we are in need of the light of the true tzaddikim to shine into our simple avodah. May Hashem help that in the merit of this Shabbos when we read of the giving of the Torah we will truly accept the Torah upon ourselves. Just as the Torah was given in thunder and lightning to purify the lower worlds of BY”A, so too may we cleanse our actions practically and immerse ourselves in the Torah’s secrets so that we can be sanctified with the holiness of the Shabbos. Then we will merit to see the coming of our righteous redeemer in mercy. Amen.

Translated and Adapted by Rav Micha Golshevsky.

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From the Shabbos zemer “D’ror Yikrah,” based on Mishlei 24:14. 11

Nesiv Chaim 10a

Nesiv Chaim 10, Part 1

"It is a general principle of faith that every single matter, small or great, has its parallel root on high, as we have already explained on the Mishnah: 'Know that which is above you'—'Know that that which is above, is of [or from] you.'1 That the aspect of Adam and its upright structure which exists in the upper worlds— which the prophet calls 'eye,'2 or 'hand,'3 or 'His feet,'4 or 'mouth'5—all of them are from you…" We have already learned in the earlier sources that the prophets saw physical images in their visions, such as a hand, a foot, a mouth, etc., and that these images were meant to allow them to have a small grasp of the upper worlds. Now, we know that the spiritual world is not physical in any way; why, then, did they see physical images? Certainly, what they saw was not meant to be understood literally. Yet it is also a fact that the prophet or the tzaddik is only able to grasp spiritual concepts if the Shechinah reveals it to him by way of imagery that is physical in its nature. As the verse says, "By the agency of the prophets I [Hashem] have used similitudes [or, 'have made Myself imagined']."6 It is only through the "making of similitudes"—the use of imagery that can be grasped by the human mind, which is naturally attuned to the physical—that the loftiest visions can be revealed. Even if the tzaddik has visions of letters, which are less material than physical forms, they are still only sent to serve as a means through which he can grasp that which cannot be apprehended otherwise.

1 2

Avos 2:1 Tehillim 33:18 3 Yehoshua 2:24 4 Shemos 24:10 5 Bamidbar 12:5 6 Hoshea 12:11 12

Nesiv Chaim 10a

The Baal HaSulam explained this process by way of a parable. If we consider two good friends, we can see that when they are together they are bound very deeply to one another. Nevertheless, the nature of this bond is something that cannot be clearly delineated. The bond is in their souls; but how could they have bonded their souls together when neither of them has the ability to see or grasp the other's soul? Nevertheless, Hashem created a vessel that contains the soul [to an extent], and by way of these vessels it is possible to experience the bond. The souls are united, and the bodies are two distinct entities that are divided from one another. Yet it is by way of the bodies that the bond between them is developed. This parable of the Baal HaSulam is not exact; it is an approximation to help us understand the matter somewhat better [which is itself the process that is being described here, that the physical is a parable, and not one whose exactness can be clearly grasped]. If a person sees a vision of an angel in this world, it is certain that the entity does not have physical wings or any other physical attribute that can be seen by the human eye. The prophets spoke in this way because there is conceptual similarity between physical forms and their spiritual roots on high. The physical images that they saw allowed them to grasp spiritual forms and concepts—and they even sometimes saw visions of themselves, to express that they themselves had becomes vehicles to transmit a particular concept or revelation of G-dliness. This is what the Komarna Rebbe referred to when he wrote, "All that which is above is from you"—all of the grasp that you have on spiritual concepts and matters is by way of the person himself, via the form of his own physical self which serves as a vehicle for the expression of spiritual ideas. Everything that the prophets saw was, "from them." Obscuring and Revealing "…When you sanctify your limbs and you fulfill the mitzvos with light, then G-dly vitality constricts itself, so to speak, so that it can rest upon your limbs…"— Meaning, G-dly vitality rests upon the limbs of the tzaddik and he becomes a vehicle to

13

Nesiv Chaim 10a

express it within the world. "…And it unites and bonds with you…"—And this is really the main element of avodah, to make oneself a vehicle so that the Shechinah will rest upon him and G-d's presence will be revealed in the world. "…And it refers to itself [the Shechinah] when it is in this state of resting upon the limbs [of the tzaddik], 'An image that appeared like a man upon it from above.'7 And this [is

how] your eye sees and your ear hears, because G-dly vitality is constricted even within an absolutely wicked person, for there is no place devoid of Him, 'And all of Your deeds are in the book,' and the form of your soul, 'is written'…"
Hashem reveals Himself even within an absolutely wicked person, however when the person is wicked this revelation is clouded in obscurity. It is forbidden to say that the wicked person actually has internalized and embodies this revelation of Gdliness; rather, it is a "surrounding light" by him. This concept is discussed in Tzava'as HaRivash. There, we find a teaching of the Baal Shem Tov, that sometimes a person is in the middle of his prayers or he is in a state of great dveikus with Hashem and suddenly a wicked person comes along and disturbs his focus. Or it might even be a non-Jew who interrupts his prayers and concentration. When that happens, one must know full well that everything is from Hashem. Now, could we have thought otherwise than that the incident was orchestrated by Hashem? Clearly, this is referring to a deeper matter. The reason why this incident happened to the person was to draw him closer to Hashem through having been interrupted; Hashem wants him to put more energy into focusing his thoughts, and so He sent emissaries to the person to disturb him. A number of disciples once asked the Baal HaTanya how it was possible for the Baal Shem Tov to say such a thing, since it is known that the non-Jew is a manifestation of the klippah; how could one then say that the Shechinah used such a person as its emissary? Hashem only allows His Shechinah to rest upon the Jewish people! The Baal
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Yechezkel 1:26 14

Nesiv Chaim 10a

HaTanya explained that, in an oblique manner, everything in the universe is G-dliness, for Hashem gives life to every sing thing in the world, including non-Jews. Even though one cannot say that this G-dliness is manifest in a revealed manner, it is manifest in a concealed manner, as a makif or surrounding light. When G-dly vitality is manifest clearly and is internalized, it is holy and is like the ohr pnimi that "fills all worlds." When it comes to revealed G-dliness, there is a great deal of difference between the righteous and the wicked, and between Jews and non-Jews, because those who are attached to holiness in a revealed way are expressing clearly the fact that they are fulfilling Hashem's will. The wicked do the opposite; what can be seen clearly is that they are violating Hashem's will. However, in a concealed manner there is nothing in this world that is transgressing Hashem's will [because it is His will that gives life and sustains absolutely everything]. One must understand this matter very clearly and not mix up the two aspects: when it comes to the hidden vitality within everything, both good and evil is sustained by Hashem because nothing can exist without Him. Nevertheless, at the revealed level there is a great deal of difference between holiness and klippah. Holiness reveals the inner vitality that would be otherwise hidden, while the klippah [i.e. evil behavior] serves to conceal the G-dliness that is within everything. [The objective of our existence is to reveal G-dliness, not conceal it.] Experiencing the Presence of G-d "…At every moment your eyes and heart should be [responding] as though our master Yitzchak Luria [the Arizal] or our master Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem [Tov] was standing before you, who would tell each person everything that had passed through his thoughts and all that he had done for the previous twenty years, in exact detail. How much more so should you imagine and focus your mind [nefesh] on the fact that the great G-d, in an instant, sees all that you have thought and done from the day you were created until now. And you will then conquer your lower nature, and remove from yourself all of the temptations of the evil inclination. In any case, even at the most intense moment of your katnus [when your

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consciousness of G-d is most limited] when you do not have even the least degree of spiritual vitality, nevertheless you must galvanize yourself and fulfill all of the mitzvos in simplicity. And you must recite every single word of the prayers without omitting a single letter, with simple intention—just the meaning of the words—and with submission, and with faith that you can look forward to Hashem's help and [eventually] return to your level. 'Hope to G-d and He will save you'8…" The Komarna Rebbe is now referring to very deep matters. Dveikus—"Through the hand of the prophets I am imagined"—has two forms: that which is direct or "second person," and that which is concealed or "third person." We can understand this better when considering the form of a blessing. A blessing begins with a second-person reference to Hashem, "Blessed are You…"—this expresses the feeling of speaking directly to Hashem just as one would to his friend, face to face. This level is reached by lofty individuals who spend a great deal of time in prayer, because it is investment in the avodah of prayer that brings one to feel the "direct" dveikus. The main principles underlying these ideas are discussed in the Otzros Chaim, in the Sha'ar Ha'Akudim, which we will see for ourselves soon when we examine the words of the Arizal themselves. For now, however, we will just discuss those details that relate to our current subject. The basis of Olam Ha'Akudim is the "mouth of Adam Kadmon," which is the source of speech. It was there that the first vessel was created. It is the mouth which creates the vessel. A vessel is the aspect of Malchus, meaning that which has form and image, and it is associated with the external sense capacity. There are many different levels [in the grasp of spirituality]. There is hisbonenus or contemplation that is rooted in the faculty of Binah, and there is the level of the "nose" which is that of having a sense or a feeling [which is still intangible], but when you get down to it you find that neither of these are true vessels [because they don't assume any actual form]. One must be aware, then, of the point at which the first

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Mishlei 20:22 16

Nesiv Chaim 10a

vessel was made, and that was in the world of Akudim which is "located" at the point of the "mouth of Adam Kadmon." We will see that it is possible for a person to experience dveikus through other forms of Divine service [other than prayer], but that dveikus is "concealed." This means that the person knows and grasps that there is G-dliness, but he lacks the sense that it is necessary to also give rise to vessels, to see that Malchus is revealed, and that it only possible in the "direct" manner. This means feeling Hashem's presence and being connected with Him directly. For example, there is yirah that is "direct," in the sense of, "May it be His will that your fear of heaven will be like your fear of flesh and blood."9 It seems as though the level described here is something small, but in actuality it is not at all. Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught that this "lowly" kind of yirah is really a very great level. For if one had it, he would certainly be ashamed, literally red-faced, before Hashem. So we see that such yirah [that is like that of "flesh and blood," meaning that one really feels it] is not simple at all, because it means that one must have dveikus that is "direct," which is no small matter. In brief, there are two types of dveikus, and it is necessary to attain both of them. One must contemplate G-dliness, the Divine Names, dwell on thoughts of faith [which is all hisbonenus], but these must bring the person to a state of trembling before Hashem—to really feel His presence. And it's not enough to feel His presence; one must also act on this feeling and express this sense of His presence, and that is accomplished by speaking to Hashem. Even though the vessels of the mind and the emotional senses are very lofty, they still must descend to inhabit an actual vessel, which is the face-toface experience of direct prayer. One only comes to this level by speaking a great deal with Hashem. The Komarna Rebbe described this avodah by first drawing a parable to standing before the Arizal or the Baal Shem Tov, that one should imagine how he would feel to stand before tzaddikim with genuine ruach hakodesh who would know clearly
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Berachos 28b 17

Nesiv Chaim 10a

every detail of his whole life. Even now, when a person goes to see a true tzaddik, he feels great dread [since it is a kind of exposure]; how much more so would this have been true of the Baal Shem Tov and the Arizal. All of this is nothing when compared with how one ought to feel upon entering into the presence of and speaking with the Shechinah—even the greatest tzaddik is like absolutely nothing compared with the Shechinah. Making use of this faculty is called imagining, and this is "holy imagination." One cannot see the Shechinah, but he imagines that Hashem is before him, by making use of the "external imagination" which is sensory and based in the physical. Its root is in Malchus, and one arouses it by reaching up to its root, which is at the mouth of Adam Kadmon, the world of Akudim. Nesiv Mitzvosecha, Nesiv Emunah, Pathway 2.1: "To begin with, it is a matter of rock-solid faith for us and all of the Jewish people, and there is no question of having an improper thought by this [concept]. Just as everywhere that we speak of the flow of abundance, the sustaining of life, existence, vitality, light and sweetness—all of them refer to the illumination that comes from the Ein Sof…" The sense of light and sweetness, of spiritual vitality, that it is possible to feel while engaged in avodas Hashem is our human way of feeling G-d's presence among us and within us. In that sense, such feelings are true and very valuable, because they do come from Hashem and they are a gateway through which a person can eventually grow to real dveikus—total and absolute, transcending all knowledge and reason. At the same time, it is important that a person does not make the error of confusing this gift of having a sense of Hashem's closeness with an actual revelation of G-d's light. While we don't disparage such experiences and feelings, we need to recognize them for what they are and must steer clear of ascribing a higher level to them than they actually have. That would be an abuse of the imaginative faculty, and a degradation of the loftiness of the Shechinah.

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The sages taught, "If only they would have abandoned Me and kept My Torah." What could it possibly mean for us to have "abandoned Him?" We know that the highest level of knowing G-d is "not knowing." Meaning, the truest and loftiest revelation of Gd cannot be grasped at all. And if a person feels that he has apprehended something of G-d, this is the clearest proof that he has done nothing more than reduced Hashem to a materialized conception, chas v'shalom, since this is all that the human mind can grasp. Even the conceptualizations of the greatest tzaddik is nothing before Hashem. The Ohr HaChaim Hakadosh taught that if people realized the degree of dveikus that could be attained through Torah study, they would be in a state of passion and frenzy to study it. The Baal Shem Tov also spoke of this, and said that while it would seem as though the sages' statement above renders all of our efforts to reach dveikus null and void, since Hashem Himself said, "If only they would have abandoned Me…," this is not the true meaning of the phrase. They were trying to teach us that attempts at dveikus can bring a person to feel that he has grasped more of G-dliness, yet Hashem tells us that the truest form of dveikus comes to a person who dedicates himself to Torah, since this is what makes one worthy of dveikus unclouded by false imaginings. The Komarna Rebbe is clarifying that one must develop "rock-solid" faith about this point; one must go over this over and over, because without it one cannot attain any spiritual advancement or come to sanctify himself when it comes to material matters. Everything that is sweet and delightful in this world has some revelation of Hashem, some Divine element, which renders it so wonderful. One must learn to connect every sweet experience—like the feeling of sweetness one has during Torah study and prayer—to Hashem. One doesn't learn because it brings him pleasure; rather, the experience of the pleasure must be used to bring the person to dveikus with Hashem. All pleasure is really about connection, and all pleasures—even the spiritual pleasures— must be capitalized upon to forge a bond with Hashem. When one learns because it is Gd's will and not because it gives him pleasure, then the enjoyment is the vehicle through which he bonds with Hashem. This is the proper path to reach dveikus with the Ein Sof,

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with the Creator. The same process is what enables a person to reach and uplift the spark of G-dliness that exists within physical pleasures like food. Spiritually, most of the matter of food—no matter how delicious it is physically—is "dark matter." The actual Divine spark in the food is infinitesimal, and all of the pleasure offered by the food is that which draws the person to bind his thoughts and feelings to G-d as he eats so that he can uplift that holy spark. If he is focused on the pleasure alone, then the entire process of eating is wasted, because it brings him no closer to Hashem. "… Just as everywhere that we speak of the flow of abundance, the sustaining of life, existence, vitality, light and sweetness—all of them refer to the illumination that comes from the Ein Sof, which illuminates from the top of Adam Kadmon down to the epicenter of the abyss. And the 'heels' of Adam Kadmon are enclothed within the ten sefiros of Asiyah, and there the klippah is all. Adam Kadmon cloaks the Ein Sof and the providence and illumination of the Ein Sof until the epicenter of the abyss, among the emanated beings [Atzilus], created beings [Beriyah], formed beings [Yetzirah] and made beings [Asiyah]. Pure and impure…" The Holy One illuminates in the manner of the Ein Sof, and by way of a line or channel of Ein Sof. This light shines and is distributed until the "heels" of Adam Kadmon, as the Kabbalists discuss, and it is there that it is cloaked by the world of Asiyah. All of the worlds of Atzilus, Beriyah, Yetzirah and Asiyah are all a graduated series of cloakings which extend from the midsection of Adam Kadmon and down. It is through this system of graduated cloakings of His light that Hashem is revealed in each and every place. Nesiv Emunah, Pathway 2.2: "The Divine conduct [of the universe] that is in effect now is very hidden and sealed, and the sefiros are devitalized and [there is] this bitter exile. [Even so,] there is no illumination small or great, or action small or great, that is not [a manifestation of] the illumination [of the] Ein Sof which spreads out from above down to the lowest of all levels…"

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Nesiv Chaim 10a

A Jew must be aware that everything that happens in the world is orchestrated by G-d. It is the way of tzaddikim to bind every single move that they make, and everything that they see and feel, and everything in the world that they encounter, to the G-dliness that animates it. Because this is the truth: that there is nothing small or great that is not a manifestation of the light that comes from Ein Sof. "…And there is no motion small or great of any creature that is not a manifestation of the illumination from Ein Sof. All of the vitality that enlivens all creatures pure and impure are only from Him, and He illuminates each one of them in accordance with its ability and merit. Even within the klippah where there is great darkness, His light is there faintly, it is only because of the wicked that it is altered and hidden." As we mentioned earlier, the exact definition of klippah requires some clarification, because at the level of the essence the light of Ein Sof extends even to there. The difference is that in the realm of klippah, the light exists in the state called, "the exile of the Shechinah," and the lights are merely makifin [potential, not internalized]. They can only obliquely be ascribed to Hashem, because the deeds of the wicked cause the revealed presence of G-d to be hidden.

This lesson will be continued next week, in Part 2. Translated and Adapted by Rav Micha Golshevsky.

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