D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas B’haalosecha

Shalosh Seudos1 of Parshas B’haalosecha 5766 ‫ אֶ ת-הַ נּרֹת, אֶ ל-מוּל פּנֵי‬‫ת‬ֲ‫"וַיְ דבֵּ ר ה' אֶ ל-מֹשׁה לֵאמֹר: דּבֵּ ר אֶ ל-אַהֲ רֹן וְ אָמ ְרתּ אֵ לָיו: בְּ הע‬ ְ ֵ ְ ַ ָ ַ ַ ֶ ַ ".‫הַ מּנוֹרה, יָאירוּ שׁבעַ ת הנֵּרוֹת‬ ַ ְ ִ ִ ָ ְ
“And Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying: Speak to Aharon and say to him, ‘When you light the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the menorah.”2

Rashi explains why the discussion of the menorah is adjacent to that of the offerings of the princes of the tribes: “When Aharon saw that the tribal leaders brought their consecration sacrifices he felt discouraged, since neither he nor the tribe of Levi had any involvement in consecrating the Mishkan. Hashem said to him, ‘I swear that your portion will be greater than theirs since you will set up and light the menorah.’” The Five Levels of Divine Service The Maggid of Kozhnitz revealed that the main test of every tzaddik is in overcoming discouragement, and this is the central trial of every Jew as well. When a person offers his best efforts to serve Hashem yet feels that his friend’s Divine service is superior to his own, he naturally feels discouraged. This is similar to Aharon HaKohen, who felt disheartened by the sacrifices of the tribal leaders, that their offering was somehow more significant and desired than his own. We need to examine how these feelings can be transcended. The Kabbalists revealed that the Shem HaVaYaH alludes to dveikus with Hashem on all levels, through all the worlds, since each letter represents one of the four worlds and the apex of the yud represents the higher aspect of Kesser. The lowest world
1 2

The lesson was delivered at the third meal of Shabbos. Bamidbar 8:1-2 3

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas B’haalosecha

of Asiyah / Action is symbolized by the final hei of the Name. It embodies the very first step one must take in Divine service: to accept upon himself the yoke of the kingdom of heaven. This is the deeper meaning of the verse: "ֶ‫ מֶ ל‬‫“—"שׂוֹם תּשׂים עָ לֶי‬You shall ִ ָ surely set a king upon yourself...”3 Every single Jew accepts the kingship of heaven from the moment he wakes every morning and by remembering that he is standing before Hashem throughout the day. The next level of the six lower sefiros of Ze’ir Anpin is alluded to by the vav of the Divine Name, which has a numerical equivalent of six. In terms of Divine service this refers [mainly] to the three sefiros of Chessed / Kindness, Gevurah / Might, and Tiferes / Beauty [and how these attributes are drawn down into the “feet on the ground” levels of Netzach-Hod-Yesod]. The three sefiros of CHaGaT are expressed in feeling love, Divine awe, and dveikus with Hashem. The next letter, the “upper” hei, represents Binah / Understanding, which is attained through deep contemplation of the Divine light and absolute unity of Hashem. One then ascends to the letter yud, the aspect of Chochmah / Wisdom. At this level one nullifies himself absolutely to Hashem. But ultimate point of the apex of the yud alludes to the higher level of Kesser. Although one who cleaves to Chochmah is nullified to the Divine, he still feels his identity to a certain extent. On the level of Kesser / Crown, he is so completely connected to Hashem that he ceases to feel anything but absolute unity with the Creator. It is only on this level that one truly experiences that, “There is nothing but Him.”4 Although we have listed five levels, in truth there are a multitude of different paths to dveikus and endless worlds for one to traverse. Each tzaddik has his own path to the Creator which anyone can access through careful study and application of his holy writings. One must first grasp how a particular tzaddik accepted the yoke of heaven and then ascended from level to level. He must then follow his path to love, fear, and

3 4

Devarim 17:15 Ibid., 4:35 4

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas B’haalosecha

dveikus, and find out how he contemplated the unity of Hashem. Once one grasps and fulfills this, he can attain the path of this tzaddik to nullify himself to Hashem. One must work to discern the path of each and every tzaddik and go in their holy ways through the five levels we have discussed, since each path leads to a different aspect of absolute self-nullification before Hashem. The sages alluded to this when they said, “When one learns he should envision the one who said each statement.”5 This means that one should work out all five elements of the unique path of each tzaddik. For every holy act creates a corresponding defending angel. When the tzaddik serves Hashem through accepting the yoke of heaven of the world of Asiyah, this takes form in one of the Ofanim. Each moment the tzaddik serves Hashem with love, fear, or dveikus, he forms an addition angel from the group known as the Chayos Hakodesh of the world of Yetzirah. When a tzaddik deeply contemplates Elokus, this brings into being a Saraph of the world of Beriyah. When the tzaddik nullifies himself in an aspect of Chochmah, he accesses the world of Atzilus and reveals Hashem’s absolute unity. Finally, when he is completely subsumed in G-dliness, the powerful mercy of the heights of Kesser is revealed. Through understanding the various levels of the avodah of the tzaddikim in this manner, one fulfills the verse, “I place Hashem before me always.”6 The Clarifying Light of the Menorah In the beginning of one’s spiritual journey, it is as though one is still in exile, a state of darkness expressed by the phrase: "‫“—"מקֹּצֶ ר רוּחַ וּמֵ עבֹדה קשָׁ ה‬impatience of ָ ָ ֲ ִ spirit and cruel bondage.”7 [As Rebbe Nachman explains, this verse refers to when] one feels that serving Hashem can only be accomplished through painful toil. Naturally, in this state, one feels very discouraged since he is so far from avodas Hashem. Such feelings of inadequacy lay the psycho-spiritual groundwork where jealousy, illicit
5

Yerushalmi, Shabbos 1:2, Shekalim 2:5; See the Pnei Zakein there for a deep explanation of this concept. 6 Tehillim 16:8 7 Shemos 6:9 5

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas B’haalosecha

desire, and lust for honor thrive. When one has such thoughts, this indicates that the world of Atzilus is not illuminating his aspect of Beriyah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah. In this state, the person is blinded by the klippas nogah, and whatever level he may have attained no longer shines to him. In this state, the very first thing to do is to return to the aspect of accepting the yoke of the kingship of Heaven. But the complete rectification of feeling discouraged is to “gaze at the menorah,” as we learn from Zerubavel. The Baal HaTanya explains that the very name Zerubavel indicates confusion, since the root of this word is bilbul, befuddlement. Yet Hashem showed Zerubavel a golden menorah: ,‫"ראיתי וְ הנֵּה מנוֹרת זָ הָ ב כּלָּהּ וְ גלָּהּ עַ ל-רֹאשׁהּ‬ ָ ֻ ֻ ַ ְ ִ ִ ִ ָ "‫“—וְ שׁבְ עָ ה נרֹתֶ יהָ עָ לֶיהָ --שׁבְ עָ ה וְ שׁבְ עָה מוּצָ קוֹת, לנֵּרוֹת אֲ שֶׁ ר עַ ל-רֹאשׁהּ‬I saw, and behold a ָ ַ ִ ִ ֵ ִ menorah all of gold with its bowl upon the top of it, and its seven candles upon it, and seven pipes to the candles on its top.”8 The Baal HaTanya further explains that the first avodah of every Jewish male in the morning is the mitzvah of tzitzis, which must be worn in every place and at all times. This teaches that a Jew must serve Hashem in any way he can no matter what he is going through. It is not necessary to seek spiritual levels. One merely serves Hashem as King. Although there is a natural desire to climb from level to level in avodas Hashem, this is only appropriate after having “placed upon yourself a king.” One whose only interest is to ascend to the higher spheres without troubling himself with the yoke of heaven is like the erev rav, the mixed multitude who demanded meat in the wilderness.9 These people only wished to serve Hashem when they had “meat”—when they felt the power of seeing the great rectifications every bit of Divine service achieves. Such people are only happy serving Hashem when they feel the love, fear, or dveikus with Hashem in a vital and visceral way. If not, they have no interest. But the source of a kosher Jew’s avodah is to always search to declare Hashem King through our actions

8 9

Zechariah 4:2 Bamidbar 11:4 6

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas B’haalosecha

no matter what we may experience. We must come to the level where our success in avodah makes no difference to our commitment to declare Hashem’s Kingship. This is one reason why we wear tzitzis all day long. Tzitzis are the “signet of the King.” They bear the deeper meaning of reminding us that we must accept upon ourselves the yoke of heaven at all times. “Your Kingship is Malchus of all the Worlds” Although one who reaches the level of accepting the yoke of heaven has not yet transcended his inner turmoil, it is the first step. One must be a slave who sometimes must serve the King outside the King’s chamber. This was the level of Moshe Rabbeinu about whom it is written, “Moshe is My trusted servant.”10 This is the deeper reason why the menorah which quiets this inner turmoil is golden. A person must understand that the Shechinah, bringing the Divine presence into this world through accepting the yoke of heaven, was as precious as gold to Moshe Rabbeinu—and so should it be to us all. This was even more precious to Moshe than the sacrifices, which parallel significant avodos. This is because, in truth, Malchus is more precious than anything since it is the foundation upon which everything stands. Of course, one must ascend from level to level in Divine service. But only if this is based on the true self-sacrifice of one who wishes solely to accept the yoke of heaven through his Divine service. Such a man will not be troubled whatever his level. Whether or not he merits to be an aspect of a ben melech or not, he will always do what he can with joy. This is the meaning of the prophecy, “A menorah all of gold...” The aspect of Malchus is all-inclusive, and it must pervade one’s every movement, whatever his level. This is the meaning of the verse, "‫ מַ לְ כוּת כָּ ל-עלָמים‬‫“—"מַ לְ כוּת‬Your Kingship is a ִ ֹ ְ Kingship forever [literally, of all worlds].”11 If one can only grasp the aspect of Malchus, his level is actually higher than if things seemed smoother. Even though he feels as dry as a sun-blasted twig, he must toil to accept the yoke of heaven with love.
10 11

Ibid., 12:7 Tehillim 145:13 7

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas B’haalosecha

No mater what discouragement or confusion he may be feeling, he must understand that what he experiences is the will of the Master of the world. Even if he feels that he will never achieve anything spiritually or that he has fallen from his level, G-d forbid, he must know that accepting Hashem’s Malchus with simplicity, no matter what his level, is really the highest achievement. It is primarily this characteristic that enabled Moshe Rabbeinu to attain the highest elevation. Hashem’s Faithful Servant Once a person has attained Malchus, he must strive to receive deep spiritual vitality through the next level of Ze’ir Anpin: love, fear, and dveikus. However, we find in Eitz Chaim that there is an “opening in the chest of Ze’ir Anpin to Malchus, through which Ze’ir Anpin bestows sustenance to Malchus.”12 This means that even when one attains the “higher” aspect of feeling connected to Hashem through his emotions, he must continue to imbue the aspect of Malchus with vitality. This is alluded to in the Sefer Yetzirah: "‫“—"אם רץ לבך שוב לאחור‬If your heart runs, turn back to the level behind you.” If your “heart is running” with emotional arousal for Hashem, “turn back” and allow this vitality to enliven your Asiyah / Malchus level of simple fulfillment of the King’s commands. The verse records that Miriam and Aharon spoke against Moshe by saying: “The Kushite [black] woman that he took [married].”13 They were criticizing Moshe’s simplicity in avodas Hashem. Why should he go in the way of Leah—the [despised and] “blackened one,” which alludes to bitterness and difficulty in serving Hashem?14 They wondered why he had to separate himself from his wife, a practice which seemed anathema to them, since they were rooted in the aspect of Rachel, who appears to be on a higher level than Leah.

12 13

See Eitz Chaim 34:4 Bamidbar 12:1 14 See Sha’ar Hapesukim and Likutei Torah, Parshas B’haalosecha, 8

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas B’haalosecha

On a deeper level, the Arizal reveals that Leah symbolizes humility.15 As is well known, this was Moshe’s main avodah: “And the man Moshe was more humble than any other man...”16 However, his siblings felt that it would have been better for someone on their brother’s great level to serve Hashem primarily in an aspect of Rachel, which means feeling the pleasure in Divine service. Their claim is alluded to in the very verse that recounts what Miriam said regarding Moshe. The initials of the words, ‫"הַ כֻּשׁית אֲ שׁר‬ ֶ ִ "‫“—לקח‬The Kushite woman that he took”—form the name Leah. ָ ָ Yet they did not grasp that Moshe was deeply connected to the aspect of Leah. The Torah teaches that Hashem said to Moshe at Sinai when he prayed for mercy on behalf of the Jewish people after they sinned with the golden calf: ‫"וְ ראיתָ אֶ ת-אֲ חֹרי, וּפָ נַי‬ ָ ִ ָ "‫א יֵראו‬—“And you will see My back, and My face will not be seen.”17 Our rabbis ָ explain that Hashem showed Moshe “His back”—the “knot of His tefillin.”18 The Arizal revealed that this knot represents the aspect of Leah.19 [The straps including] the knot of the tefillin must be black. This is because Leah contains an abundance of judgments which are symbolized by the maror that we eat at the seder. Maror has a numerical value of the word maves (‫ ,)מות‬which means death.20 [‫;644 = 002 + 6 + 002 + 04 = מרור‬ ‫]644 = 004 + 6 + 04 = מות‬ The Leah-path of Divine service was a very important rectification for the root of Moshe’s soul, which the Arizal revealed was rooted in that of Hevel.21 Hevel was associated with Chochmah, which we see from the verse: "‫—"ויִּשַׁ ע ה' אֶ ל הֶ בֶ ל וְ אֶ ל מנְחָ תו‬ ֹ ִ ַ “And Hashem attended to Hevel and to his offering.”22 The word "‫ "וישע‬alludes to the 370 Divine illuminations that are the source of Chochmah. However, Hevel blemished this aspect by gazing at these 370 illuminations, and this direct spiritual gazing caused
15 16

Eitz Chaim 38:3. Bamidbar 12:3 17 Shemos 33:23 18 Yalkut Shimoni, Shemos 33, 396 19 Eitz Chaim: Sha’ar 32:1 20 Sha’ar Hakavanos: Pesach 21 Sha’ar Hagilgulim, Hakdamah 34 22 Bereishis 4:4 9

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas B’haalosecha

him to lose his fear of heaven. [This is the meaning of the conjunction ‫“—וי-ש"ע‬woe because of the 370.” These illuminations were revealed when Hevel’s sacrifice was accepted. Hevel’s error led to further “woe”—it led to his murder at the hands of his brother. Had he been absolutely innocent, he would not have been murdered.23] In order to rectify this blemish, Moshe’s main task was to be “My faithful servant,” and humbly hide his face when he merited to be in Hashem’s overwhelming presence. “And Moshe hid his face, for he feared to gaze upon Hashem.”24 This path of being Hashem’s faithful servant parallels the three lower worlds of Asiyah, Yetzirah, and Beriyah, and is related to the angel MaTaT. [Note: The Arizal taught that the words ‫"כי‬ "‫“—עבד נאמן הוא‬for he is a faithful servant”—said during the Shemonah Esrei of Shabbos morning refers both to Moshe and MaTaT.] Bringing Patience to Malchus Although accepting the yoke of heaven appears to be a dark avodah, it can be transformed in the manner of “David the king of Israel is alive and exists.” Even the aspect of Rachel descends to the three lower worlds to rectify them [each night at chatzos] and in this way is repaired. [Often, the only way to reach a higher place is through passing through a lower place.] In this spirit, the Baal HaTanya explains that the purpose of our long exile is not to degrade the Jewish people—quite the contrary! It is only through living with faith through every imaginable circumstance that the Jewish people can build vessels that will be able to hold the light that will shine in the ultimate future. We form these vessels through accepting the yoke of heaven even under the most difficult circumstances. The harder the challenge, the stronger the vessel that is formed by holding fast to one’s emunah will be. The greatest obstacle is that we don’t see or even feel what our avodah accomplishes. But we must remember that, “yours is greater than theirs.” Just as Aharon was roused out of his discouragement when Hashem revealed to him that his service
23 24

See Sefer Halikutim, Beshalach 18 Shemos 3:6 10

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas B’haalosecha

would surpass that of the tribal princes, so too must we take heart and realize that the lower but more difficult avodah is ultimately the one that gives Hashem the greatest satisfaction. When we are faced with spiritual challenges, we have opportunities to build vessels that those who never feel far from Hashem cannot. And even when one ascends from the “impatience” of Malchus to the “longspirited broadness and patience” of Ze’ir Anpin which is itself associated with the ruach or spirit, he must “turn back” to Malchus and imbue it with that vitality. This means that even when one feels a deep pleasure in his avodah, he must find “an opening,” a flaw in his avodah [which enables him to once again feel the powerful yearning for Hashem that is only generated through feeling spiritually incomplete]. “That the Great Ones Should Illuminate the Small Ones” ַ Now we can understand the depth of the verses regarding the menorah: ‫"ויֹּאמֶ ר‬ -‫אֵ לַי, מָ ה אַ תּה רֹאֶ ה; וָ אֹמַ ר ראיתי וְ הנֵּה מנוֹרת זָ הָ ב כּלָּהּ וכו' ויַּעַ ן וַ יֹּאמֶ ר אֵ לַי לֵאמֹר, זֶה ְדּבַ ר ה' אֶ ל‬ ַ ֻ ַ ְ ִ ִ ִ ָ ָ "‫א בְ כֹחַ --כִּ י אם-בְּ רוּחי, אָמַ ר ה' צְ בָ אוֹת‬ ְ‫א בְ חַ יִל, ו‬ :‫“—זְ רֻ בָּ בֶ ל לֵאמֹר‬And he said to me, ‘What ִ ִ do you see?’ And I said, ‘I saw, and behold a menorah all of gold...’ And he answered and said to me, ‘This is the word of Hashem to Zerubavel, saying: ‘Not by might and not by power, but by My spirit, says Hashem Tzevakos.’”25 This indicates that one must petition Hashem to merit to accept the yoke of heaven together with the pleasure experienced from connection on the higher level of Ze’ir Anpin. This avodah is a “golden” opportunity to build one’s emunah, by feeling like a simple servant despite his true greatness. Although Aharon and Miriam thought this was a dark and lowly avodah, in truth it is the ultimate avodah. And the higher one ascends, the more dveikus he can channel into the dry-seeming aspects of Divine service. We must always remember that, "‫“—"להזהיר גדולים על קטנים‬the greater ones are warned regarding the smaller ones.” The word ‫ להזהיר‬means both “to warn” and “to

25

Zechariah 2:2-6 11

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas B’haalosecha

shine.” Our entire focus must be to shine the light of the higher levels into the initially opaque lower aspect of Malchus. It is only then that we merit to accept the yoke of heaven in an illuminated manner. We should now be able to understand why the Kabbalists teach that the aspect of “mouth to mouth I speak to him”26 is related to Leah.27 Moshe also merited to reach an aspect of Rachel, since he is referred to as “the husband of the Matron [Shechinah aspect of Rachel].”28 When Rachel descends into the three lower worlds of Beriyah-YetzirahAsiyah as the Shechinah in exile, she cries out, “Elokim, do not be silent!”29 Similarly, when any Jewish soul descends into spiritual exile, it screams and cries and can hardly bear the pain. At that moment, Leah extends aid to Rachel and gives her the strength to bear this hardship. When Rachel descends to the lower worlds which are the province of Leah, there is no conflict between them, since at that point the aspect of Leah is the “bride of Moshe.”30 At this time, Rachel “gives the signs over to Leah” and there is absolute harmony and unity between them. Although Rachel sojourns in the lower worlds, Leah’s unity with Moshe is considered her own since she holds the simanim.31 Moshe begged of Hashem: "‫“—"אֵ -ל נָא ְרפָ א נָא לָהּ‬Please, Hashem, heal her please.”32 This verse has eleven letters and alludes to the eleven levels in the Olam HaMalbush. [This is the world that is so close to Hashem that it is referred to as His “garment,” as it were. The aspect of Moshe begs that the higher aspect of Rachel be “healed” when she suffers during her descent into the lower worlds of Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah.] “Let Your Soul Know Wisdom” This is the meaning of the phrase: "‫“—"דעה חכמה לנפשך והיא כתר לראשך‬Let your soul know (d’ei) wisdom (Chochmah), and it will be a crown (Kesser) for your
26 27

Bamidbar 12:8 See Sha’ar Halikutim, Parshas Baha’alosecha 28 See Sha’ar Hapesukim, Shemini 29 Tehillim 83:2 30 See Likutei Torah, Parshas B’haalosecha 31 Ibid. 32 Bamidbar 12:13 12

D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah

Parshas B’haalosecha

head.”33 One must ascend the ladder of spiritual connection, step by step, yet always “turn back” and allow the higher light to shine into the lower aspect of Malchus. Malchus is the aspect of nefesh. Even the lofty light of Chochmah must be brought down into the aspect of nafshecha. Humbly working on the levels of simple avodah even when one has reached great heights will ensure that no fall is more than a temporary setback. One will advance spiritually until he grasps the aspect of Kesser— and it will be a “crown to his head.” Now that we have received an infusion of new light since Shavuos, may Hashem help us be strengthened so that we can really receive this reflection of the light of the ultimate future. This is the light of the “Torah that will come out from Tzion.”34 And the main vessel to be prepared is the physical body itself, since that is the promise of the ultimate future: that the body that is now in exile will be rectified and resurrected. The body cannot be like the erev rav who are paralyzed in their Divine service when the light disappears, who can only serve Hashem when they feel empowered by the “meat” of a “spiritual high.” May Hashem help us instead to follow the path of Moshe Rabbeinu, who bound himself to a “black woman”—to the “dark” service of steadfastness through every challenge. Through this, may the great light of the ultimate future shine upon us, May we see, “eye to eye, Hashem’s return to Tzion,” with the arrival of our righteous redeemer in mercy. Speedily and in our days. Amen.

Translated and Adapted by Rav Micha Golshevsky.

33 34

From the Shabbos zemer “D’ror Yikrah,” based on Mishlei 24:14. Yeshayah 51:4 13

Nesiv Chaim 22

Nesiv Chaim 22
Nesiv Mitzvosecha, Nesiv Emunah, Pathway 3:15: "The beings that emanated forth and were created [‫ ]נאצלים ונבראים‬parallel the five partzufim; '‫'—1'בהבראם‬He created them with the hei'—'with Avraham'2— because all of them emerged from the small hei, which is Malchus d'Adam Kadmon…" Hashem created five partzufim [synergistic organizations of the sefiros] in the world of Atzilus which parallel the five elements of the Shem HaVaYaH [four letters and the apex of the yud]. All of them derive from Malchus d'Adam Kadmon, because the world of Atzilus begins to unfold from the level of the "navel" of Adam Kadmon. That point is generally known as Malchus d'Adam Kadmon, the "little hei." "…After it was diminished in the manner of the seven lower sefiros— because no one can tolerate the brightness of the three upper elements of Ani, of Malchus d'Adam Kadmon—and from the garments of this Malchus the dross of 'reward and punishment' begin to assume more of an ani [self or ego] nature than is strictly necessary to sustain the service of the Master of all, and so they shattered and died…" The essence of the worlds of Nekudim and Berudim is breakage and repair, respectively. [Note: These two worlds are actually one; the place of breakage is the place of repair. We speak of them as two distinct worlds because they are two stages superimposed one upon the other, repair upon breakage.] Hashem likewise created within every person a number of attributes: love (Chessed), fear (Gevurah), pride (Tiferes), endurance (Netzach), gratitude (Hod), connection (Yesod), and Malchus. In order for these middos to be complete, they have to be connected with one another, just
1 2

Bereishis 2:4 Menachos 29b 14

Nesiv Chaim 22

as Avraham was the one to bind Yitzchak [meaning, their two attributes bonded together], for Chessed alone is not good. If a person is accepting of everyone and anything, then he finds that when he is confronted by a temptation that threatens his personal purity—"for it is chessed"3—he cannot be pleasant and welcoming. [Note: When describing incest, the Torah uses the term chessed, which is interpreted as cherpah or disgrace by the Targum. The crossing of boundaries is the negative expression of chessed when it is not bound properly to the other middos.] Quite the contrary; at that moment he must make use of the attribute of Gevurah and scream out in fury that there is no way in the world that he will have any connection with the klippah. On the other hand, if a person is always angry and harsh with others it isn't good either. He must bind Chessed and Gevurah together. At first, when Hashem revealed the seven [lower] attributes of Atzilus, each one was very powerful—"I will rule"—each middah cried out that it is the main aspect of avodah. This self-assertion is what caused the middos of Atzilus to fall. Because each one was incomplete when it was not integrated with the others, it broke and fell into the lower worlds of Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah, to a state of seeming set apart from G-dliness. If a person only follows the way of Chessed, he winds us broken and falling away from holiness; and this is true in its own way of all of the rest of the middos. The sages taught, "He who says that he only has Torah, even Torah he doesn't have."4 Whenever a person cultivates only a single middah—even if that middah is Torah—it cannot hold. All of the middos require integration in order to come to perfection. This concept is embodied in the figure of the eighth king of Edom recounted in Bereishis, whose name was Hadar, who included all of the kings before him.5 To summarize, Hashem emanated forth the middos of the world of Atzilus twice; the first time they lacked completion and so they shattered, and the second time in a rectified state. He did this in order that the universe should be governed by two
3 4

Vayikra 20:17 Yevamos 109b 5 Bereishis 36:39 15

Nesiv Chaim 22

principles; that of evil and imperfection along with all that resulted from the primordial breakage, and afterward that of teshuvah and complete repair. We have learned that the shattering of those vessels took place because they had too great an element of ani—self and ego—within them. A small degree of ani is necessary [as we have already learned in previous lessons]—just as we ask for a life of abundance and honor—so that we should feel empowered and joyous in our Jewishness and our Divine service. However, if the ani causes one to fall into jealousy and strife and the urge to disparage others, then it has fallen into breakage and death. "…The root of the matter is as follows: When the aspect of 'I will rule' became overwhelming, and the yeish aspect took hold to a greater extent than strictly necessary, their repair was in going from one extreme to the other without any middle path. They then left their vessels with total self-sacrifice, to attain the state of absolute ayin, because they were without a garment which has the quality of the intermediate. This is explained in Likutei Torah, in [the Arizal's] discussion of the four kings and the five [kings]…" While we have already explained that the self-assertion of the vessels caused them to break and fall into the lower three worlds, there is a deeper concept within the teaching that must be explored. When the vessels of Atzilus fell into BY"A, only the shattered keilim went down; the light that had been in them remained in Atzilius. In terms of our personal avodah, when a person breaks and falls it serves to shatter his ego [yeishus]. Until then, he was sure that he was the only person in the world who understood the pathway of avodas Hashem. After he was tested and fell, his pride which is his vessel is broken. At the same time, the light remains in Atzilus, and it remains there because of mesirus nefesh. [Note: As the vessels broke, the light was moser nefesh—literally left its "body" which is the vessel—to remain in its place above.] When a person feels deep regret over his sin and breaks his heart with mesirus nefesh, it is because in his innermost heart he really does want to serve Hashem. This is his [inner] light which remains in Atzilus even when the vessel [of the body and attributes and

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actions] have fallen into the lower three worlds. His innermost self remains in a state of absolute ayin and bitul, and this is the beginning of his repair. The Rambam taught that one's Divine service should follow the middle path, and this is the main path of the Torah.6 "Blessed is the Merciful One who gave a threefold Torah [Tanach, or scripture/nigleh/nistar], to the threefold nation [kohanim, levi'im, yisraelim], by the third-born [Moshe, the youngest of the three], on the third day [of the shloshes yimei hagbalah] of the third month [Sivan]."7 The path of the Torah is the middle way, and kedushah can never tolerate too much tendency toward the right or the left—only the path of truth, which is the middle way. Many times a person tends to one extreme or the other, but the true way is that of the middle, which is called maskela—the balance-scale. The tzaddikim always know exactly when it is necessary to be stringent and when it is necessary to be lenient. The Chidah and Rav Chaim Palagi both taught that it is very important to be stringent when it comes to matters of personal purity, but the Baal Shem Tov and Rebbe Nachman of Breslov were clearly against additional chumros. While it is true that additional chumros when it comes to personal purity are very important, that is only if they bring a person to greater dveikus with Hashem. Any additional stringencies that prevent greater dveikus are totally unnecessary. This is the meaning of the middle path. This concept is expressed in the narrative of the four kings and the five kings. The lower middos of Chessed until Yesod have a double aspect to them—that of four kings, and five kings. There is a division among the middos, and they break down into Da'as-Chessed-Gevurah-Tiferes, and Tiferes-Netzach-Hod-Yesod-Malchus. Those are the four kings and the five kings. The Apter Rav once said that just as it is necessary for there to be peace among people, so must there be peace within one's own attributes. This is the essence of Shabbos, which is "to unite with the mystery of the One." When a person is conflicted inside, he goes crazy with doubts. This makes him unable to tolerate

6 7

Hilchos Dei'os, Chapter 1 Shabbos 88a 17

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others, anyone who doesn't agree with him absolutely. All of this is a product of the shevirah. The way to repair the damage is to develop peace within his own middos, to enter into the middle-path of avodah, and then he will also be able to bond in peace with others. The kings of the nations are bound to extremes and division, but the path of the king of the Jewish people is the middle way; that of balance and peace. "…And when the king Hadar, king of Yisrael, the anointed one of the G-d of Yaakov, from the aspects of Yesod d'Adam Kadmon in the attribute of mercy, like that world which is sweetened [its harshness is mitigated] with the rectification of the garment [levush], with the least bit of a small part of the light which assumes the role of a covering and a garment. All of the garments are rooted in the concept, 'I am diminished from all of the kindnesses'—the king Hadar, the droplets of Chessed, Yesod-tzaddik—'and from all of the truth'—Yesod of nukvah, 'Miheitavel [from the root ‫ ,טב‬which means to make good] bat Matred' [the wife of Hadar]— because the Name of Emes parallels the Yesod d'klippah which is called falsehood, it is overturned upon its hinges, and Yesod d'Nukva which 'makes herself fine for her husband,' becomes 'the daughter of Mei Zahav' ['golden waters']…" In the writings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, these concepts are expressed in his teaching that all of a person's spiritual falls are a result of ribui ohr—"too much light" which puts out the flame altogether. Whenever a person finds that his avodah is not working out for him, it is because he wanted too much to succeed. For example, a person might long to learn very many hours a day without stopping, or to pray all day long and abandon all of his physicality in order to come close to Hashem. There is no question that such desires bear the flaw of "I will rule"—of self-assertion and ego. The tikkun is to be found specifically by reducing the light and limiting oneself to studying for an hour or more, in strict accordance with what he can really handle. When it comes to avodah, it is impossible to repair all of the middos in a single day. So one must work

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on each middah at a time, at his own level and pace, and this is how he builds a proper vessel for the light that he longs for. This is how one returns to life.

We will now return to our study of the Otzros Chaim of Rav Chaim Vital and connect it with what we have been learning in Nesiv Mitzvosecha of the Komarna Rebbe. To summarize: At the beginning, Hashem provided illumination and was revealed via His Ohr Ein Sof. He then contracted this light, so to speak, and within the vacated space He revealed "circles" [igulim] into which He drew a line or channel [kav] of His Ohr Ein Sof to infuse the worlds with vitality. Surrounding [and arranged upon] this kav, He enclothed the primary world, which is Adam Kadmon. Lights extend and are revealed from Adam Kadmon to a degree that cannot be measured, from the level of the "hairs," the "ears," "nose" and "mouth." We will now speak of the lights that emerged from the "eyes" of Adam Kadmon, and which extend and are revealed from the level of the "navel" of Adam Kadmon and downward. This is the first actual world that we spoke of earlier, which is the world of Atzilus. At first it lacks rectification because each of its middos said, "I will rule," and this caused them to shatter and fall to BY"A. This latter stage is called the world of Nekudim, because all of the sefiros there are from the point [nekudah] of Malchus [d'Atzilus]. The verse says, "Where is the harlot [‫ ,קדשה‬which has a double meaning]? She is at the crossroads [‫ ,עיניים‬literally 'the eyes']."8 It is well known that the main element of a person's holiness depends on the degree to which he guards his eyes. As the verse says, "My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe My ways."9 The Midrash

8 9

Bereishis 38:21 Mishlei 23:26 19

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taught on this, "The Holy One said: If you give Me your heart and eyes, I know that you are Mine."10 If we give our eyes to Hashem, then it means we are His. The entire breakage of the vessels was all from the lights that emerge from Adam Kadmon, and we ourselves are vehicles that carry all of the worlds. Because the shattering of vessels took place at the level of the "eyes," a person's fall from his level is likewise due to his eyes. The truth is that is seems strange that the Jewish people could fall from their level. They eat only kosher food, keep Shabbos, fast on Yom Hakippurim, eat matzah on Pesach, sit in the sukkah for seven days, come to shul and say ‫ ,אמן יהא שמיה רבא‬are adorned with peyos and a beard, tzitzis and tefillin, give charity… How could it be possible for Jews to fall from their level? But when a child grows up and becomes bar mitzvah, and his yetzer starts to overwhelm him to keep him from guarding his eyes, G-d forbid, he arouses the world of shevirah and becomes a vehicle carrying those worlds. Then the broken middos awaken within him—Chessed d'klippah and Gevurah d'klippah, and so on. This is why we are warned, 'You shall not stray after your hearts and after your eyes...I am Hashem Elokeichem."

Otzros Chaim, Sha'ar HaNekudim, Chapter 1: "We will now explain the world of Nekudim, and they are the lights that emerged from the apertures of the eyes of Adam Kadmon. We have already explained above that the four aspects—the four permutations of the Shem HaVaYaH which have values of ‫—ע"ב ס"ג מ"ה ב"ן‬each have a further four subdivisions of ‫—טעמים, נקודות, תגין, אותיות[ טנת"א‬musical notation, vowels, crowns and letters]. The mochin of Adam Kadmon is HaVaYaH in the 72-form [‫.]שם ע"ב‬ From the level of the eyes and below, down until the end of Adam Kadmon is the aspect of the 63-form [‫ ,]שם ס"ג‬down until the end of its 'feet.' However, this state existed at the beginning, before the death of the 'kings' in the world of Nekudim.
10

Yalkut Shimoni, Bamidbar 15:750 20

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Afterward, the aspects of the 45-form [‫ ]שם מ"ה‬and the 52-form [‫ ]שם ב"ן‬were from the level of the 'navel' downward, until the end of the legs, as is written in Eitz Chaim…" The mochin of Adam Kadmon are expressed by the 72-form of the Shem HaVaYaH, and from the "ears" down, they are expressed by the 63-form. All of the worlds of Adam Kadmon allude to the tzaddikim who merit to experience prophecy. The ear, nose and mouth parallel different levels of prophecy and a sense of the Divine. The ear is the capacity to hear the Divine; the nose is the capacity of, "And he will 'sniff out' the fear of G-d.' And the mouth is used to constantly speak out one's spiritual yearnings before Hashem [which Rebbe Nachman taught is also a kind of ruach hakodesh]. There is an extremely lofty quality to the eyes; with them, one can see spiritual visions. The path of the Baal Shem Tov is meant to make one worthy of being a vehicle for the world of Adam Kadmon. Even while one is living here in this material world, he can focus his thoughts on the upper worlds, and this will bring him to see Hashem's involvement and presence within everything. Such a perspective brings him to love and fear G-d, and to feel the sweetness of Elokus. This is what is meant by having vision of the Divine—a repaired perspective. It is possible for a person to fall into a lower kind of seeing, however. Within the world of Adam Kadmon, there are two aspects of vision. There are "eyes" that are above the level of the ear/nose/mouth, and eyes below them from which the world of shevirah derives. Now we can better understand the distinctions between the four main permutations of the Shem HaVaYaH: ‫ .ע"ב, ס"ג, מ"ה, ב"ן‬The first, ‫ ,ע"ב‬expresses this Divine vision; the second, ‫ ,ס"ג‬expresses the aspects of ear/nose/mouth and Divine hearing. But this second level has also its own sublevel of "vowels" from which the shevirah began. Even when a person has entered into Hashem's service in the way of "seeing" and "hearing"—he listens to the tzaddikim and speaks his heart out before Hashem every day just as he would to a good friend—nevertheless this world always
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involves some degree of "lower" vision, which carries the potential for breakage. He must repair that place and tendency, because otherwise it serves as the root of all bad middos. "…We have already explained that the Name ‫ ס"ג‬has a sublevel of ‫,טתנ"א‬ and the ‫[ טעמים‬musical notes] themselves break down into three sub-groups which are the ear/nose/mouth. The ‫[ נקודות‬vowels], however, express the lights that extend from his eyes. We can understand the matter as follows: The vapor that exits the apertures of the ears is a small amount of vapor, since if one places a finger upon the aperture and seals it by force he will feel an echo within it. This is from the motion of the vapor that is within it that is attempting to exit and cannot; when he removes his finger, he no longer feels it. Now, from this vapor, ten sefiros emerged from the aspect of the ears, as we have explained earlier…" The concept of the vapor within the ear is a great wonder. In truth, when a person closes his eyes he sees a number of colors, and when one closes his ear he hears some noise. All physical phenomena are rooted in spiritual realities. Every person has within him a soul that vitalizes him, and all of the apertures of the mind are windows through which his soul emerges to break out and share its light in the world and to allow him to also receive the influence of the Divine revelations that are constantly taking place in Hashem's world. This is why, when one closes his eyes, he sees a spectrum of colors—it parallels the ability of his soul to perceive Hashem's light. It hints to the fact that the tzaddik can apprehend Divine revelations; the Zohar teaches that every color in the world reveals another expression of G-dliness to the tzaddik. This is also true of the ear; it not only hears noises from outside—the soul also bursts outward from within via the ear. This outward expression assumes the form of the beard—its thirteen points parallel the thirteen attributes of Divine mercy—which extends from the point of the ear outward. This is why one hears noise even when the ear is sealed. It is the sound of the influence of the soul that cries out with a great noise; only the tzaddikim who really hear the voice of Hashem are worthy of picking up on it, however.
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"…Afterward, at the nose, there is a more tangible vapor, and from it emerged the ten sefiros of the nose, as we have already learned. Afterward, at the mouth, there is a vapor that is even more tangible, because the further down the light descends, the more is it recognizable and tangible and revealed there. From there, the ten sefiros of Akudim emerged. These three points are the aspects of the [three categories of] ta'amim of ‫".ס"ג‬ While we have learned about the ear/nose/mouth in descending order, with the mouth being the lowermost of them and symbolizing the speaking out of all of one's yearning to Hashem, it is important to realize that this speech is not simple at all. Sometimes it might seem as though it is a very simple avodah, and that one could just easily do it any time, but this is not so. Really speaking one's heart out to Hashem is a kind of nevuah, and this is the light that emerges from the mouth of Adam Kadmon. The order of avodah is from below to above; one must begin by speaking to Hashem in one's own words a great deal every day without fail until he begins to gain a sense of Elokus—this is the level of the "nose." One then begins to hear Hashem in everything that comes to his ears, and finally reaches a point where everything that he sees expresses Hashem's presence and reality. This ‫-ע"ב‬level is the root not only of holy vision, but also—according to the Toras Chochom—of the "hairs" of Adam Kadmon which are the source of prophecy. Shimshon HaGibbor's power was bound up with his hair, because it was a spiritual force like prophecy which is rooted in the hairs of Adam Kadmon. The Arizal does not speak of this, but only focuses on the ear/nose/mouth aspects which parallel ‫ ס"ג‬of Adam Kadmon. Below all of these levels, however, is the lower vision of this world which is the root of all evil here. The lower vision is perception that is disconnected from spirituality, and it is from there that all temptations and challenges stem. These are the nekudos of ‫[ .ס"ג‬According to the Eifah Shleimah, the level of ‫ נקודות דס"ג‬also includes the ‫תגין‬ ‫ ואותיות‬of ‫].ס"ג‬
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"…Afterward, the nekudos of ‫ ס"ג‬emerge from the eye, and that is why there is not so much vapor from the eye as there is from the other three points. This is because the smaller light of Nekudim cannot be compared to that of the ta'amim…" When a person has some understanding—which is the aspect of ‫[ ס"ג‬Binah]— but he fails to listen to the tzaddikim and sanctify his ears, and does not occupy himself with yirah and speaking the needs of his soul before G-d, then his vision becomes coarser. His power of contemplation is not bound up with the ear/nose/mouth aspects, and so he falls into the lower, physical type of seeing, and he enters the state of shevirah. "…Nevertheless, we do find some power in the vision of the eye, which is even demonstrated tangibly in nature. An ostrich chick hatches from its egg after the egg has been gazed at for a period of time by its mother, without the female needing to sit upon it to warm it, unlike what we find with other birds. This demonstrates that there is some tangible force at work within the gazing of the eyes…" This parallels the Talmudic concept of hezek re'iyah, or damage caused through the action of a person's gaze upon the property of another, as well as the concept of ra ayin, the "evil eye." [Ra ayin and ayin ha'ra are not exactly equivalent terms, but they are close.] When a person bears evil in his heart and gazes upon something, and he does not bind it to Hashem, his gaze carries a force of division and breakage. Eyes of blessing stem from, "One with a good eye is blessed [or 'can bless']," he blesses, "And Hashem should give you [more and more]…" Everything that is bound to Hashem bears blessing, because all gazing bestows warmth. But if a person's gaze is infected with jealousy and breakage, he arouses the force of the world of Nekudim. "…Now, from this aspect of gazing of the eyes, the nekudos emerged. This will help you to understand that which is written in the Tikkunim, Tikkun #70:4126, where there is an illustration shown of the Shem HaVaYaH in the ‫ ב"ן‬form, composed entirely of eyes with points [nekudim]. This is expressed by the verse,
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'And they [four] had their rings full of eyes all about.' Because every aspect of eyes is related to nekudos…" In truth, the eyes mentioned here express the lofty concept of eyes—Divine vision—which is above the levels of the ear/nose/mouth. And the purpose of human existence really is to come to this level of seeing Divine visions, just as Adam HaRishon did when he was in Gan Eden. This is what, "Hashem, our G-d," wants—that we should be bound to His Elokus by way of the holy use of the eye. The deeper works explains that when a person participates in a wedding, the light of the Name that is surrounded by the twenty-four eyes shines there, and it is possible to see Hashem's light. This Name also shines forth during Simchas Torah. But when a person's eyes are not trained on holy vision, he falls into small vision; he sees every little thing in the world. Wherever he goes, he sees everything—he sees too much. The apparent divisiveness in this world interests him. In general, there is no compromise here; either one sees spiritually and binds everything that he sees with Hashem, or he sees physically in the way of divisiveness because he has fallen into the worlds of Beriyah-Yetzirah-Asiyah. At first, the things of this world just happen to interest him. Later, he falls into all sorts of bad middos. All of this process is included within the holy Name that is surrounded by eyes; it is connected with everything having to do with the eyes. "…Now, when you make an account from ‫[ ע"ב‬downward], you will find that all of the aspects of ‫ ע"ב‬are associated with the first yud of the Shem HaVaYaH; ‫ ס"ג‬is associated with the first hei; ‫ מ"ה‬is associated with the vav; and ‫ ב"ן‬is associated with the final hei. But if we take account only from the level of ‫ס"ג‬ downward, we find that ta'amim of ‫ ס"ג‬parallel the first letter yud; the nekudos parallel the first hei; the tagin [crowns] parallel the vav; and the letters parallel the final hei. If we then break the ta'amim down to their components we will find that the letter yud parallels the ear; the first letter hei parallels the nose; the vav parallels the mouth; and the final hei parallels the [lower] eyes…"
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We see here that the eye has two aspects, higher and lower, and the ultimate purpose of avodah is to sanctify the eyes. This will make us worthy of leaving behind all of the broken middos, with the arrival of our righteous redeemer in mercy. Speedily and in our days, amen.

Translated and Adapted by Rav Micha Golshevsky.

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