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Dei Chochmah LNafshechah

Parshas Bamidbar

Shalosh Seudos of Parshas Naso 5766

" - - - "... ,

And when Moshe went into the tent of meeting that He might speak with him, then he heard the Voice speaking to him from above the kapores that was upon the ark of the testimony, from between the two keruvim; and He spoke to him...1

Rashi explains: Then he heard the VoiceCould it possibly have been a soft voice? The verse says, however, the Voice. This was the voice that spoke with him at Sinai, and when it reached the entrance it would cease radiating out of the tent.2 [Note: Even though this year Parshas Naso falls out after Shavuos, nevertheless its teachings apply to us this Shabbos no less than last Shabbos. The Beis Avrohom of Slonim taught in the name of the Tchortkover Rebbe that there is a deep reason why the Shabbos following Shavuos is popularly called Shabbos Noch Shavuos. It does not only mean literally, the Shabbos after Shavuos, but also that the Shabbos following Shavuos is, Noch a Shavuos, another Shavuos. It is still possible to attain that which could have been reached on Shavuos itself.3] The Voice from above the Kapores And when Moshe went into the tent of meeting that He might speak with him, then he heard the Voice speaking to him... The tzaddik merits to receive Torah by virtue of his hearing the voice from within the cloud above the kapores. The sound of
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\Bamidbar 7:89 From Bamidbar Rabbah 3 Beis Avrohom, Parshas Naso 3

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this voice encompasses him within the light of the Ein Sof so that he can truly receive the Torah. One must know how to serve Hashem even from within the cloud and dark obscurity, because each and every Jew passes through countless forms of darkness where the light of Daas is hidden and one must know how to serve Hashem even in this state. However, the tzaddik teaches us that Hashem is to be found within the cloud, and it is precisely from within it that Hashem speaks to him.4 As the verse says: And Moshe approached the thick darkness, where Hashem is.5 Even though that particular verse was speaking of Moshe himself, nevertheless each and every Jewish soul is imbued with a spark of Moshe Rabbeinu. Just as he received the Torah at Sinai, so did all of the Jewish people hear the first two dibros from the mouth of Hashem Himself. Since every Jewish soul bears a spark of Moshe Rabbeinu, each of us can merit to receive the Torah and hear Hashems voice. The Divine call comes through the cloud specifically because, He made darkness His hiding-place, His pavilion round about Him; darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.6 It is because the tzaddik is steadfast through all ups and downs in his avodah that he merits to hear Hashems voice, and this is equally true of every single Jew. There is a prerequisite, though: one must first develop personal sanctity and purity, especially in the realm of klippas nogah [which is the area of refining oneself through that which is permitted]. This is why we preface our receiving of the Torah on Shavuos with the recitation of Akdamos [in Aramaic]; this represents the purification of the realm of nogah before we draw close to receive the Torah. [Aramaic is an admixture of lashon hakodesh and foreign speech that is uplifted and sanctified when it is utilized for Torah study and prayer. Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught that this is called, the completion of lashon hakodesh.7] When we work to refine the realm of nogah, we can each become men of G-d like Moshe Rabbeinu.

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Likutei Moharan I:115 Shemos 20:18 6 Tehillim 18:12 7 Likutei Moharan I:19 4

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Parshas Bamidbar

Moshe Rabbeinu was certainly a man of flesh and blood, yet through doing the work of self-purification he changed his existence completely. So too, when Shavuos comes each and every Jew receives a fresh inspiration to receive the Torah like Moshe Rabbeinu, to purify himself properly so that he can hear the thunder and lightning of Sinai with spiritual arousal. The Torahs holiness is that of lashon hakodesh, and the process of refining the realm of nogah is that of the Aramaic Targumthe completion of lashon hakodesh.8 Forming Vessels of Divine Awareness It is not enough to simply hear the sounds; this voice of raw sound must be transformed into speech. Some people feel inspired for a few minutes but afterward they revert to their old patterns of behavior. So one must instead draw down the light of dveikus so that the pure sound will become actual speechthat the spiritual arousal will have enough power to change the person for the better, so that he will learn with greater diligence and pray with more focus, and sanctify all of his limbs to be a vehicle for the Divine. One must hear clearly of all of the levels that ones soul needs to attain and understand that Hashem is speaking to him directly. The un-tempered sound of Hashems voice needs to be constricted into the vessels of speech so that it
Reb Nosson of Breslov explains further how this concept relates to the specific customs of Shavuos: staying awake all night and eating dairy in the morning. Shavuos is the time of receiving the Torah, it is the completion of lashon hakodesh that has the force of purity that subdues the negative influence of all the seventy nations, the most powerful of which is lust. Shavuos is when we merit to guard the covenant. Personal purity is a prerequisite for receiving the Torah, and it is what made Hashem choose us from among all the other nations and uplift us from all other tongues. This is why we remain awake all night on Shavuosin order to break through the klippah of sleep which parallels the negative within Targum-nogah and uplift the good that is within it to the higher state of lashon kodesh. This is also why we recite Akdamos in Aramaicit is a very lofty song of Hashems praises that was composed specifically to uplift the good in Targum. This is also why the haftarah of the second day of the festival outside of Israel is the Prayer of Chabakuk. It, too, alludes to the refinement of the Targum state. And this is why we eat dairy on Shavuos morning, because the whiteness of dairy represents the process of transforming the heat and dinnim of the blood into the nourishing purity of the Torah. The blood is clarified and transformed into milk. (Niddah 9a) This pure whiteness which is the refined state of tikkun habris then flows throughout all of a persons veins to clarify the redness of mans base physical nature. (Likutei Halachos, Hilchos Shavuos #2 ) 5
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can give rise to new states of Divine awareness with which one builds up the structure of his personal avodah. One must hear what his own mission is and uplift the cloud to a very lofty place. By hearing the Voice transformed into an actual message, one uplifts Malchus. As preparation for receiving the Torah, we spend the entire period of Sefiras HaOmer counting out the days of checking of the Eishes Chayil who examines herself prior to immersion and yichud.9 So too, we also examine ourselves as we count the days to the great chuppah that is Matan Torah. The main examination is our being tested through all sorts of challenges and yeridos. We are being sounded for how we manage to hold our own through trials, without losing our desire for holiness. Do we still cry out to Hashem that He should help us to become the way that He wants us to be? It is through the cloud and the darkness that Hashems voice is heard. The main test of the darkness is whether we hold strong in our longing for G-dliness. The completion of Sefiras HaOmer is actually during Maariv of Shavuos night. Pesach is the aspect of Netzach-Hod-Yesod; Sefiras HaOmer is the aspect of Chessed-Gevurah-Tiferes; and on the night of Shavuos the yichud is completed after being tested in seven times seven waysthrough all of the different permutations of challenges and situations. On Shavuos itself, the tzaddik uplifts all of the good points that we managed to gather during the period of Sefiras HaOmer to the highest realms so that he can draw down the light of Kesser, the light of prophecy and the revelation of G-dliness. It is through this process of overcoming challenges that we merit to forge a true bond with our Creator. The Man on the Throne The Ramak explains that Hashem revealed Himself to His prophets in visions of a King on a great throne to teach us basic principles of Divine service. The throne has four legs, and there are four camps of angels that surround the Throne of Glory. This is

Zohar III:97a 6

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all a parable to teach us that there are four basic forms of avodah: that of the lion, the ox, the eagle, and man. When a person wants to enter into the holiness of Shavuos he really wants to reach the innermost point of avodah and dveikus, the place of the man on the throne, but to do that he must first pass through all of the different forms of avodah that are surrounding the throne. This process is also symbolized by the encampment of Levi that surrounded the Mishkan, the camps of Gershon, Kehas, and Merari.10 These are three facets of the mitigation of gevuros [since Levi is associated with the left-hand side of gevuros] that are accomplished by drawing down chassadim. When the judgments are sweetened, one comes to the level of, from thirty to fifty [which was the age of service of the Leviim]the fiftieth gate where all gevuros are mitigated. When this happens, the chassadim are doubled and uplifted and the light of Kesser and prophecy can descend. And Moshe approached the thick darkness, in which Hashem is. Through the darkness of passing through and mitigating the gevuros, one comes to rise to Kesser and find Hashem. Who knows the strength of Your anger, and the wrath according to the fear that is due to You? We must withstand and understand all of the pathways of yirah in all kinds of circumstances, so that You will, let us know to count our days...the days of Sefiras HaOmer. We will bring all of the permutations of the days of the barley offeringthe -seorim that are the measures and vessels of gevuros being transformed. Then we will come to Shavuos and receive, ...a heart of wisdom.11 The festivals are called announced appointed timesbut they are really times of being not announced, but called. We must not be like fools who remain in the same state after the festival as they were beforehand; rather, we must hear the voice of Hashem calling to us with a specific message and change for the better. Because hearing without listening is not really hearing at all. To hear the sound and also hearken to the message we need to activate the spark of Moshe within us.
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Likutei Torah, Parshas Naso Tehillim 90:11-12 7

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Parshas Bamidbar

The Four Legs of the Divine Chariot In truth, every single Jew longs to change his ways as he enters Shavuos, he is just discouraged because all his attempts until now have not lasted long. So the first thing that he must do is cling to the path of the tzaddikim who serve Hashem with selfsacrificewith the love of Hashem of Avraham Avinu; the fear of Hashem of Yitzchak Avinu; the dveikus in Torah study of Yaakov Avinu; and the full acceptance of the yoke of the kingdom of heaven of Dovid HaMelech. They are the four legs of the Divine chariot. When a person really longs to be like these tzaddikim, he is already grasping onto the Divine Throne, because the thoughts and intentions of a Jew are connected to the highest places. When one really longs for holiness through these four pathways of self-sacrifice, in a certain sense he really is a part of them at that moment. A person must really resolve to be incorporated within the absolute unity of Hashem One, Alone, and Unique in the heavens above and on earth below. Since Hashem, gives wisdom to the wise,12 once a person really resolves to seek the path of selfsacrifice and dveikus, it is as though his eventual arrival is assured. In this way, he merits to receive the light of Divine wisdom right away even though the path ahead of him is still long. Once he has started on the way, he is considered wise enough to receive wisdomnot so the person who refrains from undertaking the journey altogether. Hashem does not wait for a person to change completely before He graces him with wisdom, but He does want to see that the persons innermost being and longing is focused on holiness and the pathways of avodah of the tzaddikim. When a person is really bound to holiness at the root of his soul, he is fit to receive the Torah. When his soul yearns for and is resolved to follow the path of the four legs of the Divine Throne, he can pass through and reach the inner essence of avodah: dveikus through the revelation of Torah, the inner level of the Man on the Throne.

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Berachos 55a 8

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The Jealousy of the Angels Reaching this innermost level, which is that of Moshe Rabbeinu, is possible on Shavuos, when there is a revelation of the Torah of Atika Sesimaahthe hidden ancient one, the light of the Torahs secrets. Yet this revelation comes with danger, since the angels are jealous of this high level of Torah being revealed to man, just as they were of Moshe Rabbeinu when he ascended to receive the Torah at Sinai. What is man that You should remember him? they asked. Hashem told Moshe to grab hold of His Throne of Glory.13 The angels are jealous of the person who seeks to bind himself to the pathway of Moshe Rabbeinu.14 This is the innermost nature of the Torahthe revelation of Hashem Himselfand this is all that the tzaddikim seek. A Famine in the Land And it was in the days of the judges judging, and there was a famine in the land. When Hashem is judging all of the ways in which we serve Him through all of the middos, He mainly seeks out whether or not there is, a famine in the land. Do we hunger and thirst for the supernal land, for the revelation of Hashems Kingship, for His Malchus which is compared to the earth? Are we longing to reach the level of the, Man who sits upon the Throne? This is what the angels resentthe one who seeks this leveland so they try to confuse the person and throw him off of his avodah. But Hashem told Moshe to grab hold of His Throne of Glorychange the focus of your efforts to one of the other four pathways of the legs of the throne, to love and fear of Hashem, to Torah and prayer, and you will be able to throw off the angels who seek to confuse you. On the night of Shavuos, you must throw yourself into all of the four aspects of the legs of the Throne but in your innermost heart and mind, hold fast to your desire to reach the level of, the Man on the Throne, the revelation of Hashem Himself. This will fill a person with the holiness of Boaz and Ruth, because Boaz represents , azus dkedushah, the bold
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Shabbos 88b Likutei Moharan II:1 15 Ruth 1:1 9

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pursuit of kedushah. We have to have the inner courage to pour out our hearts before Hashem in prayer in the way of tzaddikim, to ask for the one most important thingthe revelation of the Shechinah. Even though we are far from this, we must have the chutzpah to ask that Hashem open the way for us to bind ourselves in some way to the innermost pathway of Moshe Rabbeinu. However, to get there we must first throw ourselves into all of the avodos that surround the Throne; perhaps, with great effort and time, we will merit to taste the tiniest bit of the avodah of Moshe Rabbeinu, which is to seek the Torahs essence, so that Hashems Kingship will be revealed throughout all of the worlds. We must long to seek only the revelation of G-dliness, and try as much as we can to avoid self-seeking. To receive the light of Kesser on Shavuos, we have to work on completing the refinement of Netzach-Hod-Yesod by purifying all of our lower aspects. We must learn the language of the angels, to say, we will do and we will hearwe will do is the refinement of the lower and external aspects of our beings, and we will hear is our seeking after the highest light of Kesser that is still so far beyond us. To reach the innermost point, we must do all we can to purify and complete the outer avodos, realizing all the while that our goal is the inner point and not the outer avodah at all. The Descent at Minchah On Shavuos after Mussaf, we rise to the level of Arich Anpin, to the highest and clearest lights. However, afterward, there is a descent to Abba and Imma during the prayers at Minchah, which is only the case on Shavuos and not on other festivals. We must understand that, compared to the lofty level of Arich Anpin where one is only focused on the first alef of Anochion the essence of Hashem HimselfAbba and Imma are like the external avodos of Netzach-Hod-Yesod. The descent at Minchah is a reflection of the interplay between seeking the innermost aspect of avodah and tying it right away to the external aspects of avodahthe legs of the Throne. [Netzach-HodYesod are collectively known as the raglin, or legs of the structure of the sefiros.] On Shavuos, when we come into contact with the actual Kesser of Torah, we must
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immediately protect our efforts at dveikus and seeking the revelation of G-dliness with the practical avodos of the legs of the Throne. May Hashem help us as we receive the festival of Shavuos to resolve to really change in our Torah study and avodas Hashem, and not in a superficial way of the legs alone, but as a means of entering into the innermost nature of the avodahto seek Hashem Himself. Let Your Soul Know Wisdom This is the meaning of: "" Let your soul (nefesh) know (dei) wisdom (Chochmah) and it will be a crown (Kesser) for your head.16 To reach the heights of Divine wisdom, we must work on the area of the nefesh, which is the lowest and outermost aspect of ourselvesthe four legs of the Throne. We must follow the paths of the tzaddikim who serve Hashem like burning seraphim, who have the vitality and energy of the Chayos Hakodesh, and who accept upon themselves the yoke of the kingdom of heaven like the Ofanim. Like the tzaddikim, we must complete the outer forms of avodah all for the purpose of reaching the innermost point of Divine service: the revelation of Hashem Himselfand it will be a crown / Kesser to your head. May Hashem make us worthy of really receiving the Torah, of sanctifying each and every limb and transforming them all into vehicles for His service. Then Hashems presence will rest on our entire selves, the Man will sit on the Throne, and we will immediately and forever merit the complete redemption. Speedily and in our days, amen.

Translated and Adapted by Rav Micha Golshevsky.

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From the Shabbos zemer Dror Yikrah, based on Mishlei 24:14. 11

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Nesiv Mitzvosecha, Nesiv Emunah, Pathway 3:12: "Know that, at the beginning of everything, there was the existence of a simple Light" There is no way for the human mind to grasp the Creator's essential nature, however the Kabbalists explain that His first revelation was that which is known as the Ohr Ein Sof, the Infinite Light. While it is true that this primary revelation is unified with Him [and therefore unknowable], nevertheless, it is His will that the Jewish people come to some grasp of this revelation which is called the Ohr Ein Sof. The Bris Menuchah, the Arizal, the Ramchal and the Vilna Gaon all explain that in the ten millennium, everything will return to Ohr Ein Sofat that point, all that exists will [be in a fit state to] be incorporated within the primary revelation which is called Ohr Ein Sof. This is our true taskto uplift all of the worlds so that they revert back to the Ohr Ein Sof. Then this light will have the added degree and adornment that will make it greater than the Infinite Light that existed prior to the initial contraction of G-d's presence that made conceptual space for the creation of all of the worlds. "It is abstract beyond all imagining, and it is impossible to apprehend it any of its nature and matter within his knowledge, his intellect, his wisdom and his understanding; it is hidden from the eye of any living thing, to apprehend any of qualities of His nature and His light, the Ohr Ein Sof. It filled everything, and was within every place, and a trace revealed an infinite brightness, and the trace of His attributes were nullified to Ayin, literally, until everything was literally the Ohr Ein Sof. "And when it arose within His simple will that cannot be grasped, to emanate forth the emanated beings, and to create the created beings [Note: There is an emphasis here on Atzilus and Beriyah.] for the reason which is knownthat He

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should be called merciful and compassionate, in action, to act with mercy upon His works" We say in the liturgical poem: "Master of the world who was King, before any formed being was created" Hashem certainly was King even before the formation of anything. Nevertheless, "At the time when, by His will, all was made, His Name then was called King." It was after He had made everything in accordance with His will that His Name was called King. At the beginning, He was King in potential [because "there is no king without subjects"], but the revelation of His Kingship in action was only through the creation of other entities. "If there is no one in the world to receive His mercies, how can He be called Merciful? In the Light, the middos are hidden and nullified by Him, to the absolute completion of His perfection which has no lack. And they need to expand outward to provide beneficence to His creations" The concept of the "hidden middos"not really hidden, but more like encapsulated or compressedneeds further clarification. The Ohr Ein Sof is absolutely abstract and there is no relationship between it and attributes [which are vessels]. Yet within the absolutely simple and unified Ohr Ein Sof, there exists a "hidden" concept of the possibility of the extension from it of middosa concept that Hashem is merciful and compassionate. And it is His will that these aspects should come to be revealed in actuality, in action, which is the nature of Malchus. While it is true that at the level of the Ohr Ein Sof one cannot speak of the existence of the attribute of Malchus per se, nevertheless it exists as a conceptual possibility, which is called by the Kabbalists, "reality that is not in reality". "Now, He constricted the force of His brightness at the epicenter, which was hidden by Him. This is the point of Tzion which is the point of the pupil of the eye, the yehudi, the source of [the souls of] Yisrael. And the completion of the point of Yisrael was revealed, which is the basis of the existence of all of the world" We have a parallel teaching from the Arizal, brought at the beginning of the Eitz Chaim: "And when it arose within His simple will to create the worlds and to emanate
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forth all of the beings that were emanated forth, to bring forth into the light the perfection of His actions and Names and by-Names, which was the reason for the creation of all of the worlds. Then He contracted His Infinite self within the epicenter of Himself, within the middlemost point of His light, and He contracted this light and withdrew to the sides, around the epicenter. And then there remained a vacated space, and an atmosphere [spiritual], and an empty void from the epicenter, mamash" The Baal HaTzemach posed a challenge to this in Mevo She'arim, however. How could it be possible to speak of an epicenter within that which is infinite? That which is infinite has no beginning and no end and no middle point. It has no light and no darkness. If so, how can one speak of it in terms of a middle? The Baal HaTzemach concludes that, in truth, there is no epicenter within the Ohr Ein Sof, but that Hashem made a tzimtzum and hid His light from a single point, and the tzimtzum radiated outward equally from that point. Because the light was hidden equally from that point, it was called the middle. Not that it was the middle of the Ohr Ein Sof; it was the epicenter of the tzimtzum, according to the Tzemach. But the opinion of the Tal Oros is that since the light is infinite, one cannot apply the terms "sefiros," "middos," middle or end to it. Rather, we must speak of "hidden sefiros" which are not in reality at all, but which exist only as a kind of parable or concept. We speak of a light that is absolutely simple [without admixture or division], and so it is only possible by way of a parable to describe that He wanted to reveal His mercy, His kindness and His Kingshipattributes that, at their root, were hidden. The sefiros are spoken of as circles [as in, interlocking and descending vessels], that after the initial tzimtzum, Hashem revealed the sefiros in the manner of igulim or concentric circles. The circle of Kesser surrounds the circle of Chochmah, and so on, and the innermost circle is that of Malchus, which itself subdivides into ten sefiros. There is Kesser d'Malchus, and within it another circle of Chochmah d'Malchus, and so on, until the point of Tzion, which is Yesod d'Malchus, like the pupil of the eye. The eye has an outer shade of white which parallels Chessed, and within it is the shade of red [i.e. the capillaries]. When a person is strained, the redness comes to the surfacethis is the
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aspect of Gevurah within the eye. Then there is a more inward ring of another shade [the iris], which parallels Tiferes, and finally there is a middlemost pointthe pupil, paralleling Malchus. The Tal Oros explains that this is why Rav Chaim Vital wrote that Hashem made the tzimtzum at the epicenter; this does not mean a spatial epicenter, but rather it is a reference to Malchus, which is called the "center," the pupil. All of the tzimtzum is within the attribute of Malchus, and that is how it is possible to say that it took place at the epicenter. He adds that this epicenter is, "the point of Tzion which is the point of the pupil of the eye, the yehudi, the source of [the souls of] Yisrael. And the completion of the point of Yisrael was revealed, which is the basis of the existence of all of the world" The main revelation of Malchus is by way of the souls of the Jewish people, the "apple of His eye," so to speak. His will is that the souls of the Jewish people should be revealed in the world so that His Malchus can be revealed, for they are a "portion of G-d from above," "My child, My firstborn, Yisrael," the purpose of the creation of all of the worlds. [Note: We see, then, that epicenter is conceptual, and it means the ultimate purpose, the "heart of the matter."] "That they should not return to be nullified within the force of the perfect brightness of the Ohr Ein Sof. All of the worlds came to exist within the [space generated by the] removal of this brightness, to bring the reality of the completion of His middos into existence[that He is] Merciful, Compassionate and so on" Hashem's Name was, is, and will beeverything will eventually return to the Ohr Ein Sof as it was in the beginning. The Komarna Rebbe explains here that even after we return to the Ohr Ein Sof, the return will be enhanced by the additional level of having experienced the unfolding of all of the worlds. This coming full circle is the joining of the aspects of Ani and Ayinof individuated existence and total subsuming of the self to the One. Since the entire purpose of creation was for the revelation of the souls of the Jewish people, the ultimate return to the source will be with the aspect of
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individuated souls. This will reveal at the deepest level that there is no reality but Hashem. "And when the light was withdrawn from them, and they assumed the aspects of vessels and self from the root of the point of Yisrael, they did not have any existence or spiritual vitality at all" When everything is revealed G-dliness, the souls of the Jewish people cannot emerge. This is why He withdrew and constricted His light; so that there would be space in which to create the souls of the Jewish people. Within this tzimtzum, Hashem's existence can then be revealed in the world, by way of the souls of the Jewish people, through the means of the kav [i.e. the Divine light that enlivens all of the worlds through level upon level of filters and vessels, so that it is exactly suited to each level]. The [essential vessel of the] kav is the Torah itself. This line or channel is very fine, and between it and the surrounding light lies the vacated space. Rebbe Nachman of Breslov explains in Likutei Moharan that Hashem wanted there to be this space between the kav and the surrounding light in order to provide the Jewish people with two pathways of avodah.1 One is the avodah of Torahthe work of the kavbut there is also the avodah of emunah, which is the work within the vacated space. The essence of faith is when one transcends the doubts that are sourced in the vacated space [where Hashem's presence cannot be perceived]. This is why Avraham Avinu was called the Ivri ["Hebrew"] because he was ,he "went over" all of these doubts and questions with the force of his emunah. "Until He returned and drew down the path of the kav of Torah in a measured and weighed manner, light and vitality to the existence of the created beings, so that some aspect of existence and self and a vessel would be revealed. But a space remained that was empty, in the manner of, 'He wore exaltedness'that phrase has the same numerical value as the term 'empty space,' [] =

Likutei Moharan I:64 16

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between the light of the kav that was drawn down and the Ohr Ein Sof that surrounds all. "And the root of this is exaltednessthat He prides and exalts Himself with His garments, and the main garments are the souls of the Jewish people who are as garments to Him through their fulfillment of the Torah and mitzvos. All of this was so that the matter should not revert to its original state, and this is holy pride, so that the vessel should continue to exist even when [the light is] withdrawn to the absolutely loftiest place, for it cannot be fully revealed unless there is absolute bitul. But the existence of this 'pride' is the basis of the continued existence of all of the worlds" Here, the Komarna Rebbe reveals the mystery of the void that exists between the kav and the surrounding light. Hashem did not allow the kav to nullify the tzimtzumthe empty space remainedand this is a manifestation of Hashem's being "enclothed with pride." Hashem takes pride in the souls of the Jewish people whose Torah and mitzvos reveal Hashem in a greater manner than would have been possible before the tzimtzum. The Creator delights in man's revealing His oneness, so that Malchus can be revealed in action. This is the essence of the acceptance of the yoke of Malchusthat a person's actions express that the only reality is Hashem. Every Jew must also have a sense of holy pride, just as the Maggid told the Beis Yosef: "Keep to a state of greatness." While one certainly must be nullified before Hashem and know that nothing exists but him, one must also fulfill the dictum: "And his heart was proud in the ways of Hashem."2 Every Jew should rejoice in his Yiddishkeit, to know that the work that he carries out in this world is unique and cannot be carried out by anyone else. At every instant, the universe desperately needs every single Jew; all of the worlds depend on the souls of the Jewish people. The universe needs his friend just as much as it needs him, this is the aspect of "public space"that one must look at others and recognize their greatness and be humble before them. The presence of public space does not negate the fact that there is also the avodah of the private spacethat there is
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Divrei HaYamim II:17:6 17

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nothing in the world but Hashem and the individual. As the sages taught, "A person must say, 'The world was created for me.'" Rav Tzaddok Hakohen went so far as to say that this is the avodah of ma'aseh bereishisthat one must think of himself as Adam HaRishon, that there is only Hashem and himself in the entire universe. At a deeper level, this is itself the ma'aseh merkavahthat there is no reality other than Hashem. To sum up, the tzimtzum between the kav and the Ohr Ein Sof is the "pride that He wore"and for this reason it is necessary that every Jew feel pride in his Jewishness and his avodah. This pride must only be sufficient to provide him with vitality, however, and not exceed that amount. Pride is only good when it serves as a vessel for bitul. [Note: The humility achieved by a person who thinks little of himself, his abilities and his significance in the greater scheme of things is less profound than humility attained by a person who realizes exactly what his abilities are and how important his actions are in the world. While the former is very precious, it cannot compare with the latter, where pride has become a vessel for bitul.] Meditation on the Divine Names cannot just be a mental exercise. The Baal Shem Tov taught that the act of contemplation itself is a manifestation of yeish, because whenever a person acts and has awareness of his own act, it is an expression of self, of Binah. But this act itself must be a vessel for bitul, for the state of ayin. This is like meditating on the Name HaVaYaH-ADNI, which expresses the sweetening of the judgments [in ADNI] through the application of chassadim [expressed by HaVaYaH]. That is a kind of code for the process of mitigating yeishus ["judgments"] by placing it in the service of further bitul ["chassadim"]. When the tzaddik contemplates the Divine Names, he is focused on both the yeish and ayin that is within the act of meditation itself. And this is no less true of his mitzvah observance. The carrying out of the mitzvah act (with all of its elements of intention, joy and motion) is an expression of yeish, but when he focuses on the purpose of the mitzvahto reveal Hashem's unity in the worldthe yeish comes to serve the ayin. Rav Tzaddok Hakohein taught that if one cannot focus on the kavanos in the way of bitul and ayin, one may not contemplate them at all.
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A person must accustom himself to making his foremost intentionin everything that he does and thinksthe revelation of Hashem's existence. Even his joy and pride and everything that he does within the realm of holy yeishall of these things should serve as vessels to help him attain a deeper awareness of Hashem's unity. They are not ends in and of themselves; as vessels, however, they have the potential to reveal Hashem's unity to a much greater degree. Even when pride and yeish is used for holy purposesand only to the extent necessary to enliven all the worldsit still bears a danger that it will cause a person to distance himself from Hashem. A clear sign of this is when, after a few good hours of Torah study or prayer, the person feels elevated above his friend and fails to honor him properly. Instead of revealing Hashem's Kingship, the person falls into the state known as " I will rule." And this is the exact opposite of where his avodah is supposed to take him, because the real purpose of avodah is to get closer and closer to ayin. Genuine bitul is demonstrated in the blossoming of good middos, straightforwardness and purity of the self, and feeling contrite and humble before Hashem and every other creature in the world. When one is really in a state of bitul, he needs encouragement just to keep going. That is why there were tzaddikim who spoke of themselves in grand terms; although it might appear superficially as though they boasted, it was really because of their abject humility that they needed to encourage themselves. "But he should not encourage himself more than necessary to maintain his existence, because then he can fall and truly be separated, chalilah, as in the matter of the breakage of the vessels, 'I will rule.' It was His simple will that there exist reward and punishment; 'I am Hashem'faithful to reward and faithful to exact retribution from the wicked. However, the main [purpose] is that there would be a pure vessel that is utterly nullified, a broken and downtrodden heart that is in pieces, absolutely nothing before the least creature, until he needs to encourage himself with all of his strength, to empower himself to attain some degree of yeish and ani so that he can perform avodah. 'And his heart was haughty

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in the ways of Hashem.' Not like the fools who reason that it is a mitzvah to be humble, and so he seeks ways and means to achieve humility. "However, the truth is that when his eyes are opened he will see his lowliness and his heart will be broken. He will anticipate that his portion will be among the lowest of the low of the Jewish people, he will be lowly in his own eyes, and his heart will be filled with light and joy and Hashem will strengthen his heart and empower him and uplift him to lofty levels. Just as it was necessary to say to Yehoshua, 'Just be strong and bold' 'Just'even though you are, in your own eyes, empty [ ] = of all wisdom and knowledge and are humble as dust, 'be strong and bold.'3" Nesiv Mitzvosecha, Nesiv Emunah, Pathway 3:13: "When the aspects of this point of 'Yisrael' are revealed, it becomes, 'li rosh''I have a head' [ .] = By virtue of there being a kav and a vessel and the yeish which serves as the root of the Torah and Yisraelthe point of Kesser-Malchus which includes the force of both the Emanator and the one that is emanated togetherthere is a head and feet, above and below, and four directions and tendencies, each one to its own middah" While it is true that, on one hand, a person requires a vessel, nevertheless this vessel must serve the purpose of the kav. The "line" of Divine light that enters the vacated space extends and surrounds the tzimtzum [and it is also an array of filters that constrict the Divine light], and the tzimtzum itself is the vessel that serves the kav. The "line" is the light of the Torah and yichud; the tzimtzum is expressed in the fact that this light can only be apprehended through focused contemplation. When a person actualizes his potential as a Yisrael, he is making use of himself [his vessel of yeish] to contain and receive the light of the Torah, which is the light of the kav. This joining of vessel and light, tzimtzum and kav, is the purpose of creation.

Yehoshua 1:7 20

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Nesiv Mitzvosecha, Nesiv Emunah, Pathway 3:14: "Know, then, that which Rav Yisrael ben Eliezer [the Baal Shem Tov] revealed, that every single thing comprises worlds, souls and Elokus, and one must believe that every single word that a person says contains these three aspects. They are also a part of every single thing that exists in the world, because the blessed Gd created all beings and the universe from His own power. Between Him and the universe, there is an intermediary level, which is the aspect of 'souls,' which binds all of the worlds and all beings to the true G-d, single and unique. The root of the 'world' is in Ze'ir Anpin'A world of Chessed will be built.' The root of 'souls' is in Binah'The Almighty is the knower of souls.' And Chochmah gives life to all of them, for it is there that G-d's Elokus is revealed" We can understand this as follows: in the world of Atzilus there are ten sefiros. Chochmah parallels the yud of the Shem HaVaYaH; Binah parallels the first hei of the Name; the six sefiros from Chessed to Yesod [Ze'ir Anpin] parallel the vav of the Name; the final hei parallels Malchus. Our avodah is in the realm of Torah and mitzvah, which is expressed in the unity of the "of the Namethis is the realm of "worlds." [Our avodah works from the "bottom" upward.] In the Yerushalmi we find that one must see the face of the Tanna or Amora who introduced the law that one learns; this is the aspect of "souls"one must bind himself to the tzaddikk that revealed the particular teaching. That is expressed in the first hei of the Name which parallels Binah, because it is only possible to feel the soul of the tzaddik through contemplation. The next level is bitul to Hashem, to the Divine light that inheres within the Torah, and this is expressed by the yud of the Shem HaVaYaH. This is what the Baal Shem Tov meant when he said that one must cleave to all of the letters of the Shem HaVaYaH. "Every aspect has its way by which its light is diminished or increased, and this is the yechidah elementthe lowermost level of the uppermost world and here it is made into a head and a crown [Kesser], to bind together all of the worlds. It returns to its aspect of ani and Malchus of the level that is above this

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level, and so all of the worlds are bound together, and five partzufim are formed, each one composed of 248 limbs" The tzaddik sees the Divine light that is within every level [just as there is a Kesser-yechidah aspect to every level], and so he is worthy of receiving the light of Kesser. This light is embodied in the white of the page that surrounds a letter. Everything that one learns is surrounded by a Divine light that is its source; this is the apex of the yud [the fifth level that is the beginning from which all of the other four letters of the Divine Name emerge]. This is the level of yechidah. When the tzaddik grasps the light of Kesser, he feels that everything that he has learned and understands is null and void when compared with the original Divine light that is the source of that which he has learned. The Baal Shem Tov expressed this concept in his teaching, "Even when one has merited to reach the fiftieth gate, he sees that there are another fifty gates, and all that he has grasped is null and void in relation to the Creator." All that he has learnedhis rising from level to levelwas a process of moving from the straightforward meaning of the Torah and fulfillment of its mitzvos [nefesh and ruach / Malchus and Z"A], to developing a bond with the soul of the Tanna [neshamah-Binah], to bitul [chayahChochmah], until the level of yechidah, which is the actual bestowal and experience of Divine light and vitality, the source. However, this entire process is relative to the person's level at that particular time; compared with the world that is still above him, he hasn't even begun to grasp anything. In this way, it is possible to rise from level to level, and serve Hashem without limit. "The head of Malchus d'Asiyahwhere we dwellmeets and contacts the heel of Adam Kadmon, and Hashem's providence is instantaneous upon every single being [because everything is encompassed into a single whole]. There is no day identical to the next, and there is no creature identical to its fellow, and there is no tzaddik identical to another. Every single creature exists for a lofty purpose, and all of them do His will; the manner and degree to which they derive their spiritual sustenance is different one to the other, as is each one's tikkun. Hashem established
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that the galbanum be part of the incense, while the frankincense is not. And there are times, many times, when a wicked person does something and it galvanizes all of the worlds far more than a tzaddik who is asleep [spiritually], performing mitzvos by rote. And it is possible that there are other considerations at work. If he will examine himself and distinguish clearly his own level and his own crassness, he will humble himself like a worm and like hyssop before every single creature and every single Jew." The main concept that we need to learn from this segment is that a person must know that Hashem wants him and desires him. Even though that are many tzaddikim in the world, if a person is unaware how vital he is in the greater scheme of things, he will have no vessel with which he can serve Hashem. The main vessel of avodah is the faith that each person has a particular tikkun that is completely unique. As a person invests himself into his avodah, he will gain a sense that his tikkun is unique even though its exact nature will not be clear to him. He should simply ask Hashem to lead him toward the point of his own vessel so that he can fulfill the purpose of his existence. The Zohar teaches that one must beg Hashem to know what one's unique point and purpose is, and it can take many years until this knowledge is gained. But even when we lack a more specific knowledge, one must believe that Torah study and prayer will bring one closer to his own point, and in fulfilling his unique purpose he will accomplish that which no tzaddik ever did or could do. Because his avodah can only be done by him.

Now we can return to where we left off in the Otzros Chaim. We have already learned in the Sha'ar Ha'Akudim that Akudim is the world of yearning, and the purpose of this yearning is to reveal an even higher level. The world of Akudim is expressed in the Name [ "the permutation of the Shem HaVaYaH that has a total value of 63], and its purpose is to reveal the light of the Name "which is above it, as well as the light of Kesser that is higher and which is the revelation of the unity of Hashem. Because the
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yearning of Akudim is meant to serve as a meant to reach higher levels, it has the aspect of a vessel. Anything that a person wishes to accomplish can only be reached by first feeling a yearning for it. If a person wants to learn a page of Gemara, he has to long for it and beg Hashem to make him worthy of learning that page. This yearning is the vessel for the action that is to come. This dynamic is at work at every level and in every element of a person's Divine service. Every goal can only be reached through intense yearning, and a great deal of prayer that expresses the longing. That is how one builds a vessel to contain the light that will come. This is the world of Akudim"touching and not touching"the first source above that makes the development of a vessel possible. In the world of Akudim, the vessels emerge and then they return to the "mouth of Adam Kadmon," because it is the ultimate destiny of the vessels to return to their source, which is the light of yichud. Otzros Chaim, Sha'ar Ha'Akudim, Chapter 5: "We will now explain the concept of their return and ascent on high, how this process gives rise to the vessels. When the lights ascended on high, the denser and more coarse light which is the aspect of a vessel remained below. It is in the nature of the lights that they leave their impression down below, in the place where they were originally, and so all of these lights left an impression down below in their original place when they ascended on high. How did this occur? The Kesser left a trace to illuminate Chochmah, and Chochmah did likewise to Binah, and Binah did likewise to Ze'ir Anpin, and Ze'ir Anpin did likewise to Nukva. It is always the nature of the loftier thing to illuminate that which is below it; and it has a desire to shine into the lower thing just as a mother has a desire for her children. It therefore leaves an impression within it. We see, then, that all of them leave an impression except for Malchus, because there is no other sefirah below it into which it can shine. Malchus, therefore, does not leave an impression below." There are not ten actual sefiros in the world of Akudim. Rather, all of them are like a single vessel. This is because yearning is not an actual vessel; at the moment of
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yearning, one has still not accomplished anything. The powerful longing, however, allows the formation of the spiritual root of a vessela very great vessel. It exists in potential until the person brings it down to action, which is the world of Berudim. In that realm, every sefirah has its own unique vessel. Now we can better understand the depth of the avodah of hisbodedusof speaking out one's yearning to come closer to Hashem in his own words. Even though the avodah of prayer comprises many facetspraise, supplication, thanks, etc.the main element of prayer is the feeling of lack and the yearning for it to be filled. This is the essence of prayer; when a person longs for Hashem to complete all that is lacking in him. So one must speak his heart out to Hashem like a child does before his father. Most of what children appeal to their parents for is that they provide them with what they are lacking. Offering thanks is also only an acknowledgement of having had a lack fulfilled. This yearning is what forms the vessel that can contain the light to come, and its spiritual root is in the world of Akudim, where the light yearns to be encompassed within its source. This is why, even after it emerges, it returns back to its point of emanation. The process of its emergence and subsequent return is what creates the vessel. The verse say, "Exalt Hashem with me"4 The word "with me" [ ]is an acronym of the terms , , faith, prayer and effort. While it is true that effort is what actualizes the potential, it could not have been accomplished without prayer [and the faith that makes prayer possible]. If a person sees that he cannot work up the requisite energy in his avodas Hashem, it is because he did not pray enough about it beforehand and throughout. The root of the action that is accomplished in the worlds of Nekudim and Berudim is in the world of Akudim, by begging Hashem to provide the strength to serve Him devotedly. Blessed is G-d forever. Amen and amen.

Translated and Adapted by Rav Micha Golshevsky.

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