The Garden of Eden – Hemshech Samech Vav – 2

Hemshech Samech-Vav

Discourse 2
Zeh HaYom Tchilat Ma’asecha 5666


The Holy Rabbi Sholom Dovber of Lubavitch

Translated by Shimon Markel

Edited by Rabbi A. Markel


The Zichronot prayer on Rosh HaShanah states,[1] “This day is the beginning of Your works, a remembrance of the first day.”  First, we need to understand the matter of the words, “the beginning of Your works.”  Now, “the beginning of Your works” (techilat ma’asecha), means “the beginning of action” (techilat asiyah). This being the case, we need to understand, what the beginning of action is.  We also need to understand the continuation of the verse, “a remembrance of the first day” because it is not at all clear what day is the first day for which the “beginning of action” is a remembrance of.

To understand this, we must first understand what was discussed above regarding the ultimate purpose and intention in creation; namely, that the ultimate purpose and intent of the decent of the soul into the body was to draw down additional light from the inner, essential Self of the Infinite Light, blessed be He, through the fulfillment of Torah and Mitzvot, until there will be a full revelation of the Infinite Light below.  As explained there, this is the meaning of the word “Bereishit – In the beginning”.  This refers to the Jewish people and to Torah.

To further understand the drawing down of additional lights through fulfilling Torah and Mitzvot, we must first preface with an explanation of the verse,[2] “No eye has seen it besides You G_d, who does it for he who awaits Him.”  Regarding this the sages of blessed memory stated (in Talmud Bavli, Brachot 34b), “What is the meaning of ‘No eye has seen it?’  Rabbi Shmuel Bar Nachmani answered, ‘This refers to Eden, which has never been seen by the eye of any creature.  Perhaps you will say, ‘Where then was Adam?’ He was in the Garden. Perhaps you will say, ‘The Garden and Eden are one and the same?’ Not so! For the verse states,[3] ‘And a river went out of Eden to water the Garden’ – the Garden is one thing and Eden is another thing.”

The explanation is that in regard to the Garden of Eden it states,[4] “And Hashem Elokim planted a Garden in Eden eastward etc.,” From this verse one might assume that the Garden and Eden are identical, since the Garden is in Eden.  A different verse therefore tells us, “And a river went out of Eden to water the Garden”. From this it is understood that the Garden is one thing and Eden is another.

Now, it is known[5] that Eden represents the aspect of the simple essential pleasure in the essential Self of the Infinite Light, blessed be He, which is called “The Delight of the King within His essential Self – Sha’ashuei HaMelech B’Atzmuto.”[6]  This is the aspect of the essential pleasure which transcends being drawn down into revelation. Therefore it states, “No eye has seen it,” or, “it has never been seen by the eye of any creature.”  This even includes Moshe and the forefathers. Even the first man (Adam HaRishon) who was formed by “the hand of the Holy One blessed be He,”[7] during his spiritual state before the sin, when he was the epitome of perfection, did not see this level.  This is because it transcends being drawn down into revelation.

Only in the “future to come” when the dead will be resurrected (Techiyat HaMetim) will there be a revelation of this level, because in the future the aspect of the essential Self itself will be drawn down.  It is regarding this that we state,[8] “There is none like You, our savior, until the resurrection of the dead,” for at that time there will be a true revelation of His essential Self.  This is because the revelations of the “future to come” will not be in way of spreading down (hitpashtut) or revelation of lights, but rather, the hidden essential Self will be drawn down and revealed.  Alternatively, it could be in the way of ascent; that the souls of the Jewish people will ascend to the aspect of the hidden essential Self of the Infinite.  This is as stated,[9] “After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up so that we may live in His presence,” i.e. literally in His presence, in the aspect of the inner essential Self of the Infinite.

Now, the souls currently residing in the Garden of Eden receive and derive pleasure from the ray of the Divine Presence (Shechinah).[10]  However, even in regard to the loftiest souls this is only a glimmer of the aspect of the hidden essential pleasure.  This is because it is drawn down through a multitude of consecutive tzimtzumim-restraints and concealments until it is within the capacity of the souls to receive.  This is the matter of the river that went out of Eden which separates between Eden and the Garden. That is, only a glimmer is drawn down to “water the Garden.”

However in the future, when the dead will be resurrected, we will attain the revelation of the aspect of Eden itself.  This is in accordance to what the sages of blessed memory stated,[11] “All the prophets only prophesied about the days of Moshiach, but no eye has seen Eden.”  This is because the revelation of the aspect of Eden will only happen later, with the resurrection of the dead (which will be the chief revelation of the aspect of Moshiach.)  This will require a splitting and crossing of the river, as it doubly states,[12] “Until Your people pass over Hashem, until the people that you have acquired pass over.”  The second “passing over” here refers to the future crossing through the Euphrates river (Nehar Prat),[13] which the river that comes out of Eden.[14]

This is similar to how after the exodus from Egypt it was first necessary for the sea to split before they could receive the Torah. As known,[15] the giving of the Torah represents the drawing down of the world of Atzilut-Emanation into revelation. The sea (Yam-ים) corresponds to the attribute of Malchut-kingship of Atzilut-Emanation, which conceals the lights of Atzilut-Emanation.  Therefore, before the giving of the Torah the sea had to split, i.e. the concealments split open.  The purpose is to bring about a connection between Atzilut-Emanation and the worlds of BY”A,[16] or a revelation of Atzilut-Emanation within the worlds of BY”A,[17] or the ascent of BY”A to the world of Atzilut,[18] as discussed elsewhere.[19]

It will similarly be so in the future, at which time we will arrive at the inner aspect of Torah, as it is in the aspect of, “The delight of the King within Himself.”  This refers to the Torah that Moshiach will teach the people.[20]  Then it will be in a manner of beholding, unlike the way Torah is learned today, which is only through intellectual comprehension.  Rather, through the Torah that Moshiach will teach all Israel we will behold the Being of Hashem, as is explained in Likkutei Torah[21] in the discourse entitled “VeHeinif-and he waved.”  In other words, the Torah will be revealed as it is within the essential Being and Self of the Infinite, which is the aspect of Eden itself.  In order for such a revelation to come about there must be a “splitting” of the river.  This is as stated,[22] “And He shall wave His hand over the river…and will smite it into seven streams etc.”  This is because the river separates and conceals the revelation of the aspect of Eden. It therefore must specifically be split.

As known, the explanation is[23] that the river corresponds to Binah-comprehension,[24] while Eden corresponds to Chochmah-insight.[25]  Now, although it was explained above that Eden refers to the aspect of the hidden, essential, simple pleasure within the essential Self of the Infinite Light, generally speaking, this is in the aspect of Chochmah-insight, in that its inner aspect transcends the order of the chaining down of worlds (Seder Hishtalshelut).  That is, the inner aspect of Abba-father (insight) is the inner aspect of Atik (pleasure).[26]  This refers to the concealed aspect of Chochmah-insight which even transcends experiential pleasure, as explained elsewhere.[27]

This also accords with the explanation in Zohar[28] that the principle aspect of Eden corresponds to Keter-crown which is called,[29]Eden Ila’a-the supernal Eden.”  We must say that this too refers to the hidden insight (Chochmah Stima’a) of Keter-crown and refers to the inner aspect of the hidden insight (Chochmah Stima’a) which by its very nature is concealed, as explained elsewhere.[30]  The same can be said in regard to even higher levels all the way up to the origin of all levels.

Now, the river that comes out of Eden refers to the aspect of Binah-comprehension and it is from this level that the souls in the Garden of Eden derive pleasure.  That is, they derive pleasure from their grasp and comprehension of G_dliness, which is the aspect of Binah-comprehension as explained in chapter thirty-nine of Tanya.  This is similar to the revelation of G_dliness that is drawn down into the worlds from the aspect of the Malchut-kingship of Atzilut-Emanation.  That is, it is drawn down in a concealed and hidden manner by means of Malchut-kingship which conceals the light.

As known, Malchut-kingship is the supernal aspect of speech,[31] because, like speech, it conceals the light that is drawn down.  This is similar to the attribute of speech in man, in that although the letters of speech are vessels for the intellect and emotions because they are drawn down to vest within speech, nevertheless, the letters conceal the intellect within them and it becomes hidden within them.  It is observable in a small child that though he may understand all the letters and words that he hears and is able to repeat them, he may nonetheless not understand the concepts they contain.  Only one who is already wise of his own accord understands through the medium of the letters. However, the existence of the letters, in and of themselves, is an aspect of concealment relative to the existence of the intellect and emotions.

We may understand the letters of Malchut-kingship in the same way, in that they conceal the intellectual attributes Chochmah-insight, Binah-comprehension and Da’at-knowledge as well as the emotive attributes of the world of Atzilut-Emanation which vest within the supernal speech.  They are concealed to such a degree that there is no revelation of them whatsoever in the world of Briyah-creation, except for a very limited glimmer of their light.

This is likewise so in regard to the supernal Garden of Eden of the world of Briyah-creation; that is, the[32] “Supernal mother resides on the throne.”[33]  This refers to the aspect of the “river that goes out of Eden” because the river represents the aspect of thought[34] in that just as the flow of a river never ceases, thought likewise never rests or ever is quiet. Rather, it flows ceaselessly. Therefore, thought is compared to a river (Nahar) because it always flows, as in the verse,[35] “And all nations shall flow (Naharu) into it.”

Now, thought too is made up of letters and they too are merely garments for the essential insight, just as speech is, except that thought is the more inner garment of the two.  Nevertheless, it too is in an aspect of a concealing garment relative to the essential supernal insight.  This is in the same manner as the letters of speech, except that in thought the concealment is not as great as it is in speech.  Beyond this, even comprehension, in and of itself, conceals the light of Chochmah-insight, for as known,[36] the light as it is in Chochmah-insight itself, cannot radiate within Binah-comprehension.  This is because comprehension, in and of itself, conceals. This, then, is the meaning of the river that separates between the aspects of the Garden and Eden.  The revelation that illuminates the Garden of Eden is only a tiny glimmer drawn down from the aspect of the “river.”

Now, although we explained above that in the Garden of Eden there is a revealed radiance of the light of Atzilut-Emanation, because[37] “the supernal father resides in Atzilut-Emanation,” nevertheless, the light of Atzilut-Emanation which radiates in the Garden of Eden is only from the aspect of Binah-comprehension of Atzilut-Emanation.  In regard to this it may be said that there is an advantage in the revelation of the Garden of Eden over and above the revelation of Atzilut-Emanation within Briyah-creation in general.  Regarding the river that goes out of Eden the verse states,[38] “and from there it separated and became four heads.”  This refers to how Binah-comprehension vests within Malchut-kingship which then vests within BY”A and becomes separated.  In contrast, in regard to how it is in the world of Atzilut-Emanation, the verse states that the river “goes out,” of Eden, meaning that in Atzilut-Emanation itself it is[39] without separation and cessation.  In other words, as they illuminate the world of Briyah-creation they are in a way of separateness (Possibly, this is the matter of the chambers and halls, mentioned in Tanya), whereas in the Garden of Eden there is a radiance of Binah-comprehension as it comes out of Eden without any separation whatsoever.

This is as stated in Zohar toward the end of Parshat Noach, page seventy-four, side two, as follows, “If you say that it is written, ‘And a river goes out from Eden… and from there they are separated,’ it sounds like they derive sustenance from the Garden which is Malchut-kingship (within which there is the radiance of the aspect of Binah-comprehension) and that this is called pirud-separation.  However, certainly only when they are taken from there are they separated, but when they gather there to derive sustenance there is no separation.”

In the Zoharei Chamah[40] commentary it explains that this refers to the four encampments of the Shechinah-Divine Presence, and that the matter of separation is not complete separation, Heaven forbid.  Rather, it is separation similar to the verse,[41] “Their wings were spread apart (prudot),” referring to the aspects of love and awe, in that their states of arousal are separate and different from each other.  This is as explained in Likkutei Torah, in the Shavuot discourse beginning with “You shall count” (in which it explains that even this “separation” is only in regard to the “wings”, referring to four of the organs of speech, whereas the palate, which is the fifth organ of speech, from which the letters גיכ”ק (Gimel-Yud-Chof-Kuf) come, refers to the aspect of Chochmah-insight, that corresponds to the word “their faces”[42] which are not at all in a state of separation).  The Zoharei Chamah continues, “And when are they in a state of separation? When they are separated from there. However, when they still are connected to the Shechinah-Divine Presence, then they are not separated and they all constitute one single unity etc.”

This, then, is the great advantage of the Garden of Eden, about which it states, “A river goes out from Eden to water the Garden,” in that there is a radiance of the aspect of Binah-comprehension as it still is unified with Chochmah-insight.  This is the meaning of the statement that in the Garden of Eden there is a revealed radiance of Atzilut-Emanation, because “the supernal father (Chochmah-insight) settles in Atzilut-Emanation.”  It is for this reason that the river goes out from Atzilut-Emanation, because in Atzilut-Emanation, in and of itself, all levels are unified and it is called[43] the “World of Unity – Olam HaAchdut.”  This is because Chochmah-insight is a state of Ein-nothingness, and therefore because in Atzilut  in general, there is a radiance of the light of Abba-father (Chochmah-insight), therefore it is in a state of perfect unity.  (The true beginning of the chaining down of the worlds is from the aspect of Binah-comprehension, as explained elsewhere.[44]) In this manner, in the Garden of Eden there is a revealed radiance of the aspect of Binah-comprehension while it is still unified with Chochmah-insight.

We should mention that there also is a revelation and radiance of Chochmah-insight itself in the Garden of Eden.  This is as stated in Biurei HaZohar[45] to Parshat Va’era regarding the verse,[46] “and Hashem remembered,” that the river refers to the aspect of Yesod-foundation of Abba-father.  According to this, the words “to water the Garden” refers to the aspect of Binah-comprehension. This is as explained in Mikdash Melech on Parshat Yitro, page ninety, side one, that it is through Binah-comprehension that it is drawn down to Malchut-kingship as well, and that these two are hinted at by the two letters Heh-ה of the words[47] “to work it – LeAvdah (לעבדה)” and “to guard it – LeShamrah (לשמרה).”  We may therefore say that this radiance is revealed through Malchut-kingship into the upper Garden of Eden in the world of Briyah-creation as well.  (In the above Biurei HaZohar it explains that this refers to the inner unification of Chochmah-insight and Binah-comprehension and that it primarily is the matter of the “ray” of the Torah and service of HaShem through which the souls delight in G_dliness.)  This, then, is the meaning of the statement that,[48] “The world to come was created with a Yud-י,” that is, with the lower thorn of the Yud-י which refers to the aspect of Yesod-foundation of Abba-father (Chochmah-insight).

Nevertheless, all of the above is only the aspect of a tiny radiance and glimmer, rather than the aspect of the essential pleasure of Eden.  It is specifically within this glimmer that all of the ascents of the souls in the Garden of Eden take place, in that three ascensions take place every day. Similarly, on Shabbat and holidays the souls ascend to the upper Garden of Eden, as stated in Tanya.[49]  All these ascensions are only within the glimmer radiating from Eden, within which there are a multitude of levels.  As known,[50] there are many levels in the Garden of Eden. This is explained elsewhere[51] on the words,[52] “Abundance of all things (Kol-כל),” that this refers to[53] “all (Kol-כל) the days of the world to come.”  This is similar to the statement,[54] “The righteous have no rest, neither in this world nor in the world to come, as it states,[55] ‘They go from strength to strength etc.'” In other words, because it is only a glimmer and radiance, therefore there are many levels.

As known,[56] in the “future to come” the aspect of ascents and descents will no longer take place because then the aspect of the essential pleasure itself, in which levels are not applicable, will be revealed. However, until then there are many levels because only a glimmer is revealed.  This is because concerning every radiance of light we must say that there is a higher aspect and a lower aspect, a beginning and an end.  Where the ray is close to its source there is great radiance, whereas at its end the light has dissipated considerably.

This is like the light of a candle, in that there is no comparison when someone stands close to the candle as compared to when he stands far from it, even if he is in the same room.  The same is true of the light of a torch and even the light of the sun. Certainly, the light that is close to the sun is much more intense than once it reaches us. Through these examples we may understand how it is above in G_dliness. Of course the light that is closer to the Luminary is much more intense. However, this only relates to the various aspects of the light (Ohr). There is a huge difference between its initial radiance as it comes out of the Luminary and the furthest reaches of its spreading forth. Having established that light, in general, has a beginning and an end, we therefore must say that it has many, many levels and degrees.  In contrast, the essential Self of the Luminary is equal everywhere, because there is no beginning or end nor any division of levels whatsoever.

This, then, is the Divine service of the souls in the Garden of Eden, in that just as the souls below in this world have their service, so likewise the souls above in the Garden of Eden also have their service which the ascent from level to level. That is, each consecutive ascent requires a nullification of the level before it.  Only then can there be ascent and inclusion into the higher level.  That is, only when there is total and complete nullification of the existence (Bitul B’Metziut) of the lower level, to the point that one completely forgets the pleasure of the previous level as if it is nothing, can one then ascend to the incomparably higher level of G_dly pleasure and delight above it.  This is necessary because this general radiance comes from the aspect of the supernal pleasure that transcends the order of the chaining down of the worlds, and therefore, although there are multiple levels in this, each level cannot compare to the level above it, to the point there is no comparison at all between the lower level and the upper level. There must therefore be a complete and total nullification of the first experience in order to come to the incomparably higher experience of the next state of being.

This is similar to the study of any wisdom; that when it is necessary to come to a higher comprehension of it, which is incomparably higher than how it was first grasped, one must first negate the way he understood it in the first place.  This is similar to what we are told about Rav Zeira, that he undertook one hundred fasts in order to forget the Babylonian Talmud so that he could comprehend the Jerusalem Talmud.[57]

However, at first glance this is not understood.  Is it not the case that in regard to learning, one must first understands one matter in order to come to a higher matter? Is it not from his comprehension of the first matter that he comes to the comprehension of the next matter, thus climbing from level to level like the rungs of a ladder?  In the case of Rav Zeira however, it seems that he had to forget the first level in order to reach the higher level. However, the explanation is that[58] “there is no Torah like the Torah of the land of Israel,” to which the Babylonian Talmud cannot at all compare.[59]  Therefore, even though his learning was in a manner of love and awe of HaShem and he was one with the light of Torah, so much so that[60] “fire did not burn him,” nevertheless, in order to approach the study of the Jerusalem Talmud he had to forget the Babylonian Talmud.  That is, there had to be a total negation of his first level of awareness and comprehension and only then could he ascend to the higher level.

This is similarly the case when one wants to understand any deep concept. It specifically requires great toil, as in the dictum,[61] “I have toiled and I have found.”  On the other hand, a concept of lesser depth can be understood with minimal toil and effort. Great intellectual depth, however, comes specifically through great toil. This is because it is specifically the toil that clarifies and sublimates the vessel of the brain to the concept. This is because, of necessity, to grasp a deep concept the matter of bewilderment (Hishtomemut) must take place, as in the verse,[62] “And he was bewildered for quite some time.”  That is, his original level of comprehension is negated until the illumination of comprehension becomes altogether absent from his mind. Only then, can he come to grasp the concept with greater depth.

Similarly when a seed is planted in the earth,[63] it first must rot and undergoes complete negation and loss of form. Only then is the power of growth drawn into it to arouse new growth from nothing to something.  Until it rotted this was not yet possible.  Because of this the sages stated,[64] “The Torah is not permanently established except in a person who kills himself for its sake, as it states,[65] ‘This is the Torah; when a man dies in the tent etc.'” They likewise stated,[66] “If any scholar sits before his teacher and his lips do not drip bitterness they shall be burnt, as it states, ‘his lips are as roses (Shoshanim) dripping myrrh (Mor Over).’ Do not read Mor Over but Mar Over (dripping bitterness); Read not Shoshanim (roses) but Sheshonin (that learn).” This is because to be a receptacle, he must first specifically undergo the negation of his being.

The same principle hold true of the ascent of the soul during prayer. It is specifically brought about through the bitterness and lowliness he feels before the ascent.  As known,[67] prayer is entirely the matter of coming close to Hashem, in which the soul radiates with G_dly light. Its purpose is to bring him to a state of closeness and adhesion to G_dliness or to arouse a yearning for G_dliness in an aspect of thirst and desire like flames of a fire in his soul.  In other words, the aspect of closeness and adhesion to G_dliness occurs when the G_dly light radiates in his soul in a revealed manner.  This is brought about through the grasp and contemplation (Hitbonenut) of G_dliness with great adhesion of his mind to know the G_dly matter and understand how and what it is.  It is through this that the light radiates in a revealed manner in his soul, as explained elsewhere.

Now, there are various levels in this depending on the subject of his contemplation.  If he contemplates how G_dliness permeates all the worlds (Memale Kol Almin), then this level may be actually comprehended and grasped and the Divine light will actually illuminate his soul in a revealed way. He will come to a state of closeness and adhesion to G_dliness that will illuminate his soul.

If, however, his contemplation is into the Infinite Light that transcends the worlds, which is the aspect of the wondrousness and transcendence of the Infinite Light, he will then comprehend, grasp and feel the aspect of the wondrousness and incredible transcendence of the Infinite Light in his soul (though deepening his attention).  Now, it is also possible for this level to illuminate his soul in a revealed manner, as a true inner feeling, however, this only applies to very lofty souls who are ready receptacles for the Infinite Light, blessed be He.  An illumination of the wondrous radiance of the Infinite Light will actually shine in their souls in a revealed way.  This being the case, they too are in a state of love and adhesion (Dvekut) to HaShem. This level is known as “Ahavah B’Ta’anugim – love in a way of delight,” because they derive great pleasure in the essential self of their souls from the light of Hashem which radiates within them, literally to the point of expiring. In other words, on this level of adhesion to G_dliness their souls can literally expire.

However, when a person’s contemplation is into the Infinite light as it wondrously transcends the worlds, but the light does not radiate within his soul in a revealed manner, but is nonetheless grasped and felt, because even though the wondrous light does not radiate in his soul in a revealed manner, he nevertheless feels the wondrousness and greatness of it in his soul (and this feeling itself likewise is in an inner manner, but the grasp is only of the wondrousness of the Infinite Light, not that he feels the wondrous light itself, and moreover, this feeling of wondrousness is not an actual inner feeling, but rather, it is as if he feels something lofty and removed from himself, in other words, it is not fully internalized, nonetheless, what is meant here is not that it is totally external to him, but rather that it is not truly internalized because the essential, wondrous light is removed from him) (In other words, this is because his soul is not a receptacle for this, because such a light applies specifically to very great and righteous individuals whose souls are ready receptacles for the Infinite Light, blessed be He, which is a level that not everyone merits.)

In such a case, the love he experiences is in a manner of “running” and an arousal of yearning like a flaming fire of desire and thirst to become unified with the Infinite Light, blessed be He.  This is because were the light to actually radiate in his soul in a revealed manner, then his soul would be in a state of joy and delight, for he would delight in Hashem in a state of total adhesion to Him and His light. This is the aspect of “Ahavah B’Ta’anugim – love in a way of delight.”  However, when the light does not actually radiate in a revealed manner, but he only feels the great wondrousness and transcendence of the Infinite Light, blessed be He, then he will be in a state of “running” to ascend and unify to the Infinite Light.

The general matter is that this is the revelation of the light of his G_dly soul through the G_dly light that radiates within it when he contemplates the greatness and transcendence of the Infinite Light.  He will be aroused in his soul, either in a manner of closeness and adhesion or in a manner of ascent and desire to become unified.  However, for this Divine service to take place during prayer, whether in regard to closeness and adhesion, or whether in regard to ascent and desire, it must be preceded specifically by a sense of bitterness and humility.  This is like the dictum,[68] “One should not stand in prayer except in a state of seriousness,” which is the state of submission and humility.  In other words, he should be embittered about his distance from HaShem and make an honest accounting within himself of how distant he has become etc., as explained elsewhere.[69]  Through this he becomes sublimated and humble. In other words, he becomes despicable and lowly in his own eyes.  It is specifically through this that afterwards the light of his soul can illuminate his prayers in a manner of comprehension and contemplation that the G_dly light will illuminate his soul to be either in a way of closeness or fiery yearning.

The more deeply he is embittered over his great distance from HaShem, the greater will be the revelation of G_dly light and joy in the delight of Hashem during his prayers.  This is like the dictum,[70] “According to the pain is the gain.”  In other words, exactly commensurate to his agony and bitterness over his great distance, will the manner of his subsequent experience of illumination and revelation of abundant G_dly light be.

This is like the repentance of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.  If one’s repentance is deep, affecting him to the inner depth of his soul because of his great distance from HaShem, the bitterness of his soul will bring him to tears until he loses all form, as if he actually is nothing.  This is the matter of the Shevarim and Teruah blasts of the Shofar which are like the sound of a “moaning” or “short, piercing cries”[71] which are like an[72] “inner, unheard voice,” as explained elsewhere.[73]  It is specifically through this that a higher light will shine upon him with great abundance, as in the verse[74] “From the straits I called Ya”H“. This is the aspect of straits and utter negation in which one becomes actual nothingness. It is specifically through this that, “Ya”H answered me with great expanse,” i.e. in an aspect of great breadth and abundance.  Similarly it states,[75] “Out of the depths I have called You Hashem.”  In other words, the drawing down of the name of HaShem anew from the inner essential Self of the Infinite Light comes about specifically through repentance from the depths of the heart with complete self-nullification.

This principle applies to our daily prayers as well. About this it states,[76] “One should not stand in prayer except in a state of seriousness.”  It is specifically through the bitterness and negation of self that the light of Hashem subsequently shines upon a person during prayer.  The same holds true of Torah study. A person who studies Torah only comes to completion through great toil and effort to the point of despairing of ever achieving insight to its ultimate depth. He will become consternated in the depths of his soul over his tremendous unworthiness and lack of understanding, so much so, that he can literally become physically ill or the like.  Only then will he come to the depth of the insight with abundant illumination and clear and brilliant explanations.[77]

Because of this we find that whenever someone wants to ascend from a lower to a higher level there must always be something delineating between the two levels. It is through this that his former state of being becomes negated until he forgets it completely. Just as in the descent of the light from above, we find that there are several levels through which the light is drawn down into revelation below, which are the “screens” (Parsa’ot) between the various levels within each world in addition to the screens between one world and another, and it is by means of these screens that the light is transformed so that it can be received by the lower world, as explained elsewhere;[78] in the same way in the ascent from below to above there is something separates and acts as an intermediate within which the lower level is negated, thus making it possible for him to ascend.

This is likewise so regarding the ascent of souls from the lower Garden of Eden to the upper Garden of Eden. Since there is no comparison between them, there is something that acts as a partition to delineate between them. This is the[79] “River of Fire” (Nehar Dinur) where the souls immerse when ascending from the lower to the upper Garden of Eden.  The explanation is that through this the original pleasure and grasp of the lower Garden of Eden becomes nullified and forgotten so as not to interfere with the incomparably higher pleasure and grasp of the upper Garden of Eden, because the difference between them is like the difference between gross physicality and refined spirituality.

This is similar to the fact that souls ascending from this world of Action (Asiyah) to the lower Garden of Eden must undergo a process of nullification to forget the pleasures of the physical body to which their soul became attached. This process cleanses the soul of the[80] “sights of this world (Chizoo D’Hai Alma),” for otherwise it would be incapable of absorbing the ray of G_dly delight within the lower Garden of Eden.

Moreover, even in the physical world itself, we find that physical lusts and pleasures distract the soul from any sensitivity to G_dliness during prayer. In other word, one’s involvement in physicality throughout the day automatically causes distraction during prayer, even when he truly desires to pray in earnest as he stands before HaShem. Because of this he must undergo bitterness and a sense of lowliness first, as explained above on the words,[81] “One should not stand in prayer, except in a state of seriousness.”

Likewise, even fleeting impressions of physicality, such as the “sights of this world,” distract the soul in regard to the supernal pleasures of the Garden of Eden.  This then, is the matter of the “River of Fire (Nehar Dinur)” that the soul passes through before entering the Garden of Eden, even though it has already undergone purgatory and has been purged of all its evil lusts.  However, the “River of Fire” referred to here is produced from the “sweat of the Chayot angels,”[82] and is lower than the “River of Fire” that separates between the lower Garden of Eden and the upper Garden of Eden. (The root of the “River of Fire” is very lofty. It is rooted in the aspect of Tiferet-beauty, as explained elsewhere.[83])  It specifically is in the higher “River of Fire” that the souls must immerse before coming before G_d in the upper Garden of Eden. That is, their previous state in the lower Garden of Eden must be completely nullified.

In Sefer HaBahir states[84] that there is a “Column” between the lower Garden of Eden and the upper Garden of Eden through which the souls ascend.  It too indicates the matter of nullification, but on a much loftier plane than the “River of Fire.”  In the nullification of the “River of Fire” the souls are stripped of the physicality of their former pleasure and intellect.  In contrast, the “Column” reflects the process of ascent and inclusion of the souls into the higher level before full inclusion and unity is affected.  This second nullification is caused by the revelation of the light of the supernal pleasure of the upper Garden of Eden which shines upon the soul. However, both the “River of Fire” and the “Column” are intermediary levels, except that the “River of Fire” is from the angle of the lower being whose sense of somethingness becomes nullified, whereas the “Column” comes from above and is the radiance of the supernal light as it shines upon the soul.[85]

(Torat Chaim in the discourse entitled[86] “And Ada gave birth etc.,” explains the service of prayer along the same lines. That is, first there must be a state of lowliness and bitterness. Only then can one receive illumination of G_dly light during prayer. However, it will only be in an aspect of “running,” which is the desire to become unified with G_dliness. However, at this point, he is not yet unified. It is only after this that actual inclusion and unification with the G_dly light occurs.  It should also be mentioned that this relates to the ascent of the rectified sparks of holiness from the created realms of BY”A to the realm of Atzilut-Emanation. This is because the rectification in the worlds of BY”A is accomplished through the nullification of the somethingness (Bitul HaYesh), which is the aspect of restraining evil. Therefore, although this separates them from evil, they nevertheless cannot ascend to become included in the holiness and G_dliness of the world of Atzilut-Emanation. That is only accomplished by illumination from above through the name of Ma”H of Atzilut-Emanation, which constitutes the second rectification which is from above to below.[87] This brings about a much greater level of nullification and the souls can then become included in the G_dliness of Atzilut-Emanation, which is the aspect of true nullification.)

Now, in this the souls undergo numerous ascensions from level to level, for there are numerous levels in the Garden of Eden.  However, in general there are three types of Gardens of Eden, corresponding to the three worlds of Briyah-creation, Yetzirah-formation and Asiyah-action, which are very different from each other.  For example, an artisan derives great pleasure in the action (Asiyah) of making an exquisite vessel. Nonetheless, this pleasure cannot at all compare to an emotional pleasure, such as the pleasure of love or kindness.  Our father Avraham, for example, derived immense pleasure in bestowing kindness which is an emotion, the pleasure of which is much higher and beyond comparison to the pleasure of action. This is because action is a physical pleasure whereas love is a spiritual feeling.  On the other hand, emotional pleasure cannot compare to the intellectual pleasure of understanding and comprehension, which incomparably higher.

From these examples we understand that the lower Garden of Eden of the world of Asiyah-action cannot compare to the Garden of Eden of the world of Yetzirah-formation, which is like the emotional pleasure mentioned above.  How much more is this so regarding the Garden of Eden of the world of Briyah-creation, which is like the pleasure of understanding and comprehension.  There is even a Garden of Eden in the world of Atzilut-Emanation, which is totally beyond comparison to BY”A.  However, more specifically there are myriad levels upon levels and the service of the souls is to continuously rise from level to level.  This is because the souls are called “travelers” (Mehalchim). Just as the souls travel from this world to the Garden of Eden, it cannot be said that once they arrive they do not continue to “travel”, but merely sit and delight in the ray of the Divine presence (Shechinah).  Rather, even there, they continue the service of “traveling” to higher and higher levels of Divine pleasure. This is because the radiance is the radiance of the Infinite (Ain Sof), and there therefore must be a constant ascendance through the total nullification of the lower level and inclusion into the higher level. This is the meaning of the statement,[88] “And the holy ones shall praise You every day,” i.e. they ascend from level to level every day without cessation[89] or limit.

Now, this illumination of pleasure in the Garden of Eden is called “The beginning of Your works”[90]  because the word “beginning – Tchilah” indicates something higher than the aspect of “head – Rosh“, which also means, “beginning”.  This is like the statement,[91] “The beginning is bound with the end,” which is explained elsewhere[92] to mean that the beginning (Tchilah) is found more at the end than at the head (Rosh). This is because the Techilah-beginning transcends the Rosh-head, and is not on a comparable level altogether.  This is because the Rosh-head and the Sof-end are related and can therefore be compared to each other.  In contrast, the Tchilah-beginning which transcends the Rosh-head, is beyond such a comparison.  Therefore, “The beginning of Your works” refers to that which transcends Asiyah-action, which in general, includes all three worlds of BY”A.  Similarly, even the world of Atzilut-Emanation may be considered to be an action, because as it relates to the general worlds which precede it, Atzilut is called Adam D’Asiyah-the Man of Action, as known.[93]  Thus, the Garden of Eden of each world is called “The beginning of Your works,” because it refers to the radiance of the Infinite (Ain Sof) as discussed above, which is beyond relationship to worlds.

However, it still is called “The beginning of Your works,” because although the radiance is from the aspect of the Infinite (Ain Sof), it nonetheless manifests within the chaining down of the worlds, for as explained before, the revelation of the Garden of Eden is the aspect of Binah-comprehension, which is the primary matter of the chaining down of the worlds (Seder Hishtalshelut).  It is the radiance of Chochmah-insight and pleasure, which vest within Binah-comprehension. This is because it only is a glimmer and can therefore vest within the various levels of the chaining down of the worlds.  Thus it is called “The beginning of Your works,” though it is beyond the world.

Now the reason we say “this day” of Rosh HaShanah is “the beginning of Your works” is because it is this aspect of the revelation of Chochmah-insight and pleasure which the souls of the Jewish people draw down into the Garden of Eden.  This is the ray that is drawn down through their Torah learning and their service of HaShem (because, in general, the Garden of Eden is the reward for those souls who invested themselves in the fulfillment of Torah and Mitzvot).  In other words, “this day” of Rosh HaShanah, which is the day that Adam HaRishon-the first man was created[94] is “The beginning of Your works.”

[1] See Rosh HaShanah Musaf Prayer, Zichronot section, based on Talmud Bavli, Rosh HaShanah 27a.

[2] Isaiah 64:3

[3] Genesis 2:10

[4] Genesis 2:8

[5] Shaar HaEmunah from the Mittler Rebbe, p. 61b and on.

[6] Beginning of Shever Yosef (Rabbi Yisrael Sarug); Emek HaMelech, Shaar Shaashuei HaMelech; Likkutei Torah, Shir HaShirim 27a; Sefer HaMaamarim 5644, p. 306.

[7] Bereshit Rabba 24:5

[8] Yotzer blessing of Shabbat prayers

[9] Hosea 6:2

[10] Talmud Bavli, Brachot 17a

[11] Talmud Bavli, Brachot 34b

[12] Exodus 15:16

[13] Commentaries to Isaiah 11:15

[14] Talmud Bavli, Bechorot 55b

[15] Torah Ohr, Bereishit 3b; Yitro 68d

[16] From now on we will use the acronym BY”A to refer to the worlds of Briyah-creation, Yetzirah-formation and Asiyah-action.

[17] Pri Etz Chaim, Shaar Chag HaMatzot, Ch. 8; Shaar HaKavanot, Sfirat HaOmer, Drush 12

[18] Zohar Vol. 2, p. 48b

[19] Siddur Im Da”Ch 289d and on; Shaar HaEmunah 71b; 86b

[20] Likkutei Torah, Tzav 17a and on.

[21] Likkutei Torah, Tzav 17a and on; Shaar HaEmunah p. 79a and on.

[22] Isaiah 11:15

[23] Likkutei Torah, Tzav 15d; Shir HaShirim 39d

[24] Zohar Vol. 2, p. 223b; Pardes Rimonim, Shaar 23, Ch. 13, “Nahar”; Zohar Vol. 1 p. 26a

[25] Zohar Vol. 1, p. 247b; Vol. 3, p. 290a; Tanya Igeret HaKodesh, 107a (Epistle 5) & 125b (Epistle 17)

[26] Pri Etz Chaim, Shaar HaKriyat Shma, Ch. 15; RaMa”Z to Zohar Vol. 3, p. 276b; Likkutei Torah Netzavim 49d

[27] Ohr HaTorah, Naso p.257

[28] Tikkunei Zohar Introduction 12a; Tikkun 55, p. 88a; Pardes Rimonim Shaar 23, Ch. 16 section on “Eden”

[29] Zohar Vol. 2, p. 210b; Vol. 3, p. 182b; Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 48, p. 85a

[30] Imrei Binah, Shaar HaTefilin 183a and on

[31] Zohar Vol. 1, p. 86a and RaMa”Z there; Pardes Rimonim, Shaar 23, Ch. 84 “Dibur”

[32] Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 6, p. 23a.

[33] That is, the “supernal mother – Imma Ila’a” which refers to Binah-comprehension of the world of Atzilut-Emanation, is what illuminates the world of Briyah-creation, which is called “the throne.”

[34] Likkutei Torah, Shir HaShirim 17c

[35] Isaiah 2:2

[36] Etz Chaim, Shaar 42, Ch. 13

[37] End of previous discourse, Yom Tov Shel Rosh HaShanah 5666

[38] Genesis 2:10

[39] The sefirot

[40] To Zohar Vol. 1 referenced above.  Ohr HaTorah, Bereishit p. 534b.

[41] Ezekiel 1:11

[42] Of the verse in Ezekiel referenced above.

[43] Torah Ohr, Va’era 57a; Hemshech 5672, Vol. 3, p. 1,448

[44] Likkutei Torah, Tzav, p. 11d

[45] of the Mittler Rebbe, p. 11b and on; Biurei HaZohar of the Tzemach Tzedek Vol. 1, p. 47 and on.

[46] Genesis 21:1

[47] Genesis 2:15; Also see Bachaye commentary to this verse.

[48] Talmud Bavli, Menachot 29b

[49] Tanya, Ch. 39

[50] Tanya, Igeret HaKodesh, Epistle 17; Torah Ohr, Tetzaveh p. 81c

[51] Torah Ohr, Tetzaveh p. 81b and on

[52] Deuteronomy 28:47

[53] Mishnah, Avot 4:17

[54] Talmud Bavli, ending to tractate Brachot (as brought in the introduction to the SheLa”H, p. 17a)

[55] Psalms 84:8

[56] Likkutei HaSha”S of the Arizal, end of Brachot

[57] Talmud Bavli, Bava Metzia 85a

[58] Bereishit Rabba 16:4

[59] Shaarei Orah 22a and on.

[60] Talmud Bavli, Bava Metzia 85a

[61] Talmud Bavli, Megilla 6b

[62] Daniel 4:16; Talmud Bavli, Shabbat 47a

[63] Tanya, Igeret HaKodesh, Epistle 8 (113a)

[64] Talmud Bavli, Brachot 63b

[65] Numbers 19:14

[66] Talmud Bavli, Shabbat 30b

[67] Torah Ohr, Terumah 79d and on

[68] Talmud Bavli, Brachot 30b

[69] Sefer HaMaaamarim 5633 Vol. 2, p. 331; 5656 p. 349; Hemshech 5672, Vol. 1, p. 505 and on

[70] Mishna Avot 5:21

[71] Talmud Bavli, Rosh HaShanah 33b

[72] Zohar, Vol. 1, p. 50b; 210a

[73] See previous discourse

[74] Psalms 118:5

[75] Psalms 130:1

[76] Talmud Bavli, Brachot 30b

[77] Panim Me’Irot, Panim Masbirot – See Pirush HaMilot of the Mittler Rebbe 11a and on.

[78] Torah Ohr, Lech Lecha 12a; Siddur Im DA”Ch 145a

[79] Daniel 7:10; Zohar Vol. 1, p. 201a; Vol. 2, p. 211b; Torah Ohr Miketz 31a; 32d; Yitro 69c

[80] Zohar Vol. 2, p. 211b

[81] Talmud Bavli, Brachot 30b

[82] Talmud Bavli, Chagigah 13b

[83] Zohar Vol. 1, p. 23b; Derech Emet commentary of Rabbi Chaim Vital there. Pardes Rimonim, Shaar 23, Ch. 14 “Nahar”

[84] This is brought in various places in Chassidus in the name of Sefer HaBahir.  See for instance, Likkutei Torah Beshalach 2a; Biurei HaZohar of the Mittler Rebbe 71a; Torah Ohr Tetzaveh 81c.  Also see Zohar Vol. 1, p. 219a; Vol. 2, p. 211a

[85] Footnote of the Rebbe RaSha”B: Perhaps this can be enlightened by the matter of the two Kruv angels discussed in Torah Ohr, in the discourse entitled “Mi Yitencha” in Parshat Terumah, and the explanation of “He says from the beginning what will be at the end.”  (Also see Maamarei Admor HaZaken 5568 Vol. 1, p. 564 and on.)

[86] Torat Chaim, Bereishit 34b and on.

[87] Torah Ohr, VaYeshev 28a and on; Likkutei Torah, Tzav 7d and on.

[88] Ata Kadosh blessing in the Amida prayer

[89] Talmud Bavli, Eruvin 54a

[90] Likkutei Torah, Shmini Atzeret; Ohr HaTorah, Bereishit Vol. 3, p. 530a

[91] Sefer Yetzirah 1:7

[92] Sefer HaMaamarim 5630, p. 320; 5632 Vol. 1, p. 107; Vol. 2, p 367; 5633 Vol. 1, p. 116; 5648 p. 215 and on; 5653, p. 244; 5658 p. 27; and p. 347 and on of Hemshech Samech Vav, discourse entitled “Ki Tavo” 5666.

[93] Likkutei Torah, Masei 95a

[94] To fulfill this purpose…

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