On Divine Inspiration – Chapter 9

Let me explain myself, for my intent here is not merely to expound, but to bring to light the ultimate goal of truly revealing G_dliness in our souls. To preface, I must bring out an example of this concept found in manuscripts that are in my possession; these being the excellent words of innerness and sweetness – the teachings of my father, master, teacher and rabbi, of blessed memory, whose soul reposes in Eden, which explain the statement in the holy Zohar,[1] on the verse in Ezekiel, “And behold a man whose appearance was like that of copper and a flaxen cord and a measuring reed were in his hand etc.” [2] The Zohar comments, “The first covering of holy colors which covered the Mishkan[3], its number came up to 32 (Its length was 28 and its width was 4). The second, outer covering which covered this one, came up to the number 34 (The goatskin curtains were 30 in length and 4 in width etc.) This was lesser but higher and this was higher but lesser etc.”

See the copy of the explanations on this which I have in manuscript form. This entire matter can essentially be understood from them, in all the particulars of its categories, literally, because through them the distillation of the subject may be understood. That is, that the essential difference between the side of Holiness and the side of Nogah is that in Holiness, the aspect of the vessel, which is the “somethingness” of the light, is in an aspect of total self-nullification, whereas the vessel of Nogah is a tangible “somethingness”, with much more in excess of the principal. However, this gain is actually a loss etc.

The explanation of this matter may be understood from the matter of, “The kindness of the nations is sin.”[4]  This is because, in the nations, the good light of kindness is separate from G_d, therefore, its vessel, which is its “somethingness”, spreads out to a greater degree than the aspect of its light. Actually, this gain is a loss, so much so, that it is called sin. Similarly, the sages said[5], “The righteous speak little and do much.” The explanation is that “speaking” is the aspect of the vessel that reveals. “Speaking little” is the aspect of self-nullification etc. However, “they do much.” On the other hand, the opposite is true of the wicked. They say much, in an aspect of arrogance and the spreading out of the “somethingness”[6] of the vessel. But they do little, because of the loss of Divine illumination etc.,[7] as mentioned above.

We literally see a similar thing in the whole matter of the excessive exaggeration that is observable in the external, delusionary excitement of the external heart of flesh, mentioned above. This comes about from the aspect of the spreading of the “somethingness” of Nogah, which is an utter loss of inner illumination, to the point that it turns from good to bad, heaven forbid etc.

The opposite is true of the Divine spark on the side of holiness; Even the aspect of “somethingness” felt in the heart of flesh, mentioned above, comes in a way of utter self-nullification, that is, with a total absence of self-awareness etc. Furthermore, the degree of how great the absence of self-awareness is comes about according to the gain of additional light and vitality etc. This general distinction is clearly observable to all those who know the words of the Living G_d well, and is the root of the above mentioned general distinction.

Now, to know all the indicators of how to recognize these characteristics in one’s self to the finest details of levels and their categories, so that one will not delude himself; it is necessary to first understand the root cause of the matter of the total absence of self-awareness during true Divine excitement which is felt in the heart of flesh etc. At first glance, it seems impossible to believe that a feeling which is the absolute absence of feeling, such as this, could exist, since this would entail two opposites existing simultaneously in one thing!

     To understand this, we must preface with the subject of what “melody” is. The adage that Moses, the faithful shepherd,[8] used to sing all kinds of melodies during his prayers,[9] is well known etc. He did this because his soul included all six hundred thousand souls of Israel and each soul, when it ascends into the root source from which it was hewn, does so specifically through song. This is the aspect of the above mentioned essential excitement, with a love of delights, according to the manner of its root above in the supernal delight. That person who included all six hundred thousand souls was Moses, the faithful shepherd. As explained elsewhere, this is why he sang all kinds of melodies.

Firstly, we must understand what is meant here by the “excitement of melody.” This is specifically a spontaneous activation of melody without any intellectual choice or will altogether. It is an excitement which simultaneously is felt and not felt within him, since it does not come from him intending to bring about excitement. Rather, it is reflexive and automatic, in that he is not conscious of it. Since, at that very moment it is as if he altogether does not feel or is conscious of it, therefore it is considered to be the total absence of feeling his self-being. Nonetheless, it is a felt excitement.

This may be understood by way of example from the spontaneous excitement of great joy that a person has when some good news and the like, reaches him. Certainly, this excitement could be so felt in his heart that he may make strong automatic and involuntary gestures, such as clapping his hands, as is well known. This takes place without choosing or intending it. Rather, he claps involuntarily and automatically and this, itself, is the indicator that he is not at all aware of himself being excited, though it is felt in the heart. However, it is as if he is totally unaware of it. This is because it is genuine excitement resulting only from the good thing itself that his soul is bound to. He then does not at all feel his excitement, because he never intended to become excited. Rather, the excitement is automatic, so much so, that it is possible that he is completely unaware of it. This is also similar to what we observe in the opposite emotion; that when a person is angry, he is neither aware of nor does he feel his excitability etc.

The opposite is true of excitement that results from intending it first, such as one who belabors himself with much contemplation until he becomes excited. Here, his principal intention is solely for this excitement and he anticipates and hopes for it, wondering when it will come about. (He will be anguished if it does not) and will rejoice when it does come, if it is felt well with heated passion, as he desires – and he will be anguished if it is not as passionate as he would have liked etc.

Now, most members of our Chassidic brotherhood are very confused in this regard. One will state this opinion and another will state the opposite etc. One will completely prohibit excitement and another will permit it. Furthermore, there are intermediate opinions, between these two extremes. It therefore is necessary to properly explain and clarify this subject, because it is the general axis and foundation for receiving the words of the Living G_d during prayer etc.     

[1] Zohar Pekudei 233b

[2] Ezekiel 40:3

[3] The Mishkan was the portable Temple that travelled with the children of Israel for forty years in the wilderness.

[4] Proverbs 14:34

[5] Talmud Baba Basra 87b

[6] In the wicked there is a sense of being a “Something” In other words, there is a sense of self importance.

[7] To the degree that a person has a sense of self importance, to that degree he suffers from a diminishment of Divine light. G-d does not dwell in a place of arrogance.

[8] The Faithful Shepherd is the term by which Moses is called in the holy Zohar.

[9] Zohar Mishpatim (Raaya Mehemna) 114b.

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