An Essential Bond – Hemshech Samech-Vav 8 (2)

Now, in general these contemplations occur during prayer.  For, during the verses of song (Pesukei D’Zimra) section of the prayer, one contemplates regarding the greatness of Hashem as He relates to the matter of the creation and bringing the worlds into being, and how all of the worlds were created with a single utterance.  During the blessings of the Shma portion of the prayer, one contemplates regarding the matter of His holiness, and how the Infinite Light of the Ain Sof is holy and wondrously removed from the worlds.

During the Shma recital itself, one’s contemplation should be regarding the Essence of the Infinite Light of Ain Sof, for this is the meaning of “Shma Yisrael – Hear O’ Israel.”[1]  That is, the word “שמע-Shma-hear” refers to understanding,[2] and the word “שמע-Shma-hear” itself, means שם ע – the name of seventy,[3] and refers to the ascent of Malchut-kingship to the lower seven Sefirot of Binah-understanding,[4] which is the reason for the enlarged letter ע in the word שמע-hear.  As known, in Chochmah-insight and Binah-understanding there is a state of sublimation (Bitul) of the upper unity (Yichuda Ila’a), namely, how it is that,[5] “before Him everything is as naught.”  For the intellectual attributes transcend the worlds, as known regarding the matter of “the Torah preceded creation by two thousand years.”[6]  It is for this reason that at this level the unity is in a manner of the upper unity (Yichuda Ila’a), wherein “everything before Him is as naught.”  This is the distinction between the first verse of, “Hear” and the second verse of, “Blessed be the name of the glory of His kingdom forever and ever,” which refers to the aspect of Malchut-kingship itself and is the aspect of the lower unity (Yichuda Tata’a).  This is because Malchut-kingship is the source for the worlds, and it is therefore not possible to say about it that it is unrelated to the worlds, for if this was the case then what exactly is it bringing into being?  Rather, in relation to it, the worlds are only in a state of sublimation of their somethingness (Bitul HaYesh).  In contrast, in relation to the Infinite Light of Ain Sof which transcends worlds, the worlds take up no space whatsoever and it is as if they altogether are not in a state of existence.

The explanation of the matter is that the aspect of the Infinite Light of Ain Sof which transcends the worlds also illuminates upon the worlds (and as known, with regards to this aspect and level, the Tzimtzum-constriction does not conceal whatsoever).  As such, the worlds are totally sublimated to Him in a manner of the negation of their very existence (Bitul B’Metziut).  However, in relation to the radiance of light that becomes the source of the worlds, the worlds are indeed in a state of existence and are only negated in a manner of the sublimation of their somethingness (Bitul HaYesh).  This then, is the distinction between “Shma Yisrael-Hear O’ Israel” which is the aspect of the upper unity (Yichuda Ila’a) to unite in His oneness, blessed is He, as opposed to “Blessed be the name of the glory of His kingdom forever and ever” which is the aspect of the lower unity (Yichuda Tata’a), wherein each existent entity possesses a G-dly light and vitality, and that G-dliness is its primary aspect.[7]  It is through such contemplation that one comes to the subsequent verse and is caused to[8] “Love Hashem your G-d etc.”

Now, as of yet, all the general levels discussed above only occur in the aspect of the externality of the heart and are an aspect of external love.  This is because they are brought about through comprehension and contemplation, which is not capable of grasping the aspect of the Essence of the Infinite Ain Sof, but only capable of grasping that which exists.[9]  However, the inner love that comes from the inner aspect of the heart, does not come from intellectual contemplation at all, but rather from a higher level than intellect, and is called “the desires of the heart” (Reuta De’Liba).  It is through this higher aspect and by means of it, that there can be a grasp of the aspect of the Essence at all.  This is as we previously discerned regarding the statement that “no thought can grasp Him,” i.e. specifically in thought.  However, the aspect of the Essence can indeed be grasped in the “desires of the heart”(Reuta De’Liba).

The explanation of the matter is that the innerness of the heart refers to the aspect of the bond in its very essence which comes specifically from the aspect of the Yechidah level of the soul.  This may be understood by way of analogy[10] to the bond between a father and son which does not follow any intellectual reasoning whatsoever.[11]  Rather, it is solely due to the fact that the soul of the son is drawn from the very essence of the father, and he therefore is considered to actually be like him, as the matter of,[12] “The son is from the loins of the father.”  Therefore, the bond is automatically into the essence of the father specifically.

This type of love is not similar to the love of two people toward each other, even though in that type of love there could be the strength of the love and the strength of the bond.  Nevertheless, in that type of love there is some kind of reason for the love and the bond, whether it is because he bestows goodness upon him, or whether it is because he is an outstanding and great person, because of which he is drawn to him with a love and a bond etc.

That is, in this love there is a certain contemplative process and intellectual grasp and understanding, such as how he is a good man and how he bestows kindness upon him.  Or alternatively, he understands with his intellect that he is a good person or that he is great, and he understands the manner of his greatness, and through the understanding of his greatness he is therefore caused to have a bond with him and to be given over to him.  However, this is specifically when he understands his greatness, but if not for the understanding, he would not have this bond or be given over to him.

This being said, it is understood that his love and bond only reach up to the manner in which the beloved person is revealed to him, but not to his very essence.  This is because it is the revelation which is the cause of the love, due to the goodness of his attributes or the goodness of his intellect or some other greatness that he recognizes in the beloved.  Therefore, automatically, the bond is only in that particular aspect and is not a love of his essence.

In contrast, the love of the father to his son is not due to his goodness or greatness and is not due to the influence that he bestows upon him, but rather, it is because they are one essence.  For this reason, it requires no contemplation whatsoever, for there is no intellectual reasoning for this love and bond that would require that he contemplate it in order to arouse love.  Rather, it is solely due to the essence and therefore the bond is also in the very essence and not just in the revelations, because the revelations and manifestations are not the cause of the love, but rather, the love is solely due to the essence.

Moreover, this love and bond is constant in the son and although at times it may be concealed, all that is needed is to rouse it from its concealed state into revelation.  That is, he simply needs to take to heart that this is his father and through this the love is automatically awakened.  At other times it may be roused because of distance, that when they are distant from each other the love is aroused.  Nevertheless, it is not necessary for him to contemplate the details of this, specifically because this is an essential love.

We therefore find that it is specifically the son who has the ability to awaken the essence of the father, whereas a different person is incapable of rousing it so much.  For instance,[13] when the son cries out to his father, the father is literally moved to the very essence of his being, which does not occur in this same manner with the cries of someone else, who is not his son.  Even thought in this situation he may likewise be moved, he is not moved to the very essence of his being as he is with the cries of his own son.  This is because the cries of his son are literally from his own essence and they therefore touch his essence. This is because their bond is truly essential.

This is similarly understood regarding the true bond of the souls of Israel with G-dliness, as it states,[14] “You are sons of Hashem your G-d,” and similarly it states, [15] “Israel is my son, my first-born.”  That is, they have an aspect of an essential bond to G-dliness.  That is, it is like an essential nature in the G-dly soul to cling to the source from whence it was hewn and this love and bond is beyond intellectual reason.  Rather, it is because they are like one essence.

Moreover, this bond is constant in the soul and merely needs to be roused at various times, which can be done by recalling and placing upon his heart how, “You are our father” etc.  Alternatively, it may come forth into revelation through one’s distance, as in the verse,[16] “Out of my straits I called to Hashem etc,” or similarly,[17] “And the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage and they cried out etc.”  This crying out to Hashem is because[18] “You are our father,” and at that moment he feels this sense of “You are our father,” and the essential bond is awakened.

Now, this essential bond literally touches the very Essence, just as the son rouses the essence of the father, as previously discussed.  In the same manner, the souls of Israel which have an essential bond are able to touch the very Essence of Hashem, which “no thought can grasp.”  This is because the aspects of thought and comprehension can only grasp the aspect of revelation, but not the aspect of Essence.  Rather, only the aspect of the “desires of the heart” (Re’uta D’Liba) is able to do so, because he is bound up with an essential bond. Therefore, specifically through this he can grasp the aspect of the Essence.

Now, the heart is lower than the mind. We may therefore ask how it is possible for the “desires of the heart” (Re’uta D’Liba) to specifically grasp the aspect of the Essence.  The explanation of the matter is as stated in Idra Zuta[19] that “Zeir Anpin[20] is one with and dependent upon Atik.”  That is, Abba-father and Imma-mother[21] are unified with the Mazalot, in that Chochmah-insight receives[22] from the eighth Mazal of[23]Notzer Chessed” which is the aspect of the Sa’arot-hairs that draw forth from Chochmah-insight of Keter-crown (will).  Similarly, Binah-understanding receives from the thirteenth Mazal of “Venakeh“.[24]  In contrast, the emotive Sefirot receive from the aspect of Atik itself, for although the emotions are born of the intellect, this refers only to their birth.  However essentially, they are rooted in the aspect of Atik.  It is for this reason that we see that even emotions which are born of intellect are capable of subsequently growing beyond the intellect that begat them.  This is because their source is more primordial.  It is for this reason that the aspect of the “desires of the heart” (Re’uta D’Libah) is in the heart and that through this one literally can grasp the aspect of the Essence, which is not graspable in thought.

Now, the automatic consequence of this love of “the desires of the heart” (Re’uta D’Libah) is that the fulfillment of the commandments of the Jewish people is in a manner of accepting the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven, without ulterior motives but rather solely to fulfill the Supernal will.  Similarly, concerning the giving of the Torah we find written,[25] “All that Hashem has spoken we will do (Na’aseh) and we will hear (Nishmah).”  That is, we will do all of that which is heard in a manner that transcends reason.  This is specifically by means of “the desires of the heart” (Re’uta D’Libah).

This is because when it comes to love born of comprehension, even in its loftiest levels, such as the love of, “Who have I in the heavens etc,” the subsequent fulfillment of the commandments is in order to draw forth revelations of light.  However, after attaining the aspect of the “desires of the heart”, the fulfillment of the commandments is in a manner of accepting the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven solely in order to fulfill His will.  The matter of accepting the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven is that it is the level of sublimation that even transcends the love of “You shall love Hashem… with all your being” (Bechol Me’odecha), which also is due to the essential bond.  For that level is nevertheless an aspect of love and Ratzo-running, whereas the acceptance of the yoke of Heaven is a greater state of sublimation (Bitul).  This is the greatness that exists in the level of a servant and even transcends the level of the son (as will be explained later[26]).

This, then, is the matter of “those who fulfill the will of the Omnipresent,” to truly draw forth the aspect of the essential will of the Essence of the Infinite Ain Sof.  This must specifically be preceded by the aspect of the “desires of the heart” (Re’uta D’Liba) that grasps the aspect of the Essence.  Through the subsequent fulfillment of the commandments in a manner of accepting the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven, we thereby draw forth the aspect of the essential desire in the commandments, and it is through this that the revelation is drawn forth below even within the aspects of time and space.

Now, in order to achieve the aspect of the above mentioned “desires of the heart” (Re’uta D’Libah), it is necessary that this be preceded by toiling in the revealed powers of the soul.[27]  It is for this reason that love “with all your being” (Bechol Me’odecha) is mentioned after the aspects of “with all your heart” (Bechol Levavecha) and “with all your soul” (Bechol Nafshecha), because this is the order of prayer.[28]  First it must begin with the verses of song (Psukei D’Zimra) which are songs of praise and tribute[29] without which one would be incapable of ascent altogether, due to the coarseness of the body and the animal soul.  He must therefore first leave his prior state and level, which is accomplished through the verses of song (Psukei D’Zimra) wherein he contemplates the praise, tribute and greatness of Hashem in the creation and existence of the worlds and the manner of how the worlds were created with a single utterance etc.

Subsequent to this, in the blessings of the Shma recital one contemplates the sublimation of the angels, through which his own animal soul is caused to be sublimated, for as known,[30] that is its source.  Additionally, this contemplation relates to his G-dly soul as well, for he contemplates how the Infinite Light of Ain Sof is holy and transcendent.  Through this he is roused with the aspect of Ratzo-running.  After this he recites the verse,[31] “Blessed be the glory of Hashem from His place,” which is a request that there should be the aspect of a drawing forth of the light of the aspect of the glory of Hashem from His place, that is, specifically from its root and source,[32] into revelation.

Then, the primary service of the souls is in the “Hear O’ Israel” (Shma Yisrael) prayer (which is called[33] “the song of the souls”).  This refers to the contemplation of Hashem’s oneness, to become included in His unity, blessed is He.  This is the level of “great love” (Ahava Rabba) as in the verse, “Who have I in the heavens etc.”  After this he will come to the level of “You shall love… with all your being” (Bechol Me’odecha), wherein he comes to the aspect of “the desires of the heart” (Re’uta D’Libah) due to the essential bond of desire, as previously discussed.  Only subsequent to this do we recite,[34] “And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart,” referring to the words of Torah.[35]  This is because it is after the aspect of “the desires of the heart” (Re’uta D’Libah) of the love of “all your being” (Bechol Me’odecha), that one fulfills the commandments in a manner of accepting the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven, to draw forth additional lights in the Torah.

[1] Deuteronomy 6:4

[2] Samuel 1 3:10; Rashi commentary to Gen. 41:15; Torah Ohr Bereishit 1a; Likkutei Torah Naso 20d; Pinchas 80a.

[3] Zohar Vol. 2, p. 160b; Vol. 3, p. 236b, 258a; Likutei Torah, Bechukotai 47d.

[4] That is each of those seven sefirot contain ten, totaling 70 which is the numerical value of the letter Ayin-ע.  Additionally, the ע of the word שמע is enlarged in the Torah, indicating that we are referring to the higher emotions of Binah-understanding.

[5] Zohar Vol. 1, p. 11b.

[6] Medrash Tehilim 90:4; Bereishit Rabba 8:2, Medrash Tanchuma Vayeshev 4; Zohar Vol. 2, p. 49a.

[7] Zohar Vol. 1, 18b; Tanya Shaar HaYichud VeHaEmunah Ch. 7 p. 81a and on; Imrei Binah, Shaar HaKriyat Shma, p. 40c; 62c and on.

[8] Deuteronomy 6:5

[9] In the discourse of the Alter Rebbe 5667 p.363 and on, upon which this discourse is based, the Alter Rebbe uses the word Metziuto – His existence, as opposed to this discourse which uses the word Metziut-the existent.  It is possible that the Alter Rebbe refers to the known distinction between Hasagat HaMetziut-the grasp that G-d is, versus Yediat HaMahut-the knowledge of His being which transcends grasp.  Here however, the word can refer both to this same matter, or can refer to the fact that the comprehension and grasp is solely capable of relating to existent things.

[10] Kuntres HaAvoda, Ch. 5, p. 30; Hemshech 5672 Vol. 1, p. 55 and on.

[11] Although in works of Mussar it is explained that the reason for the commandment of honoring ones father and mother is because they clothe and feed the child etc.  Nevertheless, the essential love that a son has for his father is not because of these things, but is due to the essential bond, that he is essentially of him and one with him. (See Sefer HaMaamarim 5746, discourse entitled Margela B’Pumei.)

[12] Etz Chaim, Shaar 23, Ch. 1; Yonat Elam Ch. 4 & Ch. 82; Emek HaMelech, Shaar Olam HaBriyah, Ch. 17 (174c); Shelah 154a; Talmud Eruvin 70b; Tosefot Yevamot 3a; Rashi Ketuvot 92a; Sefer HaChakira Tzemach Tzedek 46a.

[13] Kuntres UMaayan p. 33.

[14] Deuteronomy 14:1; Tanya Ch. 2, p. 6a.

[15] Exodus 4:22

[16] Psalms 118:5

[17] Exodus 2:23

[18] Isaiah 63:16

[19] Zohar Vol. 3, p. 292a; Torah Ohr, Yitro 72b and on; 73a; Likkutei Torah Shmini 19b; Bamidbar 19b; Chukat 58b; Sefer HaMaamarim 5627 p. 107

[20] The emotive Sefirot

[21] Chochmah-wisdom and Binah-understanding

[22] Etz Chaim, Shaar HaKlallim Ch. 5; Shaar 13, Ch. 9; Shaar 14, Ch. 3.

[23] Exodus 34:7; This refers to the thirteen attributes of mercy which stem from Keter-crown.  This is discussed in Shaar HaYichud, Ch. 25.

[24] Exodus 34:7; Etz Chaim, Shaar HaKlallim Ch. 5; Shaar 13, Ch. 9; Shaar 14, Ch. 3.

[25] Exodus 24:7

[26] In the discourse entitled “Umikneh Rav” and the subsequent discourses later on in the series.

[27] Sefer HaMaamarim 5629, p. 379 and on. (It states there, “The aspect of the “desires of the heart” (Re’uta D’Libah) is the aspect of the hidden love (Ahava Mesuteret) which is not revealed.  In order for it to be drawn forth from its concealment into revelation, this is accomplished specifically by means of the arousal of the lower will which is drawn from comprehension and intellect.  For, the externality of the heart is the vessel for the internality of the heart.  Therefore, he must first contemplate (Hitbonenut) in G-dliness in a manner of grasp and understanding, and through this there is subsequently drawn forth the aspect of the “desires of the heart” (Re’uta D’Libah) which is drawn from the aspect of the essence of Chochmah-wisdom.)

[28] Torah Ohr, Bereishit 1d; Hemshech 5672 Vol. 1, p. 619 and on; Sefer HaMaamarim 5712 p. 356 and on; 5715 p. 196 and on.

[29] Isaiah 25:5

[30] Torah Ohr, Vayeshev 30b; Likkutei Torah Naso 28c and on; Tetze 34d; Sefer HaMaamarim 5639 Vol. 2, p. 386.

[31] Ezekiel 3:12

[32] This was explained previously in the discourse entitled “Bayom HaShmini Atzeret” 5666.

[33] Talmud Bavli, Chulin 91b; Sefer Hamaamarim 5639 Vol. 2, p. 404; 5650 p. 352; 5698 p. 242; 5708 p. 203.

[34] Deuteronomy 6:6

[35] Zohar Vol. 1, p. 268a; Chinuch Mitzva 418; Sifri and Rashi on the verse; Yoma 19b and Rashi there; Shulchan Aruch Admor HaZaken, Orach Chayim 156:16; Hilchot Talmud Torah 3:2; Likkutei Sichot Vol. 34, p. 32 and on.

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