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Kabbalah and Chassidut

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Shalom and Welcome to Innermedia,

Innermedia is the official English webstore for all of Harav Yitzchak Ginsburgh's published works on the inner dimension of Judaism and Torah.

Clearance Sale

Take advantage of our almost once-in-a-lifetime clearance sale on all our books. Unprecedented savings that you cannot afford to miss.

From 19 Kislev to 5 Tevet (Friday, sildenafil November 26 to Sunday, information pills December 12)

We are making room in our warehouse for incoming books and you get incredible super-savings:

3 books at $45 including shipping

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(Shipping times will be up to 3 weeks because of the high volume of orders)

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Click on the horizontal menu above to select one of our product sections:

  • Audio: Recordings of Harav Ginsburgh's lectures (available for immediate download)
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Moses sent twelve spies to spy out the land of Israel prior to the expected entry of the Jewish nation into the land. Instead of praising thelandofIsraeland instilling hope and ready anticipation for their entry into the land, pharmacy ten of the twelve spies brought back a disheartening report of what they saw and relayed their conclusion that entering thelandofIsraelwas an impossible feat. Their report totally disrupted the morale of the people, search causing them to fall into despair and weep as if some disastrous calamity had befallen them. The spies were punished for their sin and the fallen morale of the people was also considered a sin.

When Moses prayed that God forgive the sin of the spies, he said, “And now, may the strength of God please increase, as You spoke.” The Name of God used in this verse is Adni (???-?), whose literal meaning is “my Master.” The Name Adni is rare in the Torah. Whereas the Name Havayah appears 1820 times, the Name Adni appears only 14 times in the Pentateuch. The use of this specific Name in this verse arouses our attention to the fact that to bring about God’s forgiveness for the spies’ deed, it is necessary to increase, or reinforce, the strength of the Name Adni in particular.

Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the Alter Rebbe, explains in his Likutei Torah that the sin of the spies blemished the emanation of the Name Adni. In contrast, the sin of the Golden Calf blemished the emanation of God’s Essential Name, Havayah. In Kabbalah, the Name Havayah corresponds to the sefirah of beauty, which is associated with the Torah and Moses (the giver of the Torah), whereas the Name Adni corresponds to the sefirah of kingdom which is related to theLand ofIsrael.

This is clearly illustrated by even the literal meaning of the Name Adni, from adon, master, often associated in the Torah with the land, as in the phrase “Master of all the land.” It is now clear that since sinning against theland ofIsrael blemishes this Name in particular, it subsequently needs to be reinforced in order to rectify the sin.

Reinforcement through letter filling

The way we reinforce a word in Hebrew is by revealing its complete potential. This is achieved by filling its letters. The first filling of the Name Adni (???-?) is ??? ??? ??? ???. In comparison to the Name Havayah, which when filled has no more than 10 letters, we see that the Name Adni, when filled, has a total of 12 letters. To find the second filling, we fill each of these 12 letters with their spelling giving us, ??? ??? ?? ??? ??? ?? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???, which has a total of 34 letters.

The total number of letters of the root word (4), plus its filling (12) plus the filling of its filling (34) is now 50, which is a very nice round number that also corresponds to the fifty gates of understanding. However, the Arizal teaches us that in order for the Name Adni (relating to the sefirah of kingdom, as above) to be complete it needs to be rectified by bringing down into it the light of the supernal crown, the highest sefirah. This achieves the ultimate union of “the crown of kingdom,” when the super-conscious light of the crown shines upon the head of the appointed king. Bringing down the light of the crown is symbolized by including another letter in the second filling – the optional yud that is added to the filling of the letter tav (???) that appears in the second filling of the letter dalet (?) in Adni. The yud symbolizes the supernal wisdom in the crown (the super-conscious source of intellect) that enters from above, bringing the total number of letters in the second filling to 35 and the total number of letters of all three stages to 51.[1]

The Arizal pointed out that in fact, this is also the numerical value of the word ??, meaning, “may,” which appears in the abovementioned verse, “And now, may the strength of God increase, as You spoke.” The two letters of the word ??, are also two of the letters in the Name Adni (???-?) itself.

So, the Arizal explains that ?? alludes to the root, the filling and the second filling of Adni, when the yud (?) is added to the tav (?) of the letter ???. However, the light of the supernal crown in this letter is so intense that although the yud itself is in the second filling, in fact it combines with the 12 letters of the first filling, bringing the number of letters to 13.

Now, let’s contemplate the word ???? in the verse, meaning “increase.” The first two letters of the word are ??, which have a numerical value of 13, which we now consider to be the number of letters in the first filling. The remaining letters, ??, have a numerical value of 34, which is the number of letters in the second filling.[2]

In this way, we see that the words ???? and ?? that appear in the verse, both allude to the rectification of the spies’ sin by filling the Name Adni with its filling and the filling of its filling letters.

Now that we realize that the light of the crown must be introduced into the Name Adni in order to rectify it, we need to aspire to the source of the crown in the Name Havayah.

Just as the letter tav (?) can either be filled simply with a vav (??) or more completely with a yud and a vav (???), so too, there are other letters that have alternative spellings. In the Name Havayah (spelled ?-?-?-?) in which the vav (?) and the two letters hei (?) both have a variety of possible fillings, this produces numerous options for spelling the filled Name. In fact there are 27 different possible fillings of the Name Havayah,[3] four of which are identified as the most central as they themselves correspond to the four letters of Havayah (corresponding to wisdom, understanding, the emotive attributes of the soul, and the sefirah of kingdom). These fillings are referred to by their numerical values, Ab (72), Sag (63), Mah (45) and Ban (52), respectively. Since as mentioned above, the Name Adni itself corresponds to kingdom, represented here by Ban, the way we draw the three higher levels down into kingdom is by filling (a second time) each of the first three fillings of Havayah (Ab, Sag and Mah), each of which contains ten letters.

The second fillings of Ab, Sag, and Mah, contain 28 letters each, which clearly represents the ??, “power,” of Adni, which we are intending to reinforce, since ?? has a numerical value of 28.  The entire array of these three spellings, i.e., the root (4 letters), plus the filling (10 letters), plus the filling of the filling (28 letters) thus totals 42 letters each. Multiplying this by 3 to include each of the different spellings, we arrive at a grand total of 126 letters.

Let’s now see how this corresponds to the Name Adni:

One of the ways of contemplating a Hebrew word is by constructing it, letter by letter, first taking the first letter then the first letter with the second letter and then the first three letters and so on. In Kabbalah, this method is called “the backside,” or achorayim of a word. Developing the Name Adni by this process yields ? ?? ??? ?-???, which has a numerical value of 126. This, says the Arizal, was Moses’ intention when he prayed, ???? ???? ?? ?? ?-???, “And now, may the strength of God please increase.” He took the 126 letters of the root, filling and second filling of Ab, Sag and Mah and brought them down into the Name Adni from the “back.” In this way, he reconstructed the Name Adni that had been blemished by the sin of “rejecting the charming land” (Psalms, 106:24).

Although Rabbi Chaim Vital, who authored the teachings of the Arizal, does not mention it, there is a very beautiful allusion to this idea in the phrase ???? ?? ??, “may the strength [of God] please increase”, which has a numerical value of 126!

So, from the above meditation on the phrase, ???? ?? ?? ?-???, “may the strength of God please increase,” we see how Moses “reincarnated” the Name Adni that had been blemished (to the extent of disappearance) by introducing the paternal attribute (of wisdom, the secret of the filling Ab) and returning it to a fetal stage (in understanding, the secret of the filling Sag) until it was “born” once again (in the emotive attributes of the soul, the secret of the filling Mah) as a complete reflection (in malchut, kingdom, the secret of the Name Adni) of God’s Essential Name, Havayah.

 


[1] Both 35 and 51 are in the series of chashmal (pentagonal) numbers. For more on chashmal numbers, see here: http://www.innerpedia.org/index.php?title=Chashmal_(pentagonal)_number.

[2] The Arizal usually explains that the number 13 is 12 plus the kolel, the additional unit, which symbolizes the all-inclusive “one.” One example of this explanation is that there are 12 months in a Jewish year, but in a leap year, a second Adar is added, bringing the total to 13. Indeed, 13 is the numerical value of the word ???, meaning “one.”

[3] See our book, What you Need to Know About Kabbalah, pp. 141-143.

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Life is worthless without peace

In the Torah portion of Behar, approved we read that as a consequence of observing the sabbatical and jubilee years, shop God’s promises us, medical “…You shall settle the land securely… and you shall settle securely upon it.” This twice repeated promise recurs a third time at the beginning of the next Torah portion, Bechukotai, which is often read in conjunction with the portion of Behar: “And you shall settle securely in your land,” and is immediately followed by the blessing of peace, “And I will grant peace in the land.” Rashi asks, “If you were to say, ‘We have food and we have drink, but if there is no peace then they are worthless!’ for this reason the Torah continues, ‘I will grant peace in the land.’” From here we learn that peace is as important as the sum of all other blessings.” Another blessing that concludes with “peace” is the Priestly Blessing. The Amidah, the main prayer repeated three times a day, also concludes with a blessing for peace. Peace is the link that connects all the prophetic visions of the ultimate redemption and it is the universal catchword and today, everyone wants peace…

Let’s take a look at the concept of peace as it appears in the Hebrew text of the Bible. The Hebrew word for “peace” is shalom (???????). Its shoresh (three-letter root) is shin-lamed-mem (?-?-?), which is also the shoresh of the word shelemut (?????????), which means “wholeness.” The initial idea that we glean from this is that true peace is an expression of wholeness and is dependent upon it, a fact that starkly contradicts with the phonetic similarity between “peace” and “piece” in English. In addition, there is another word, shalvah (????????), meaning “contentment” whose sha'ar (two-letter root), shin-lamed, is the same as that of “peace.” The two words, “contentment” and “peace” often appear together.

Illusions of peace

The shoresh of shalvah is shin-lamed-hei, which also has another, different connotation, as in the word, “illusion” (??????????). There is true peace and contentment and there is contentment that is no more than a tempting, but dangerous, illusion. The peace treaties that we are so familiar with today are not only far from expressing wholeness (somehow they always come at our expense), but they also do not accommodate contentment because they scatter naive illusions in the public mind, which eventually explode in our faces, as the prophet said, “They healed My people’s wounds offhandedly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ but there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14).

Peace and pleasure

Peace is also related to spiritual pleasure, which is why, on Shabbat which is intrinsically a day of pleasure, we wish one another “Shabbat shalom.” In order to illustrate the pleasure that is inherent in peace, let’s begin by considering the peace that is attainable by every individual within himself. King David says, “There is no peace in my bones because of my sin” (Psalms 38:4). According to the literal explanation, this refers to physical wholeness and good health, but, in addition, the very presence of sin contradicts peace. There must be peace between the soul and the body, and sin violates that connection.

In contrast, a proper connection between soul and body is described as, “peace in my bones [essence].” It is clear that this type of peace cannot merely be “a ceasefire;” rather it is a sense of contentment and pleasure that results from inner harmony.

Now, having seen what peace means for us, as individuals, let’s take a look at peace in the family. True family harmony is more than family members not yelling at one another, or knowing how to maneuver around one other, or even having respect for one another. Rather, family peace is a pleasant feeling and sense of how good it is to simply live together. In particular this pleasant appeal manifests in the commandment to light Shabbat candles on Friday evening, which is intended to induce a sense of family harmony and pleasure on Shabbat. The light of the candles reflects the beauty and joy of family harmony, as family members look at one another with glowing faces, enveloped in a canopy of light.

Three circles of peace

Family harmony and peace extends beyond the close core of immediate family members. The entire Jewish people, “the house ofIsrael,” are one big happy family and we expect that all Jews, wherever they live, should all live together in peace. This type of peace is indeed a messianic goal (because, unfortunately we are still far from achieving it). Still, if we, for a moment, imagine peace and unity between all Jews—Jews and more Jews, from all tribes, factions and opinions, living in peace “All of us, as one in the light of Your countenance”—we certainly feel that this connection between all Jewish souls is steeped in a wonderful sense of pleasure.

Obviously, the messianic goal doesn’t end with peace amongst Jews alone, but aims even higher, to achieve universal peace. The Mashiach will teach the entire world how to make true peace: peace between the soul and the body, family harmony, fraternal peace, peace between Jews and the nations, and peace between all of humanity. As the prophet Zechariah said of the Mashiach, “And he shall speak peace to the nations, and his rule shall be from the sea to the west and from the river to the ends of the earth.” [The word “peace” (???????) appears explicitly in this verse, and in the initial letters of the words, “peace to the nations, and his rule shall be from the sea” (??????? ????????? ?????????? ??????).] World peace does not marginalize the unique light of the Jewish nation. On the contrary, the peace that spreads out so far, “to the ends of the earth,” is the perfect setting from the special qualities of the Jewish nation to be revealed, for in the end, peace between Jewish souls comes from the most exalted source of all.

Peace between Jewish souls is a non-local phenomenon that does not depend upon us being together in one place. Nonetheless, in parashat Bechukotai the Torah emphasizes that, “I will grant peace in the land,” referring of course to the land of Israel. The peace that will be achieved when the land of Israel is whole and the Jewish people are whole will reveal an even greater level of light and pleasure, because the land of Israel is where the Shechinah (the Divine Presence) resides (the land of Israel itself is considered a reflection of the Shechinah). Indeed, this is the culmination of the blessings in parashat Bechukotai, “I will place My dwelling place amongst you… and I will walk amongst you and I will be a God to you and you will be My people.”

These three circles of peace can help us understand Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s words in the Zohar  regarding the Mashiach, who is called, “the minister of peace” – “The minister of peace is a righteous person who is at peace with the world, at peace in the home [peace among Jews] and at peace with the Divine Presence.” These three circles of peace form a progression, with each higher than the previous one. We hope to see all three revealed speedily in our days by the minister of peace, the Mashiach.

(From Harav Ginsburgh’s class, Iyar 15 5772)



Keter: To believe in God is not just to believe that He exists but to create a covenant with Him, to work together with Him to rectify His creation.

Will is the most powerful force of the soul. Ask the Almighty to help you manifest your power of will and direct it exclusively for good.

Chochmah, Binah, Da’at: The inner experiences of the soul's intellectual faculties - wisdom, understanding, and knowledge - are selflessness, joy, and unification.

Chesed: Love is the all-encompassing emotion of the soul. It is the right arm of the groom in the Song of Songs that embraces his bride.

Gevurah: The Ba'al Shem Tov said: Fear nothing but God! To fear God means to stand in awe of the Infinite One who dwells in the finite.

Tiferet: The greatest compassion (rachmonus in Hebrew) is on one that does not deserve compassion, that is unable to appreciate compassion.

Netzach, Hod: In Kabbalah, the two legs are two types of trust, active trust and passive trust. One can only walk when both legs function together.

Yesod: As an emotion, "truth" means potency, fulfillment, and self-realization. "Distance yourself from falsehood." Falsehood is sterility.

Malchut: We pray to God to reveal His kingdom on earth. A true king is lowly, he rules only by the will of his people. God is waiting for us to coronate Him.
Wishing you all a good and sweet year.

This coming year, illness 5771, look is a year of "conscious determination, cheap " a year of mind over matter, a year of "living Torah" for all of humanity.

The Zohar says, To rectify a nation rectify its head. Rectify means to identify with. Abraham is the head of our nation. Identify with him.

Abraham was the first to believe in One God. He was the first to love God and man. He was the first to truly give of himself to others.

We blow the shofar on Rosh HaShanah to awaken the Divine spark within us, to know that we are God's emissaries to shine His light to all.

The shofar gives voice to the inward cry of our hearts and our crying out to God. Spontaneous crying on days of awe is a sign of a pure soul.

Every year God shines new light into the world, thus changing His appearance. God doesn't look the same to us this year as He did last year.

What does it mean to ask God to be our king? That He take responsibility to provide for us by our taking responsibility to provide for Him.

A new year is a new chance to get our act together. In Hebrew, a positive act, mitzvah, means together - together in itself with God and man.

God's first blessing (on Rosh Hashanah, when man was created) is to have children. Second - long life (Yom Kippur). Third - abundance (Sukot).

Three barren women were remembered on Rosh Hashanah for children: Sarah, Rachel, and Chana. They gave birth to: Isaac, Joseph, and Samuel.

The Rebbe said that "quantity makes quality." This is one of the basic guidelines of our times. The more you produce the better the product.

Life is full of ups and downs. The secret of success is never to despair, just get up and go. The past is behind us, the future is before us.
Wishing you all a good and sweet year.

This coming year, illness 5771, look is a year of "conscious determination, cheap " a year of mind over matter, a year of "living Torah" for all of humanity.

The Zohar says, To rectify a nation rectify its head. Rectify means to identify with. Abraham is the head of our nation. Identify with him.

Abraham was the first to believe in One God. He was the first to love God and man. He was the first to truly give of himself to others.

We blow the shofar on Rosh HaShanah to awaken the Divine spark within us, to know that we are God's emissaries to shine His light to all.

The shofar gives voice to the inward cry of our hearts and our crying out to God. Spontaneous crying on days of awe is a sign of a pure soul.

Every year God shines new light into the world, thus changing His appearance. God doesn't look the same to us this year as He did last year.

What does it mean to ask God to be our king? That He take responsibility to provide for us by our taking responsibility to provide for Him.

A new year is a new chance to get our act together. In Hebrew, a positive act, mitzvah, means together - together in itself with God and man.

God's first blessing (on Rosh Hashanah, when man was created) is to have children. Second - long life (Yom Kippur). Third - abundance (Sukot).

Three barren women were remembered on Rosh Hashanah for children: Sarah, Rachel, and Chana. They gave birth to: Isaac, Joseph, and Samuel.

The Rebbe said that "quantity makes quality." This is one of the basic guidelines of our times. The more you produce the better the product.

Life is full of ups and downs. The secret of success is never to despair, just get up and go. The past is behind us, the future is before us.
Science evolves, pilule its theories change, health it is time-bound. Torah also evolves, the oral tradition is organic, always growing, but is timeless.

The challenge of our generation is to unite the two ever evolving states of consciousness: timeless Torah and time-bound science.
On a fast (day) one should focus on speed - how fast is the world running past me and how fast am I running to accomplish my goal in life.

In quantum mechanics if you focus on speed you lose sight of position. God asked Adam "where are you?" He didn't know, more about for he was falling.

While moving fast towards one's goal one also loses sight of one's position. So long as one's goal is ahead of him he is presently nowhere.

In Hebrew, prescription "fast" (???) means "quiet" (??). Noise slows you down, viagra sale it creates friction, disturbance. "Say little and (thereby) do much."

God created the world with 10 sayings. Had He done it with only 1, by minimalizing the saying He would have increased the doing, but no...

The faster one moves, the more liable he is to error. Keep on the move, don't be afraid of making a mistake. The greatest men made mistakes.

Mistakes can be corrected. But even after correcting your mistake, don't forget it, remember it, it might be the best thing you ever did.
Kabbalah is the science of creation, the story behind the scenes, and the 'portrait' of the Creator at work in the act of creation.

Chassidut, the new dimension of Kabbalah revealed by the Baal Shem Tov, brings the experience of the Creator Himself to our eyes and hearts.

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