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Mind over heart

The cursed kingdoms

The first verse in Parashat Re’eh contains seven words, treat which correspond to the seven emotive sefirot (from loving-kindness to kingdom). The seventh word is “curse” (????) and it corresponds to the seventh sefirah, the sefirah of kingdom. The reason why kingdom is liable to be cursed stems from the seven primordial kings of the World of Chaos who preceded the World of Rectification. Each king ruled momentarily but then died, to be followed by the next of the seven kings. Each primordial king represents a different political system that rises to power and then falls: socialism, communism, totalitarianism, democracy, etc. The final kingdom will be the rectifiedkingdom ofMashiach and the eternal kingdom of the Almighty, the King of all Kings.

Since Adam’s sin, mortality, the fate of the primordial kings, has been the ultimate fate of every human being. King David, who should naturally have been a miscarriage, was the first to begin rectifying this fallen state through his humble acknowledgment of his own miraculous survival at every moment of his life.

The curse of death that resides in the sefirah of kingdom is transformed into blessing by the power of the abundance that is in the sefirah of foundation. This is alluded to in the phrase that begins the second verse of the parashah, “the blessing” (??? ??????????), which can be rendered, “you [kingdom] are a blessing” (???? ??????????). In this way, the meaning of the word “curse” (????) transforms into “bright” (???) as in the phrase “shiny copper”[1] (???? ???) that Ezekiel and Daniel saw in their prophetic visions. The blessing of kingdom at this level is even greater than the original blessing conveyed by the sefirah of foundation.

The kingdom of Joseph and the kingdom of David

This phenomenon is alluded to in the final meeting between King Saul’s son, Jonathan, and David, in the words, “until David became great”[2] (??? ?????? ?????????). The literal meaning of this is that David wept profusely,[3] but in Chassidut it is explained that this alludes to the rectification of King David’s kingdom through Mashiach ben David, when his rule is complete and rises above Jonathan’s, who represents Mashiach ben Yosef.

In our previous article we referred to three aspects of charity in Parashat Re’eh that characterize the profuse blessing that the righteous individual draws down from above. Referring to the third aspect of charity, the mitzvah of endowing a Hebrew servant upon his release, Sefer Hachinuch teaches that this mitzvah applies in any work situation. When an employee is dismissed, his employer should endow him with a significant reward for his work, beyond his regular salary. Nowadays, this has become the norm in any civilized society, with pension plans and national insurance schemes that actually remove most of the responsibility from the employer to the state. Although this indicates a certain elevation towards rectifying the sefirah of kingdom in general, the Torah expects each employer to take personal responsibility for each of his employees, like a king who is responsible for each of his subjects.

The numerical value of “a Hebrew servant” (??? ????) is equal to the numerical value of Mashiach (????), and although as an employee, the servant represents Joseph, the first Hebrew servant, when he leaves his employer for personal freedom, his employer should lavish upon him blessings until he grows to be greater than his employer and rises to the level of Mashiach ben David, “until David became great.”

[1] Ezekiel 1:7; Daniel 10:6.

[2] Samuel 1, 20:41.

[3] Rashi, ibid.

Shoftim is the 48th parashah of the Pentateuch. The number 48 is the numerical value of the word “mind” (????), shop cialis which immediately associates us with the phrase in the Zohar, “The mind rules over the heart” (???? ??????? ??? ?????), which in the classic text of Chassidut, the Tanya forms one of the most profound and fundamental tenets of our service of God.

Of the different officials who are enumerated in our parashah, the foremost, mentioned in the opening verse of the parashah, is the judge who represents the lucid mind of Torah study and sanctity. The heart of the nation is represented by the king, who is completely subject to the rulings of the Torah scholars. This is true to such an extent that in certain cases, the judges are referred to as “God” (????????), because the ability to judge is one of the principal attributes of God, as the verse states, “For God judges; this [individual] He deposes and this one He elevates.”[1] In contrast, the king is referred to as a “prince” (????) and being mortal, he is liable to sin as the verse states, “When a prince sins.”[2] In fact, one of the reasons why the Torah limits the king’s number of wives and horses is, “so that his heart shall not become haughty,” relating in particular to the heart’s proclivity to sin. This is why the king’s special commandment is to carry a Torah scroll against his heart so that the Torah, his judge and his rational mind, will rule over his heart and he won’t become arrogant over his brethren. Obviously, the king needs to be subject to “God,” represented here by the judges.

Nonetheless, the king has special privileges that no other Jew has, even the judges. This comes to reveal, as Chassidut innovates, that although the Torah’s rulings must be absolutely abided to even by the king, the heart of the nation, there is a more profound level at which “the innermost point of the heart rules over the mind.” The king in particular bears the paradox of conveying an outer casing of sovereignty, while nurturing an inner sense of profound lowliness and humility. Whereas by studying the Torah’s laws, one can reach a level of knowing the entire Torah, the innermost point of the king’s humility is infinite, “The heart of kings is unfathomable.”[3] Thus, the king’s external demeanor is subject to the rulings and teachings of the judges, but his innermost core of humility actually rises above their level and rules over them.

Within our personal Divine service, this level is that of a completely righteous individual who has refined himself to such an extent that he naturally acts accurately according to the Torah’s principles without having to deduce them rationally from his Torah knowledge.[4]

[1] Psalms 74:8.

[2] Leviticus 4:22.

[3] Proverbs 25:3.

[4] This is the level of “natural consciousness” described in our book ?????? ????? and elsewhere.

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