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Maon 2_2Maon 3_1This past Sunday, adiposity the Rav gave a very special class at a picturesque place called Chavat Maon. Even with the event and study session photos posted above, more about it is still hard to come close to capturing the intrigue of this unique corner of our Jewish homeland. Nestled among the Judean Hills, more about and located south of Chevron, Chavat Maon (“Maon Farm"; a reference to Maon, one of the seven heavens), is a small agricultural village adjacent to the larger Yishuv (settlement) of Maon itself.  There are about twenty families living in Chavat Maon, with vineyards and goat pens in a distinctly rural environment.

While goats were comfortably grazing outside the home of the man who hosted the Rav's class, dozens of class participants sat and stood around a long table to listen to the Rav's words. As the crowd got larger, many attendees found themselves listening to the class from outside, leaning on the windowsills as goats mulled about nearby.

The event was called to celebrate completing a whole round of study of the entire eleven volume series of Chasdei David Hane’emanim, one of the Rav’s most well-known series in Hebrew. Every weekday morning, for over three years, the group gathered together in a private home at their set time of 3:00-5:00am (!) to study this explanation of the Kabbalistic book, Chasdei David, which is printed at the end of the Arizal's Etz Chaim.

Now that you know some of the “behind the scenes” account to the class, we welcome you to read the edited excerpt below! The dancing depicted above can be viewed HERE.

Reaching Up to the Crown

One of the stories about Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, whose yahrtzeit (day of passing) was this week (25 Tishrei), relates how he sacrificed his prominent position as Rabbi of Pinsk by reciting the kedushah of “Crown” (??????) when he led the prayers in synagogue one Shabbat morning instead of “sanctified” (?????????????), thus violating his contract with the townspeople.[1] Apparently, Rebbe Levi Yitzchak’s very essence was to reach the super-conscious crown of his soul in order to coronate God.

In his commentary on the Torah, entitled “Kedushat Levi,”[2] Rebbe Levi Yitzchak explains the dimensions of Noah’s ark and interprets them in a way to understand how we too can reach up to the crown of our souls.

Come into the Word

In Hebrew, the word “ark” (??????) also means “word.” The Ba'al Shem Tov, the mentor of Rebbe Levi Yitzchak’s master and teacher, the Maggid of Mezeritch, learnt from this that all the instructions for building Noah’s Ark are instructions for how to ‘enter into’ our words by expressing our essence through the articulation of words. The Kedushat Levi expands on this idea.

From Mindful Meditation to Impassioned Emotion

Before we speak, we should always begin by intellectually meditating on God’s greatness and majesty to the extent that we are capable. We can achieve this state by contemplating how truly small and lowly we are. Meditating on God’s greatness—through the use of our intellectual faculties—should affect our emotions so much that we begin to feel love and fear for God.

In Kabbalah the intellectual faculties of the mind, wisdom and understanding, are referred to as “father” and “mother” whose union “gives birth” to the emotions of the heart. What this means is that the more we contemplate a particular spiritual reality, the more we come to understand it. Once we understand it and feel how good it is, we begin to love it. However, love is accompanied by a complementary sense of fear; the fear that we might lose the object of our love, our newly discovered treasure, which we attained through our meditation and understanding of it.

Drawing Down Divine Influx

Rebbe Levi Yitzchak continues to explain that the next stage after nurturing our emotions is to reach the realm of spiritual pleasure. It’s not enough to remain with love and fear alone—which we experience on a personal level—we also need to reach a communal level, whereby our emotions come to fruition by bringing spiritual abundance down into all the worlds. If a tzadik (righteous individual) reaches the peak of great love, this is spiritually beneficial for him, however, he has not yet become a channel of blessing for all the worlds, which is the purpose that every tzadik should strive to achieve—and God’s people are all tzadikim (pl. of tzadik)![3] For that, the tzadik needs to follow up his love by reaching to the realm of spiritual pleasure. It is from this higher level of spiritual pleasure that blessings and Divine influx descend.

This Divine ‘download’ occurs both spiritually and physically, in the form of children, health and plentiful livelihood. It is only once the tzadik has reached the realm of spiritual pleasure that he is capable of drawing infinite spiritual and material blessing into the world.

Three-Dimensional Meaning

Now, Rebbe Levi Yitzchak explains that these three stages of meditation: intellectual contemplation; love and fear; and drawing influx into the world from the realm of spiritual pleasure; correspond to the three dimensions of Noah’s Ark: height, width, and length:

Height: represents the stage of intellectually meditating on God’s greatness and majesty, because the most prominent point of height when standing erect is the head.

Width: is love and fear of God’s Name.

Length: is pleasure and abundance from the Almighty as it completes its lengthy journey from the spiritual realm to affect our material world.

Now that we’ve developed the three-dimensions of our meditative ‘ark,’ we can translate these dimensions into the realm of the spoken word (“ark” and “word” share the same word in Hebrew, as mentioned above). As Noah’s Ark encompassed three dimensions, so does every word we utter:

First: we meditate on God’s majesty, until;

Second: our hearts are aroused in love and fear;

Third: we reach back up to the spiritual realm of pleasure which resides in the super-conscious crown.

It is thus very appropriate that Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev first taught us the three dimensions of speech, and that he was the tzadik who felt himself compelled to say “Crown” during that Shabbat in synagogue. By reaching this third, and highest level of speech, he wished to draw down Divine blessings. Even though this meant losing his prominent position as Rabbi of Pinsk, it was much more important for him to coronate God throughout all of existence.

From Rabbi Ginsburgh’s class, Chavat Maon, 25 Tishrei, 5774



[1] As the Rabbi of the town, he had agreed to always pray according to the Ashkenaz prayer version, which doesn’t use the “Crown” (??????) version of kedushah.

[2]  Even the name of his book relates to “kedushah”; Kedushat Levi or the “holiness” or “crown” of Levi (his name)!

[3] Isaiah 60:21.

Maon 2_2Maon 3_1

This past Sunday, website the Rav gave a very special class at a picturesque place called Chavat Maon. Even with the event and study session photos posted above, seek it is still hard to come close to capturing the intrigue of this unique corner of our Jewish homeland. Nestled among the Judean Hills, and located south of Chevron, Chavat Maon (“Maon Farm"; a reference to Maon, one of the seven heavens), is a small agricultural village adjacent to the larger Yishuv (settlement) of Maon itself.  There are about twenty families living in Chavat Maon, with vineyards and goat pens in a distinctly rural environment.

While goats were comfortably grazing outside the home of the man who hosted the Rav's class, dozens of class participants sat and stood around a long table to listen to the Rav's words. As the crowd got larger, many attendees found themselves listening to the class from outside, leaning on the windowsills as goats mulled about nearby.

The event was called to celebrate completing a whole round of study of the entire eleven volume series of Chasdei David Hane’emanim, one of the Rav’s most well-known series in Hebrew. Every weekday morning, for over three years, the group gathered together in a private home at their set time of 3:00-5:00am (!) to study this explanation of the Kabbalistic book, Chasdei David, which is printed at the end of the Arizal's Etz Chaim.

Now that you know some of the “behind the scenes” account to the class, we welcome you to read the edited excerpt below! The dancing depicted above can be viewed HERE.

Reaching Up to the Crown

One of the stories about Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, whose yahrtzeit (day of passing) was this week (25 Tishrei), relates how he sacrificed his prominent position as Rabbi of Pinsk by reciting the kedushah of “Crown” (??????) when he led the prayers in synagogue one Shabbat morning instead of “sanctified” (?????????????), thus violating his contract with the townspeople.[1] Apparently, Rebbe Levi Yitzchak’s very essence was to reach the super-conscious crown of his soul in order to coronate God.

In his commentary on the Torah, entitled “Kedushat Levi,”[2] Rebbe Levi Yitzchak explains the dimensions of Noah’s ark and interprets them in a way to understand how we too can reach up to the crown of our souls.

Come into the Word

In Hebrew, the word “ark” (??????) also means “word.” The Ba'al Shem Tov, the mentor of Rebbe Levi Yitzchak’s master and teacher, the Maggid of Mezeritch, learnt from this that all the instructions for building Noah’s Ark are instructions for how to ‘enter into’ our words by expressing our essence through the articulation of words. The Kedushat Levi expands on this idea.

From Mindful Meditation to Impassioned Emotion

Before we speak, we should always begin by intellectually meditating on God’s greatness and majesty to the extent that we are capable. We can achieve this state by contemplating how truly small and lowly we are. Meditating on God’s greatness—through the use of our intellectual faculties—should affect our emotions so much that we begin to feel love and fear for God.

In Kabbalah the intellectual faculties of the mind, wisdom and understanding, are referred to as “father” and “mother” whose union “gives birth” to the emotions of the heart. What this means is that the more we contemplate a particular spiritual reality, the more we come to understand it. Once we understand it and feel how good it is, we begin to love it. However, love is accompanied by a complementary sense of fear; the fear that we might lose the object of our love, our newly discovered treasure, which we attained through our meditation and understanding of it.

Drawing Down Divine Influx

Rebbe Levi Yitzchak continues to explain that the next stage after nurturing our emotions is to reach the realm of spiritual pleasure. It’s not enough to remain with love and fear alone—which we experience on a personal level—we also need to reach a communal level, whereby our emotions come to fruition by bringing spiritual abundance down into all the worlds. If a tzadik (righteous individual) reaches the peak of great love, this is spiritually beneficial for him, however, he has not yet become a channel of blessing for all the worlds, which is the purpose that every tzadik should strive to achieve—and God’s people are all tzadikim (pl. of tzadik)![3] For that, the tzadik needs to follow up his love by reaching to the realm of spiritual pleasure. It is from this higher level of spiritual pleasure that blessings and Divine influx descend.

This Divine ‘download’ occurs both spiritually and physically, in the form of children, health and plentiful livelihood. It is only once the tzadik has reached the realm of spiritual pleasure that he is capable of drawing infinite spiritual and material blessing into the world.

Three-Dimensional Meaning

Now, Rebbe Levi Yitzchak explains that these three stages of meditation: intellectual contemplation; love and fear; and drawing influx into the world from the realm of spiritual pleasure; correspond to the three dimensions of Noah’s Ark: height, width, and length:

Height: represents the stage of intellectually meditating on God’s greatness and majesty, because the most prominent point of height when standing erect is the head.

Width: is love and fear of God’s Name.

Length: is pleasure and abundance from the Almighty as it completes its lengthy journey from the spiritual realm to affect our material world.

Now that we’ve developed the three-dimensions of our meditative ‘ark,’ we can translate these dimensions into the realm of the spoken word (“ark” and “word” share the same word in Hebrew, as mentioned above). As Noah’s Ark encompassed three dimensions, so does every word we utter:

First: we meditate on God’s majesty, until;

Second: our hearts are aroused in love and fear;

Third: we reach back up to the spiritual realm of pleasure which resides in the super-conscious crown.

It is thus very appropriate that Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev first taught us the three dimensions of speech, and that he was the tzadik who felt himself compelled to say “Crown” during that Shabbat in synagogue. By reaching this third, and highest level of speech, he wished to draw down Divine blessings. Even though this meant losing his prominent position as Rabbi of Pinsk, it was much more important for him to coronate God throughout all of existence.

From Rabbi Ginsburgh’s class, Chavat Maon, 25 Tishrei, 5774



[1] As the Rabbi of the town, he had agreed to always pray according to the Ashkenaz prayer version, which doesn’t use the “Crown” (??????) version of kedushah.

[2]  Even the name of his book relates to “kedushah”; Kedushat Levi or the “holiness” or “crown” of Levi (his name)!

[3] Isaiah 60:21.

Maon 3_1

Dancing with the Rav after the class

Maon 2_2

Early morning learning session

This past Sunday, cure the Rav gave a very special class at a picturesque place called Chavat Maon. Even with the event and study session photos posted above, it is still hard to come close to capturing the intrigue of this unique corner of our Jewish homeland. Nestled among the Judean Hills, discount and located south of Chevron, Chavat Maon (“Maon Farm"; a reference to Maon, one of the seven heavens), is a small agricultural village adjacent to the larger Yishuv (settlement) of Maon itself.  There are about twenty families living in Chavat Maon, with vineyards and goat pens in a distinctly rural environment.

While goats were comfortably grazing outside the home of the man who hosted the Rav's class, dozens of class participants sat and stood around a long table to listen to the Rav's words. As the crowd got larger, many attendees found themselves listening to the class from outside, leaning on the windowsills as goats mulled about nearby.

The event was called to celebrate completing a whole round of study of the entire eleven volume series of Chasdei David Hane’emanim, one of the Rav’s most well-known series in Hebrew. Every weekday morning, for over three years, the group gathered together in a private home at their set time of 3:00-5:00am (!) to study this explanation of the Kabbalistic book, Chasdei David, which is printed at the end of the Arizal's Etz Chaim.

Now that you know some of the “behind the scenes” account to the class, we welcome you to read the edited excerpt below! The dancing depicted above can be viewed HERE.

Reaching Up to the Crown

One of the stories about Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, whose yahrtzeit (day of passing) was this week (25 Tishrei), relates how he sacrificed his prominent position as Rabbi of Pinsk by reciting the kedushah of “Crown” (??????) when he led the prayers in synagogue one Shabbat morning instead of “sanctified” (?????????????), thus violating his contract with the townspeople.[1] Apparently, Rebbe Levi Yitzchak’s very essence was to reach the super-conscious crown of his soul in order to coronate God.

In his commentary on the Torah, entitled “Kedushat Levi,”[2] Rebbe Levi Yitzchak explains the dimensions of Noah’s ark and interprets them in a way to understand how we too can reach up to the crown of our souls.

Come into the Word

In Hebrew, the word “ark” (??????) also means “word.” The Ba'al Shem Tov, the mentor of Rebbe Levi Yitzchak’s master and teacher, the Maggid of Mezeritch, learnt from this that all the instructions for building Noah’s Ark are instructions for how to ‘enter into’ our words by expressing our essence through the articulation of words. The Kedushat Levi expands on this idea.

From Mindful Meditation to Impassioned Emotion

Before we speak, we should always begin by intellectually meditating on God’s greatness and majesty to the extent that we are capable. We can achieve this state by contemplating how truly small and lowly we are. Meditating on God’s greatness—through the use of our intellectual faculties—should affect our emotions so much that we begin to feel love and fear for God.

In Kabbalah the intellectual faculties of the mind, wisdom and understanding, are referred to as “father” and “mother” whose union “gives birth” to the emotions of the heart. What this means is that the more we contemplate a particular spiritual reality, the more we come to understand it. Once we understand it and feel how good it is, we begin to love it. However, love is accompanied by a complementary sense of fear; the fear that we might lose the object of our love, our newly discovered treasure, which we attained through our meditation and understanding of it.

Drawing Down Divine Influx

Rebbe Levi Yitzchak continues to explain that the next stage after nurturing our emotions is to reach the realm of spiritual pleasure. It’s not enough to remain with love and fear alone—which we experience on a personal level—we also need to reach a communal level, whereby our emotions come to fruition by bringing spiritual abundance down into all the worlds. If a tzadik (righteous individual) reaches the peak of great love, this is spiritually beneficial for him, however, he has not yet become a channel of blessing for all the worlds, which is the purpose that every tzadik should strive to achieve—and God’s people are all tzadikim (pl. of tzadik)![3] For that, the tzadik needs to follow up his love by reaching to the realm of spiritual pleasure. It is from this higher level of spiritual pleasure that blessings and Divine influx descend.

This Divine ‘download’ occurs both spiritually and physically, in the form of children, health and plentiful livelihood. It is only once the tzadik has reached the realm of spiritual pleasure that he is capable of drawing infinite spiritual and material blessing into the world.

Three-Dimensional Meaning

Now, Rebbe Levi Yitzchak explains that these three stages of meditation: intellectual contemplation; love and fear; and drawing influx into the world from the realm of spiritual pleasure; correspond to the three dimensions of Noah’s Ark: height, width, and length:

Height: represents the stage of intellectually meditating on God’s greatness and majesty, because the most prominent point of height when standing erect is the head.

Width: is love and fear of God’s Name.

Length: is pleasure and abundance from the Almighty as it completes its lengthy journey from the spiritual realm to affect our material world.

Now that we’ve developed the three-dimensions of our meditative ‘ark,’ we can translate these dimensions into the realm of the spoken word (“ark” and “word” share the same word in Hebrew, as mentioned above). As Noah’s Ark encompassed three dimensions, so does every word we utter:

First: we meditate on God’s majesty, until;

Second: our hearts are aroused in love and fear;

Third: we reach back up to the spiritual realm of pleasure which resides in the super-conscious crown.

It is thus very appropriate that Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev first taught us the three dimensions of speech, and that he was the tzadik who felt himself compelled to say “Crown” during that Shabbat in synagogue. By reaching this third, and highest level of speech, he wished to draw down Divine blessings. Even though this meant losing his prominent position as Rabbi of Pinsk, it was much more important for him to coronate God throughout all of existence.

From Rabbi Ginsburgh’s class, Chavat Maon, 25 Tishrei, 5774



[1] As the Rabbi of the town, he had agreed to always pray according to the Ashkenaz prayer version, which doesn’t use the “Crown” (??????) version of kedushah.

[2]  Even the name of his book relates to “kedushah”; Kedushat Levi or the “holiness” or “crown” of Levi (his name)!

[3] Isaiah 60:21.

Maon 3_1

Dancing with the Rav after the class in Chavat Maon

Maon 2_2

Early morning learning session in Chavat Maon

This past Sunday, viagra the Rav gave a very special class at a picturesque place called Chavat Maon. Even with the event and study session photos posted above, search it is still hard to come close to capturing the intrigue of this unique corner of our Jewish homeland. Nestled among the Judean Hills, viagra 40mg and located south of Chevron, Chavat Maon (“Maon Farm"; a reference to Maon, one of the seven heavens), is a small agricultural village adjacent to the larger Yishuv (settlement) of Maon itself.  There are about twenty families living in Chavat Maon, with vineyards and goat pens in a distinctly rural environment.

While goats were comfortably grazing outside the home of the man who hosted the Rav's class, dozens of class participants sat and stood around a long table to listen to the Rav's words. As the crowd got larger, many attendees found themselves listening to the class from outside, leaning on the windowsills as goats mulled about nearby.

The event was called to celebrate completing a whole round of study of the entire eleven volume series of Chasdei David Hane’emanim, one of the Rav’s most well-known series in Hebrew. Every weekday morning, for over three years, the group gathered together in a private home at their set time of 3:00-5:00am (!) to study this explanation of the Kabbalistic book, Chasdei David, which is printed at the end of the Arizal's Etz Chaim.

Now that you know some of the “behind the scenes” account to the class, we welcome you to read the edited excerpt below! The dancing depicted above can be viewed HERE.

Reaching Up to the Crown

One of the stories about Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, whose yahrtzeit (day of passing) was this week (25 Tishrei), relates how he sacrificed his prominent position as Rabbi of Pinsk by reciting the kedushah of “Crown” (??????) when he led the prayers in synagogue one Shabbat morning instead of “sanctified” (?????????????), thus violating his contract with the townspeople.[1] Apparently, Rebbe Levi Yitzchak’s very essence was to reach the super-conscious crown of his soul in order to coronate God.

In his commentary on the Torah, entitled “Kedushat Levi,”[2] Rebbe Levi Yitzchak explains the dimensions of Noah’s ark and interprets them in a way to understand how we too can reach up to the crown of our souls.

Come into the Word

In Hebrew, the word “ark” (??????) also means “word.” The Ba'al Shem Tov, the mentor of Rebbe Levi Yitzchak’s master and teacher, the Maggid of Mezeritch, learnt from this that all the instructions for building Noah’s Ark are instructions for how to ‘enter into’ our words by expressing our essence through the articulation of words. The Kedushat Levi expands on this idea.

From Mindful Meditation to Impassioned Emotion

Before we speak, we should always begin by intellectually meditating on God’s greatness and majesty to the extent that we are capable. We can achieve this state by contemplating how truly small and lowly we are. Meditating on God’s greatness—through the use of our intellectual faculties—should affect our emotions so much that we begin to feel love and fear for God.

In Kabbalah the intellectual faculties of the mind, wisdom and understanding, are referred to as “father” and “mother” whose union “gives birth” to the emotions of the heart. What this means is that the more we contemplate a particular spiritual reality, the more we come to understand it. Once we understand it and feel how good it is, we begin to love it. However, love is accompanied by a complementary sense of fear; the fear that we might lose the object of our love, our newly discovered treasure, which we attained through our meditation and understanding of it.

Drawing Down Divine Influx

Rebbe Levi Yitzchak continues to explain that the next stage after nurturing our emotions is to reach the realm of spiritual pleasure. It’s not enough to remain with love and fear alone—which we experience on a personal level—we also need to reach a communal level, whereby our emotions come to fruition by bringing spiritual abundance down into all the worlds. If a tzadik (righteous individual) reaches the peak of great love, this is spiritually beneficial for him, however, he has not yet become a channel of blessing for all the worlds, which is the purpose that every tzadik should strive to achieve—and God’s people are all tzadikim (pl. of tzadik)![3] For that, the tzadik needs to follow up his love by reaching to the realm of spiritual pleasure. It is from this higher level of spiritual pleasure that blessings and Divine influx descend.

This Divine ‘download’ occurs both spiritually and physically, in the form of children, health and plentiful livelihood. It is only once the tzadik has reached the realm of spiritual pleasure that he is capable of drawing infinite spiritual and material blessing into the world.

Three-Dimensional Meaning

Now, Rebbe Levi Yitzchak explains that these three stages of meditation: intellectual contemplation; love and fear; and drawing influx into the world from the realm of spiritual pleasure; correspond to the three dimensions of Noah’s Ark: height, width, and length:

Height: represents the stage of intellectually meditating on God’s greatness and majesty, because the most prominent point of height when standing erect is the head.

Width: is love and fear of God’s Name.

Length: is pleasure and abundance from the Almighty as it completes its lengthy journey from the spiritual realm to affect our material world.

Now that we’ve developed the three-dimensions of our meditative ‘ark,’ we can translate these dimensions into the realm of the spoken word (“ark” and “word” share the same word in Hebrew, as mentioned above). As Noah’s Ark encompassed three dimensions, so does every word we utter:

First: we meditate on God’s majesty, until;

Second: our hearts are aroused in love and fear;

Third: we reach back up to the spiritual realm of pleasure which resides in the super-conscious crown.

It is thus very appropriate that Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev first taught us the three dimensions of speech, and that he was the tzadik who felt himself compelled to say “Crown” during that Shabbat in synagogue. By reaching this third, and highest level of speech, he wished to draw down Divine blessings. Even though this meant losing his prominent position as Rabbi of Pinsk, it was much more important for him to coronate God throughout all of existence.

From Rabbi Ginsburgh’s class, Chavat Maon, 25 Tishrei, 5774



[1] As the Rabbi of the town, he had agreed to always pray according to the Ashkenaz prayer version, which doesn’t use the “Crown” (??????) version of kedushah.

[2]  Even the name of his book relates to “kedushah”; Kedushat Levi or the “holiness” or “crown” of Levi (his name)!

[3] Isaiah 60:21.

The verse in Jeremiah states, web “I have surely heard Ephraim complaining.”[1] Chassidut explains that someone complains because they have found in their psyche two opposite impulses. The simplest such impulses are known as the good and evil inclinations. Even when one learns Tanya, and reads that one has both a Divine soul and an animal soul, he may not internalize the fact that this is not describing some theoretical situation; this is really how his psyche is! But, as a person matures in his understanding of Chassidut, he sees more and more that he is on a psychological see?saw; alternating between two personalities.

Jeremiah states, ”I have surely heard (???????? ???????????),” which literally means, “Heard, I have heard.” One explanation for the use of the double verb is that Jeremiah at times hears Ephraim going in one direction, and at times he hears him going in the opposite direction. This is the prelude to Ephraim’s teshuvah (return to God and His Torah).[2]

Individual and Society

If these two personalities are something that we all have, why is Ephraim (?????????) brought as such a prominent example? We can find the answer by looking at the letters of his name itself. With regard to the first three letters, ?? indicates the individual (as in the word “individual” ??????), whereas the first letter ? symbolizes the oneness of the Almighty.

The fact that the second and third letters follow, or are “drawn to” the first, symbolizes how each individual member of the Jewish people is drawn to God’s unity and oneness, represented by the letter aleph (?).[3] But, the first three letters are also drawn towards the fourth and fifth letters of Ephraim’s name; the yud and mem (??). In Hebrew grammar, these two letters are a suffix that indicates plurality.

This means that a plurality (??) exists even within an individual (??). In our drive to actualize our fullest potentials, we must also learn to balance between the animal soul on the one side, and the Divine soul on the other. When each of us is able to manifest our abilities to the fullest, we are all also granted the highest level of life—or the pinnacle of all our pursuits—our connection to the aleph (?), or the oneness of God.[4]

This is one possible explanation for what it means to “complain” (??????????), and why Ephraim (?????????) is torn between these two extremes more than others. Whereas the animal soul only cares about its own individual cravings and pursuits, the Divine soul seeks to connect and unify with the Godly oneness as manifest in all.

Expressing our Uniqueness

In Rabbinic literature, a desire to express uniqueness is referred to as, "The general that requires the individual." Each person wants to reveal their latent powers and abilities, which is one of the reasons why people want to have children. By having offspring, they reveal their potential. This concept certainly relates to Ephraim (?????????), as his name is conjugate to the verb, “to be fruitful” (??????).

Healthy Anxiety

The form of anxiety that a person feels when they see themselves as having a split-personality is potentially something most positive. A person who harbors false beliefs, or worships idols (as did Ephraim), becomes very anxious and nervous as a result.[5] The best way to cure such false anxieties is to redirect them in a proper and positive way. A person who fluctuates between two impulses, or who is confounded by his two personalities, also has the ability to make the bold decision to “have nothing more to do with idols.”[6]

As will be explained in our upcoming article on Mother Rachel, Ephraim is also the child that Rachel most weeps for. Even though his situation seemed hopeless, in the end he was called the “most precious” child.[7]

Each member of the Jewish people experiences this “split personality” between either being far removed or precious. Although Mother Rachel continues to weep, she has also been promised by God that those children that seem far from the fold of Judaism, will eventually return and be considered the “most precious” children of God in the end of days.

 Adapted from Rabbi Ginsburgh’s class, Ra'anana, 6 Tishrei 5774



[1] Jeremiah 31:17.

[2] As was explained earlier in the shiur, relating to the verse; ?Ephraim [says], ?I have nothing more to do with idols?? (????? ?? ?? ??? ??????). Hosea 14:9.

[3] Which has a numerical value of 1.

[4] This paragraph of course summarizes the formation of the name Ephraim (?????????).

[5] The word for ?idols? in the verse, ?I have nothing more to do with idols?? (????? ?? ?? ??? ??????), is ?????, which is also used to designate nerves, or having a nervous tendency or anxiety. From this we can learn that whoever has false beliefs, similar to what idolatry was, is prone to suffer from anxiety or nervous tension.

[6] Hosea 14:9.

[7] ?Is my precious son Ephraim…? (????? ??????? ??? ?????????). Jeremiah 31:19.

The verse in Jeremiah states, no rx “I have surely heard Ephraim complaining.”[1] Chassidut explains that someone complains because they have found in their psyche two opposite impulses. The simplest such impulses are known as the good and evil inclinations. Even when one learns Tanya, price and reads that one has both a Divine soul and an animal soul, nurse he may not internalize the fact that this is not describing some theoretical situation; this is really how his psyche is! But, as a person matures in his understanding of Chassidut, he sees more and more that he is on a psychological see?saw; alternating between two personalities.

Jeremiah states, ”I have surely heard (???????? ???????????),” which literally means, “Heard, I have heard.” One explanation for the use of the double verb is that Jeremiah at times hears Ephraim going in one direction, and at times he hears him going in the opposite direction. This is the prelude to Ephraim’s teshuvah (return to God and His Torah).[2]

Individual and Society

If these two personalities are something that we all have, why is Ephraim (?????????) brought as such a prominent example? We can find the answer by looking at the letters of his name itself. With regard to the first three letters, ?? indicates the individual (as in the word “individual” ??????), whereas the first letter ? symbolizes the oneness of the Almighty.

The fact that the second and third letters follow, or are “drawn to” the first, symbolizes how each individual member of the Jewish people is drawn to God’s unity and oneness, represented by the letter aleph (?).[3] But, the first three letters are also drawn towards the fourth and fifth letters of Ephraim’s name; the yud and mem (??). In Hebrew grammar, these two letters are a suffix that indicates plurality.

This means that a plurality (??) exists even within an individual (??). In our drive to actualize our fullest potentials, we must also learn to balance between the animal soul on the one side, and the Divine soul on the other. When each of us is able to manifest our abilities to the fullest, we are all also granted the highest level of life—or the pinnacle of all our pursuits—our connection to the aleph (?), or the oneness of God.[4]

This is one possible explanation for what it means to “complain” (??????????), and why Ephraim (?????????) is torn between these two extremes more than others. Whereas the animal soul only cares about its own individual cravings and pursuits, the Divine soul seeks to connect and unify with the Godly oneness as manifest in all.

Expressing our Uniqueness

In Rabbinic literature, a desire to express uniqueness is referred to as, "The general that requires the individual." Each person wants to reveal their latent powers and abilities, which is one of the reasons why people want to have children. By having offspring, they reveal their potential. This concept certainly relates to Ephraim (?????????), as his name is conjugate to the verb, “to be fruitful” (??????).

Healthy Anxiety

The form of anxiety that a person feels when they see themselves as having a split-personality is potentially something most positive. A person who harbors false beliefs, or worships idols (as did Ephraim), becomes very anxious and nervous as a result.[5] The best way to cure such false anxieties is to redirect them in a proper and positive way. A person who fluctuates between two impulses, or who is confounded by his two personalities, also has the ability to make the bold decision to “have nothing more to do with idols.”[6]

As will be explained in our upcoming article on Mother Rachel, Ephraim is also the child that Rachel most weeps for. Even though his situation seemed hopeless, in the end he was called the “most precious” child.[7]

Each member of the Jewish people experiences this “split personality” between either being far removed or precious. Although Mother Rachel continues to weep, she has also been promised by God that those children that seem far from the fold of Judaism, will eventually return and be considered the “most precious” children of God in the end of days.

 Adapted from Rabbi Ginsburgh’s class, Ra'anana, 6 Tishrei 5774



[1] Jeremiah 31:17.

[2] As was explained earlier in the shiur, relating to the verse; ?Ephraim [says], ?I have nothing more to do with idols?? (????? ?? ?? ??? ??????). Hosea 14:9.

[3] Which has a numerical value of 1.

[4] This paragraph of course summarizes the formation of the name Ephraim (?????????).

[5] The word for ?idols? in the verse, ?I have nothing more to do with idols?? (????? ?? ?? ??? ??????), is ?????, which is also used to designate nerves, or having a nervous tendency or anxiety. From this we can learn that whoever has false beliefs, similar to what idolatry was, is prone to suffer from anxiety or nervous tension.

[6] Hosea 14:9.

[7] ?Is my precious son Ephraim…? (????? ??????? ??? ?????????). Jeremiah 31:19.

The verse in Jeremiah states, no rx “I have surely heard Ephraim complaining.”[1] Chassidut explains that someone complains because they have found in their psyche two opposite impulses. The simplest such impulses are known as the good and evil inclinations. Even when one learns Tanya, price and reads that one has both a Divine soul and an animal soul, nurse he may not internalize the fact that this is not describing some theoretical situation; this is really how his psyche is! But, as a person matures in his understanding of Chassidut, he sees more and more that he is on a psychological see?saw; alternating between two personalities.

Jeremiah states, ”I have surely heard (???????? ???????????),” which literally means, “Heard, I have heard.” One explanation for the use of the double verb is that Jeremiah at times hears Ephraim going in one direction, and at times he hears him going in the opposite direction. This is the prelude to Ephraim’s teshuvah (return to God and His Torah).[2]

Individual and Society

If these two personalities are something that we all have, why is Ephraim (?????????) brought as such a prominent example? We can find the answer by looking at the letters of his name itself. With regard to the first three letters, ?? indicates the individual (as in the word “individual” ??????), whereas the first letter ? symbolizes the oneness of the Almighty.

The fact that the second and third letters follow, or are “drawn to” the first, symbolizes how each individual member of the Jewish people is drawn to God’s unity and oneness, represented by the letter aleph (?).[3] But, the first three letters are also drawn towards the fourth and fifth letters of Ephraim’s name; the yud and mem (??). In Hebrew grammar, these two letters are a suffix that indicates plurality.

This means that a plurality (??) exists even within an individual (??). In our drive to actualize our fullest potentials, we must also learn to balance between the animal soul on the one side, and the Divine soul on the other. When each of us is able to manifest our abilities to the fullest, we are all also granted the highest level of life—or the pinnacle of all our pursuits—our connection to the aleph (?), or the oneness of God.[4]

This is one possible explanation for what it means to “complain” (??????????), and why Ephraim (?????????) is torn between these two extremes more than others. Whereas the animal soul only cares about its own individual cravings and pursuits, the Divine soul seeks to connect and unify with the Godly oneness as manifest in all.

Expressing our Uniqueness

In Rabbinic literature, a desire to express uniqueness is referred to as, "The general that requires the individual." Each person wants to reveal their latent powers and abilities, which is one of the reasons why people want to have children. By having offspring, they reveal their potential. This concept certainly relates to Ephraim (?????????), as his name is conjugate to the verb, “to be fruitful” (??????).

Healthy Anxiety

The form of anxiety that a person feels when they see themselves as having a split-personality is potentially something most positive. A person who harbors false beliefs, or worships idols (as did Ephraim), becomes very anxious and nervous as a result.[5] The best way to cure such false anxieties is to redirect them in a proper and positive way. A person who fluctuates between two impulses, or who is confounded by his two personalities, also has the ability to make the bold decision to “have nothing more to do with idols.”[6]

As will be explained in our upcoming article on Mother Rachel, Ephraim is also the child that Rachel most weeps for. Even though his situation seemed hopeless, in the end he was called the “most precious” child.[7]

Each member of the Jewish people experiences this “split personality” between either being far removed or precious. Although Mother Rachel continues to weep, she has also been promised by God that those children that seem far from the fold of Judaism, will eventually return and be considered the “most precious” children of God in the end of days.

 Adapted from Rabbi Ginsburgh’s class, Ra'anana, 6 Tishrei 5774



[1] Jeremiah 31:17.

[2] As was explained earlier in the shiur, relating to the verse; ?Ephraim [says], ?I have nothing more to do with idols?? (????? ?? ?? ??? ??????). Hosea 14:9.

[3] Which has a numerical value of 1.

[4] This paragraph of course summarizes the formation of the name Ephraim (?????????).

[5] The word for ?idols? in the verse, ?I have nothing more to do with idols?? (????? ?? ?? ??? ??????), is ?????, which is also used to designate nerves, or having a nervous tendency or anxiety. From this we can learn that whoever has false beliefs, similar to what idolatry was, is prone to suffer from anxiety or nervous tension.

[6] Hosea 14:9.

[7] ?Is my precious son Ephraim…? (????? ??????? ??? ?????????). Jeremiah 31:19.

The All-Encompassing South

In some of our previous articles this year (5774), sildenafil we offered a few two-word phrases that carry the initials ?"? (that have a numerical value of 74). Another such phrase that is particularly appropriate to the Torah portion of Lech Lecha is “the depth of the south” (?????? ???????), remedy which appears in the earliest Kabbalistic text, prostate Sefer Yetzirah.[1] As this book is attributed to Abraham, the central figure of our present Torah portion, it is doubly fitting that we should discuss this phrase now.[2] Abraham himself was a traveler who is clearly associated with the south, as the verse states, “And Abram traveled back and forth to the south.”[3]

The general orientation of today’s maps is that south is downwards, and indeed, the Torah defines the eastern territory of the Land of Israel with the words, “and the border descends”[4] from the highest point, above the Kinneret in the north, down the Jordan River, leading to the Red Sea, where Eilat, the southernmost city under Jewish control today, is located.

However, in the Torah the south is often referred to alternately as the “right,”[5] and this too is most appropriate for Abraham who is the archetypal figure associated in Kabbalah with the right and with the sefirah of loving-kindness, which is represented by the right hand.[6]

Yet a third orientation of the map is found with regard to the layout of the Temple, where for someone entering the Temple (from the west), south was to their left. In this context, the sages teach us, “One who wants to become wise should turn southwards, because the menorah [representing wisdom] is in the south.”

To complete this meditation, we need to add the fourth direction, in which south is at the top of the map, where north is usually marked. Indeed, the sages explain that the meaning of the word “south” (???????) is actually two words that mean “Living at the height” (???? ????), because when the sun is at its highest it is in the south.[7] This means that as one travels southwards, one is constantly “taking-off”; rising higher and higher in the spiritual realms. This concept of rising ever higher is the source of spiritual and material wealth. Indeed, if one takes a voyage beyond the border of Eilat, one reaches Ophir and Tarshish,[8] two countries that are renowned for their gold.[9]

In total, we see that the south is associated with all four different map directions!

Down: “And the border descends,” from which we learn that the south is at the bottom of the map.

Right: The loving-kindness of Abraham, the person who first; “travelled back and forth to the south.”

Left: “One who wants to become wise should turn southwards, because the menorah [representing wisdom] is in the south.”

Up: “Living at the height” (???? ????), because when the sun is at its highest it is in the south.

The Wisdom of Removing Boundaries

There is a Chassidic interpretation that explains that the phrase “and the border descends” (??????? ?????????) means that the border is dropped (i.e., that the boundaries are removed). This is referring in particular to social boundaries that divide people. Whether you belong to one community or another; whether you have this custom or that; whether you are more or less religiously observant; all these limit us in our social interactions. But when we travel further and further south, all these borders begin to disappear.

Removing boundaries can be achieved through either of two traits: joy or love. When someone is at his son’s wedding for example, he may reach such a high state of joy that even if his worst rival walked in at that moment, he would joyfully embrace him. Similarly, if we truly feel great love for each other, all the boundaries between us just melt away.

However, there is a limit to the boundaries that we can remove, as we learn from the borders of the Land of Israel. When we go too far south, crossing the final frontier of the Holy Land, we reach Egypt (?????????), the most suffocating constraints (????????) of limitation. In Egypt one becomes enslaved by his own passions, and he may find it impossible to extricate himself from them. Egypt is somewhere we can only be redeemed from by a miracle, as the sages state, “No slave ever escaped from Egypt.”[10] This idea reflects the fact that God Himself put a limit to creation. This is the meaning of the Divine Name pronounced Shakai (????) that God put a limit to creation by saying “Enough!”

So the lesson we can learn from the Torah portion of Lech Lecha is that love is good, more love is better, but too much unbalanced love is self-destructive.

From Rabbi Ginsburgh’s class in Eilat, 4th Cheshvan 5744


[1] Sefer Yetzirah, 1:5.

[2] Actually triply, as this class was given in the far southern city of Eilat!

[3] Genesis 12:9.

[4] Numbers 34:11-12.

[5] See for example, Exodus 26:18.

[6] Patach Eliyahu.

[7] Nachmanides, ad loc. Exodus 26:18.

[8] There are varying opinions as to what these countries are called today.

[9] Ships were launched there, in order to bring gold back to the Land of Israel.

[10] Mechilta 18:11.

The verse in Jeremiah states, no rx “I have surely heard Ephraim complaining.”[1] Chassidut explains that someone complains because they have found in their psyche two opposite impulses. The simplest such impulses are known as the good and evil inclinations. Even when one learns Tanya, price and reads that one has both a Divine soul and an animal soul, nurse he may not internalize the fact that this is not describing some theoretical situation; this is really how his psyche is! But, as a person matures in his understanding of Chassidut, he sees more and more that he is on a psychological see?saw; alternating between two personalities.

Jeremiah states, ”I have surely heard (???????? ???????????),” which literally means, “Heard, I have heard.” One explanation for the use of the double verb is that Jeremiah at times hears Ephraim going in one direction, and at times he hears him going in the opposite direction. This is the prelude to Ephraim’s teshuvah (return to God and His Torah).[2]

Individual and Society

If these two personalities are something that we all have, why is Ephraim (?????????) brought as such a prominent example? We can find the answer by looking at the letters of his name itself. With regard to the first three letters, ?? indicates the individual (as in the word “individual” ??????), whereas the first letter ? symbolizes the oneness of the Almighty.

The fact that the second and third letters follow, or are “drawn to” the first, symbolizes how each individual member of the Jewish people is drawn to God’s unity and oneness, represented by the letter aleph (?).[3] But, the first three letters are also drawn towards the fourth and fifth letters of Ephraim’s name; the yud and mem (??). In Hebrew grammar, these two letters are a suffix that indicates plurality.

This means that a plurality (??) exists even within an individual (??). In our drive to actualize our fullest potentials, we must also learn to balance between the animal soul on the one side, and the Divine soul on the other. When each of us is able to manifest our abilities to the fullest, we are all also granted the highest level of life—or the pinnacle of all our pursuits—our connection to the aleph (?), or the oneness of God.[4]

This is one possible explanation for what it means to “complain” (??????????), and why Ephraim (?????????) is torn between these two extremes more than others. Whereas the animal soul only cares about its own individual cravings and pursuits, the Divine soul seeks to connect and unify with the Godly oneness as manifest in all.

Expressing our Uniqueness

In Rabbinic literature, a desire to express uniqueness is referred to as, "The general that requires the individual." Each person wants to reveal their latent powers and abilities, which is one of the reasons why people want to have children. By having offspring, they reveal their potential. This concept certainly relates to Ephraim (?????????), as his name is conjugate to the verb, “to be fruitful” (??????).

Healthy Anxiety

The form of anxiety that a person feels when they see themselves as having a split-personality is potentially something most positive. A person who harbors false beliefs, or worships idols (as did Ephraim), becomes very anxious and nervous as a result.[5] The best way to cure such false anxieties is to redirect them in a proper and positive way. A person who fluctuates between two impulses, or who is confounded by his two personalities, also has the ability to make the bold decision to “have nothing more to do with idols.”[6]

As will be explained in our upcoming article on Mother Rachel, Ephraim is also the child that Rachel most weeps for. Even though his situation seemed hopeless, in the end he was called the “most precious” child.[7]

Each member of the Jewish people experiences this “split personality” between either being far removed or precious. Although Mother Rachel continues to weep, she has also been promised by God that those children that seem far from the fold of Judaism, will eventually return and be considered the “most precious” children of God in the end of days.

 Adapted from Rabbi Ginsburgh’s class, Ra'anana, 6 Tishrei 5774



[1] Jeremiah 31:17.

[2] As was explained earlier in the shiur, relating to the verse; ?Ephraim [says], ?I have nothing more to do with idols?? (????? ?? ?? ??? ??????). Hosea 14:9.

[3] Which has a numerical value of 1.

[4] This paragraph of course summarizes the formation of the name Ephraim (?????????).

[5] The word for ?idols? in the verse, ?I have nothing more to do with idols?? (????? ?? ?? ??? ??????), is ?????, which is also used to designate nerves, or having a nervous tendency or anxiety. From this we can learn that whoever has false beliefs, similar to what idolatry was, is prone to suffer from anxiety or nervous tension.

[6] Hosea 14:9.

[7] ?Is my precious son Ephraim…? (????? ??????? ??? ?????????). Jeremiah 31:19.

The All-Encompassing South

In some of our previous articles this year (5774), sildenafil we offered a few two-word phrases that carry the initials ?"? (that have a numerical value of 74). Another such phrase that is particularly appropriate to the Torah portion of Lech Lecha is “the depth of the south” (?????? ???????), remedy which appears in the earliest Kabbalistic text, prostate Sefer Yetzirah.[1] As this book is attributed to Abraham, the central figure of our present Torah portion, it is doubly fitting that we should discuss this phrase now.[2] Abraham himself was a traveler who is clearly associated with the south, as the verse states, “And Abram traveled back and forth to the south.”[3]

The general orientation of today’s maps is that south is downwards, and indeed, the Torah defines the eastern territory of the Land of Israel with the words, “and the border descends”[4] from the highest point, above the Kinneret in the north, down the Jordan River, leading to the Red Sea, where Eilat, the southernmost city under Jewish control today, is located.

However, in the Torah the south is often referred to alternately as the “right,”[5] and this too is most appropriate for Abraham who is the archetypal figure associated in Kabbalah with the right and with the sefirah of loving-kindness, which is represented by the right hand.[6]

Yet a third orientation of the map is found with regard to the layout of the Temple, where for someone entering the Temple (from the west), south was to their left. In this context, the sages teach us, “One who wants to become wise should turn southwards, because the menorah [representing wisdom] is in the south.”

To complete this meditation, we need to add the fourth direction, in which south is at the top of the map, where north is usually marked. Indeed, the sages explain that the meaning of the word “south” (???????) is actually two words that mean “Living at the height” (???? ????), because when the sun is at its highest it is in the south.[7] This means that as one travels southwards, one is constantly “taking-off”; rising higher and higher in the spiritual realms. This concept of rising ever higher is the source of spiritual and material wealth. Indeed, if one takes a voyage beyond the border of Eilat, one reaches Ophir and Tarshish,[8] two countries that are renowned for their gold.[9]

In total, we see that the south is associated with all four different map directions!

Down: “And the border descends,” from which we learn that the south is at the bottom of the map.

Right: The loving-kindness of Abraham, the person who first; “travelled back and forth to the south.”

Left: “One who wants to become wise should turn southwards, because the menorah [representing wisdom] is in the south.”

Up: “Living at the height” (???? ????), because when the sun is at its highest it is in the south.

The Wisdom of Removing Boundaries

There is a Chassidic interpretation that explains that the phrase “and the border descends” (??????? ?????????) means that the border is dropped (i.e., that the boundaries are removed). This is referring in particular to social boundaries that divide people. Whether you belong to one community or another; whether you have this custom or that; whether you are more or less religiously observant; all these limit us in our social interactions. But when we travel further and further south, all these borders begin to disappear.

Removing boundaries can be achieved through either of two traits: joy or love. When someone is at his son’s wedding for example, he may reach such a high state of joy that even if his worst rival walked in at that moment, he would joyfully embrace him. Similarly, if we truly feel great love for each other, all the boundaries between us just melt away.

However, there is a limit to the boundaries that we can remove, as we learn from the borders of the Land of Israel. When we go too far south, crossing the final frontier of the Holy Land, we reach Egypt (?????????), the most suffocating constraints (????????) of limitation. In Egypt one becomes enslaved by his own passions, and he may find it impossible to extricate himself from them. Egypt is somewhere we can only be redeemed from by a miracle, as the sages state, “No slave ever escaped from Egypt.”[10] This idea reflects the fact that God Himself put a limit to creation. This is the meaning of the Divine Name pronounced Shakai (????) that God put a limit to creation by saying “Enough!”

So the lesson we can learn from the Torah portion of Lech Lecha is that love is good, more love is better, but too much unbalanced love is self-destructive.

From Rabbi Ginsburgh’s class in Eilat, 4th Cheshvan 5744


[1] Sefer Yetzirah, 1:5.

[2] Actually triply, as this class was given in the far southern city of Eilat!

[3] Genesis 12:9.

[4] Numbers 34:11-12.

[5] See for example, Exodus 26:18.

[6] Patach Eliyahu.

[7] Nachmanides, ad loc. Exodus 26:18.

[8] There are varying opinions as to what these countries are called today.

[9] Ships were launched there, in order to bring gold back to the Land of Israel.

[10] Mechilta 18:11.

The All-Encompassing South

In some of our previous articles this year (5774), mind we offered a few two-word phrases that carry the initials ?"? (that have a numerical value of 74). Another such phrase that is particularly appropriate to the Torah portion of Lech Lecha is “the depth of the south” (?????? ???????), hospital which appears in the earliest Kabbalistic text, Sefer Yetzirah.[1] As this book is attributed to Abraham, the central figure of our present Torah portion, it is doubly fitting that we should discuss this phrase now.[2] Abraham himself was a traveler who is clearly associated with the south, as the verse states, “And Abram traveled back and forth to the south.”[3]

The general orientation of today’s maps is that south is downwards, and indeed, the Torah defines the eastern territory of the Land of Israel with the words, “and the border descends”[4] from the highest point, above the Kinneret in the north, down the Jordan River, leading to the Red Sea, where Eilat, the southernmost city under Jewish control today, is located.

However, in the Torah the south is often referred to alternately as the “right,”[5] and this too is most appropriate for Abraham who is the archetypal figure associated in Kabbalah with the right and with the sefirah of loving-kindness, which is represented by the right hand.[6]

Yet a third orientation of the map is found with regard to the layout of the Temple, where for someone entering the Temple (from the west), south was to their left. In this context, the sages teach us, “One who wants to become wise should turn southwards, because the menorah [representing wisdom] is in the south.”

To complete this meditation, we need to add the fourth direction, in which south is at the top of the map, where north is usually marked. Indeed, the sages explain that the meaning of the word “south” (???????) is actually two words that mean “Living at the height” (???? ????), because when the sun is at its highest it is in the south.[7] This means that as one travels southwards, one is constantly “taking-off”; rising higher and higher in the spiritual realms. This concept of rising ever higher is the source of spiritual and material wealth. Indeed, if one takes a voyage beyond the border of Eilat, one reaches Ophir and Tarshish,[8] two countries that are renowned for their gold.[9]

In total, we see that the south is associated with all four different map directions!

Down: “And the border descends,” from which we learn that the south is at the bottom of the map.

Right: The loving-kindness of Abraham, the person who first; “travelled back and forth to the south.”

Left: “One who wants to become wise should turn southwards, because the menorah [representing wisdom] is in the south.”

Up: “Living at the height” (???? ????), because when the sun is at its highest it is in the south.

The Wisdom of Removing Boundaries

There is a Chassidic interpretation that explains that the phrase “and the border descends” (??????? ?????????) means that the border is dropped (i.e., that the boundaries are removed). This is referring in particular to social boundaries that divide people. Whether you belong to one community or another; whether you have this custom or that; whether you are more or less religiously observant; all these limit us in our social interactions. But when we travel further and further south, all these borders begin to disappear.

Removing boundaries can be achieved through either of two traits: joy or love. When someone is at his son’s wedding for example, he may reach such a high state of joy that even if his worst rival walked in at that moment, he would joyfully embrace him. Similarly, if we truly feel great love for each other, all the boundaries between us just melt away.

However, there is a limit to the boundaries that we can remove, as we learn from the borders of the Land of Israel. When we go too far south, crossing the final frontier of the Holy Land, we reach Egypt (?????????), the most suffocating constraints (????????) of limitation. In Egypt one becomes enslaved by his own passions, and he may find it impossible to extricate himself from them. Egypt is somewhere we can only be redeemed from by a miracle, as the sages state, “No slave ever escaped from Egypt.”[10] This idea reflects the fact that God Himself put a limit to creation. This is the meaning of the Divine Name pronounced Shakai (????) that God put a limit to creation by saying “Enough!”

So the lesson we can learn from the Torah portion of Lech Lecha is that love is good, more love is better, but too much unbalanced love is self-destructive.

From Rabbi Ginsburgh’s class in Eilat, 4th Cheshvan 5744


[1] Sefer Yetzirah, 1:5.

[2] Actually triply, as this class was given in the far southern city of Eilat!

[3] Genesis 12:9.

[4] Numbers 34:11-12.

[5] See for example, Exodus 26:18.

[6] Patach Eliyahu.

[7] Nachmanides, ad loc. Exodus 26:18.

[8] There are varying opinions as to what these countries are called today.

[9] Ships were launched there, in order to bring gold back to the Land of Israel.

[10] Mechilta 18:11.

The verse in Jeremiah states, no rx “I have surely heard Ephraim complaining.”[1] Chassidut explains that someone complains because they have found in their psyche two opposite impulses. The simplest such impulses are known as the good and evil inclinations. Even when one learns Tanya, price and reads that one has both a Divine soul and an animal soul, nurse he may not internalize the fact that this is not describing some theoretical situation; this is really how his psyche is! But, as a person matures in his understanding of Chassidut, he sees more and more that he is on a psychological see?saw; alternating between two personalities.

Jeremiah states, ”I have surely heard (???????? ???????????),” which literally means, “Heard, I have heard.” One explanation for the use of the double verb is that Jeremiah at times hears Ephraim going in one direction, and at times he hears him going in the opposite direction. This is the prelude to Ephraim’s teshuvah (return to God and His Torah).[2]

Individual and Society

If these two personalities are something that we all have, why is Ephraim (?????????) brought as such a prominent example? We can find the answer by looking at the letters of his name itself. With regard to the first three letters, ?? indicates the individual (as in the word “individual” ??????), whereas the first letter ? symbolizes the oneness of the Almighty.

The fact that the second and third letters follow, or are “drawn to” the first, symbolizes how each individual member of the Jewish people is drawn to God’s unity and oneness, represented by the letter aleph (?).[3] But, the first three letters are also drawn towards the fourth and fifth letters of Ephraim’s name; the yud and mem (??). In Hebrew grammar, these two letters are a suffix that indicates plurality.

This means that a plurality (??) exists even within an individual (??). In our drive to actualize our fullest potentials, we must also learn to balance between the animal soul on the one side, and the Divine soul on the other. When each of us is able to manifest our abilities to the fullest, we are all also granted the highest level of life—or the pinnacle of all our pursuits—our connection to the aleph (?), or the oneness of God.[4]

This is one possible explanation for what it means to “complain” (??????????), and why Ephraim (?????????) is torn between these two extremes more than others. Whereas the animal soul only cares about its own individual cravings and pursuits, the Divine soul seeks to connect and unify with the Godly oneness as manifest in all.

Expressing our Uniqueness

In Rabbinic literature, a desire to express uniqueness is referred to as, "The general that requires the individual." Each person wants to reveal their latent powers and abilities, which is one of the reasons why people want to have children. By having offspring, they reveal their potential. This concept certainly relates to Ephraim (?????????), as his name is conjugate to the verb, “to be fruitful” (??????).

Healthy Anxiety

The form of anxiety that a person feels when they see themselves as having a split-personality is potentially something most positive. A person who harbors false beliefs, or worships idols (as did Ephraim), becomes very anxious and nervous as a result.[5] The best way to cure such false anxieties is to redirect them in a proper and positive way. A person who fluctuates between two impulses, or who is confounded by his two personalities, also has the ability to make the bold decision to “have nothing more to do with idols.”[6]

As will be explained in our upcoming article on Mother Rachel, Ephraim is also the child that Rachel most weeps for. Even though his situation seemed hopeless, in the end he was called the “most precious” child.[7]

Each member of the Jewish people experiences this “split personality” between either being far removed or precious. Although Mother Rachel continues to weep, she has also been promised by God that those children that seem far from the fold of Judaism, will eventually return and be considered the “most precious” children of God in the end of days.

 Adapted from Rabbi Ginsburgh’s class, Ra'anana, 6 Tishrei 5774



[1] Jeremiah 31:17.

[2] As was explained earlier in the shiur, relating to the verse; ?Ephraim [says], ?I have nothing more to do with idols?? (????? ?? ?? ??? ??????). Hosea 14:9.

[3] Which has a numerical value of 1.

[4] This paragraph of course summarizes the formation of the name Ephraim (?????????).

[5] The word for ?idols? in the verse, ?I have nothing more to do with idols?? (????? ?? ?? ??? ??????), is ?????, which is also used to designate nerves, or having a nervous tendency or anxiety. From this we can learn that whoever has false beliefs, similar to what idolatry was, is prone to suffer from anxiety or nervous tension.

[6] Hosea 14:9.

[7] ?Is my precious son Ephraim…? (????? ??????? ??? ?????????). Jeremiah 31:19.

The All-Encompassing South

In some of our previous articles this year (5774), sildenafil we offered a few two-word phrases that carry the initials ?"? (that have a numerical value of 74). Another such phrase that is particularly appropriate to the Torah portion of Lech Lecha is “the depth of the south” (?????? ???????), remedy which appears in the earliest Kabbalistic text, prostate Sefer Yetzirah.[1] As this book is attributed to Abraham, the central figure of our present Torah portion, it is doubly fitting that we should discuss this phrase now.[2] Abraham himself was a traveler who is clearly associated with the south, as the verse states, “And Abram traveled back and forth to the south.”[3]

The general orientation of today’s maps is that south is downwards, and indeed, the Torah defines the eastern territory of the Land of Israel with the words, “and the border descends”[4] from the highest point, above the Kinneret in the north, down the Jordan River, leading to the Red Sea, where Eilat, the southernmost city under Jewish control today, is located.

However, in the Torah the south is often referred to alternately as the “right,”[5] and this too is most appropriate for Abraham who is the archetypal figure associated in Kabbalah with the right and with the sefirah of loving-kindness, which is represented by the right hand.[6]

Yet a third orientation of the map is found with regard to the layout of the Temple, where for someone entering the Temple (from the west), south was to their left. In this context, the sages teach us, “One who wants to become wise should turn southwards, because the menorah [representing wisdom] is in the south.”

To complete this meditation, we need to add the fourth direction, in which south is at the top of the map, where north is usually marked. Indeed, the sages explain that the meaning of the word “south” (???????) is actually two words that mean “Living at the height” (???? ????), because when the sun is at its highest it is in the south.[7] This means that as one travels southwards, one is constantly “taking-off”; rising higher and higher in the spiritual realms. This concept of rising ever higher is the source of spiritual and material wealth. Indeed, if one takes a voyage beyond the border of Eilat, one reaches Ophir and Tarshish,[8] two countries that are renowned for their gold.[9]

In total, we see that the south is associated with all four different map directions!

Down: “And the border descends,” from which we learn that the south is at the bottom of the map.

Right: The loving-kindness of Abraham, the person who first; “travelled back and forth to the south.”

Left: “One who wants to become wise should turn southwards, because the menorah [representing wisdom] is in the south.”

Up: “Living at the height” (???? ????), because when the sun is at its highest it is in the south.

The Wisdom of Removing Boundaries

There is a Chassidic interpretation that explains that the phrase “and the border descends” (??????? ?????????) means that the border is dropped (i.e., that the boundaries are removed). This is referring in particular to social boundaries that divide people. Whether you belong to one community or another; whether you have this custom or that; whether you are more or less religiously observant; all these limit us in our social interactions. But when we travel further and further south, all these borders begin to disappear.

Removing boundaries can be achieved through either of two traits: joy or love. When someone is at his son’s wedding for example, he may reach such a high state of joy that even if his worst rival walked in at that moment, he would joyfully embrace him. Similarly, if we truly feel great love for each other, all the boundaries between us just melt away.

However, there is a limit to the boundaries that we can remove, as we learn from the borders of the Land of Israel. When we go too far south, crossing the final frontier of the Holy Land, we reach Egypt (?????????), the most suffocating constraints (????????) of limitation. In Egypt one becomes enslaved by his own passions, and he may find it impossible to extricate himself from them. Egypt is somewhere we can only be redeemed from by a miracle, as the sages state, “No slave ever escaped from Egypt.”[10] This idea reflects the fact that God Himself put a limit to creation. This is the meaning of the Divine Name pronounced Shakai (????) that God put a limit to creation by saying “Enough!”

So the lesson we can learn from the Torah portion of Lech Lecha is that love is good, more love is better, but too much unbalanced love is self-destructive.

From Rabbi Ginsburgh’s class in Eilat, 4th Cheshvan 5744


[1] Sefer Yetzirah, 1:5.

[2] Actually triply, as this class was given in the far southern city of Eilat!

[3] Genesis 12:9.

[4] Numbers 34:11-12.

[5] See for example, Exodus 26:18.

[6] Patach Eliyahu.

[7] Nachmanides, ad loc. Exodus 26:18.

[8] There are varying opinions as to what these countries are called today.

[9] Ships were launched there, in order to bring gold back to the Land of Israel.

[10] Mechilta 18:11.

The All-Encompassing South

In some of our previous articles this year (5774), mind we offered a few two-word phrases that carry the initials ?"? (that have a numerical value of 74). Another such phrase that is particularly appropriate to the Torah portion of Lech Lecha is “the depth of the south” (?????? ???????), hospital which appears in the earliest Kabbalistic text, Sefer Yetzirah.[1] As this book is attributed to Abraham, the central figure of our present Torah portion, it is doubly fitting that we should discuss this phrase now.[2] Abraham himself was a traveler who is clearly associated with the south, as the verse states, “And Abram traveled back and forth to the south.”[3]

The general orientation of today’s maps is that south is downwards, and indeed, the Torah defines the eastern territory of the Land of Israel with the words, “and the border descends”[4] from the highest point, above the Kinneret in the north, down the Jordan River, leading to the Red Sea, where Eilat, the southernmost city under Jewish control today, is located.

However, in the Torah the south is often referred to alternately as the “right,”[5] and this too is most appropriate for Abraham who is the archetypal figure associated in Kabbalah with the right and with the sefirah of loving-kindness, which is represented by the right hand.[6]

Yet a third orientation of the map is found with regard to the layout of the Temple, where for someone entering the Temple (from the west), south was to their left. In this context, the sages teach us, “One who wants to become wise should turn southwards, because the menorah [representing wisdom] is in the south.”

To complete this meditation, we need to add the fourth direction, in which south is at the top of the map, where north is usually marked. Indeed, the sages explain that the meaning of the word “south” (???????) is actually two words that mean “Living at the height” (???? ????), because when the sun is at its highest it is in the south.[7] This means that as one travels southwards, one is constantly “taking-off”; rising higher and higher in the spiritual realms. This concept of rising ever higher is the source of spiritual and material wealth. Indeed, if one takes a voyage beyond the border of Eilat, one reaches Ophir and Tarshish,[8] two countries that are renowned for their gold.[9]

In total, we see that the south is associated with all four different map directions!

Down: “And the border descends,” from which we learn that the south is at the bottom of the map.

Right: The loving-kindness of Abraham, the person who first; “travelled back and forth to the south.”

Left: “One who wants to become wise should turn southwards, because the menorah [representing wisdom] is in the south.”

Up: “Living at the height” (???? ????), because when the sun is at its highest it is in the south.

The Wisdom of Removing Boundaries

There is a Chassidic interpretation that explains that the phrase “and the border descends” (??????? ?????????) means that the border is dropped (i.e., that the boundaries are removed). This is referring in particular to social boundaries that divide people. Whether you belong to one community or another; whether you have this custom or that; whether you are more or less religiously observant; all these limit us in our social interactions. But when we travel further and further south, all these borders begin to disappear.

Removing boundaries can be achieved through either of two traits: joy or love. When someone is at his son’s wedding for example, he may reach such a high state of joy that even if his worst rival walked in at that moment, he would joyfully embrace him. Similarly, if we truly feel great love for each other, all the boundaries between us just melt away.

However, there is a limit to the boundaries that we can remove, as we learn from the borders of the Land of Israel. When we go too far south, crossing the final frontier of the Holy Land, we reach Egypt (?????????), the most suffocating constraints (????????) of limitation. In Egypt one becomes enslaved by his own passions, and he may find it impossible to extricate himself from them. Egypt is somewhere we can only be redeemed from by a miracle, as the sages state, “No slave ever escaped from Egypt.”[10] This idea reflects the fact that God Himself put a limit to creation. This is the meaning of the Divine Name pronounced Shakai (????) that God put a limit to creation by saying “Enough!”

So the lesson we can learn from the Torah portion of Lech Lecha is that love is good, more love is better, but too much unbalanced love is self-destructive.

From Rabbi Ginsburgh’s class in Eilat, 4th Cheshvan 5744


[1] Sefer Yetzirah, 1:5.

[2] Actually triply, as this class was given in the far southern city of Eilat!

[3] Genesis 12:9.

[4] Numbers 34:11-12.

[5] See for example, Exodus 26:18.

[6] Patach Eliyahu.

[7] Nachmanides, ad loc. Exodus 26:18.

[8] There are varying opinions as to what these countries are called today.

[9] Ships were launched there, in order to bring gold back to the Land of Israel.

[10] Mechilta 18:11.

The All-Encompassing South

In some of our previous articles this year (5774), mind we offered a few two-word phrases that carry the initials ?"? (that have a numerical value of 74). Another such phrase that is particularly appropriate to the Torah portion of Lech Lecha is “the depth of the south” (?????? ???????), here which appears in the earliest Kabbalistic text, Sefer Yetzirah.[1] As this book is attributed to Abraham, the central figure of our present Torah portion, it is doubly fitting that we should discuss this phrase now.[2] Abraham himself was a traveler who is clearly associated with the south, as the verse states, “And Abram traveled back and forth to the south.”[3]

The general orientation of today’s maps is that south is downwards, and indeed, the Torah defines the eastern territory of the Land of Israel with the words, “and the border descends”[4] from the highest point, above the Kinneret in the north, down the Jordan River, leading to the Red Sea, where Eilat, the southernmost city under Jewish control today, is located.

However, in the Torah the south is often referred to alternately as the “right,”[5] and this too is most appropriate for Abraham who is the archetypal figure associated in Kabbalah with the right and with the sefirah of loving-kindness, which is represented by the right hand.[6]

Yet a third orientation of the map is found with regard to the layout of the Temple, where for someone entering the Temple (from the west), south was to their left. In this context, the sages teach us, “One who wants to become wise should turn southwards, because the menorah [representing wisdom] is in the south.”

To complete this meditation, we need to add the fourth direction, in which south is at the top of the map, where north is usually marked. Indeed, the sages explain that the meaning of the word “south” (???????) is actually two words that mean “Living at the height” (???? ????), because when the sun is at its highest it is in the south.[7] This means that as one travels southwards, one is constantly “taking-off”; rising higher and higher in the spiritual realms. This concept of rising ever higher is the source of spiritual and material wealth. Indeed, if one takes a voyage beyond the border of Eilat, one reaches Ophir and Tarshish,[8] two countries that are renowned for their gold.[9]

In total, we see that the south is associated with all four different map directions!

Down: “And the border descends,” from which we learn that the south is at the bottom of the map.

Right: The loving-kindness of Abraham, the person who first; “travelled back and forth to the south.”

Left: “One who wants to become wise should turn southwards, because the menorah [representing wisdom] is in the south.”

Up: “Living at the height” (???? ????), because when the sun is at its highest it is in the south.

The Wisdom of Removing Boundaries

There is a Chassidic interpretation that explains that the phrase “and the border descends” (??????? ?????????) means that the border is dropped (i.e., that the boundaries are removed). This is referring in particular to social boundaries that divide people. Whether you belong to one community or another; whether you have this custom or that; whether you are more or less religiously observant; all these limit us in our social interactions. But when we travel further and further south, all these borders begin to disappear.

Removing boundaries can be achieved through either of two traits: joy or love. When someone is at his son’s wedding for example, he may reach such a high state of joy that even if his worst rival walked in at that moment, he would joyfully embrace him. Similarly, if we truly feel great love for each other, all the boundaries between us just melt away.

However, there is a limit to the boundaries that we can remove, as we learn from the borders of the Land of Israel. When we go too far south, crossing the final frontier of the Holy Land, we reach Egypt (?????????), the most suffocating constraints (????????) of limitation. In Egypt one becomes enslaved by his own passions, and he may find it impossible to extricate himself from them. Egypt is somewhere we can only be redeemed from by a miracle, as the sages state, “No slave ever escaped from Egypt.”[10] This idea reflects the fact that God Himself put a limit to creation. This is the meaning of the Divine Name pronounced Shakai (????) that God put a limit to creation by saying “Enough!”

So the lesson we can learn from the Torah portion of Lech Lecha is that love is good, more love is better, but too much unbalanced love is self-destructive.

From Rabbi Ginsburgh’s class in Eilat, 4th Cheshvan 5744


[1] Sefer Yetzirah, 1:5.

[2] Actually triply, as this class was given in the far southern city of Eilat!

[3] Genesis 12:9.

[4] Numbers 34:11-12.

[5] See for example, Exodus 26:18.

[6] Patach Eliyahu.

[7] Nachmanides, ad loc. Exodus 26:18.

[8] There are varying opinions as to what these countries are called today.

[9] Ships were launched there, in order to bring gold back to the Land of Israel.

[10] Mechilta 18:11.

The verse in Jeremiah states, no rx “I have surely heard Ephraim complaining.”[1] Chassidut explains that someone complains because they have found in their psyche two opposite impulses. The simplest such impulses are known as the good and evil inclinations. Even when one learns Tanya, price and reads that one has both a Divine soul and an animal soul, nurse he may not internalize the fact that this is not describing some theoretical situation; this is really how his psyche is! But, as a person matures in his understanding of Chassidut, he sees more and more that he is on a psychological see?saw; alternating between two personalities.

Jeremiah states, ”I have surely heard (???????? ???????????),” which literally means, “Heard, I have heard.” One explanation for the use of the double verb is that Jeremiah at times hears Ephraim going in one direction, and at times he hears him going in the opposite direction. This is the prelude to Ephraim’s teshuvah (return to God and His Torah).[2]

Individual and Society

If these two personalities are something that we all have, why is Ephraim (?????????) brought as such a prominent example? We can find the answer by looking at the letters of his name itself. With regard to the first three letters, ?? indicates the individual (as in the word “individual” ??????), whereas the first letter ? symbolizes the oneness of the Almighty.

The fact that the second and third letters follow, or are “drawn to” the first, symbolizes how each individual member of the Jewish people is drawn to God’s unity and oneness, represented by the letter aleph (?).[3] But, the first three letters are also drawn towards the fourth and fifth letters of Ephraim’s name; the yud and mem (??). In Hebrew grammar, these two letters are a suffix that indicates plurality.

This means that a plurality (??) exists even within an individual (??). In our drive to actualize our fullest potentials, we must also learn to balance between the animal soul on the one side, and the Divine soul on the other. When each of us is able to manifest our abilities to the fullest, we are all also granted the highest level of life—or the pinnacle of all our pursuits—our connection to the aleph (?), or the oneness of God.[4]

This is one possible explanation for what it means to “complain” (??????????), and why Ephraim (?????????) is torn between these two extremes more than others. Whereas the animal soul only cares about its own individual cravings and pursuits, the Divine soul seeks to connect and unify with the Godly oneness as manifest in all.

Expressing our Uniqueness

In Rabbinic literature, a desire to express uniqueness is referred to as, "The general that requires the individual." Each person wants to reveal their latent powers and abilities, which is one of the reasons why people want to have children. By having offspring, they reveal their potential. This concept certainly relates to Ephraim (?????????), as his name is conjugate to the verb, “to be fruitful” (??????).

Healthy Anxiety

The form of anxiety that a person feels when they see themselves as having a split-personality is potentially something most positive. A person who harbors false beliefs, or worships idols (as did Ephraim), becomes very anxious and nervous as a result.[5] The best way to cure such false anxieties is to redirect them in a proper and positive way. A person who fluctuates between two impulses, or who is confounded by his two personalities, also has the ability to make the bold decision to “have nothing more to do with idols.”[6]

As will be explained in our upcoming article on Mother Rachel, Ephraim is also the child that Rachel most weeps for. Even though his situation seemed hopeless, in the end he was called the “most precious” child.[7]

Each member of the Jewish people experiences this “split personality” between either being far removed or precious. Although Mother Rachel continues to weep, she has also been promised by God that those children that seem far from the fold of Judaism, will eventually return and be considered the “most precious” children of God in the end of days.

 Adapted from Rabbi Ginsburgh’s class, Ra'anana, 6 Tishrei 5774



[1] Jeremiah 31:17.

[2] As was explained earlier in the shiur, relating to the verse; ?Ephraim [says], ?I have nothing more to do with idols?? (????? ?? ?? ??? ??????). Hosea 14:9.

[3] Which has a numerical value of 1.

[4] This paragraph of course summarizes the formation of the name Ephraim (?????????).

[5] The word for ?idols? in the verse, ?I have nothing more to do with idols?? (????? ?? ?? ??? ??????), is ?????, which is also used to designate nerves, or having a nervous tendency or anxiety. From this we can learn that whoever has false beliefs, similar to what idolatry was, is prone to suffer from anxiety or nervous tension.

[6] Hosea 14:9.

[7] ?Is my precious son Ephraim…? (????? ??????? ??? ?????????). Jeremiah 31:19.

The All-Encompassing South

In some of our previous articles this year (5774), sildenafil we offered a few two-word phrases that carry the initials ?"? (that have a numerical value of 74). Another such phrase that is particularly appropriate to the Torah portion of Lech Lecha is “the depth of the south” (?????? ???????), remedy which appears in the earliest Kabbalistic text, prostate Sefer Yetzirah.[1] As this book is attributed to Abraham, the central figure of our present Torah portion, it is doubly fitting that we should discuss this phrase now.[2] Abraham himself was a traveler who is clearly associated with the south, as the verse states, “And Abram traveled back and forth to the south.”[3]

The general orientation of today’s maps is that south is downwards, and indeed, the Torah defines the eastern territory of the Land of Israel with the words, “and the border descends”[4] from the highest point, above the Kinneret in the north, down the Jordan River, leading to the Red Sea, where Eilat, the southernmost city under Jewish control today, is located.

However, in the Torah the south is often referred to alternately as the “right,”[5] and this too is most appropriate for Abraham who is the archetypal figure associated in Kabbalah with the right and with the sefirah of loving-kindness, which is represented by the right hand.[6]

Yet a third orientation of the map is found with regard to the layout of the Temple, where for someone entering the Temple (from the west), south was to their left. In this context, the sages teach us, “One who wants to become wise should turn southwards, because the menorah [representing wisdom] is in the south.”

To complete this meditation, we need to add the fourth direction, in which south is at the top of the map, where north is usually marked. Indeed, the sages explain that the meaning of the word “south” (???????) is actually two words that mean “Living at the height” (???? ????), because when the sun is at its highest it is in the south.[7] This means that as one travels southwards, one is constantly “taking-off”; rising higher and higher in the spiritual realms. This concept of rising ever higher is the source of spiritual and material wealth. Indeed, if one takes a voyage beyond the border of Eilat, one reaches Ophir and Tarshish,[8] two countries that are renowned for their gold.[9]

In total, we see that the south is associated with all four different map directions!

Down: “And the border descends,” from which we learn that the south is at the bottom of the map.

Right: The loving-kindness of Abraham, the person who first; “travelled back and forth to the south.”

Left: “One who wants to become wise should turn southwards, because the menorah [representing wisdom] is in the south.”

Up: “Living at the height” (???? ????), because when the sun is at its highest it is in the south.

The Wisdom of Removing Boundaries

There is a Chassidic interpretation that explains that the phrase “and the border descends” (??????? ?????????) means that the border is dropped (i.e., that the boundaries are removed). This is referring in particular to social boundaries that divide people. Whether you belong to one community or another; whether you have this custom or that; whether you are more or less religiously observant; all these limit us in our social interactions. But when we travel further and further south, all these borders begin to disappear.

Removing boundaries can be achieved through either of two traits: joy or love. When someone is at his son’s wedding for example, he may reach such a high state of joy that even if his worst rival walked in at that moment, he would joyfully embrace him. Similarly, if we truly feel great love for each other, all the boundaries between us just melt away.

However, there is a limit to the boundaries that we can remove, as we learn from the borders of the Land of Israel. When we go too far south, crossing the final frontier of the Holy Land, we reach Egypt (?????????), the most suffocating constraints (????????) of limitation. In Egypt one becomes enslaved by his own passions, and he may find it impossible to extricate himself from them. Egypt is somewhere we can only be redeemed from by a miracle, as the sages state, “No slave ever escaped from Egypt.”[10] This idea reflects the fact that God Himself put a limit to creation. This is the meaning of the Divine Name pronounced Shakai (????) that God put a limit to creation by saying “Enough!”

So the lesson we can learn from the Torah portion of Lech Lecha is that love is good, more love is better, but too much unbalanced love is self-destructive.

From Rabbi Ginsburgh’s class in Eilat, 4th Cheshvan 5744


[1] Sefer Yetzirah, 1:5.

[2] Actually triply, as this class was given in the far southern city of Eilat!

[3] Genesis 12:9.

[4] Numbers 34:11-12.

[5] See for example, Exodus 26:18.

[6] Patach Eliyahu.

[7] Nachmanides, ad loc. Exodus 26:18.

[8] There are varying opinions as to what these countries are called today.

[9] Ships were launched there, in order to bring gold back to the Land of Israel.

[10] Mechilta 18:11.

The All-Encompassing South

In some of our previous articles this year (5774), mind we offered a few two-word phrases that carry the initials ?"? (that have a numerical value of 74). Another such phrase that is particularly appropriate to the Torah portion of Lech Lecha is “the depth of the south” (?????? ???????), hospital which appears in the earliest Kabbalistic text, Sefer Yetzirah.[1] As this book is attributed to Abraham, the central figure of our present Torah portion, it is doubly fitting that we should discuss this phrase now.[2] Abraham himself was a traveler who is clearly associated with the south, as the verse states, “And Abram traveled back and forth to the south.”[3]

The general orientation of today’s maps is that south is downwards, and indeed, the Torah defines the eastern territory of the Land of Israel with the words, “and the border descends”[4] from the highest point, above the Kinneret in the north, down the Jordan River, leading to the Red Sea, where Eilat, the southernmost city under Jewish control today, is located.

However, in the Torah the south is often referred to alternately as the “right,”[5] and this too is most appropriate for Abraham who is the archetypal figure associated in Kabbalah with the right and with the sefirah of loving-kindness, which is represented by the right hand.[6]

Yet a third orientation of the map is found with regard to the layout of the Temple, where for someone entering the Temple (from the west), south was to their left. In this context, the sages teach us, “One who wants to become wise should turn southwards, because the menorah [representing wisdom] is in the south.”

To complete this meditation, we need to add the fourth direction, in which south is at the top of the map, where north is usually marked. Indeed, the sages explain that the meaning of the word “south” (???????) is actually two words that mean “Living at the height” (???? ????), because when the sun is at its highest it is in the south.[7] This means that as one travels southwards, one is constantly “taking-off”; rising higher and higher in the spiritual realms. This concept of rising ever higher is the source of spiritual and material wealth. Indeed, if one takes a voyage beyond the border of Eilat, one reaches Ophir and Tarshish,[8] two countries that are renowned for their gold.[9]

In total, we see that the south is associated with all four different map directions!

Down: “And the border descends,” from which we learn that the south is at the bottom of the map.

Right: The loving-kindness of Abraham, the person who first; “travelled back and forth to the south.”

Left: “One who wants to become wise should turn southwards, because the menorah [representing wisdom] is in the south.”

Up: “Living at the height” (???? ????), because when the sun is at its highest it is in the south.

The Wisdom of Removing Boundaries

There is a Chassidic interpretation that explains that the phrase “and the border descends” (??????? ?????????) means that the border is dropped (i.e., that the boundaries are removed). This is referring in particular to social boundaries that divide people. Whether you belong to one community or another; whether you have this custom or that; whether you are more or less religiously observant; all these limit us in our social interactions. But when we travel further and further south, all these borders begin to disappear.

Removing boundaries can be achieved through either of two traits: joy or love. When someone is at his son’s wedding for example, he may reach such a high state of joy that even if his worst rival walked in at that moment, he would joyfully embrace him. Similarly, if we truly feel great love for each other, all the boundaries between us just melt away.

However, there is a limit to the boundaries that we can remove, as we learn from the borders of the Land of Israel. When we go too far south, crossing the final frontier of the Holy Land, we reach Egypt (?????????), the most suffocating constraints (????????) of limitation. In Egypt one becomes enslaved by his own passions, and he may find it impossible to extricate himself from them. Egypt is somewhere we can only be redeemed from by a miracle, as the sages state, “No slave ever escaped from Egypt.”[10] This idea reflects the fact that God Himself put a limit to creation. This is the meaning of the Divine Name pronounced Shakai (????) that God put a limit to creation by saying “Enough!”

So the lesson we can learn from the Torah portion of Lech Lecha is that love is good, more love is better, but too much unbalanced love is self-destructive.

From Rabbi Ginsburgh’s class in Eilat, 4th Cheshvan 5744


[1] Sefer Yetzirah, 1:5.

[2] Actually triply, as this class was given in the far southern city of Eilat!

[3] Genesis 12:9.

[4] Numbers 34:11-12.

[5] See for example, Exodus 26:18.

[6] Patach Eliyahu.

[7] Nachmanides, ad loc. Exodus 26:18.

[8] There are varying opinions as to what these countries are called today.

[9] Ships were launched there, in order to bring gold back to the Land of Israel.

[10] Mechilta 18:11.

The All-Encompassing South

In some of our previous articles this year (5774), mind we offered a few two-word phrases that carry the initials ?"? (that have a numerical value of 74). Another such phrase that is particularly appropriate to the Torah portion of Lech Lecha is “the depth of the south” (?????? ???????), here which appears in the earliest Kabbalistic text, Sefer Yetzirah.[1] As this book is attributed to Abraham, the central figure of our present Torah portion, it is doubly fitting that we should discuss this phrase now.[2] Abraham himself was a traveler who is clearly associated with the south, as the verse states, “And Abram traveled back and forth to the south.”[3]

The general orientation of today’s maps is that south is downwards, and indeed, the Torah defines the eastern territory of the Land of Israel with the words, “and the border descends”[4] from the highest point, above the Kinneret in the north, down the Jordan River, leading to the Red Sea, where Eilat, the southernmost city under Jewish control today, is located.

However, in the Torah the south is often referred to alternately as the “right,”[5] and this too is most appropriate for Abraham who is the archetypal figure associated in Kabbalah with the right and with the sefirah of loving-kindness, which is represented by the right hand.[6]

Yet a third orientation of the map is found with regard to the layout of the Temple, where for someone entering the Temple (from the west), south was to their left. In this context, the sages teach us, “One who wants to become wise should turn southwards, because the menorah [representing wisdom] is in the south.”

To complete this meditation, we need to add the fourth direction, in which south is at the top of the map, where north is usually marked. Indeed, the sages explain that the meaning of the word “south” (???????) is actually two words that mean “Living at the height” (???? ????), because when the sun is at its highest it is in the south.[7] This means that as one travels southwards, one is constantly “taking-off”; rising higher and higher in the spiritual realms. This concept of rising ever higher is the source of spiritual and material wealth. Indeed, if one takes a voyage beyond the border of Eilat, one reaches Ophir and Tarshish,[8] two countries that are renowned for their gold.[9]

In total, we see that the south is associated with all four different map directions!

Down: “And the border descends,” from which we learn that the south is at the bottom of the map.

Right: The loving-kindness of Abraham, the person who first; “travelled back and forth to the south.”

Left: “One who wants to become wise should turn southwards, because the menorah [representing wisdom] is in the south.”

Up: “Living at the height” (???? ????), because when the sun is at its highest it is in the south.

The Wisdom of Removing Boundaries

There is a Chassidic interpretation that explains that the phrase “and the border descends” (??????? ?????????) means that the border is dropped (i.e., that the boundaries are removed). This is referring in particular to social boundaries that divide people. Whether you belong to one community or another; whether you have this custom or that; whether you are more or less religiously observant; all these limit us in our social interactions. But when we travel further and further south, all these borders begin to disappear.

Removing boundaries can be achieved through either of two traits: joy or love. When someone is at his son’s wedding for example, he may reach such a high state of joy that even if his worst rival walked in at that moment, he would joyfully embrace him. Similarly, if we truly feel great love for each other, all the boundaries between us just melt away.

However, there is a limit to the boundaries that we can remove, as we learn from the borders of the Land of Israel. When we go too far south, crossing the final frontier of the Holy Land, we reach Egypt (?????????), the most suffocating constraints (????????) of limitation. In Egypt one becomes enslaved by his own passions, and he may find it impossible to extricate himself from them. Egypt is somewhere we can only be redeemed from by a miracle, as the sages state, “No slave ever escaped from Egypt.”[10] This idea reflects the fact that God Himself put a limit to creation. This is the meaning of the Divine Name pronounced Shakai (????) that God put a limit to creation by saying “Enough!”

So the lesson we can learn from the Torah portion of Lech Lecha is that love is good, more love is better, but too much unbalanced love is self-destructive.

From Rabbi Ginsburgh’s class in Eilat, 4th Cheshvan 5744


[1] Sefer Yetzirah, 1:5.

[2] Actually triply, as this class was given in the far southern city of Eilat!

[3] Genesis 12:9.

[4] Numbers 34:11-12.

[5] See for example, Exodus 26:18.

[6] Patach Eliyahu.

[7] Nachmanides, ad loc. Exodus 26:18.

[8] There are varying opinions as to what these countries are called today.

[9] Ships were launched there, in order to bring gold back to the Land of Israel.

[10] Mechilta 18:11.

The All-Encompassing South

In some of our previous articles this year (5774), generic we offered a few two-word phrases that carry the initials ?"? (that have a numerical value of 74). Another such phrase that is particularly appropriate to the Torah portion of Lech Lecha is “the depth of the south” (?????? ???????), order
which appears in the earliest Kabbalistic text, salve Sefer Yetzirah.[1] As this book is attributed to Abraham, the central figure of our present Torah portion, it is doubly fitting that we should discuss this phrase now.[2] Abraham himself was a traveler who is clearly associated with the south, as the verse states, “And Abram traveled back and forth to the south.”[3]

The general orientation of today’s maps is that south is downwards, and indeed, the Torah defines the eastern territory of the Land of Israel with the words, “and the border descends”[4] from the highest point, above the Kinneret in the north, down the Jordan River, leading to the Red Sea, where Eilat, the southernmost city under Jewish control today, is located.

However, in the Torah the south is often referred to alternately as the “right,”[5] and this too is most appropriate for Abraham who is the archetypal figure associated in Kabbalah with the right and with the sefirah of loving-kindness, which is represented by the right hand.[6]

Yet a third orientation of the map is found with regard to the layout of the Temple, where for someone entering the Temple (from the west), south was to their left. In this context, the sages teach us, “One who wants to become wise should turn southwards, because the menorah [representing wisdom] is in the south.”

To complete this meditation, we need to add the fourth direction, in which south is at the top of the map, where north is usually marked. Indeed, the sages explain that the meaning of the word “south” (???????) is actually two words that mean “Living at the height” (???? ????), because when the sun is at its highest it is in the south.[7] This means that as one travels southwards, one is constantly “taking-off”; rising higher and higher in the spiritual realms. This concept of rising ever higher is the source of spiritual and material wealth. Indeed, if one takes a voyage beyond the border of Eilat, one reaches Ophir and Tarshish,[8] two countries that are renowned for their gold.[9]

In total, we see that the south is associated with all four different map directions!

Down: “And the border descends,” from which we learn that the south is at the bottom of the map.

Right: The loving-kindness of Abraham, the person who first; “travelled back and forth to the south.”

Left: “One who wants to become wise should turn southwards, because the menorah [representing wisdom] is in the south.”

Up: “Living at the height” (???? ????), because when the sun is at its highest it is in the south.

The Wisdom of Removing Boundaries

There is a Chassidic interpretation that explains that the phrase “and the border descends” (??????? ?????????) means that the border is dropped (i.e., that the boundaries are removed). This is referring in particular to social boundaries that divide people. Whether you belong to one community or another; whether you have this custom or that; whether you are more or less religiously observant; all these limit us in our social interactions. But when we travel further and further south, all these borders begin to disappear.

Removing boundaries can be achieved through either of two traits: joy or love. When someone is at his son’s wedding for example, he may reach such a high state of joy that even if his worst rival walked in at that moment, he would joyfully embrace him. Similarly, if we truly feel great love for each other, all the boundaries between us just melt away.

However, there is a limit to the boundaries that we can remove, as we learn from the borders of the Land of Israel. When we go too far south, crossing the final frontier of the Holy Land, we reach Egypt (?????????), the most suffocating constraints (????????) of limitation. In Egypt one becomes enslaved by his own passions, and he may find it impossible to extricate himself from them. Egypt is somewhere we can only be redeemed from by a miracle, as the sages state, “No slave ever escaped from Egypt.”[10] This idea reflects the fact that God Himself put a limit to creation. This is the meaning of the Divine Name pronounced Shakai (????) that God put a limit to creation by saying “Enough!”

So the lesson we can learn from the Torah portion of Lech Lecha is that love is good, more love is better, but too much unbalanced love is self-destructive.

From Rabbi Ginsburgh’s class in Eilat, 4th Cheshvan 5744


[1] Sefer Yetzirah, 1:5.

[2] Actually triply, as this class was given in the far southern city of Eilat!

[3] Genesis 12:9.

[4] Numbers 34:11-12.

[5] See for example, Exodus 26:18.

[6] Patach Eliyahu.

[7] Nachmanides, ad loc. Exodus 26:18.

[8] There are varying opinions as to what these countries are called today.

[9] Ships were launched there, in order to bring gold back to the Land of Israel.

[10] Mechilta 18:11.

This article is being published in commemoration of Jewish Mother’s Day on 11 Cheshvan, the day of Mother Rachel’s passing. This year, this web the Hebrew date corresponds to October 15, 2013 on the civil calendar. For one of our seminal articles on the topic, please read “Why Jewish Mother's Day?”

 “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation, bitter weeping, Rachel is weeping for her children; she will not be comforted for her children for they are absent.

So says God, ‘Halt your voice from crying, and your eyes from tears, because there is a reward for your acts; says God, they will return from their enemies’ country.

There is hope for your destiny, says God, and children will return to their borders.”[1]

Mother Rachel

On the face of things, Rachel is the mother of only two of the twelve tribes of Israel—Joseph[2] and Benjamin. But, in the above verses, Rachel is considered as the mother of the entire Jewish people. Whenever we need something, we travel to her Tomb in Beit Lechem (Bethlehem) to beseech God there. There are many stories of prayers that have been answered there, all in Mother Rachel’s merit.[3]

While Rachel cries for all her children, there is one specific child who she prays for the most. He is the son who is considered absent, or the most distanced from the fold of the Jewish people.

This son is the same one mentioned in our article, Curing Dissociative or Split Personality Disorder, Rachel’s grandson Ephraim. While he is destined to be called the “precious son,” he is also the son who at first is “absent.” But, as we explained there, the fact that Jeremiah heard Ephraim complaining was also a sign of his eventual repentance. Ephraim was complaining because he was beginning to have second thoughts. Even though he begins absolutely addicted to idolatry,[4] in the end he regrets his behavior and discards his idols.

Praying for the Majority

Today, Ephraim represents the “secular” (?????????) majority of Jews.[5] So, everything that we mentioned regarding Ephraim being loved despite his addiction to idolatry, and yet in the end he himself says that he has no part in it, relates to the so-called “secular” Jew.

We see that most of the prophets prophesied about Ephraim. Meaning that for all his iniquities, this is the son who God loves the most; and also the one who deserves the most attention. God wants these “Ephraim” Jews, even more than anyone else in the Jewish people. Even though the situation seemed hopeless at first, they are destined to all be called the “most precious” children in the end of days.

Three Perspectives on Reality

Nowadays, we tend to classify Jews into two main categories: “frum” or devout Jews and secular Jews. Although we might expect Mashiach to fall into the first category, Mashiach is in a class of his own; he is a “faithful” Jew. This third point of view ascribes neither to the religious nor to the secular classifications. Instead, the faithful believes that there is something Divine in every Jew. As the Ba’al Shem Tov explains, every Jew has a part of God above in him; and for this reason, he is beloved by God.

When should we have this in mind? When we say the essential statement of Jewish belief, "Hear O' Israel, Havayah is our God, Havayah is One” (?????? ?????????? ???' ????????? ???' ?????).

The meditation on three perspectives comes from the final word in this declaration, “One” (?????). The dalet (?) is the initial letter of ”frum” (??????); the chet (?) is the initial letter of “secular” (?????????); and the aleph (?) is the initial letter of “faithful” (????????). Only when all three perspectives on reality are united, can the Jewish people reach the state of being “one” (?????).

The Mother of Faith

Through her powerful faith in the eventual return of her children to God and their homeland, Mother Rachel brings these three types of children closer together. From the most “secular,” to the most devout believer within each of us, ultimately we will all unite as one nation in the Holy Land.

Adapted from Rabbi Ginsburgh’s class, Ra'ananah, 6 Tishrei 5774


[1] Jeremiah 31:14-16. Read in the haftarah of the second day of Rosh Hashanah.

[2] Who himself fathered two tribes—Ephraim and Menasheh.

[3] [Ed. Note: One the most famous accounts in recent years is of Mother Rachel saving the lives of Jewish soldiers. Those interested may read the story here.]

[4] Hosea 4:17.

[5] As stated in the class, Judah represents the frum minority. Even though the Lubavitcher Rebbe didn’t like the word “secular” (?????????), we use it to make sure that everyone understands what we are talking about.

This article is being published in commemoration of Jewish Mother’s Day on 11 Cheshvan, the day of Mother Rachel’s passing. This year, the Hebrew date corresponds to October 15, 2013 on the civil calendar. For one of our seminal articles on the topic, please read “Why Jewish Mother's Day?”

 “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation, bitter weeping, Rachel is weeping for her children; she will not be comforted for her children for they are absent.

So says God, ‘Halt your voice from crying, and your eyes from tears, because there is a reward for your acts; says God, they will return from their enemies’ country.

There is hope for your destiny, says God, and children will return to their borders.”[1]

Mother Rachel

Although Rachel is the mother of only two of the twelve tribes of Israel—Joseph[1] and Benjamin, in the above verses, Rachel is considered the mother of the entire Jewish people. Whenever we need something, we travel to her Tomb in Beit Lechem (Bethlehem) to beseech God there. There are many stories of prayers that have been answered there, all in Mother Rachel’s merit.[2]

While Rachel cries for all her children, there is one specific child who she prays for the most. He is the son who is considered absent, or the most distanced from the fold of the Jewish people.

This son is the same one mentioned in our article, Curing Dissociative or Split Personality Disorder, Rachel’s grandson Ephraim. While he is destined to be called the “precious son,” he is also the son who at first is “absent.” But, as we explained there, the fact that Jeremiah heard Ephraim complaining was also a sign of his eventual repentance. Ephraim was complaining because he was beginning to have second thoughts. Even though he begins absolutely addicted to idolatry,[3] in the end he regrets his behavior and discards his idols.

Praying for the Majority

Today, Ephraim represents the “secular” (?????????) majority of Jews.[4] So, everything that we mentioned regarding Ephraim being loved despite his addiction to idolatry, and yet in the end he himself says that he has no part in it, relates to the so-called “secular” Jew.

We see that most of the prophets prophesized about Ephraim. Meaning that for all his iniquities, this is the son who God loves the most; and also the one who deserves the most attention. God wants these “Ephraim” Jews, even more than anyone else in the Jewish people. Even though the situation seemed hopeless at first, they are destined to all be called the “most precious” children in the end of days.

Three Perspectives on Reality

Nowadays, we tend to classify Jews into two main categories: “frum” or devout Jews and secular Jews. Although we might expect Mashiach to fall into the first category, Mashiach is in a class of his own; he is a “faithful” Jew. This third point of view ascribes neither to the religious nor to the secular classifications. Instead, the faithful believes that there is something Divine in every Jew. As the Ba’al Shem Tov explains, every Jew has a part of God above in him; and for this reason, he is beloved by God.

When should we have this in mind? When we say the essential statement of Jewish belief, "Hear O' Israel, Havayah is our God, Havayah is One” (?????? ?????????? ???' ????????? ???' ?????).

The meditation on three perspectives comes from the final word in this declaration, “One” (?????). The dalet (?) is the initial letter of ”frum” (??????); the chet (?) is the initial letter of “secular” (?????????); and the aleph (?) is the initial letter of “faithful” (????????). Only when all three perspectives on reality are united, can the Jewish people reach the state of being “one” (?????).

The Mother of Faith

Through her powerful faith in the eventual return of her children to God and their homeland, Mother Rachel brings these three types of children closer together. From the most “secular,” to the most devout believer within each of us, ultimately we will all unite as one nation in the Holy Land.

Adapted from Rabbi Ginsburgh’s class, Ra'ananah, 6 Tishrei 5774


[1] Who himself fathered two tribes—Ephraim and Menasheh.

[2] [Ed. Note: One the most famous accounts in recent years is of Mother Rachel saving the lives of Jewish soldiers. Those interested may read the story here.]

[3] Hosea 4:17.

[4] As stated in the class, Judah represents the frum minority. Even though the Lubavitcher Rebbe didn’t like the word “secular” (?????????), we use it to make sure that everyone understands what we are talking about.

Anyone who is released from prison must thank God. But, search only under very special circumstances does such an event become a festive day that is noted for generations on the calendars of hundreds of thousands of people. However, stuff this is the case with 19th of Kislev, find the day on which the founder of Chabad Chassidut, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, was released from prison more than two centuries ago. This date was not only instituted by Rabbi Shneur Zalman’s devoted followers, but Rabbi Shneur Zalman himself even saw the episode of his captivity and subsequent redemption as an event of national importance.

The Generation of Pioneers

Historically speaking, the generation that preceded Rabbi Shneur Zalman marked the appearance of Rabbi Yisrael Ba'al Shem Tov, who illuminated the skies of Judaism with the new-old light of faith in God and universal love. In a letter to his brother-in-law, Rabbi Gershon Mikitov, the Ba'al Shem Tov wrote about a wondrous vision he experienced, in which he saw himself wandering through the upper realms (in a “soul elevation”) until he reached the Hall of Mashiach. The Ba'al Shem Tov asked the Mashiach, “When will my master come?” and Mashiach answered, “When your wellsprings will disseminate outwards.” This is why?openly and unabashedly?Chassidut is a “messianic” movement. The very fact that it has already spread and disseminated is a significant step towards the ultimate redemption. But the goal of “Your wellsprings will send out rivulets of water in the streets”[1] did not happen overnight. Although the Ba'al Shem Tov had a group of students, and his influence reached crowds of simple Jewish folk, nonetheless, during his era there was not yet a movement of any significance that would ensure its dissemination.

The next stage of Chassidut can be compared to focusing sunrays onto a powerful lens. Like a mighty magnet, the Ba'al Shem Tov’s greatest student, Rabbi Dov Ber of Mezritch, attracted a group of unsurpassed spiritual giants. It is enough to mention names such as Rebbe Elimelech of Lizensk, Rebbe Zusha of Anipoli, Rebbe Mendel of Vitebsk, Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, Rabbi Nachum of Tchernobel, Rebbe Shmelke of Nikolsberg, Rebbe Pinchas, author of Sefer Hafla’ah, the Great Rebbe Aharon of Karlin, Rebbe Shlomo of Karlin and Rebbe Shneur Zalman of Liadi, in order to prove how Rabbi Dov Ber’s meager study hall was actually one of the “lions’ dens and the mountains of leopards.”[2] Rebbe Dov Ber himself sat hidden at home?even physically, because of his difficulty to get around due to his crippled legs?and taught profound Torah teachings which at first were comprehensible only to the choice few who surrounded him. But, it was clear to all his wondrous group of students that this needed to be expounded, in order to fulfill the vision of “Your wellsprings will disseminate outwards;” i.e., to conquer more regions in the Jewish world and bring them the light of Chassidut. Then came the next stage, which clearly saw a growing movement that swept many into its wake by a surge of activity. But, as the movement grew, its opponents began to rear their heads. Some of the opposition developed because of an innocent hesitation towards encouraging any new sects in general. However, some of the opposition was an ugly attempt to undermine the movement’s development, initiated by provocative warmongers.

Two Lights

But before the opposition began, let’s take note of the figure of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the youngest of the Magid’s students, but one of the most prominent. Just as his name, Shneur (??????????) suggests in Hebrew, he had two lights (?????? ????). On the one hand, he stands at the top echelon of Talmudic giants and scholars of Jewish law throughout the ages, as one can see from his version of The Code of Jewish Law, which he rewrote, and is named after him “The Rabbi’s Code of Jewish Law” (Shulchan Aruch Harav). This was the light of the revealed level of the Torah, “Torah is light.”[3] On the other hand, without any contradiction at all to his genius in the classical Torah subjects, he was also well-versed in the light of the Torah’s inner dimension, its secrets and its mysteries.[4] In an abundance of Chassidic discourses, he elucidated the hidden wisdom of the Torah and explained it in clear language. Without altering the original language used in Kabbalah, he added to it a Chassidic clothing that relates to the human soul and to God’s service, making the Torah’s secrets accessible to every one of us. Rabbi Shneur Zalman’s crowning glory in the inner dimension of the Torah is the Tanya. This is how Rabbi Shneur Zalman “stitched” these two lights together, and joined the two occupations that had previously been considered completely separate into one.

The significant advancement Rabbi Shneur Zalman made in disseminating the wellsprings of Chassidut, especially with the publication of his seminal work, the Tanya, aroused opposition. As a result of false charges and libel by other Jews, Rabbi Shneur Zalman was accused of conspiring against the Russian Czar, and sent to prison.

Now that we have mentioned the charges made against Rabbi Shneur Zalman, we see that they were not against him as an individual, but against the entire movement he represented, beginning with the Ba’al Shem Tov.[5] But, devoted to the Ba'al Shem Tov’s approach of seeing how every event that transpires is rooted in Divine providence, Rabbi Shneur Zalman interpreted the case on a universal level. He understood his physical imprisonment in this world as a reflection of a spiritual confrontation, “a prosecution from the Heavenly Court.” He saw that the Chassidic Movement was being put to the test to see whether or not the time had truly come to disseminate the wellsprings to the world at large; and whether the Jewish nation was ready to be aroused to step out of the coma of exile and greet Mashiach.

From here we see that the good tidings regarding Rabbi Shneur Zalman’s release were not just a verdict that had been passed by the Czar’s officers who cleared him of treason. As the Talmud states, “The kingdom of earth is an illustration of the kingdom of the Heavens,”[6] meaning that in the Heavenly court Rabbi Shneur Zalman was also acquitted, as if to say, “Continue your endeavors to spread Chassidut!” Indeed, the greatest lesson that Rabbi Shneur Zalman took from the episode was to disseminate Chassidut even more than before. The Chassidic tradition even relates that while he was imprisoned, the souls of the Ba'al Shem Tov and Rabbi Dov Ber appeared to him. Rabbi Shneur Zalman asked them whether he should continue disseminating Chassidut or to adopt a “lower profile.” Their reply was that he should continue to teach, and at an even greater pace! The hidden spring of the Torah’s inner dimension began to trickle out, but encountered a daunting dam and its ability to continue its flow was shaded in doubt. But as soon as the barrier was removed, water could gush out with even greater force, and Chassidut could succeed in reaching more areas.

Exactly twenty-six years before Rabbi Shneur Zalman was released from prison, he had stood beside the bed of his great Rabbi on the last day of his life in this world. Rabbi Dov Ber suddenly turned to his favorite student and said, “Zalman’ev, today is a festive day (???? ????) for us.”[7] On the day when a tzadik passes away, all his days on earth gather together and become a huge pillar of light that continues to illuminate the coming generations (even more than during his life, while his soul was still connected to the limitations of his physical body). This is why the 19th of Kislev is a festive day for Rabbi Dov Ber; it was his own “day of celebration.” Yet, by the same token, it is also his student’s, Rabbi Shneur Zalman’s festive day. Rabbi Shneur Zalman’s release from prison is not only a tiding of redemption for his Rabbi and the student together, but also for every Jew, wherever he happens to be, because these figures are “universal souls” who influence all of us, even if we are not aware of it.



[1] Proverbs 5:16.

[2] Song of Songs 4:8.

[3] Proverbs 6:23.

[4] “Mystery” (???) has the same numerical value as “light” (????).

[5] Who Rabbi Shneur Zalman referred to as his spiritual “grandfather.”

[6] Berachot 58a.

[7] There is a fascinating source for the Magid’s words: One of the Tosfot wrote an outstanding book that is called “Questions and Answers from Heaven.” This book is a collection of questions that he asked, with replies that were transmitted to him in a Heavenly vision. One of the questions there (siman 5) relates to the date of the 19th of Kislev, and in the reply he was told, “Today is a day of good tidings” (without any additional explanation). The essence of this day of good tidings only became known a few centuries later (see also Rabbi Margaliot’s note there, cited in the name of the Mishmeret Shalom).

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