The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
|WINGS OF MORNING
Volume VII, Issue 28
Shabbat Vayikra 5763, March 2003
Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2002 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov
There are some people who do not have a proper belief. They say that the world has to exist. What a poor and confused consciousness they have. They think that they have proofs for this from the way the world works–heaven forbid!
But really "their mouths say empty things" (cf. Iyov 34:16). Really, the whole world and everything in it don't necessarily have to exist.
God is the only Necessary Being. All the universes, however, with everything in them don't necessarily have to be. God created them out of nothing. It was totally up to Him whether or not to create them. So the whole world and everything in it didn't have to exist.
So why do people think that the world must necessarily be–heaven forbid, heaven forfend! This is why: because really, now that the souls of Israel have been emanated and drawn down, the world must necessarily be.
Why? Because the whole world and everything in it were only created for Israel (as is well-known; see Vayikra Rabbah 36; also Rashi at the beginning Breishit). "Israel rules the world."
Now, after the souls of Israel have been emanated and created, there is no doubt that (if you could say such a thing) God has to create and maintain the world. That is why He emanated the souls of Israel: to create all the universes for them. But when the souls of Israel themselves were being emanated, they themselves together with all the worlds that depend on them didn't necessarily have to exist. God could have either emanated and created them or not created them. But once the Holy One, blessed be He, decided to emanated the souls of Israel, then the entire world became something that has to be. Once the souls of Israel were emanated, then God (so to speak) had to make the world–that was why He had emanated their souls: so that all the universes would be created for them and they would rule over everything.
Understand this well.
This is the source of the error of the non-believers, who say that the world has to be (heaven forbid). Really, however, only God has to be. All things don't necessarily have to exist.
The main reason that God created the entire universe for Israel was so that Israel would do His will, and come back and cling to their root–meaning, that they would come back and be enveloped in God, who is the Necessary Being. That's why everything was created.
So when Israel does God's will and are enveloped into their source–the Necessary Being–then the entire world (which was created for them) is enveloped into the Necessary Being too. That is the reason it was created. Only because of that does God have to (in a manner of speaking) create and maintain all the worlds: for Israel, so that they will do His will. So when they do God's will, that the world is enveloped into the plane of being necessary. The more they do God's will, the more are they enveloped with all the universes that depend on them into the Necessary Being. By doing God's will, they come back and are enveloped into Him, Who is a Necessary Being. Then all the worlds, which are dependent on their spirit, are absorbed into the One whose Being must be.
How can you reach this? How can you be absorbed into your root? How can you go back and be enveloped in God's Oneness (Whose Being must be)?
You can only do that by becoming as nothing, by wiping your own being away until you are enveloped in God's Oneness. And so how do you become as nothing? You can achieve that only through hitbodedut: you separate mitboded yourself and talk things out to God, you wipe away all bad desires and traits. Finally, you wipe away all of your physical being and are enveloped in your root.
The essence of hitbodedut is in the night, when everyone is at rest from the trammel of this world. During the day, people's running after this world prevent and disturb a person from clinging to and from being absorbed into God. Even if you yourself aren't taken up with this, since other people are pursuing empty things of this world, it is difficult to come to such a state of self-dissolving.
Also, this hitbodedut has to be in set-aside place–which is to say, outside town, where a person is all alone, where there are no passers-by, because a place where people travel during the day, people who are pursuing this world (even though right now they aren't there) also disturbs the hitbodedut, so that a person can't dissolve himself and be enveloped into God.
So: you have to go out by yourself at night to a lone place, a place that people don't traverse, isolate yourself there and turn your heart and mind away from all the dealings of this world, and make everything as nothing, until you really comes to becoming as nothing.
That is to say, at first pray a great deal and speak out a great deal in hitbodedut at night in an isolated spot until you dissolve away one thing–i.e., you dissolve away a particular trait and desire. Then engage in a great deal more hitbodedut, until you wipe away another trait and desire.
Practice this hitbodedut for a long time, at that time of night, at that place, until you wipe away everything. And then, something will still remain of you. So wipe that away too–until nothing at all remains of you.
Likutei Moharan 42
by Shlomo Gavriel Rosenthal
And they learned Torah, each in one his own speciality: Tanach, Mishnah, Talmud, and Aggadah. Some of them were extraordinary scholars, learning the secrets of the Torah, and others recited Psalms, songs and praises. There were thousands, tens of thousands of them, in every study hall. I was stunned by the sound of their learning, for their voices carried to a great distance.
I asked, "To whom do these precious ones belong?" And I was told all that this belongs to the pious beloved of God, the choice one of God, R. Nachman Kassiver.
I asked, "Where is the resting place of that pious man?" An elder with an aristocratic face arose and said to me, "Take hold of my hand and we will go to the study hall where our holy Rabbi Nachman Kassiver may be found."
When we came into his vicinity, the entire building was surrounded by a fire so bright and shining that my eyes were almost blinded, until I saw him face to face. He had the appearance of an angel of God, exceedingly awesome, dressed in white, shining like the shining sky, wearing a prayer shawl upon his head, flashing and illumining from one end of the world to the other. I said to him, "Whose are all these beloved ones, the souls in all those rooms?"
He said to me, "My dear brother, these are the souls whom I rectified when I was alive, souls who were completely righteous but who didn't truly know God, and whom I taught the good and straight path. Some of these people were outstanding Torah scholars who had rejected the Torah of Hashem, and I brought them back. Some of them were completely bad, sinners immersed in pleasure. By rebuking them in a positive manner and speaking to them respectfully, I brought them back. And they are the ones reciting Tehillim and praising the King, the living God."
He also said to me, "If you want to stay with me in the ever-lasting world, in this supernal world, give your soul to that angel known to you., Your body will remain lifeless in the lower world. Perhaps as a result God will unveil His supernal will to save those who are far-flung–for how much longer until the longed-for End? In this way, you will also avoid seeing the angel of death, nor will you have to experience the taste of death. So stay with me. Then I and the other souls of the righteous will go with you to the place that has been assigned to you, and we will remain comrades in the ever-lasting world."
I said to him, "What can I do when I yearn to be buried in the land of Israel, where (as is known) a soul can make a great ascent?"
He said to me, "You will die outside the land. So have I heard several times in the supernal yeshiva. I am not allowed to tell you why, however, since your soul is still connected to your body. It was also decreed for a hidden reason that I die outside the land. But if you give your soul over, then I will tell you everything."
When I heard these words from his holy mouth, I deeply yearned to give my soul to that angel. But I also longed for my son and my daughter–how could I die without providing them guidance, without telling them what will take place in the end of days? So a great battle raged within me: what should I do? Should I do all that he had asked, or should I experience the experience of every mortal and not die suddenly, like a person who dies without meaning? And also how I so much yearned for my comrades. How could I leave them in such a hasty, unthought-out manner? "See what the people say!"
When the pious one heard my arguments and still implored me, I cried out bitterly and wept aloud over being separated from my wife, son, daughter, grandchildren and, in particular, from my comrades.
My soul was still connected to my body, and if my wife (may she live) had not woken me then, I would already have agreed to that tzaddik's advice, and done as he said. But she cried out so loudly that my soul returned to my body. (story taken from Ateret Yaacov V'Yisroel)
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