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PIRKEI HA'MACHSHAVAH - GATE 1 CHAP 2 - HASHEM, TORAH AND ISRAEL ARE ONE



 SOD HA'YEHUDI: HASHEM, THE TORA AND THE JEWS ARE ONE AND THE SAME REALITY.
By Rav Yaakov Adés

I FIRST GATE

CHAPTER 2 - FIRST PART


1. The Ramchal, in his book "Adir Ba'Maróm", the Rav Chaim of Volozin in his book "Nefesh Ha'Chaim" (fourth Gate, chapter 11) and many other works still quote this passage from the Zohar where it is found: saying that the Holy God, Blessed be He, the Torah and Israel are one and the same reality.
 
2. Now, this saying deserves an explanation: how to understand in effect that Hashem the One who does not belong to the world of bodies and cannot be represented in any way, the One who fills all the worlds and surpasses them at the same time -, the Torah , that is, the Sefer Torah, and Israel, human beings, can they form one and the same reality?

3. To answer this question, it should be remembered, first of all, that man himself is made of body and soul. Everyone knows and feels what the body is. On the other hand, although we know that the soul exists, that is, although we are aware of it, since everyone can see the difference between the living and the dead, in spite of everything, it is very difficult to define exactly the reality of the soul . To try to silence it a bit, we could take as a metaphor the rays of the sun that, coming from the sun, owe their reality only to its presence. So much so that if we placed a board between an observer and the sun, its rays would no longer reach it, because they would not pass to the other side of the board [at least those who were stopped by this board]. Now, it is the same with the soul that, emanating from Hashem, owes its reality only to His presence [and this, even This analogy is of course limited, because one cannot compare the actual stanza that separates the human soul from its Creator which protects the sun's rays. And if we have we make this comparison, only by virtue of this analogy between its origin and the reality of its presence). Certainly everything in the world comes from the Creator and depends on His reality, but for the Jewish soul this relationship is even more direct and tangible.

4. Thus, the adage according to which "the Eternal, Blessed be He, the Torah and Israel are one and the same reality" focuses on making us understand that the souls of Israel are the expression of a spiritual radiance. [And if the terminology of light is used in works of Kabbalah to describe this spiritual radiance, it is for several reasons. Especially since light is the best and most spiritual thing in the material world; but we find among the Ancients other reasons still deeper. This spiritual radiance comes from the Creator, who is its origin. Therefore, it is said that the Holy God, Blessed be He, the Torah and Israel are one and the same reality, implicit: Hashem is at the origin of this radiance and Israel is this radiance.

5. And the Torah also forms one and the same reality with Hashem and Israel. To understand it properly, we must first explain a fundamental principle that is discussed in a large number of texts, in particular in Tractate Sanhedrin, p.99 / b. Regarding the verse: "Nefesh Amal Amalá ... It is for himself that the worker works" (Proverbs 16, 26), the Sages explain the repetition of the term "amal-work" in this way: while he, he works in this direction, the Torah works for him. What Rashi comments as follows: When a man engages in Torah study, the Torah asks HaShem to help him understand it. The Torah, therefore, is not just the Sefer Torah that we have in this world. One must understand that in the higher worlds, there is also a specific spiritual dimension to the Torah and that  attracts HaShem [just as we know that there is a specific spiritual reality of angels.

6. Therefore, we understand how the Torah forms one and the same reality with HaShem and Israel, because HaShem organized Creation in such a way that before reaching the souls of Israel, its spiritual radiance first goes through the spiritual dimension of the Torah which is where the souls of the Jewish people are formed [This is in fact what emerges from the words of Ramchal in his book "Adir BaMarom"].

7. However, the human soul also has a deep desire to connect to its root in order to benefit from this spiritual radiance with greater intensity. And the only way to earn it is by adding the Torah, that is, always studying and doing more of the Torah. [In fact, we will consider as a greater fulfillment of the Torah the fact of respecting all the dimensions of the Avodat Hashem, the performance of the Mitzvot and the care we take not to transgress them, as well as our obligations towards it. 'HaShem (Béin adam La'Makom) than in our obligations towards our neighbor (Béin adam Le Chavero), in prayer, etc. They all belong to what we call "the Torah" in terms of enhancing their influence. Thanks to these actions, the spiritual radiance one receives through the Torah is more intense. 

8. When we meditate on these few points, they will awaken in us a deep desire to study Torah and do the will of Hashem. And we will understand then that our soul is reconnected in this way with its celestial origin, and an additional clarity of the same nature that surrounds it then. For such is, deep down, the desire of the soul, far ahead of all the other temptations that this world presents. As the author of "Mesilat Yesharim (the Path of the Righteous)" writes in chapter 1, as the soul submits to higher realities, its true aspiration is the light that emanates from the divine Face.

Second Part 2
1. The Bach writes in his commentary on the Tour ("Oraj Chaim", 47) about the state of mind (Kavana) with which to approach the study of the Torah, and the Arizal talks about it in his book “Shaar Ruach Ha'kodesh ”, page 11 / a. However, as these texts are imbued with the specific vocabulary of the works of Kabbalah, it seemed appropriate to put them on the level of everyone. Especially because they do not refer only to the study of the Torah, but also to all the dimensions of our Avodat HaShem, be it the study of the Torah, the observance of the Mitzvot, the prayer or the watchfullness so as not to fall into the fault.


2. When a Jew performs any of these aspects of Avodat Hashem, he triggers two things: the first is that by doing so, his soul clings to Hashem. And though the Jewish soul is perpetually linked to Hashem, despite everything, when a Jew performs a Mitzvah or study Torah, this bond is strengthened; this process would be conceived as a movement starting from the bottom up. The second thing a Jew triggers when he performs his Avodat Hashem is the fact that a spiritual beam of light emanating from Hashem descend; then penetrates into the Jewish soul; this other side is a process that is as a movement from top to bottom. [These two movements, one starting from the bottom up, and the other starting from top to bottom, have only one mnemonic value whose purpose is to remember these two types of states of mind (or Kavanot) and their own order). One could explain allegorically (Be'Derech Remez) these two types of state of mind (Kavanot) from the last verse of the Megillah Eicha (the Lamentations) where it is said: "Bring us back to You, O Eternal, we want to return. Renew for us the days of Yesteryear Hashiveinu HaShem Eleicha Ve'Nashuva. Chadesh Yemenu ke'Kedem ”. "Bring us back to You, Lord, we want to come back - Hashiveinu HaShem Eleicha Ve'Nashuva ”, in return of the bond between the soul and Hashem. "Renew for us the days of yesteryear - Chadesh Yemenu ke'Kedem ”, in accordance with the fact that we receive new celestial lights identical to those which we enjoyed the days of Yesteryear, the time of the Temple. [We have treated here of these two Kavanot in such a way that they can be intended by everyone, but it is obvious that they contain other much deeper dimensions, as can be seen from the writings of Arizal, and as Rashash explains in his book “Nahar Shalom”, “Kavanat Matbea Ha'Beracha”, p.20 / b sq.

3. Moreover, even if each time he studies or accomplishes a Mitzva, a Jew causes these two phenomena; However, when he knows it and has the intentions to trigger them it is much more powerful.

when studying, praying or doing something else in his Avodat HaShem. Because then, these phenomena take a scale much more Considerable that when he does nothing but act without understanding what he is doing. This is why, if he can, it is essential that a Jew gets used to as much as possible to put himself in such a state of mind, and that he wishes through his study to connect his soul to Hashem so that a spiritual beam of light emanating from the Holy One, Blessed be He, penetrates his soul.

4. In order to better understand the meaning of these two types of thought (Kavanot), it is important to carefully refer to what we we wrote above in the first part, because in this way, we will understand the sense of the soul's attachment to HaShem, as well as the nature of this light radiation.

5. Regardless of the fact that thanks to these two thoughts, man obtains that these phenomena of which we have spoken take more ampleur, it gains even more power. Indeed, this bond intensifies itself with greater intensity and this beam of light grows bigger, over time, this liveliness will help him to understand in depth the nature of this link and this influence, each in accordance with his level. However, the more a Jew feels in his study and in his prayer the nature of this link and this radiance, the more he is filled with the fervent desire to study and to serve his Creator.

So many conclusions that can be drawn from Hillel's teaching in Tractate Yoma, p.35 / b, as we explained in our booklet entitled "The Love of the Torah".

6. And even if we do not always manage to keep in mind these two thoughts (Kavanot), we will do our best to do it more often as possible, and this will be enough to derive the greatest benefit from it.

7. In the book of Tehillim (Psalms), in chapter 42, it is said: "Like the doe yearns for streams of water, so my soul also yearns for You, O Eternal, Living God. When will I return to present myself before the Eternal? ”. And such is the meaning of these verses: the Holy One, Blessed be He, created the world with two types of creatures. Some things, like metals and stones, remain as they without needing to feed. But others, like plants and animals, need to eat:

if the plant does not drink it dries up, if the sheep does not eat it dies, etc. As for man, he is made of both a body and a soul. And from the above verse we learn that, like the body of man comes under this type of creature that needs to feed, the human soul also needs to be nourished; with the difference that the nourishment of the soul is not material, but spiritual. Indeed, in its very essence, the soul constitutes a spiritual radiance emanating from HaShem, as we recalled in the first part. Food for the soul is therefore a spiritual supplement of light from Torah and Mitzvot. So when man does not give his soul that spiritual nourishment which she needs, this one is hungry. And even though he would give his body all possible and imaginable material benefits, his soul would remain unfulfilled. This is why those who are faraway from the Torah feel that their soul is lacking something, that it is hungry. Indeed, if you do not feed your soul, it remains unsatisfied. And it is only with the help of the Torah and the Mitzvot that it can be satisfied.

Moreover, the higher a soul is, the more it feels the need to nourish spiritually and the more she seeks for the highest spiritual nourishment. It is advisable to meditate in depth the whole of this chapter, its first and second parts. These are essential principles to reach the highest levels that exist. We will also refer to what we wrote later, in the booklet entitled "Heading towards the highest summits".


NEXT
CHAPTER 3 - HASHEM RENEWS THE WORK OF CREATION CONTINUALLY (MOMENT BY MOMENT) 

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