Parshas Devarim-Excerpts from Likkutei Torah


Explorations of Excerpts:

1.      How does the service of Iskafya/Self-control help bring the redemption?

2.      What draws down the 13 attributes of mercy on Yom Kippur?

3.      What is the difference between kindness and mercy?


Iskafya/Self-control helps bring the redemption:[1]

The verse states “Tziyon Bemishpat Tipadeh” that Zion will be redeemed with Mishpat. What is Mishpat? Mishpat is the judgment that one passes upon himself when he desires to do something, to discern whether this matter is truly necessary. It is the judgment that a person places upon himself to prevent him from indulging in those matters in life that are merely superfluous and do not serve a purposes in his service of G-d. On this the verse states that “Tzaddikim are judged by their G-dly soul.” In order to reveal the level of Tziyon/Essence of soul in one’s heart one must break the lusts of his animal soul and body, which conceal and prevent the level of Tziyon from penetrating the heart.

Iskafya reveals the 13 attributes of mercy:[2]

The 13 attributes of mercy which are revealed on Yom Kippur are drawn down through the above act of Iskafya/self-control against indulging in lusts of worldly pleasures and extravagancies.   

Chesed versus Rachamaim-Mercy versus kindness:[3]

In the Sefiros, the attribute of Chesed precedes the attribute of mercy, hence implying that Chesed is higher than mercy. Furthermore, even the level of the 13 attributes of mercy which are positioned in Keser, have a level of Chesed that precede it. What is the difference between kindness and mercy and why is kindness considered higher and greater than mercy? The answer is as follows: Mercy involves a measure of Chesed that is merged with a shade of Gevurah/severity. Mercy is only given to one deserving of mercy, and hence when acting out of mercy to another one must judge if in truth the person is deserving of this mercy. This concept is exemplified in the saying of the Sages “One who does not have any Daas [sociopath, or person without a conscious] it is forbidden to give him mercy.” We thus see that even mercy has limitations and criteria for its acceptance. Likewise, mercy is only relevant to a person who is in need, such as a pauper, or one who is in suffering, while a wealthy and healthy person is undeserving of mercy. However Chesed is pure kindness without any limitation and hence can be distributed to all, whether to the rich or the poor and whether to the deserving or undeserving. For this reason Chesed is considered higher and greater than mercy.



[1] Likkutei Torah Devarim p. 1b

[2] Likkutei Torah Devarim p. 1b

[3] Likkutei Torah Devarim p. 1b

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