Chapter 49: The three contractions, their, purpose, and how to reciprocate a love for G-d
18th Iyar/17th Iyar
1. The three general Tzitzumim-Contractions:
- The many contractions: In general, there are many detailed contractions which conceal the infinite light of G-d within the descending order of the worlds until this physical world was able to be created. These contractions are so great in quality type, and number that they are too many to count.
- The three main contractions: Nonetheless, in general there are three major contractions which include all the other myriads of contractions. These are the contractions which created the three worlds of Beriyah Yetzira and Assiyah.
- The world of Atzilus: The world of Atzilus is not included within the worlds of major contractions as this world is actual G-dliness.
- The contraction of the world of Beriyah: The world of Beriah consists of the higher souls and angels who serve Hashem with their intellect, through comprehending G-dliness. For this world to be created contain the existence of separate beings and give it the potential for G-dliness to be comprehended, a great and powerful contraction was required to take place.
- The contraction of the world of Yetzirah: The world of Yetzira is much lower than the world of Beriah, and hence although the light found in the world of Beriya is itself limited and minute, it is considered unlimited in relation to the world of Yetzira, and thus cannot be invested within this world. For this world to be created, a second great and powerful contraction was required to take place.
- The contraction of the world of Assiyah: The world of Assiyah is much lower than the world of Yetzira, and hence although the light found in the world of Yetzira is itself limited and minute, it is considered unlimited in relation to the world of Yetzira, and thus cannot be invested within this world. For this world to be created, a third great and powerful contraction was required to take place.
2. The purpose of the Tzitzumim:
- Create man to do Iskafya: The purpose of all the above-mentioned “contractions” was to create the human body, and in turn to then have this body of man subjugate evil and bring light out from darkness.
- Elevating the soul to G-d: One accomplishes shining light through the darkness through elevating one’s G-dly and animal soul and its garments and soul powers all to Hashem. This is the entire purpose of the progressive descent of the worlds.
3. Reciprocating the love for G-d:
- Through contemplating all the above one should come to a recognition of how much he should love G-d and go beyond his way on behalf of G-d, and should equally desire to do so.
- The contemplation: One should contemplate the above how G-d contracted his great infinite light with three different forms of contractions all in order to create man. This itself was due to His great love for us, to give lowly beings the opportunity to elevate themselves back to G-d, as love forces one to perform actions that otherwise he would not do.
- Giving up everything for G-d: Accordingly, how much more so should man reciprocate this love and action of G-d and give up everything he possesses, both spiritually and physically, on behalf of G-d, in order to attach to Him with a great love and attachment, and not let anything get in his way, not bodily matters, money or wife and children.
4. Why do we recite Birchas Kerias Shema?
- Based on the above explanation, we can understand why the sages instituted for one to recite the blessings over the Shema, with two blessing said before its recital, and blessing said its recital.
- The question: Seemingly, these blessings have no connection whatsoever with the paragraphs of the Shema and hence it is not understood as to why they were established to be recited, and as to why they are called the blessings of the Shema.
5. Purpose of Shema-To love G-d unconditionally:
- The answer: The main purpose of the daily Shema recital is to fulfill the words “with all your heart and with both of your inclinations” by standing against all impediments that prevent one from properly loving G-d. This is inherent within the words of the Shema.
- “With all your heart”-wife and children: The words “with all your heart” that are said in the Shema refer to the natural love that one has for his a wife and children. This natural love may act as an impediment in one achieving love of G-d and properly serving Him. Hence, we recite in the Shema that we will give up even this natural love for the sake of serving G-d and loving Him.
- “Your soul and your money”: The words “Your soul and your money” that are said in the Shema refer to giving up one’s life and sustenance for the sake of G-d, which represents in essence giving up everything for the sake of loving G-d.
6. The meditations of Birchas Kerias Shema that help stimulate the above level of love:
- We can now understand the purpose of the blessings said before the Shema, as they are there in order to help stimulate the above level of love. As on the onset, it is most wondrous as to how a person can reach such a high level of love for G-d to give up everything on his behalf. Hence, this is accomplished by contemplating the subjects brought in the before blessings of the Shema, as we will now explain.
- The first blessing of Yotzer Or-Angels in contrast to souls: The first blessing of Yotzer Or discusses the order of the Angels within the various spiritual worlds and the fear and trepidation they have for G-d. Its purpose is to inform us of G-d’s greatness and how everything is nullified to His divine life. From this paragraph we understand that angels even of the highest level do not receive a revelation of the essence of G-dliness and that G-d is separate even from them and hence they fall in trepidation when He is revealed. In contrast, however, the Jewish people above and below receive the true revelation of G-d as the verse states that He fills all the world with his glory.
- The second blessing of Ahavas Olam: The second blessing discusses G-d’s love for the Jewish people and how he abandoned all of the celestial hosts of heaven and dwelled His divine presence specifically on the Jewish people, to the point that He is called our personal G-d. This is all due to G-d’s great love for us which causes Him to push himself above and beyond the norm.
- The words “Ahavas Olam”: The meaning of the words “Ahavas Olam-love of world” is that G-d has contracted His great infinite light of revelation in order so it be invested within a limited space which is referred to as a world. This itself was done due to G-d’s great love for the Jewish people, in order so they be able to attach to Him and be incorporated within His unity.
- The words “Chemla Gedola Viseira”: The meaning of the words “Chemla Gedola Viseira-a great compassion” is that G-d has allowed the Jewish people to become close to Him much more than the celestial beings due to His great compassion for us.
- The words “Uvanu Bacharta Mikol Am”: The meaning of the words “Uvanu Bacharta Mikol Am-and He has chosen us from all the nations” is that G-d has chosen our bodies of the Jewish people despite the fact that they are physical and corporeal and look similar to the bodies of the Gentile nations.
- The words “Vikeiravtanu…Lehodos”: The meaning of the words ” Vikeiravtanu…Lehodos -and He has brought us close….to give thanks” will be explained elsewhere.
- The words “Uliyachedecha”: The meaning of the words ” Uliyachedecha-to unify you” is that all the above was done by G-d in order so the Jew be incorporated within His unity, as explained above.
7. Contemplating the above creates a passion to attach to G-d:
- When one contemplates the above matters deeply in his thoughts and heart, will consequently cause a reflective emotion of passionate and rapturous love to be revealed within his heart, and he will decide to overcome all impediments in order to attach to G-d and be incorporated within his divine light in a great form of intimacy of hugging and kissing and attachment of the soul.
8. Torah study-Attaches one to G-d and elevates the world:
- In-depth Torah study: Now, how does one accomplish the above attachment to G-d, attaching his soul to the spirit of G-d? This is through the study of Torah, as the main unification of kissing is accomplished through attaching one’s intellect to the intellect of G-d through studying Torah in-depth.
- Verbalizing the words of Torah: In order to accomplish the above unity of kissing, one’s mouth is required to verbalize the words of Torah that he is studying. This exhales the breath and connects one’s spirit with the spirit of G-d.
- The verbalization draws down the G-dliness: One does not fulfill his obligation of Torah study through mere thought and deep contemplation, until he actually verbalizes the words. The reason for this is because it is the verbalization of the words that has the power to draw the infinite light of G-d below onto the animal soul which is found in the blood of man and is made up of the inanimate, and vegetative and animal kingdoms.
- The G-dliness elevates the world: This G-dliness that is drawn down as a result of one’s verbalized Torah study then elevates all the matters of the world back to G-d and include it within his unity, so that His G-dliness shine throughout the world and those who dwell in it.
- The purpose of the world: The above is the entire purpose of the progressive descent of all the world’s, so that the glory of G-d fill the entire earth in a revealed manner and turn darkness to light and bitterness to sweetness.
- The purpose of man’s divine service: This is also the entire purpose and intent of man’s divine service, to draw down the infinite light of G-d below.
- Must first preface the passion to give up everything for G-d: Nonetheless, in order for one’s Torah study to have the above effect one must first preface it with “feminine waters” which refers to the exercise of the heart and mind during the recital of the Shema in which one resolves to give up everything of his life and soul and money for G-d’s sake.
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