soul

Adam: from God and like God. From the teaching of Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag

Becoming Adam

by yedidah on March 27, 2016

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Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag, in his teachings on the Parshat Shavua, Vayikra, wrote as follows:

The Scripture says, “And God called Moses and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting saying, “Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘Adam, when he offers from you a sacrifice to God; you shall offer your sacrifice from the domestic animals, from the cattle, or from the sheep.” (Leviticus 1:2)

Rabbi Ashlag places his attention on the word “Adam” and on the words ” from you”as follows: The name “Adam”, refers to one who bears the name of God, one who is like God. This is  from the inner meaning of the Scripture  אדמה לעליון,  “I will resemble the Most High.” So  the name Adam implies one who wants to be like God, that is to say, in affinity of form with the Creator. He wants to come it love and give unconditionally just as God gives to us unconditionally. Such a person, Adam, should bring the sacrifice to God,  from you, that is to say, from yourselves.

The Sages of the Talmud commented:

“You are called ‘Adam’, and one who worships idols is not called ‘Adam’.” (Masechet Yevamot 61 a)

We see that the Sages of the Talmud bring in two opposing elements: 1)The aspect of Adam who wants to be like the Creator  and 2)  the aspect of the idol worshipper, being one who gives governance to his or her selfish egoism. These  elements  are actually two opposite aspects within ourselves.

Both the aspect of Adam, who is in affinity of form with the Creator, and the aspect of the idol worshipper, which is the self-serving part of ourselves, are within us.  It is our soul that is in affinity of form with the Creator, from whom it comes through the framework of holiness, whereas our ego, which expresses itself through the will to receive for ourselves alone, is the representative of the idol worshipper within us. Which one will I adopt? To whom will I liken myself?

This Torah learning is dedicated to the ilui neshama of  Reb Moshe Ben Ese-Esther,  a direct descendant of Rabbi Akiva Eiger ztz’l  the grandfather of  my chevruta, Shmuel Iger Kinyan, who despite the dangers of being Jewish in communist Russia first taught Shmuel that he was Jewish.

Teachings taken from the Perush HaSulam on the first volume of the Zohar Pikudah Kadma’ah and also from Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag’s Al HaTorah, Parshat Vayikra.

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Rosh Hashanah ; the festival of choice

by yedidah on September 13, 2015

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Rosh HaShanah, the new year is a day of choice; a day when we are given the possibility of choosing again. This is an amazing thought. For so many of us, the days go by and we seem to have drifted into habits of thought, feeling and even actions, which on closer examination we may not in fact espouse.
So what does this new choice consist of, and how do we choose?
As the Sages teach us, we are made up of body and soul. The body aspect of ourselves is actually the framework of the ego, called by Rabbi Ashlag, “the will to receive for oneself alone.” He calls it that, because this title actually describes its basic nature. The ego expresses itself through desires to benefit itself. These desires then beget needs, and needs beget thoughts and actions how to fulfill these needs. This framework of the ego can be so compelling that we even say of a person that  ” he or she is governed by his or her ego.”

The other aspect of ourselves is the soul. This is characterized by the desire to give compassionately, and unconditionally. The soul is of the same essence as that of God,  the Creator, whose desire is only that of giving. This soul is also given to us, as we say every morning, “Oh my God, the soul that you gave me is pure, you created it, you formed it, and you breathed it into me.” The acknowledgement of the soul is the acknowledgement of the godliness within us . The more we acknowledge the godliness within us  the more power we  give to the potential of the soul to govern our  thoughts, actions and speech rather than giving away this power unthinkingly to the ego.
So the choice each one of us is given to chose again on the day of Rosh Hashanah   is which governance do I chose? The governance of the ego or the governance of the soul?

It is this question that finds expression in the concept of God as King on Rosh haShanah. Can we make Him the governor of our own selves?

Shanah Tovah to you all, for a sweet New Year, Yedidah

Podcast inspired  by  article 6 taken from the Sefer Hama’amarim of Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag, תשמ”ט

Other talks for Rosh Hashanah can be found here

The language of Rosh Hashanah is derived from the Kabbalah

The Shofar, the sound of compassion

Changing our outlook on Rosh HaShanah

 

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Returning to our Source: Teshuvah

by yedidah September 1, 2015
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The soul’s origin is God. To return, to do the work of teshuvah, is to return to our origin; no longer separated from God, no longer divided from our truest selves, but united in the Divine. This opportunity is a gift of the Creator to all of creation. From the teachings of Rabbi Kook and Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag.

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It is through our feelings that we may attain the Names of God

by yedidah July 2, 2015
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When I learn the work of Rabbi Yehudah Lev Ashlag, the Baal HaSulam, I am struck by the joy and the love that is embedded in his work. Listening to some old recordings of him giving a lesson, we hear his voice ringing out with joy. He was clearly a man of both deep understanding and […]

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The hidden beauty of the spiritual night

by yedidah May 17, 2015
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The term “night”, in the language of the Kabbalah refers to the time when the Creator’s presence is hidden from us. We yearn for the day… . But is there something we are missing? The Zohar hints to us that there is a special value to the time of the night. From the teachings of Rabbi Ashlag in preparation for the festival of Shavuot.

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My soul, Jerusalem

by yedidah July 29, 2014
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Jerusalem is known in the Bible by different names: “the city”,” the city of David”, “the epitome of beauty”, “the city forever joined”. In the Kabbalah we learn that Jerusalem represents the soul, the focal point of our self. By learning the significance of our inner Jerusalem we learn also why we mourn for her in these three weeks and how each one of us may rebuild our inner Jerusalem. From the Kabbalah of Rabbi Ashlag.

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