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Learning Torah for the heart’s sake

by yedidah on December 16, 2013


We could  approach Torah just through our mind, trying to understand it intellectually—learning the mitzvot, and fulfilling the commandment of learning the Torah. Although we all have to start our learning of Torah through our mind, many just leave it at that. But Rabbi Ashlag, the great Kabbalist, teaches that just learning the Torah intellectually does not in fact fulfill the real purpose of our study of the Torah. As Rabbi Ibn Ezra tells us, the most important reason for learning the Torah is the tikkun of the heart.

What does the term “heart” refer to? Is it simply an anatomically important vessel in the body that keeps us alive? Or is it something more? Many people refer to the heart when they want to describe their feelings. But Rabbi Ashlag defines the heart as desire. The tikkun of the heart is thus the rectification of the will. This makes sense. When i am excited by something, my heart races faster. When I am angry I can hear it throbbing in my ears. But why should my heart need rectification, why does it need to change?

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    creation of Man

    Let us make Man!

    by yedidah on October 3, 2013


    …this is the inner meaning of “Let us make Man b’tzalmeinu in our image, k’dmuteinu like us ” (Genesis 1:26 ).
    The light is called the “tzelem” and the darkness is called “dmut“, such that Man will be created from both of these forces: both soul and ego.

    The Sages tell us that the entire work of creation is included in the declaration of the first day, “Let there be light.” For within that declaration is included the whole differentiation between the light and the darkness, wherein the holiness is called ‘light’, and the evil is called ‘dark’.
    However, despite this differentiation between the light and the dark, with which all the created beings of the creation were clarified, the tikkun is still left incomplete. The entire aspect of evil or dark appears as something for which there is no use, and this is not at all fitting for God’s perfection. The tikkun of creation will only be complete in accordance with the inner meaning of the phrase, “Even darkness will not cause dark to come from You, and the night will give light as day, the darkness will shine as much as the light” (Ps. 139:12).

    In order to correct this darkness the human being was created, who includes everything from the uttermost evil to the ultimate good. Through his hand the tikkun will be finished to the required perfection, that is, the evil will transform into good, the bitterness into sweet, the darkness will shine like the light, death will be swallowed up for ever, and the Lord will be King over all the earth .

    From the Perush haSulam of Rabbi Yehudah Lev Ashlag on the Zohar
    Translated by Yedidah Cohen in A Tapestry of the Soul (Nehora Press)


    Joining heart and mind

    by yedidah April 25, 2013
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    The ego expresses itself through the heart and mind. The Kabblists teach that even though it separates us from the soul and from the Creator, its origin is in the purpose of Creation. The tikkun of the ego leads to the unification of mind, heart and soul to form,a coherent vessel for the light of God. .

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