The Jewish Woman Select Section WEEKLY Parasha Parshat Shemot Language : english, hebrew SHIURIM & COMMENTARIES

Rabanit Iris Odani Elyashiv, Parashat Shemot HEBREW

24.09.2013

Parashat Shemot 5773

 04.01.2013

Rabbanit Yehoshua – Hooray For Women part 1

18.12.2013

Rabbanit Batia Yehoshua’s weekly shiur in Queens, NY.
Parashat Shemot, The great women around Moshe.

Parshat Shemot: Holy Ground

25.04.2013

Available on naaleh.com at:http://www.naaleh.com/viewclass/2918/…

In this Torah shiur (class) on Parshat Shemot, Mrs. Shira Smiles examines Hashem’s command to Moshe not to come closer to the burning bush, and to remove his shoes, because the ground he is on is holy.  Mrs. Smiles discusses the Ramban’s question of why the ground Moshe was on was holy, if the shechina was resting only on the burning bush?  Mrs. Smiles goes on to explore what the taking off the shoes is about, what the idea of holy ground is about, and what the message is for our own lives.  This Torah class is available online in streaming video and for download in mp3 and ipod video formats.

Cryptic Concealment Parshat Shemot

18.12.2013

Available on naaleh.com at:http://www.naaleh.com/viewclass/3072/…

In this class (shiur) Mrs. Shira Smiles discusses Parshat ShemotAvailable online in streaming video, and for download in mp3 and mp4 (Ipod video) formats

Rabanit Iris Odani Elyashiv, Parashat Shemot ENGLISH

Parasha Sh’mot

Thoughts on Parashat Shemot – Rachel Friedman

 02.01.2013

Rachel Friedman shares her insights on Parashat Shemot. This parsha video is sponsored by Bethia Straus and Paul Quintas in honor of the bat mitzvah of Rebecca Gila Quintas

Thoughts on Parashat Shemot – Tammy Jacobowitz

03.01.2012

Tammy Jacobowitz shares her insights on Parashat Shemot

Parshat Shemot: Reluctant Messenger

 15.01.2009

Available on naaleh.com at:http://www.naaleh.com/viewclass/1519/…

In this Torah shiur (class) on Parshat Shemot, Mrs. Chana Prero
dissects the episode of the Burning Bush, Hashem’s command to Moshe,
and Moshe’s refusal.  This Torah shiur does not assume any previous
knowledge of Hebrew or experience with Biblical texts.  This Torah class is available online in streaming video and for download in mp3 and ipod video formats.

Parshat Shemot: The Immortal Donkey?

05.01.2010

Available on naaleh.com at:http://www.naaleh.com/viewclass/2377/…

In this Torah shiur (class) on Parshat Shemot, Mrs. Chana Prero analyzes Moshe’s actions after he leaves the burning bush.  This Torah class is available online in streaming video and for download in mp3 and ipod video formats

Parshat Shemot: Batya, Devoted Daughter

04.01.2010

Available on naaleh.com at:http://www.naaleh.com/viewclass/2375/…

In this Torah shiur (class) on Parshat Shemot, Mrs. Shira Smiles focuses on Batya, Pharaoh’s daughter, who offers insight into our own lives.  This Torah class is available online in streaming video and for download in mp3 and ipod video formats.

Parshat Shemot: Holy Ground

25.04.2013

Available on naaleh.com at:http://www.naaleh.com/viewclass/2918/…

In this Torah shiur (class) on Parshat Shemot, Mrs. Shira Smiles examines Hashem’s command to Moshe not to come closer to the burning bush, and to remove his shoes, because the ground he is on is holy.  Mrs. Smiles discusses the Ramban’s question of why the ground Moshe was on was holy, if the shechina was resting only on the burning bush?  Mrs. Smiles goes on to explore what the taking off the shoes is about, what the idea of holy ground is about, and what the message is for our own lives.  This Torah class is available online in streaming video and for download in mp3 and ipod video formats.

Shabbat Today (Video Edition): Shemot

 22.12.2010

What makes a place holy? Debby Lewis, Anshe Emet Synagogue’s Ritual Director, explores the subtle nuances to this deceptively simple question in the latest Video Edition of Shabbat Today.

Behind the Kosher Scene Part 1 of 3

Behind the Kosher Scene Part 2 of 3

Behind the Kosher Scene Part 3 of 3

 26.07.2011

www.Naaleh.com

Dedicated in memory of Rachel Leah bat R’ Chaim Tzvi
Torat Imecha- Women’s Torah

Torah Study: Attaching Oneself to G-d

Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller

The Torah tells us, “U’vacharta ba’chaim, You shall choose life.” Torah is the means through which our souls live, grow and change. One could say that it is possible to develop a certain sense of inner peace and meaning without Torah. Still, one could never have a true relationship with Hashem that way. Being alive means moving beyond self towards something greater. Studying the Torah’s directives teaches us how to do this.

There are two ways of reaching Hashem. The first way is learning how He perceives the world and following His ways by studying Torah and doing mitzvot. The second way is saying no to things and actions that distance us from Hashem. The evil inclination’s most potent weapon is attempting to make the Torah seem irrelevant to life. You can’t feel attachment without knowledge. Torah helps us know Hashem both intellectually and experientially. Loving Hashem and cleaving to Him means emulating His attributes. We can study Hashem’s middot and how He responds and relates to His creations through the Torah. Thought, speech, and action are the garments through which we cn perceive Hashem. The more we know the details of the mitzvot, the more we have a picture of His will. We could see Hashem’s providence through the way He interacts with the world and His will through what he tells us in the Torah.

A person who doesn’t busy himself with Torah is called nazuf (yelled out). When a person screams at someone he is really saying, “We are connected, but at this moment I feel alienated from you.” When a person doesn’t learn Torah he implies that he doesn’t want a relationship with Hashem. This in turn causes Hashem to turn away. When the Almighty gave us the Torah, it was as if He handed us a spade and commanded, “Dig.” Digging for the truth bring us to attachment and love with Hashem. A person can involve himself with good deeds, live a life of meaning, and feel a certain sense of satisfaction, but without Torah he will never have the formula that will take him to the source of infinity and goodness.

Women are commanded to cleave to Hashem and to love Him just as men are. In earlier times people did this through seeing and living Torah and attaching themselves to it. Today no responsible rabbinic authority will say women can get this without studying. You have to learn what your heart is open to, what inspires you and what gives you deveikut. You have to study with zerizut (enthusiasm). You have to be a seeker and you have to struggle to make Torah a part of yourself. You have to ask consistently, “Do I really understand?” And if not you have to work to find out. The exertion and determination you invest to understand will open your mind to the light of Torah. You have to be persistent and go over the same thing day after day until it becomes you. At the same time you have to run towards Torah it as it says, “They pursued it to know Hashem.” You have to be willing to go after wisdom wherever it is. Twisting the Torah to one’s preferences is defeating its very purpose. One must take one’s mind and train it to fit the Torah in a way that one becomes bound to the will of Hashem.

 

The Gemara in Brachot says, “Eizehu ben olam habah, zeh hasomech geulah l’tefilah. Who is worthy of the next world? One who joins redemption to prayer.” Rav Schwab asks, one would think that prayer would precede redemption, why then is redemption mentioned first? Exile is a form of distance from Hashem. Geulah is sensing His presence up close. This is the level we must achieve in tefilah. Our challenge is to pierce through the outer darkness and get to the spiritual inner core. The long torturous experience of exile, the desolate state of distance from the Divine Presence, brings us to appreciate the sweetness ofgeulah.

In this week’s parsha, Moshe Rabbeinu saw an Egyptain man beating one of his fellow Israelites. Moshe promptly killed the Egyptian. Later, he saw two Israelites, identified by Chazal as Datan and Aviram, hitting each other. When Datan and Aviram asked Moshe, “Will you do to us as you did to the Egyptian?” Moshe responded, “Achen nodah hadavar.” (Now I know why Bnei Yisrael are still in exile.) Rashi cites the midrash that Moshe understood that if there were talebearers among the people, they weren’t worthy to be redeemed. The Maharal explains that a person who is not careful to avoid forbidden speech is not connected to his inner self. On a certain level he is living in exile. Geulah by definition is something deep, concealed, and internal.

Speech takes the inner world of a person and limits it by expressing it outward. Therefore, we can understand that Moshe’s speech defect, in a certain sense showed his perfection. We can also understand why geulah precedes tefilah. The Navi says, Hashem is found in the still, small voice. When one can connect to one’s inner self and achieve closeness to Hashem, one can begin the silent prayer of Shemone Esrei. Spiritual self-display is an oxymoron because spirituality by nature is deep and personal. Our challenge is to find that part of us and develop it. It is enough if only Hashem knows our spiritual achievements. Then we have achieved a level of redemption. When we can sense the Creator’s presence in our life, we can immediately turn to Him in prayer. And then we will merit the level of ben olam habah, living in this world, while feeling the pleasure of closeness to Hashem in the next world.

How do we reach this state of internal geulah? The Ohr Gedalyahu notes that the answer is hinted to in the book of ShemotShemotmeans names. A person’s name connotes his purpose in life. It is also related to the word shemama which means desolation. We are meant to take the darkness and despair of exile and give it meaning, value, and direction. A person’s name reflects his potential energy and his ultimate destiny. When a person doesn’t utilize his inherent powers, his name and essence is in exile. Living up to one’s name gives one the ability to pierce through the blackness of exile and glimpse the redemption. At the end ofShemone Esrei there’s a custom to recite a verse pertaining to one’s name. We then pray, “Be my rock and redeemer.” We ask Hashem to help us reach our true potential and to have goals and a plan to get there, so that we can attain the ultimate geulah.

King of Insult

Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rabbi Tzvi Feuer

The first of the Thirteen Attributes is “Mi Kel kamocha Hashem. Who is like You Hashem.” At the moment of sin, the sinner takes the energy given to him by the Creator and goes against His will. It’s fully within Hashem’s power to strike that person down, yet He bears the offense and waits for repentance. We would think Hashem doesn’t take away the person’s abilities because that is just the way of creation. But the Ramak explains that this is not so. There are times when Hashem does take away a person’s life force. One could say that Hashem won’t destroy the sinner so as to preserve the balance of free choice. How then do we see Hashem’s kindness and goodness here? We can learn incredible patience from the way He allows His energy to be used against Him while He waits for the sinner to repent.

The name Elokim connotes strict judgment. The name Yud Keh Vav Keh signifies mercy. Kel represents mercy hidden within judgment. This name is used when a sinner really deserves punishment yet Hashem awakens His kindness and waits for him to repent. The Ramak says a person should strive to emulate this middah of patience. You should be willing to bear a wrongdoing even if someone is using something you gave him against you. As long as there is a reasonable chance the person will correct his sin, you should not withhold your goodness. The Reishit Chochma adds that this is really a prohibition in the Torah as it says, “Lo tikom v’lo titor. Do not take revenge or bear a grudge.” Repaying good for wrong done reflects humility and endurance.

Of course if there is no hope that the person will repent, one should take a different track.

Once while traveling by train, a man terribly insulted Rav Yisrael Salanter. When the man realized what he had done, he begged Rav Yisrael for forgiveness. He then said he’d come to receive a certificate to become a shochet (ritual slaughterer). Rav Yisrael helped him to get tutors so he could pass the exam. He then went out of his way to find him a job. Rav Yisrael applied this middah by refraining from repaying bad, and even exerted himself to act with extra kindness.

The second middah is noseh avon (carrying a sin), which is even greater than the first attribute. A sin creates negative energy, which we can call a prosecuting angel. According to strict justice, Hashem should send the angel to the person who created him and have the sinner sustain the bad angel. One of three things could then happen. The destructive angel could take the soul of the sinner, the sinner could get kares and be cut off from his spiritual source, or the angel could arrange that the person be punished based on what he deserves. But Hashem doesn’t do this. Just as He sustains the world, he sustains the destructive angels. This seems to be an even greater level of patience. Hashem not only upholds the sinner, but even the angels. He waits until the person accepts suffering, repents or dies and go to gehinom, and pay up his dues there.

One should strive to emulate Hashem and wait patiently for the repentance of those who have wronged us. In addition, when a person is going through difficult times and pushes himself to bear the situation and slowly work it through until things get better, that too is a fulfillment of the divine attribute of noseh avon. The Gemara tells the story of Rav Preida who would teach his student the same lesson 400 times. Explaining a concept to a student over and over again is also a form of noseh avon. Let us strive to fill our days with good deeds, with divine patience and forbearance, and with the hope that all those who have succumbed to the yetzer harareturn completely to Hashem.

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Yaakov Shwekey Sings For Special Children

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Select Section Jewish Culture & Yiddish: 24JEWISH ALERTS large selection videos and feeds in each section

10 Yiddish Fest 2011: Daniel Kahn & Псой Короленко

26.05.2011

Лучшие еврейские музыканты всего мира на одной сцене в Москве!

Незабываемое музыкальное шоу Пурим от ШАББАТА до РАССВЕТА в рамках VII Московского Международного Фестиваля еврейской музыки YIDDISH-FEST 2011

Главные герои:

Фрэнк Лондон (США), виртуозный клезмерский трубач легендарной группы Klezmatics, удостоенной премии «Грэмми»;
DJ Джош Долгин SoCalled (Канада) с фантастическим миксом klezmer — hip hop — funk;
Кристиан Давид (Германия), популярный кларнетист-клезмер, лидер группы Khupe;
виртуоз клезмерской скрипки Марк Ковнацкий;
еврейские фолк-панк шансонье Дэн Кан и Псой Короленко;
диско-клезмер бэнд «Опа»;
«Наеховичи» и многие другие!
================================

Frank London (USA), the virtuoso klezmer trumpeter from the legendary band the Klezmatics; DJ Josh Dolgin SoCalled (Canada) with his fantastic mix of klezmer, hip hop and funk; Christian Dawid (Germany), the popular klezmer clarinetist and leader of the band Khupe; klezmer violin virtuoso Mark Kovnatsky; Jewish folk-punk singers Dan Kahn and Psoy Korolenko; disco-klezmer band Opa; Kharkov Klezmer Band; Naekhovichi and many others.

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web: http://yiddish-fest.ru

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The Jewniverse

December 19, 2013
A Muslim, a Jew, and a Jerusalem KabbalistOne man’s trash is another man’s treasure—and sometimes, one man’s trash is another man’s history. In her second novel,In the Courtyard of the KabbalistRuchama King Feuermanexplores the ways two men—one Jewish, one Arab—build an unlikely friendship despite Jerusalem’s cultural and political divisions.Isaac Markowitz, a Lower East Side haberdasher who makesaliyah to realize his unfulfilled potential, finds a job as an assistant to a Jerusalem rabbi who is part Talmudist, partpsychoanalyst: Jews from all walks of life gather in his courtyard to seek his guidance on everything from romance tokashrut.When Mustafa, a custodian at the Temple Mount/Al-Haram al-Sharif with a rare medical condition, arrives at the courtyard, Isaac is surprised by the intimate—and curiously volatile—friendship that arises between them. One day, Mustafa brings Isaac an ancient stone pomegranate from the Temple Mount, leading Isaac—and the police—to discover that such artifacts are being buried, broken, and cast aside. Occasionally, the men come dangerously close to archetypes: the old-fashionedAshkenazi, the devout Muslim. But in Feuerman’s hands, they are human: conciliatory, contradictory, and hoping their lives have meaning.

– Leah Falk 

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Select Section Jewish Communities: 24JEWISH ALERTS large selection videos and feeds in each section

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Das Jüdische leben

 

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Select Section Tanya Shiurim: 24JEWISH ALERTS large selection videos and feeds in each section

LESSONS IN TANYA: Shabbat, December 21, 2013

Chabad.org
Tevet 18, 5774 · December 21, 2013
Today’s Tanya Lesson
Likutei Amarim, Chapter 11

Having described in ch. 9 the ongoing battle between the divine and animal souls to capture and dominate the body, the Alter Rebbe proceeds, in ch. 10, to define the termtzaddik within the context of this struggle.

He explains there that tzaddikim are classified in two general categories. The first is that of the “complete tzaddik,” also known as the “ tzaddik who possesses (only) good.” Such a tzaddik has succeeded in completely transforming the evil of his animal soul to good and holiness. A tzaddik of the second category, that of the “incompletetzaddik,” or the “ tzaddik who possesses evil,” is one who has not yet completely converted his animal soul to good; he still retains a vestige of its native evil. This remaining fragment of evil, however, is completely nullified within the far greater proportion of good.

In ch. 11, the Alter Rebbe now addresses himself to the definition of the rank that is the antithesis of the tzaddik — that of the wicked person, the rasha. In direct contrast to the tzaddik, whose divine soul overpowers his animal soul, the rasha is one whose animal soul overwhelms his divine soul.

The rank of rasha, too, is divided into two general categories: the “complete rasha,”or the “rasha who possesses only evil,” and the “incomplete rasha,” or the “rasha who possesses some good.” These categories will be defined in this chapter.

(Note: Following the Talmudic expressions which the Alter Rebbe employs, these terms are henceforth translated as the “rasha who knows (only) evil,” and the “rashawho knows good,” respectively.)

וזה לעומת זה, רשע וטוב לו לעומת צדיק ורע לו

1“One is the opposite of the other”: the “rasha who knows good” is the antithesis of the “tzaddik who knows evil.”

דהיינו שהטוב שבנפשו האלקית שבמוחו ובחלל הימני שבלבו

This means, that the good that is in [this rasha’s] divine soul, which is in his brain and in the right part of his heart (these being the chief dwelling places of the divine soul, as explained in ch. 9),

כפוף ובטל לגבי הרע מהקליפה שבחלל השמאלי

is subservient to, and nullified within, the evil of the animal soul which stemsfrom the kelipah, which is in the left part [of the heart], as explained in ch. 9.

Thus, in the “rasha who knows good” the evil of the animal soul overpowers the good of the divine soul, to the extent that the good is subservient to the evil and is nullified within it.

וזה מתחלק גם כן לרבבות מדרגות

This rank, too, is subdivided into myriads of degrees.

Just as the rank of the “tzaddik who knows evil” is subdivided into myriads of degrees with respect to the nullification within him of the evil to good, so too are there numerous subdivisions within the rank of the “rasha who knows good” with respect to the nullification of good to evil, as the Alter Rebbe continues:

חלוקות בענין כמות ואיכות הביטול וכפיפת הטוב לרע חס ושלום

[The difference between these myriad sublevels lies] in the quantity i.e., the extent and the quality of the nullification and subservience of the good to the evil, G‑d forbid.

The “quantitative” difference between one “rasha who knows good” and another is indicated by whether the good is merely outweighed by a majority of evil, or whether the evil is (say) sixty times more prevalent than the good, and so on. The “qualitative” classification hinges on what aspect of the divine soul is subservient to its evil counterpart: in one rasha the divine soul’s holy capacity for affection may be subservient to the animal soul’s affection for forbidden matters, while in another rashathe subservience may lie in another area. The Alter Rebbe now provides practical illustrations of different levels within the ranks of the “rasha who knows good.”

יש מי שהכפיפה והביטול אצלו מעט מזער

There is one in whom the subservience and nullification of good to evil are exceedingly minor,

ואף גם זאת אינו בתמידות, ולא תדיר לפרקים קרובים

and even these minor degrees are not permanent, nor recurrent at frequent intervals.

אלא לעתים רחוקים מתגבר הרע על הטוב, וכובש את העיר קטנה הוא הגוף

Rather, only on infrequent occasions does the evil prevail over the good, conquering the “small city,” i.e., the body which, as mentioned in ch. 9, is likened to a small city, whose conquest is the objective of both the divine and animal souls.

אך לא כולו אלא מקצתו לבד

Furthermore, even when the evil does conquer the body, yet not all of the body falls under its dominion, but only part of it,

שיהיה סר למשמעתו ונעשה לו מרכבה

subjecting it — that part of the body — to its discipline, and causing it to be a “chariot” to the evil, i.e., as subservient to the evil as is a chariot to its driver,

ולבוש להתלבש בו אחד משלשה לבושיה הנ״ל

and further causing that part of the body to serve as a “garment” wherein one of the animal soul’s aforementioned three garments will be clothed.

As mentioned in ch. 6, the garments of the animal soul are sinful thought, speech and action. In the case of the rasha now described the evil of the animal soul, even on those rare occasions when it does prevail over the good, can do no more than express itself in one of these areas or “garments”.

Furthermore, even in this restricted field of expression, the evil is further limited in that it can motivate this rasha to commit only minor transgressions, as the Alter Rebbe now continues:

דהיינו או במעשה לבד, לעשות עבירות קלות, ולא חמורות חס ושלום

Namely, the animal soul prevails either in deed alone, in the commission of minor transgressions [only], not major ones, G‑d forbid — for his animal soul has not the power to prevail to such an extent;

או בדיבור לבד, לדבר אבק לשון הרע וליצנות וכהאי גוונא

or it may prevail in speech alone, [but merely] in the utterance of that which borders on slander or scoffing, the evil being too weak to cause him to engage in actual slander or scoffing and the like;

או במחשבה לבד, הרהורי עבירה הקשים מעבירה

or the evil may prevail in thought alone, in contemplations of sin which are in certain respects worse than actual sin.2

Thought is more refined than speech and action, and of the soul’s three garments, it is the one most intimately connected with the soul itself. Therefore, contemplations of sin can befoul the the soul even more than the sinful deed itself.

וגם אם אינו מהרהר בעבירה לעשותה, אלא בענין זיווג זכר ונקיבה בעולם

[This is the case] even where one does not actually contemplate committing a sin, but merely indulges in contemplation on the carnal union of male and female in general,

שעובר על אזהרת התורה: ונשמרת מכל דבר רע, שלא יהרהר ביום כו׳

whereby he violates the admonition of the Torah,3 “You shall guard yourself from every wicked thing,” which our Sages interpret as an injunction that4 “one must not harbor impure fancies by day so that he will not become polluted at night”; thus, contemplation on such matters violates a command of the Torah.

או שהיא שעת הכושר לעסוק בתורה, והוא מפנה לבו לבטלה

or another area in which the evil may prevail in the case of such a partial rasha: when, at a time fitting for Torah study, he turns his heart to inane matters,

כדתנן באבות: הניעור בלילה כו׳ ומפנה לבו כו׳

as stated in the Mishnah, Tractate Avot:5 “He who awakens at nightwhen he has time to study Torah. and turns his heart to vanity, is guilty against his own soul.”

In the latter two instances, then, the animal soul’s garment of thought has prevailed and manifested itself in his body.

שבאחת מכל אלה וכיוצא בהן נקרא רשע בעת ההיא

In any one of all these instances, or their like, i.e., whenever one commits even a minor transgression in thought, speech or action, he is called rasha, wicked, at that time;

שהרע שבנפשו גובר בו ומתלבש בגופו, ומחטיאו ומטמאו

the term rasha meaning that the evil of his animal soul prevails within him, clothing itself in his body, inducing it to sin and defiling it.

ואחר כך גובר בו הטוב שבנפשו האלקית, ומתחרט

Afterwards, after this person has transgressed in any of the above-mentioned matters,the good that is in his divine soul asserts itself, and he is filled with remorse over his transgression in thought, word or action;

ומבקש מחילה וסליחה מה׳, וה׳ יסלח לו, אם שב בתשובה הראויה על פי עצת חכמינו זכרונם לברכה בשלשה חלוקי כפרה שהיה רבי ישמעאל דורש כו׳, כמו שכתוב במקום אחר

he will seek pardon and forgiveness of G‑d for his transgression, and if he repents with the appropriate penitence, in accordance with the counsel of our Sages of blessed memory, G‑d will indeed forgive him, with [one of] the three forms of pardon expounded by Rabbi Yishmael,6 as explained elsewhere.7

The three forms of pardon: (a) If one transgresses a positive precept and repents, he is pardoned at once; (b) if he transgresses a prohibitive commandment and repents, the Day of Atonement together with his repentance atones; (c) if his transgression carries the penalty of karet (spiritual excision) or execution at the hands of the court, then after having repented and undergone the spiritual cleansing of Yom Kippur, suffering brings about full atonement.

However, as the Rebbe notes, the divine pardon elicited by this person’s repentance does not change his status of rasha in the true sense of the term, but only in the borrowed sense of the terms rasha and tzaddik as applied to reward and punishment. Indeed, when weighed on the scales of merits and sins, such a person — who sins rarely, only in minor matters, and then repents immediately — is deemed a tzaddik and deserves reward, since the overwhelming majority of his deeds are good.

But this usage of tzaddik is merely a borrowed term, as explained in ch. 1. As true definitive terms, tzaddik and rasha describe the quality of the good or evil in one’s soul.Viewed in this perspective the person described above is classified as a rasha even after he repents and is pardoned, for he still retains his predisposition toward sin, and his animal soul still tends to dominate him.

Thus far the Alter Rebbe has discussed a higher-level rasha — the “rasha who knows good” — one in whom the animal soul rarely prevails, and then only in one of the three soul-garments of thought, speech and action.

ויש מי שהרע גובר בו יותר

There is, however, another [type of “rasha who knows good”], in whom the evil prevails more strongly.

ומתלבשים בו כל שלשה לבושים של הרע, ומחטיאו בעבירות חמורות יותר, ובעתים קרובים יותר

All three garments of evil clothe themselves in him — he transgresses in thought, in speech, as well as in action; also, the evil causes him to commit more heinous sins, and [to sin] more frequently.

אך בינתיים מתחרט, ובאים לו הרהורי תשובה מבחינת הטוב שבנפשו, שמתגבר קצת בינתיים

Yet he, too, is nevertheless described as a “rasha who knows good,” forintermittently between one sin and the next he experiences remorse, and thoughts of repentance enter his mind, arising from the aspect of good that is still in his soul, that gathers a degree of strength in the interim.

אלא שאין לו התגברות כל כך לנצח את הרע

However, the good within him does not strengthen itself sufficiently to vanquish the evil

לפרוש מחטאיו לגמרי, להיות מודה ועוזב

so that he can rid himself entirely of his sins, and be as one who confesseshis sins and abandons them once and for all.

ועל זה אמרו רז״ל: רשעים מלאים חרטות

Concerning such a person, the Rabbis of blessed memory have said,8“The wicked are full of remorse,” i.e., between sins. It is also possible that even while sinning they regret their actions, but feel themselves unable to master their desires.

שהם רוב הרשעים, שיש בחינת טוב בנפשם עדיין

These represent the majority of the wicked, in whose soul there still lingers some good — and it is this good which causes these feelings of vexation and remorse in their mind and heart.

We thus see that there are many levels within the rank of the “rasha who knows good,” ranging from one who sins only rarely, only in minor matters, and with the involvement of only one soul-garment, to him who sins often, grievously, and with all three soul-garments. Yet they all come under the same heading of the “rasha who knows good,” the difference between them being to what degree the good within them is dominated by the evil — in direct contrast to the rank of the “tzaddik who knows evil,” where there are various degrees of dominance of the evil by the good.

Having defined the “rasha who knows good,” the Alter Rebbe now turns to consider the “rasha who knows (only) evil”:

אבל מי שאינו מתחרט לעולם, ואין באים לו הרהורי תשובה כלל, נקרא רשע ורע לו

But he who never feels contrition, and in whose mind no thoughts of repentance at all ever enter, is called a “rasha who knows (only) evil.”

שהרע שבנפשו הוא לבדו נשאר בקרבו, כי גבר כל כך על הטוב עד שנסתלק מקרבו

For only the evil in his soul has remained in him, having so prevailed over the good that the latter has departed from within him,

ועומד בבחינת מקיף עליו מלמעלה

and the good now stands in a manner of makkif over him, i.e., the good hovers over him, so to speak, in an aloof and external manner, so that he has no conscious awareness of it.

Yet, since he still possesses good, albeit as a makkif, for after all, he possesses a divine soul —

ולכן אמרו רז״ל: אכל בי עשרה שכינתא שריא

Therefore have the Sages said,9 “Over every gathering of any ten Jews rests the Shechinah (the Divine Presence).”

That is to say, even if they are all in the category of the “rasha who knows (only) evil,” the Shechinah still hovers over them; for they too possess good in a manner ofmakkif. Since at such a gathering the Shechinah is present only in the externally encompassing way of makkif, not entering the consciousness of those assembled, therefore their correspondingly makkif level of good is sufficient to enable them to receive this revelation.

With regard to the subject of the Jew whose animal soul prevails over his divine soul, the following story bears mention.

A certain freethinker once asked of the Tzemach Tzedek: The word Yehudim(“Jews”) is normally spelled in the Book of Esther with one letter yud before the final letter. Why is it that when the word is used there in connection with the harsh decree against the Jews, it is spelled with two letters yud?

The Tzemach Tzedek answered: Yud is numerically equivalent to ten; it represents the ten soul-powers possessed by both the divine and animal souls. There are Jews who conduct their lives solely according to the dictates of the divine soul’s ten powers, while in other Jews the animal soul prevails, and their conduct is dictated also by the animal soul’s ten powers. Haman planned to exterminate all the Jews, even those who were of two yuds, i.e., those ruled by the ten evil soul-powers as well.

But the man persisted: Why then is the word spelled several times with two yudseven after the decree was repealed? To which the Tzemach Tzedek responded: After suffering under Haman’s evil decree and ultimately witnessing G‑d’s salvation, even those Jews repented and became equals of their brethren whose lives were led by the dictates of the divine soul and good inclination. Thus, concluded the Tzemach Tzedek, the two yuds (yud, or yid, is also Yiddish for “Jew”) became equal.

FOOTNOTES
1. Kohelet 7:14.
2. Yoma 29a. Cf. Chiddushei Aggadot of Maharsha, ad. loc.; Netivot Olam of Maharal, Netiv HaPerishut.
3. Devarim 23:10.
4. Ketubbot 46a.
5. 3:4.
6. Yoma 86a.
7. Tanya, Iggeret HaTeshuvah, ch. 1.
8. Nedarim 9b. (So cited in early sources, though not to be found in current editions of the Talmud).
9. Sanhedrin 39a.
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LESSONS IN TANYA: Friday, December 20, 2013

Chabad.org
Tevet 17, 5774 · December 20, 2013
Today’s Tanya Lesson
Likutei Amarim, end of Chapter 10

ועוד נקראים בני עליה

Another reason for their designation of bnei aliyah:1

מפני שגם עבודתם בבחינת ועשה טוב, בקיום התורה ומצותיה, הוא לצורך גבוה ומעלה מעלה עד רום כל המעלות

Even their divine service in the area of “doing good,” in their fulfillment of Torah and its mitzvot, is for the sake of the Above, and their service is directed toward a most high level, toward the loftiest heights.

ולא כדי לדבקה בו יתברך בלבד, לרוות צמאון נפשם הצמאה לה׳

[Their divine service] is not [intended] merely to attach themselves to G‑d by serving Him through Torah and mitzvot, so as to quench the thirst of their soul which thirsts for G‑d,

The divine service of tzaddikim of lower levels may indeed be for the purpose of stilling their thirst for G‑d and their desire to cleave to Him; for indeed, the fulfillment of Torah and mitzvot satisfies these needs —

כמו שכתוב: הוי כל צמא לכו למים

as it is written:2 “Ho, exclaims the prophet, all who are thirsty for G‑dliness, should go to the waters of Torah,” i.e., let them engage in Torah, which is likened to water,

וכמו שכתוב במקום אחר

as is explained elsewhere, that the “thirsty ones” of this verse refer to those who thirst for G‑dliness.

The prophet’s words prove this point. Were he addressing those who thirst for Torah, he need not exclaim “Ho,” nor direct them to its “waters”. Whoever thirsts for Torah will find it readily available for study. Rather, the prophet is addressing those who thirst for G‑d, advising them to slake their thirst for Him through Torah, which binds one to G‑d.

The “men of ascent,” however, whom we have been discussing, are beyond this level of divine service. They do not study Torah or perform mitzvot with the intention of quenching their own thirst for G‑dliness, for such service is — in a subtle sense — self-serving, as it is motivated by one’s desire for a certain spiritual profit, namely, the bliss of closeness to G‑d.

אלא כדפירשו בתיקונים: איזהו חסיד, המתחסד עם קונו, עם קן דיליה

Rather their service of G‑d is as the Tikkunei Zohar3 explains that which our Sages have said: “Who is a pious one (chassid)? He who is benevolent(mischassed) with his Creator (kono).” The Tikkunei Zohar comments, thatkono (usually translated “his Creator”) is here to be interpreted as “his nest” (derived from the root ken — “nest”), and thus, the chassid is he who is benevolent “with his nest” — i.e., his Source, G‑d. This “benevolence” towards G‑d consists of —

לייחדא קודשא בריך הוא ושכינתיה בתחתונים

“uniting the Holy One, blessed be He, with His Shechinah (the Divine Presence), so that the light of this union reach and be felt even in the lowest worlds.”

וכמו שכתוב ברעיא מהימנא, פרשת תצא: כברא דאשתדל בתר אבוי ואימיה, דרחים לון יתיר מגרמיה ונפשיה ורוחיה ונשמתיה כו׳

As is also explained in Ra‘aya Mehemna on Parshat Tetze: “In the manner of a son who exerts himself for his father and mother, whom he loves more than himself, [more than] his own Nefesh, Ruach andNeshamah,

ומסר גרמיה למיתה עלייהו למיפרק לון כו׳, וכמו שכתוב במקום אחר

and who sacrifices his life for their sake to redeem them, should they be held in captivity,“ and as is also explained elsewhere.

Such is the divine service of “men of ascent”: it is wholly altruistic, motivated only by a desire to please G‑d and make His presence felt everywhere.

The Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain that the two aforementioned interpretations of the term “men of ascent” accord with each other and are in fact complementary.

It is a kabbalistic axiom that the “elevation of mahn” (מ”ן — initials of mayin nukvin,lit., “feminine waters”) effects a corresponding “descent of mahd” (מ”ד — initials ofmayin dechurin, lit., “masculine waters”). This means that the arousal of the “feminine” level, i.e., the recipient (which in our case means the efforts of man below, in actions directed “upward” toward G‑d), causes a reciprocal arousal of the “masculine” level, i.e., the giver (meaning, in our case, G‑d’s benevolence as it “flows downward” and is bestowed upon man).

Applying this to the service of “men of ascent” we find the following. That aspect of their service mentioned in the first interpretation — that they elevate evil and convert it to good — constitutes an “ascent of mahn.” The aspect mentioned in the second interpretation — that by their service of love they draw down G‑d’s Presence upon earth — constitutes a “descent of mahd,” for every mitzvah that they perform (as a channel for the descent of G‑d’s Presence) is an expression of G‑d’s benevolence. Thus, the two interpretations are complementary, since the “ascent of mahn” is what causes the “descent of mahd” as stated above.

(The Alter Rebbe employs kabbalistic terms in his explanation, which are explained inChassidut at length; they will become clearer in the course of further study.)

In the Alter Rebbe’s words:

ושניהם עולים בקנה אחד. כי על ידי הבירורים שמבררים מנוגה מעלים מיין נוקבין

(4Both interpretations are complementary. For by refining [the good found in] kelipat nogah, as the “men of ascent” do by converting their animal soul (which is derived from kelipat nogah) to good, one elevates “feminine waters”(mahn),

ונעשים יחודים עליונים להוריד מיין דכורין

effecting unions in the higher realms, so as to cause “masculine waters”(mahd) to descend to this world.

שהם הם מימי החסדים שבכל מצוה ומצוה מרמ״ח מצות עשה, שכולן הן בחינת חסדים ומיין דכורין

These [“masculine waters”] are the “waters” of kindness that flow into and are contained in each of the 248 positive mitzvot, which are all in the nature of “kindness”, or benevolence, and “masculine waters.”

דהיינו המשכת קדושת אלקותו יתברך מלמעלה למטה להתלבש בתחתונים, כמו שכתוב במקום אחר

This term “masculine waters” as applied to mitzvot means that the mitzvot draw G‑d’s holiness from above, i.e., from the higher realms, downward, so that [G‑d’s holiness] be clothed in and revealed within the lowest realms, i.e., our physical world, as explained elsewhere.) Thus the two interpretations of the term “men of ascent” are complementary.

——— ● ———

FOOTNOTES
1. The Rebbe notes that two reasons are given for the use of the name bnei aliyah for the same level of tzaddikim, viz., the higher level. One reason corresponds to the appellation “complete tzaddik,” while the other corresponds to the term “tzaddikwho knows only good.” (As we have seen, the “complete tzaddik” is so called because of the degree of his love of G‑d; the explanation appropriate here is the latter — that his love is utterly selfless. The “tzaddik who knows only good” is so called because of his eradication and conversion of evil; the explanation appropriate to him is the former — that he elevates evil to holiness.)
2. Yeshayahu 55:1.
3. Introduction to Tikkunei Zohar 1b. See Zohar II, 114b; III, 222b; 288a.
4. Parentheses are in the original text.
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“TODAY’S DAY”: Shabbat, December 21, 2013

Chabad.org
Tevet 18, 5774 · 12/21/2013
“Today’s Day”
Shabbat Tevet 18 5703
Torah lessons: Chumash: Vay’chi, Shevi’i with Rashi.
Tehillim: 88-89.
Tanya: Ch. 11. “One is (p. 43)…hovers the Shechinah.”

The one called for the last aliya (concluding each Book of the Chumash), also sayschazak chazak venit’chazeik (as does the congregation).

In saying viyhi noam (p. 116) on Saturday night, repeat the verse orech yamim…; but not at Shacharit (of Shabbat, p. 154).

When the Tzemach Tzedek was a boy and learned the passage, “Yaakov lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years,”1 his teacher translated according to the Baal Haturimcommentary: “Our father Yaakov lived his seventeen best years in Egypt.” When he returned home from Cheder he asked his grandfather, the Alter Rebbe: How can it be that our father Yaakov, the elect of the Patriarchs, should have as the best years of his life the seventeen that he lived in Egypt, the land of corruption?2

The Alter Rebbe answered: It is written, “And Yehuda he sent before him to Yosef to give instructions for Goshen.”3 The Midrash states, and Rashi quotes this, R. Nechemya said – to establish a house of study so Torah would be there and the tribes would study Torah. “To give instructions4 for Goshen” means (in a deeper sense), when one learns Torah he comes closer5 to The Al-mighty, may He be blessed, so even in Egypt it was true to say vay’chi – he lived.

FOOTNOTES
1. Bereishit 47:28.
2. See Rashi on Bereishit 12:19 and Vayikra 18:3.
3. Bereishit 46:28.
4. Lehorot (lit. “to teach”) related to the word “Torah.”
5. “…comes closer…”, related to the word “Goshen.”
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Compiled and arranged by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, in 5703 (1943) from the talks and letters of the sixth Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, of righteous memory.

“TODAY’S DAY”: Friday, December 20, 2013

Chabad.org
Tevet 17, 5774 · 12/20/2013
“Today’s Day”
Friday Tevet 17 5703
Torah lessons: Chumash: Vay’chi, Shishi with Rashi.
Tehillim: 83-87.
Tanya: A further explanation (p. 43)…as explained elsewhere). (p. 43).

The reason for not studying Torah on nittel-night,1 I heard from my father, is to avoid adding vitality.

My father once said: Those diligent students who begrudge those eight hours and cannot tear themselves away from study – I am not fond of them. This (abstaining from study) applies only until midnight.

FOOTNOTES
1. The non-Jewish festival commonly celebrated on December 25th.
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Compiled and arranged by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, in 5703 (1943) from the talks and letters of the sixth Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, of righteous memory.

DAILY MITZVAH (Maimonides): Shabbat, December 21, 2013

Chabad.org
Today’s Mitzvah
Tevet 18, 5774 · December 21, 2013
A daily digest of Maimonides’ classic work “Sefer Hamitzvot”

Negative Commandment 315
Cursing Judges

“You shall not curse the judge”—Exodus 22:27.

It is forbidden to curse a judge.

Full text of this Mitzvah »


Negative Commandment 281
Listening to a Single Litigant

“You shall not raise a false report”—Exodus 23:1.

A judge may not listen to the arguments of one of the parties in a case if the other party is not present. This because, for the most part, arguments presented by a party when not in the presence of the opposing party are false. This mitzvah ensures that the judge doesn’t approach the case with any untrue prejudice.

This prohibition also includes:

  • The defendant may not present his case to the judge when not in the presence of his opponent [i.e., the prohibition applies to both the judge and the litigant].
  • Speaking lashon hara (evil gossip).
  • Listening to and believing lashon hara.
  • Giving false testimony.

Full text of this Mitzvah »


Negative Commandment 316
Cursing a Leader

“Nor shall you curse the ruler of your people”—Exodus 22:27.

It is forbidden to curse the nasi. The term nasi applies to the individual in the highest position of power—whether that authority is governmental (i.e., the king), or in the realm of Torah (i.e., the sage who presides over the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Supreme Court).

Full text of this Mitzvah »


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DAILY MITZVAH (Maimonides): Friday, December 20, 2013

Chabad.org
Today’s Mitzvah
Tevet 17, 5774 · December 20, 2013
A daily digest of Maimonides’ classic work “Sefer Hamitzvot”

Negative Commandment 280
Perverting Justice against a Convert or Orphan

“You shall not pervert the judgment of the stranger or the orphan”—Deuteronomy 24:17.

A judge is forbidden to unlawfully rule against a convert or orphan [taking advantage of their powerlessness].

Though it is forbidden to pervert justice no matter the identity of the defendant, a judge who does so in that case of a convert or orphan, transgresses also this additional prohibition.

Full text of this Mitzvah »


Positive Commandment 177
Equal Treatment for Litigants

“With righteousness, judge your neighbor”—Leviticus 19:15.

The judge presiding over a case must treat both litigants equally, giving each the opportunity to speak whatever is on his mind—whether he speaks briefly or at length.

Also included in this mitzvah is the obligation on a qualified judge who is versed in Torah’s legal code to issue a verdict. This obligation takes effect as soon as the two litigants present their arguments before him.

And also included in this mitzvah is that every individual is commanded to give his fellow the benefit of the doubt, and, when circumstances allow, to interpret his fellow’s actions or words in a favorable light.

Full text of this Mitzvah »


Negative Commandment 276
Fearless Justice

“You shall not be afraid before any man”—Deuteronomy 1:17.

A judge may not fear an evil and dangerous individual, ruling in his favor because he’s concerned that he may exact revenge against him. As the Midrash says, “Perhaps you will see, ‘I fear that individual for perhaps he will kill my son, set my barn afire, or destroy my crops’—therefore the Torah says, ‘You shall not be afraid before any man!'”

Full text of this Mitzvah »


Negative Commandment 274
Bribery

“And you shall take no bribe”—Exodus 23:8.

A judge may not accept a gift from any of the parties in a case—even if the gift is given on condition that he rules justly [i.e., the party presenting the gift clearly states that it does not expect – or want – to be favored in any way].

Full text of this Mitzvah »


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LESSONS IN TANYA: Thursday, December 19, 2013

Chabad.org
Tevet 16, 5774 · December 19, 2013
Today’s Tanya Lesson
Likutei Amarim, middle of Chapter 10

וצדיק שאינו גמור הוא שאינו שונא הסטרא אחרא בתכלית השנאה

The “incomplete tzaddik” is he who does not hate the sitra achra — the spiritual kelipot — with an absolute hatred;

ולכן אינו מואס גם כן ברע בתכלית

therefore he also does not find evil — physical desires and pleasures — absolutely repugnant.

וכל שאין השנאה והמיאוס בתכלית, על כרחך נשאר איזה שמ׳ אהבה ותענוג לשם

As long as his hatred and abhorrence of evil are not absolute, perforce he must have retained some vestige of love and pleasure towards it.

ולא הוסרו הבגדים הצואים לגמרי מכל וכל

The “filthy garments” in which the animal soul had been clothed, meaning (as explained above) the evil inclination and the lusting after worldly pleasures, have [obviously] not been completely shed from it.

ולכן לא נהפך לטוב ממש, מאחר שיש לו איזה אחיזה עדיין בבגדים הצואים

Therefore, too,[ the evil] of the animal soul has not actually been converted to good, since it still has some hold on the “filthy garments,” i.e., the desires for pleasure in which the animal soul had previously “clothed” and expressed itself,

אלא שהוא בטל במיעוטו וכלא חשיב

except that this vestige of evil is imperceptible and cannot express itself in evil desires, etc., because [the evil] is nullified [in the good] by reason of its minuteness, and is accounted as nothing, i.e., the overwhelming preponderance of good prevents the evil from being sensed and from finding expression.

ולכן נקרא צדיק, ורע כפוף ובטל לו

Indeed, he is therefore called צדיק ורע לו, which means (not only “tzaddik who knows (retains) evil,” but also) “a tzaddik whose evil is [his”; i.e.,] subjugated and surrendered to him,“ to the good within him. Such a tzaddik is identified with the good, since he is overwhelmingly good.

ועל כן גם אהבתו לה׳ אינה בתכלית

Perforce, then, the fact that he retains some evil indicates that his love of G‑d is also not complete, for a complete love of G‑d would have converted all the evil within him to good.

ולכן נקרא צדיק שאינו גמור

He is therefore called an “incomplete tzaddik.”

For, as explained above, the terms “complete” and “incomplete” denote the tzaddik’slevel of love for G‑d, and the terms “who knows only good” and “who knows evil” denote the degree of his eradication and transformation of evil.

והנה מדרגה זו מתחלקת לרבבות מדרגות, בענין בחינת מיעוט הרע הנשאר מאחד מארבעה יסודות רעים

Now, this level — that of the “incomplete tzaddik” who “knows evil” — is subdivided into myriads of levels, consisting of [varying degrees in] the quality of the minute remaining evil [deriving] from [any] one of the four “evil elements” of which the animal soul is composed (see ch. 1).

In one tzaddik the remaining evil may consist of the element of Water, in another the evil may consist of a spark of the element of Fire, and so on. This subdivision of levels is qualitative, based on the type of remaining evil.

The Alter Rebbe will now describe (as it were) a quantitative subdivision, depending on the degree to which the evil loses its identity within the good. In one tzaddik the vestigial evil may be such that the proportion of good to evil could be described as 60:1; the evil in another tzaddik may be more minute, so that it is overwhelmed by a proportion of good that is 1000:1; and so on.

Yet, to borrow a term from the law concerning non-kosher foodstuffs, where in certain cases of error the rule is that even a preponderance of 60 parts (kosher) to 1 (non-kosher) is sufficient to render the entire mixture kosher (since the non-kosher food is no longer capable of tainting the mixture with its flavor), we may likewise say in our case that a preponderance of good over evil to the degree of 60:1 is also capable of preventing the expression and perception of the remaining evil.

In the Alter Rebbe’s words:

ובענין ביטולו במיעוטו

[The subdivision] also takes into account the degree to which [the remaining evil] is nullified [in the good] because of its minuteness,

בששים על דרך משל, או באלף ורבבה וכיוצא, על דרך משל

whether in sixty [times as much good], for example, or in a thousand, or ten thousand, and so on.

והן הם בחינת צדיקים הרבים שבכל הדורות

These various sublevels in the ranks of “incomplete tzaddikim” are the levels of the numerous tzaddikim found in all generations, all of whom belong to the category of the “incomplete tzaddik,”

כדאיתא בגמרא, דתמניסר אלפי צדיקיא קיימי קמיה הקדוש ברוך הוא

as we find in the Gemara,1 “Eighteen thousand tzaddikim stand before the Holy One, blessed be He.”

Thus, though many attain the level of tzaddik, they are in fact “incompletetzaddikim.”

אך על מעלת צדיק גמור, הוא שאמר רבי שמעון בר יוחאי: ראיתי בני עליה והם מועטים כו׳

But concerning the rank of the “complete tzaddik,” Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s statement2 applies: “I have seen ’superior men‘ (bnei aliyah)and they are but few.”

שלכן נקראים בני עליה, שמהפכין הרע ומעלים אותו לקדושה

The reason that [the complete tzaddikim] are called bnei aliyah (literally: “men of ascent”) is that they convert evil and make it ascend to holiness.

כדאיתא בזהר בהקדמה, שכשרצה רבי חייא לעלות להיכל רבי שמעון בן יוחאי שמע קלא נפיק ואמר

It is similarly written in the intoduction to the Zohar,3 that when Rabbi Chiyya wished to ascend to the heichal (heavenly shrine) of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, he heard a voice come out and say:

מאן מנכון די חשוכא מהפכן לנהורא, וטעמין מרירו למיתקא עד לא ייתון הכא וכו׳

“Whichever of you, before coming here, have converted the darkness of the world to light (holiness), and [have transformed] the bitter taste of their animal soul and evil inclination to sweetness (holiness)[only these may enter].”

FOOTNOTES
1. Paraphrase of Sukkah 45b and Sanhedrin 97b.
2. Ibid.
3. Zohar I, 4a.
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Translated from Yiddish by Rabbi Levy Wineberg and Rabbi Sholom B. Wineberg. Edited by Uri Kaploun.
Published and copyright by Kehot Publication Society, all rights reserved.