Chapter 19: The Chochma of the soul desires attachment to G-d even on expense of its existence
2nd Shevat/(LY)10th Shevat
1. The soul of man is compared to the flame of a wick:
- To further understand this concept discussed in the previous chapter [that a Jew contains a hidden love of G-d which is responsible for his willingness to give up his life for the sake of G-d’s unity despite him having no comprehension in G-d or his unity] we must first well clarify the verse which states that “the candle of G-d is the soul of man.” This verse is in essence saying that the soul of the people, who are called man, is similar to the flame of a wick.
2. The connection-A flame desires to leave its wick:
- The connection between the soul of man and the flame of a wick is that they both contain a similar nature to desire to leave their source.
- A desire to connect to its root: A flame is naturally always bouncing upwards. The reason for this is because the flame desires by its very nature to separate and leave its wick and to connect and attach to its root above which is the general element of fire which is found under the sphere of the moon.
- The natural desire of the flame to connect above even though it will lose independent existence: Now, although the flame will extinguish and cease to give light down here below if it leaves its wick, and likewise above in heaven will cease to have any independent existence having its light incorporated and completely nullified in its root and source nonetheless, the flame still naturally desires to leave its wick.
3. The soul wants to expire in order to cleave to G-d:
- A desire to connect to its root, which is G-d: Just as it is with the flame, so too it is with the soul of man in all of its levels, that it naturally desires and yearns to separate and leave the body in order to attach to its root and source in G-d who is the life of all life.
- The natural desire of the soul to connect above even though it will lose independent existence: Now, although the soul will become like naught and be completely nullified in its existence, and not have anything left of it from its original essence, nevertheless it still naturally desires to expire [and be one with G-d].
- “Nature” refers to matters that are irrational and above comprehension: The term “nature” is a general term used for every matter that is above reasoning and rationale. Indeed, here too when we use the term nature to describe the soul’s desire to connect to G-d, the intent is to say that this desire and yearning of the soul is not as a result of any specific intellectual comprehension and in turn is not able to be rationalized and reasoned with by intellect. It rather completely surpasses comprehension and intellect.
- The Chochma of the soul: This natural yearning and desire of the soul comes from the level of Chochma of the soul which contains the infinite light of G-d within.
4. Holiness always desires to be nullified to G-d:
- The following is a general principle for all matters that are part of the side of holiness:
- All holiness comes from Chochma which is Bittul: Anything holy has to be derived from the level of Chochma which is referred to as the supernal holiness. The reason for this is because Chochma is completely nullified in existence the infinite light of G-d that is invested within it, and it is hence not an independent entity. It is for this reason that Chochma is called by the term “Koach Mah/a power of what?” which minimizes its independence.
5. Kelipa is Yeishus-self-centeredness and egocentricity:
- The above definition of the realm of holiness is the exact opposite of the definition of the realm of evil of Kelipa and Sitra Achra, from which all souls of the nations of the world derive from. [As the side of evil is not interested in giving up of itself for another, or being nullified to another, and its central focus is on itself and how to personally profit and benefit its own existence.]
- Even their kindness contains personal gain and intent: This is why even when the nations of the world perform acts of kindness and good deeds, it always involves some personal gain as its hidden intent.
- Side of evil wants to take, not give: The Kelipos scream “give me give me” and “feed me” as their sole desire is to be an independent entity, which is the exact opposite of the aspect of
- The side of evil lacks an experience of true life: It is for this reason that the Kelipos are referred to as dead, as true life only derives from the level of Chochma as stated in Scripture, and they do not feel this level of Chochma, hence not experiencing a true life.
6. Reshaim and Jewish sinners are “dead” as their Chochma is in exile:
- Reshaim and Jewish sinners are also considered like dead prior to being challenged with giving up their lives for the sake of the sanctity of G-d.
- Their Chochma is in exile within their Kelipa: The reason for this is because the aspect of Chochma, that is in their G-dly soul, together with the spark of G-dliness from the infinite light of G-d which is invested in it, is found in a state of exile within their body and animal soul which comes from Kelipa and is found in the left part of the heart. The reason for this is because it is their animal soul from Kelipa which rules and controls their body and causes the mystical exile of the divine presence within them.
- A hidden love that is exiled within their Kelipa: It is likewise for this reason that the love of their G-dly soul, which desires and yearns to cleave to G-d who is the life of all life, is referred to as a hidden love, as in truth within sinners of Israel, it is concealed and covered by the sackcloth of Kelipa.
- A spirit of folly which causes them to sin: It is then from this Kelipa, which has successfully concealed the love for holiness and G-d, which comes the spirit of folly that causes a person to sin as the sages state that a person does not sin unless a spirit of folly enters him.
7. The portion of Chochma that is in exile within Reshaim:
- Only the conscious state of Chochma is exiled and concealed: This state of exile of the level of Chochma only conceals and prevents the effects of Chochma from being felt in the body and soul, so that the soul does not consciously experience the vitality that it receives from Chochma, and Chochma becomes unaware of its reality and existence.
- The root and subconscious state of Chochma remains intact and is not exiled: However, the root and principal of the aspect of Chochma within the G-dly soul remains intact in the mind and does not become invested in the sackcloth of the side of Kelipa that is in the left part of the heart and hence does not become actually exiled within the side of Kelipa.
- In a state of sleep while involved in lusts and pleasures: Nonetheless, even this root and principal of the aspect of Chochma which is found in the mind, is in a state asleep within Reshaim, and does not become awakened to consciously affect the Rasha so long as his mind is still involved with the lusts and pleasures of the physical world.
8. The return and revival of the level of Chochma within Reshaim:
- The reawakening of their Chochma when challenged with matters of faith: However, when the Rasha becomes challenged with a matter relating to their faith which is above intellect, and reaches the very core of their soul, to the aspect of Chochma within it, then it becomes reawakened from its state asleep and begins to consciously affect the individual as a result of the power of G-d invested within it. It is this reawakening that gives even the sinners of Israel the natural ability to withstand the challenge of their faith when pressed to give up their lives on behalf of their belief in G-d without any reason or rationale and comprehension.
- Overcomes all their lusts and negative addictions: At that moment, their G-dly soul with its aspect Chochma overcomes all of the Kelipos and lusts it has for the worldly pleasures, whether permitted and forbidden. It can even overcome those pleasures than he has become so accustomed to, to the point that he now despises them, and comes to choose G-d as his portion and lot and give up his life for the sake of the sanctity of G-d’s name.
- The Kelipos become nullified and vanish: Now, although the Kelipos have taken control over the Rasha throughout his life, and he has never successfully overthrown them, as the sages state that sinners are ruled by their heart, nevertheless, when they come to a challenge in a matter of faith in the one G-d, then all of the Kelipos become nullified and vanish.
- A challenge of one’s faith reveals the light of G-d to which all evil is nonexistent: The reason for this is because the faith in the one G-d is rooted in the highest of high of the soul, which is the level of Chochma of the G-dly soul which contains the infinite light of G-d within it. Hence, during a time of challenge in this faith, this divine light becomes revealed, and banishes all of the evil within the person as if they never existed.
9. An immense revelation that banishes evil even from one’s soul garments:
- Now, the infinite light of G-d that is invested within the level of Chochma that is within the soul is so powerful and intense that it is able to banish the side of evil from affecting even one’s garments, which are the thought speech and action of one’s belief and faith in the one G-d.
- Not denying the oneness of G-d even externally in speech or action: The above means that one is able to stand the challenge to give up his life for the sake of G-d’s unity, even if he is only asked to perform an external action which contradicts the belief in the one G-d, such as to prostrate oneself to idolatry. Although one does not truly believe at all in the idolatry in his heart and is only doing external action to save his life, nonetheless, the revelation of Chochma is so strong within his soul, that even this he is not able to bring himself to do and would rather give up his life. Likewise, he is unable to speak heretically about the unity of G-d, G-d forbid even if in his heart he retains his complete faith in G-d and is only saying this externally in order to save his life, nonetheless, he would rather give up his life then even make such a statement.
10. The fear included within the love:
- The above inability of the person to deny his faith in G-d even externally is considered the fear of G-d that is contained within his natural love of G-d.
- A fear of separation from G-d’s unity: This means as follows: Since all Jews contain a natural love within their G-dly soul which desires and yearns to attach to their root and source in the infinite G-d, therefore, as a result of this natural love the soul also naturally fears and is petrified of doing anything which contradicts the faith in the one G-d, such as being involved in anything having to do with the impurity of idolatry G-d forbid. Thus, it fears even speaking or doing an external action which contradicts G-d’s unity even if in his heart he remains faithful to G-d.