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Great Is My Desire
Great is My Desire
Great is my desire to ally the spiritual Torah with the Torah of deed.
In earlier days, in the days of the prophets, certainly these two Torahs were completely allied, as well as in the days of the Tannaim and the Amoraim. And the development of the Talmud Yerushalmi is certainly in the form of the unification of these two parts of the Torah. Indeed, the sealing of the Talmud Bavli came to make it possible for the light of the Torah to shine as well in the areas of darkness.
And the time demands that the phenomenon is now brought back to its forcefulness.
It is very difficult for me to deal with halachic matters only or with aggadic matters only, with revealed matters only or with hidden matters only.
Similarly, it is difficult for me to turn my thought to a path of simple faith only, or to a path of philosophy and logic only.
And the same applies to self-isolation and of friendship and community only.
All streams are regnant in me: faith and philosophy, nationalism and ethics, halachah and aggadah, the revealed and the hidden, analysis and song. I must absorb everything.
And out of the oneness of supernal, elevated matters, I stride forward to truly cling to Hashem, to raise the holy light of the Congregation of Israel, in idea and in deed, to the Source of its vitality.
I dream dreams of the greatest matters. I fly up to the heavens. There is no constraint upon the spirit of my imagination and my constant aspiration. Happiness and goodness, purity and holiness—I constantly yearn to cling to these.
The pure nature of creation, of the nation, of the individual, of the moment, of eternity, and that which encompasses [that pure nature] and that which fills the entire content of its life—that is the joy of my life.
“My soul is sated as if with fat and abundance, as my mouth praises with joyous language.”
“Great is Hashem and much praised, and there is no end to His greatness.”
“I will come with the might of Hashem God; I will mention Your righteousness alone.”
“I will thank You because I have been wondrous, awesomely made; wondrous are Your deeds, and my spirit knows that exceedingly.”
I Cannot Constrict Myself
I cannot constrict myself to one topic, to one matter, to one level and to one style, but I must draw from all styles, from all matters, from all levels, from all things.
If I see one path that is good in my eyes, and I want to draw myself to it alone, I see afterwards how the other paths seek their purpose from me.
I must dig and drink water from my well, the well of living waters, from the portion of the Torah within my soul, from the letter that is unique to me, this conduit through which all the letters of the Torah come to me, this content through which the entire world and all its affairs relate to me.
With a whole heart, with a proper spirit, with a humble spirit, with might and holy joy I must receive all the flowing rivers. Although they come to me very scattered, in the end they will unite.
I must only raise my eyes to the source of oneness, to the source of life.
I must cling to the supernal thought in the holiness of the Torah and its root, in the light of life of the joy of our delight, the Rock of our salvation, upon the straight path of good traits, of building and rectification of the glory of the world, the gladness of life, the holiness of being, the depth of reality, to its harmony, glory, loveliness and splendor of all worlds—to the Creator of all souls, to the Master of all deeds, to the beauty of the Living One of all worlds. To the source of all songs, to the emanating loveliness that has no equivalent, to the source of all truths, to the height of all goodness, to the holy clinging, to the foundation of all life, to the wellspring of all consciousness, to the source of truth, to the light of the root of all the most holy, to the beginning of every beginning and every purpose.
With What Shall I Occupy Myself?
What shall I do, with what shall I occupy myself? Is constant, unchanging, monochromatic activity fit for me? Or activity that leaps, jumps, changes and moves? Regarding this question I require no answer.
My lack of talent for a fixed activity, unchanging and monochromatic, is beyond any doubt.
But peripatetic involvement is also not for me.
Just as I find within myself a lack of ability to be unchanging, one-dimensional, so do I find within myself a complete opposition to disunion, dissociation, non-congruence and lack of integration.
I must declare that I am one-dimensional in higher spirit and multi-dimensioned in lower spirit—i.e., ideally integrated and unitary, and gathering from everything and tending to all opposites in deed and in the work of the imagination, in order to show that even in the realm of separation dwells unity, and in the realm of opposites equality rules, in the realm of disputation is the dwelling of peace.
And the conclusion of this is that in the realm of the mundane is the seat of the holy, and the light of the living God. The entire earth is filled with His glory.
That is my ideal and the choicest of my desires.
What Is My Constant Yearning?
And what is my constant yearning, or—better put—my set nature, the nature of my spirit and the flow of my thoughts? Only that of starting anew—“in the beginning.”
I always stand at the beginning.
There may be fragmented and confused particles of knowledge—but they will never put me at a remove from the primal point, upon which everything depends.
It is possible that there is something here of a weakness, that I am afraid of too much breadth.
But on the other hand, it is impossible to say that there isn’t a grain of hidden capability that is drawing me to delve into the beginning, into the start of everything, into the foundation of being, into the secret of existence, into the ideal of ideals, into that which is elevated and holy.
My Desire To Cling To God
I should not be ashamed or frightened of my desire to cling to God, which (thank God) is for me a permanent part of my nature, from the root of holiness within the soul.
To the contrary, when I wish to hide away this holiness, I stray and fall.
But I am again saved by the encouragement of my inner greatness, to know that I must soar beyond all details, and to cling always to the root of holiness of the Torah and of all the worlds.
And I should not take note of any scorn, and Hashem will be with my mind and guard my foot from stumbling.
The Light Of Supernal Truth
By means of an inclusive methodology, I will attain everything, including all particulars—particular fields of knowledge, clear judgments in halachah and in determining cases, in Talmudic argument and homiletics.
But all of these are only parenthetical. The essential thing is that I seek the light of supernal truth in all of its manifestations.
“Then shall you take delight in Hashem, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth, and I will feed you the inheritance of Yaacov your father, for the mouth of Hashem has spoken.”
The Obligations Of This World
How important it is for me to thoughtfully clarify my spiritual state!
I have to consider how much I am supposed to struggle against my feelings and the progression of my thoughts, which lead me constantly to the supernal aspect, to the elevated and the exalted, so as to gaze with holy elevation, with the foundations of supernal ethics, with the soulful breadths of the world of Emanation—whereas obligation pushes me to aspects of this-worldly action?
But to what degree can the obligation of this-worldly action push aside the august spirit? That is the question.
How Great Is My Inner Struggle
How great is my inner struggle. My heart is filled with an exalted and broad spiritual yearning.
I want the divine felicity to constantly spread within my entire being—not because of the pleasure of that delight, but because this is how it should be, because this is the state of reality, because this is the substance of life.
And I am always sighing, roaring from my inner essence with a great voice: give me the light of God, the delight of the living God and His play, the great appearance of the visitation of the palace of the King of the world, God, the God of my father, to Whose love I am dedicated with all my heart, the fear of Whom elevates me.
My soul rises ever higher, it transcends all lowliness—the smallness and limitations that a life of nature, of the body, limited by environment and social mores, oppressed within manacles, completely put in chains.
But a flow of obligations [then] ensues: endless [exoteric Torah] studies [with all its details], confusions of ideas and the emergence of intricate arguments born of an exacting examination of letters and words. [This] comes and surrounds my soul, which is pure, free, light as a cherub, pure as the essence of heaven, flowing like a sea of light.
I am not yet able to gaze from beginning to end and thus understand the felicitous message [of such study], to feel the sweetness of each detailed insight, to look with light within the areas of darkness of the world.
And so I am filled with pains, and I hope for salvation and light, for supernal exaltation, for the appearance of knowledge and light, and for the flow of the dew of life even within those narrow conduits, from which I may draw sustenance and be sated, so as to delight in the felicity of Hashem, so as to recognize the pure, ideal Will, that which is elevated and hidden, the supernal might, which fills every letter and point of a letter, every halachic contention and complex argument.
“And I shall play in Your commandments that I have loved.” “And I shall speak of Your laws.”
The Proper Way Of The Land
How much does delving into details of halachah and subtle Talmudic thought at times cloud my spirit, which that yearns for great things and general principles.
Nevertheless, I must overcome [this] and properly prepare myself so as to be competent clarify halachah and, at times, engage in normative Talmudic disputation. This is because ultimately a person should not differ from the custom of his place. It is a restriction [that comes from] the proper “way of the land” not to be awake among those who are sleeping, nor asleep among those who are awake.
And when a person accepts some limitation due to this restriction of “the way of the land,” then spiritual breadth comes to his spirit from the aspect of the great concept stored in the totality of that trait of “the way of the land,” which [has the property of] rectifying the general culture of human beings.
The Multitude of Particulars
The ideal totality [of being] reveals its power only through the multitude of [individual] particulars, as they are well-organized in a proper arrangement in both the spiritual life and the life of action.
But these particulars they have no value without the universal soul.
And [so] when I feel very weary because of the weight of the burden of details, which are boring and heavy, I must revive my spirit by watering it with the universalist phenomenon.
And when that universal brilliance flows upon the multitude of our particular, hewn structures, we return to work on the particulars with precision and verve.
I Require Counsel
I require counsel so that the joy and tranquility of the spirit that I experience when I am involved with my spiritual thoughts and with religious concepts and hidden matters will remain with me as well when I perform the mitzvot of deed and prayer, and when I deal with the texts of the revealed Torah.
The Holy Delight Of The Divine
I must draw down the holy delight of the divine, contemplative cleaving [to God] on everything that I learn, do, pray and speak. The revealed halachic matters will become enriched, filled with a vitality of pleasantness of supernal holiness, a lucid awareness shall penetrate so as to understand, learn intellectually and feel how all of the complex paths of the depths of halachah come from the same sweet and pleasant wellspring from which all holy delights and all sweet radiances of the most refined matters flow.
18. To See The Divine Light
I cannot move from clinging to the divine, and so I have to obligation to strive to see the divine light and its pleasantness in all mundane matters, in all speech and in every deed and movement, whether my own or of others, and certainly to feel the revelation of the supernal light as it comes through the conduits of truth and righteousness within the entire Torah, including its simple meaning, halachic discourse and Talmudic disputation.
And that is why I always tend to align such Talmudic disputation with the character of conceptual logic, which includes as well the feeling of the heart.
And it is all out of an inner tendency—the fact that I desire with all my heart that the divine light, with its delight and light, should be revealed to everyone, and that everyone should be refined by it and take delight in it.
And I need constant encouragement not to move from that level, and to increase its light and to stride forth well upon its path, and to incorporate all the paths of learning and [Torah] leadership on this general path, which is the path of the righteous that grows ever more illuminated until the fullness of the day [arrives].
And the effort of proper direction in the essence of the portion of the Torah that belongs to oneself, [an effort] supported by the [natural] tendency of the soul, is the most assured path of going in the direction of the root of the soul, and of guiding it in the manner fit for it.
And even though everyone in whole world may think that he has no connection to this at all, nevertheless there exists within the core of the heart a tendency to shine the light of Hashem in that point where feeling and intellect and every power of life join.
In order to cause this light to shine well, in order for it to truly perform its task, a person must repent fully out of love. And [then,] due to the great value of repentance, the power of [its] influence onto the entire world will increase.
And the path of that repentance must go through everything: [it must be] in deeds and in traits, in speech and in thought. And at any rate one must not push away any good point. And whatever part of repentance comes to mind, one must be lively and bring it into actuality, with mindfulness and joy and trust [in God] and a depth of faith.
I Must Deepen My Feelings
I must deepen [my] feelings and find the illumination of [my] natural soul within them.
And after that [I must] expand, with a holy and pure mind, one that is broad and encompassing, to gain wisdom via the purification of the wisdom hidden in [my] feelings, [for] a number of levels of supernal revelations are revealed in accordance with the nature of the holiness within them.
Even [if this is] in the form of smallness and dimness, [in accordance with] my impoverished worth, nevertheless, all of the highest levels are to be found even within the smallest spark—from the beginning of the supernal illumination of Adam to the lowest levels of imagination and feeling—with an ability similar to the ability of poetry and song and rhetoric. And every awakening of an elevated spirit—all of it has come forth from Hashem.
“He has done wondrous counsel, He has made great wisdom.”
The Flow Of Creativity
Sometimes constant learning [Torah] is difficult for me, because of the flow of creativity that arouses [my] spirit in every small part of [my] learning. [And] even though the matters [may] not grow clear but instead arise in a dim form, they are nevertheless bound to come to clarity.
And at any rate it is not because of spiritual sloppiness that this impediment to constant learning comes, but rather because of an abundance of blessing, which [I must] meet with respect and joy, [even] as [I] attempts to escape the imperfections within it.
To Encompass A Particular Topic
I must make an effort so that I will be able to encompass a particular topic without leaping from idea to idea.
Even though [in] essence [I] leap from topic to topic because of [my] quickness of comprehension and [my] desire to embrace many topics, and [to attain] a complete breadth of knowledge with an elevated spirit, nevertheless, this faculty blocks [my ability to] internalize the ethical, intellectual and Torah material.
Indeed I must understand integrate the matter a great deal— i.e., that [my] particular internalization of a specific matter will be a kind of internalization that does not deprive [this] specific matter of the rich influences of all the [other] various matters.
Indeed, [within any] spiritual material, like existence as a whole, [every element] connected to another, and each one draws sustenance from the other.
And the words of Torah in particular are beloved to each other and each other’s comrades.
And this insight is not only germane to a specific area, but it is general. It touches upon every way of serving God and every mitzvah.
When a person performs a good act, his mind must be centered on that specific act. But at the same time he must broaden his thoughts to all of the mitzvot as a whole, and to all the branches of serving God, so that with this specific mitzvah all of the mitzvot with all of their branches—[each mitzvah with] all of its specifics and details and intents and the 613 mitzvot that depend upon it—will be encompassed.