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4 Kabbalah Authors

4.1 Abraham Abulafia

Abraham Abulafia recorded perhaps the best text describing in detail the entryway into the meditative kabbalah.

Here are his visions on the angel Raziel:[527]

Text ‎4-1: Abulafia on Raziel’s Wisdom and Seeing Forms
And the brilliance of the soul, which is combined from the sphere and from the stars and luminaries, together with the brilliance of the abundance which flows from the sphere of the rainbow to the organs of the body, in general and in particular, which is “the appearance of the brightness round about, which was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of G-d.” Therefore, Raziel says that when he arrived at this knowledge and acquired it in his intellect, he knew the question which he was asked by the form, which he saw inscribed before him, as engraved by his Rock [i.e., G-d]. And this is clear testimony that he asked wisdom from his Creator and that wisdom he was taught by Him, blessed be His name. And then he returned to the matter of opening his eyes to see before him the tree of knowledge, whose name is life: that is, that which is to others a potion of death, and is the tree of knowledge, was to Raziel the potion of life, and he did not stumble in it as did others.[528]

And on the angel Raziel directly:[529]

Text ‎4-2: Abulafia on Raziel
If you wish to learn before a great master, who is the angel of prophecy, whose name is Raziel, and if you understand all that I have hinted of his power and his teaching, then you will know the secret of his name. And if you wish to be one of his disciples and to learn in his book, which is that of the completely righteous, and you wish to be inscribed with them immediately for eternity, then take care to study continually from thirteen years until forty years in the book of the intermediate ones before the good angel Gallizur, who is the intellective master; and from forty years onwards let your principal study be before Raziel, and then secrets of wisdom shall be revealed to you, for you shall already be a great man among the giants.

Text ‎4-3: Chayim Vital on the Secret of Prophecy

Behold the secret of prophecy: it is certainly a voice sent from above to speak to that prophet, and the Holy Spirit is likewise in that manner. But because that voice is supernal and spiritual, it is impossible for it alone to be corporealized and to enter into the ears of the prophet, unless it first be embodied in that same physical voice which emerged from that person while engaged in Torah and prayer and the like. It then embodies itself in it and is connected to it and comes to the ears of the prophet, so that he hears; but without the human voice it cannot exist.

Text ‎4-4: Proverbs 12:23
An eerie man conceals knowledge, and the heart of fools calls out his wiles.

Rashi comments: “Even with wisdom he is humble, and all that he might say that is nonsense he covers.”[530]

The eerie – ערום man, he is prudent. The word also means crafty and sly, but Rashi interprets it favorably in this proverb. Who is this man? He is a Raziel, keeper of secrets, master of allusions. Although he resides between Yesod and Tiferet in the hidden world of allusion he seeks to rise to the realm of knowledge. In this place, he will seek to conceal or cover knowledge in allusions. Parables conceal truth because the Truth is too great to be absorbed directly. The Will of God resides above knowledge and Allusion cannot travel here. For if allusion were to conceal the will of God, all would be hidden; yet the shefa must flow to sustain creation.

4.2 Isaac the Blind

Isaac the Blind was one of the Hasidic Ashkenaz, those devoted to prayer, deeds of goodness, and the experience of G-d. He provided names for the sefirot from the following verse.[531]

Text ‎4-5: Source Text for Sefirot Names
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness (gedullah), power (gevurah), the beauty (tiferet),
the victory (netzach), the majesty (hod) ... yours is the kingdom (malchut).

Greatness in this context is overflowing kindness. In this model the sefirot descend from each other downward, paralleling the process of creation.[532]

Text ‎4-6: Keter and Hochmah by Isaac the Blind
IN THE BEGINNING (Be-re’shit): The letter bet is the most elevated crown (keter), and therefore this bet is printed larger than all other bets. The word “beginning” (re’shit) is in fact wisdom (hochmah). In truth then two sefirot are encompassed in one word.

Isaac the Blind describes Tohu as the Earth before emanation, and than Bohu as the spiritual state of the earth after emanation from G-d. The creation of light is tiferet or beauty of the Torah, coming from Wisdom. From nothing (me-ayin) is the source of the thirty-two paths of wisdom.[533]

Some would claim that Isaac the Blind’s emanations resemble neo-Platonism. Instead the sefirot are the characteristics of G-d necessary for creation to exist. That some aspects of creation are dependent on earlier aspects is the degree to which some sefirot relate to preceding sefirot.

4.3 Azriel of Gerona

Azriel lived in Gerona, which was in Catalonia, between Barcelona and the Pyrenees. On the subject of light Azriel wrote:[534]

Text ‎4-7: Azriel of Gerona's Gate of Kavanah
And this illumination is unfathomable and infinite, and from its perfect glory proceed grace and benediction, peace and life for those who observe the path of its unification. But to those who deviate from its path comes the light that is hidden and transformed from one thing into its opposite, as a chastisement and as right guidance, everything according to the kavanah of him who knows how to accomplish it in the right manner: through cleaving, devukut, to the thought and the will that emanates in its full force from the unfathomable.

For according to the intensity of the kavanah, with which it draws strength to itself through its will, and will through its knowledge, and representation through its thought, and power through its reaching [to the primordial source of the will] and firmness through its contemplation, if no other reflection or desire is mixed in it, and if it grows in intensity through the power that guides it, in order to draw to itself the current that proceeds from Ayn Sof every thing and every act is accomplished according to its spirit and its will, if only it knows to embrace the limits of the finite things and of the will that inhabits their thought from the principle from which they derive.

Then, it must elevate itself above them through the power of its kavanah and go into the depths in order to destroy the path from its very principle and to pave a new way according to his own will: through the power of his kavanah which stems from the perfect glory of the withdrawing light,[535] which has neither figure nor image, neither measure nor size, neither evaluation nor limit, neither end nor foundation nor number, and which is in respect finite. And he who elevates himself in such a manner, from word to word, through the power of his intention, until he arrives at Ayn Sof, must direct his kavanah in a manner corresponding to his perfection, so that the higher will is clothed in his will, and not only so that his will is clothed in the higher will.

For the effluence is like the inexhaustible source that is never interrupted only if, in approaching the higher will, it carefully watches that the higher will is clothed in the will of its aspiration. Then, when the higher will and the lower will, in their indistinctness and in their devukut to the unity, become one, the effluence pours forth according to the measure of its perfection. But the perfection of the lower will cannot take place if it approaches for its own need, but only if it approaches it and if it clothes itself in the will through which enough of the non-distinctness is manifested, which is concealed in the most hidden mystery. And if it approaches it in this manner, the higher will also approaches it and grants to its power, firmness and to its will the impulse to perfect and execute everything, even if it be according to the will of its soul, in which the higher will has no part.

And this is what the verse [Proverb 11:27] says: “He who earnestly seeks what is good pursues which is pleasing.” For as far as the will clings to an object that corresponds to the higher will, the impulse is clothed in it and is attracted, following its own will, toward every object for which it exerts itself with the power of its kavanah. And it draws down the effluence, which crowns the secrets of the things and essences through the path of the hochmah and with the spirit of the binah and with the firmness of the daat. And in the measure that its clothed with the spirit and explains its kavanah through its worlds and fixes a visible sign through its actions, it draws the effluence from power to power and form cause to cause, until its actions are concluded in the sense of its will. In this manner the ancients used to spend some time in meditation before prayer to divert all other thoughts and to determine the paths of their kavanah and the power that was to be applied to its direction. And similarly some time during prayer, in order to realize the kavanah in the articulated speech. And similarly some time after prayer, in order to meditate on how they could also direct the power of the kavanah, which came to its conclusion in the speech in the paths of visible action. And since they were truly pious, man, Hasidim, their Torah became action and their work was blessed. And this is the path among the paths of prophecy, upon which he, who makes himself familiar with it, will be capable of rising to the rank of prophecy.

This is to say that when the will of man calls the will of G-d, the twain shall meet and enwrap themselves in the others will. Similarly Rabbi Gamaliel, the son of Yehudah haNasi redactor of the Mishnah, taught “Make G-d’s will your will, so that He will make your will His will.”[536] Azriel of Gerona distinguishes his path to prophecy.

4.4 Kaplan’s Works

Kaplan’s best introductory work on kabbalah is “Inner Space.” While intended for instruction, the work also inspires and gives the ecstatic experience of a real work of kabbalah. While Kaplan’s “Jewish Meditation” introduces one to the subject, I recommend the work only as supplementary material. Here is an example of one of Kaplan’s uncanny ideas in “Jewish Meditation”:

4.4.1 Jewish Meditation

Text ‎4-8: Aryeh Kaplan on Ani
What is the real me? A hint to the answer can be found in the Hebrew word for “I,” ani –אני . It is significant to note that if the letters of ani are rearranged, they spell the word ayn or ayin – אין, which denotes nothingness. This would seem to imply that the real “me” is the nothingness within me (Jewish Meditation p.87).

Typically, the reverse spelling of a Hebrew word suggests an opposite meaning of a similar nature. For example, the word for ‘heart’ spelled reverse means ‘owner’.

The relationship between man, woman, and G-d is essential to the survival of the Jewish people. Niddah 31a says: “There are three partners in man, the Holy One, blessed be He, his father and his mother.” Rabbi Kaplan explains why:

Text ‎4-9: Jewish Meditation
The male and female forces of creation are represented by yod and heh of the Tetragrammaton. This is very closely related to a fascinating Talmudic teaching: The Hebrew word for man is iysh (איש) while the word for woman is ishah (אשה). If one looks at the words, one sees that the word iysh contains a yod, while ishah contains a heh. The Talmud says that these are the yod and heh of the Tetragrammaton. If the yod and heh are removed from iysh and ishah, then the remaining letters of both words spell out esh (אש), the Hebrew word for “fire.” The fires of passion that unite man and woman are seen as receptacles for the letters of the Divine Name, and hence, for the masculine and feminine elements of the Divine Essence. The passion that draws man and woman togther stems from the fact that man and woman are counterparts of the male and female archetypes on high. (Jewish Meditation p.156)
I heard this story told a little differently when I lived in Ofra, which is in Judea.  The point is more that if one removes G-d (the letters Yod and Heh) from the relationship between a man and a woman, Ish and Isha, than all that remains is Aish, a consuming fire, but while both love G-d they are drawn to each other like the letters of the Name of G-d, Yod and Heh.

The reference to the Talmud is Rashi’s commentary on the Gemara which I have translated below. The key lies in:
Text ‎4-10:Sotah 17a:
R. Akiba expounded: When husband and wife are worthy, the Shechinah abides with them; when they are not worthy fire consumes them. Raba said: [The fire which results] from the woman is severer than that from the man. What is the reason? In the case of the former [the letters aleph and shin] are consecutive, but not in the case of a man.
Rashi gives the explanation on the word "worthy" - Zchoo from the Hebrew Zechoot meaning merit.  Basically he says, "to walk in a straight way meaning he does not commit adultery and she does not commit adultery."
Text ‎4-11: Rashi Commentary on Sotah 17a
On the Shechinah abides with them, Rashi says, "A remnant of part of His Name and His Shechinah (G-d's presence) is between them, Yod in Ish and Heh in Isha"
On when they are not worthy fire consumes them Rashi says, "Hakodesh Baruch Hu removes His Name from between them and all that is found is fire and fire."
Also we find in Niddah 31a an allusion to the letters of the name of G-d in man and woman.  Since the letters of the Name of G-d are contained within the words for man and woman, there are three partners in creation.  This is why Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan Z"L says, "This is very closely related to a fascinating Talmudic teaching"
Text ‎4-12: Niddah 31a: 
Our Rabbis taught: There are three partners in man, the Holy One, blessed be He, his father and his mother. His father supplies the semen of the white substance out of which are formed the child's bones, sinews, nails, the brain in his head and the white in his eye; his mother supplies the semen of the red substance out of which is formed his skin, flesh, hair, blood and the black of his eye; and the Holy One, blessed be He, gives him the spirit and the breath, beauty of features, eyesight, the power of hearing and the ability to speak and to walk, understanding and discernment. When his time to depart from the world approaches the Holy One, blessed be He, takes away his share and leaves the shares of his father and his mother with them.

4.4.2 Bahir

Kaplan’s other major works include Meditation and Kabbalah, Meditation and the Bible, a translation with commentary of Sefer Yetzirah, and The Bahir Illumination, a translation with commentary. ‘Bahir’ is one of the names of light in Hebrew along with Zohar, Nogah, Kavod, ... Bahir means brilliance and the work resembles a piercing light into the soul while the Zohar is more of a defused light. Let’s look at the first verse that contains a classic Talmudic technique for resolving arguments:

Text ‎4-13: Bahir 1
Rabbi Nehunia ben HaKana said: One verse (Job 37:21) states, “And now they do not see light, it is brilliant (Bahir – בהיר) in the skies . . . [round about G-d in terrible majesty].” Another verse, however, (Psalm 18:12), states, “He made darkness His hiding place.” It is also written (Psalm 97:2), “Cloud and gloom surround Him.” This is an apparent contradiction. A third verse comes and reconciles the two. It is written (Psalm 139:12), “Even darkness is not dark to You. Night shines like day — light and darkness are the same.”

The description here is validated in the meditative experience where darkness can radiate like light. Another excellent Kaplan compilation is Rabbi Nachman’s Stories which is a compilation of the stories told from Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. Kaplan complements the stories with a full blown commentary on the work explaining their meaning with Kabbalah and the meaning of the Kabbalah as well. Here is an example of Kaplan’s commentary on Rabbi Nachman’s story, “The Ram and the Bull.”

Text ‎4-14: Rabbi Nachman on the Tzitzit and Tefillin
The story is about a King who dreams of a Ram and a Bull that will lead to his destruction. He is an enemy of Israel and imagines that the Ram and the Bull represent physical forms. Instead they are actually from the mazelot – constellations and represent the month of Nissan with the ram and Iyar with the bull. The Jews were redeemed from Egypt in Nissan and the state of Israel was established in Iyar. The Ram also represents the 4 tzitzit since they are made from a ram’s wool. If a ram is stolen it must be repaid with 4 times its value symbolizing the 4 tzitzit. The Bull represents the tefillin with its 5 compartments since they are formed with leather. If a bull is stolen, 5 times its value must be repaid to the original owner. Iron or Barzel has the acrostic ברזל which can represent the 4 wives of Jacob, i.e. Bilnah, Rebecca, Zilpa, and Leah.

Aryeh Kaplan’s Sefer Yetzirah commentary identifies Hochmah with the principle of thesis and Binah with the principle of antithesis resulting in Daat, the principle of synthesis.[537],[538] In Hochmah there is a singular thought that transfers to Sefira Binah. In Binah consciousness, we analyze the thought extensively breaking it down into multiple categories. Finally, the Daat principle takes over selecting and combining the ideas from Binah into a synthesized solution.

4.5 Luzatto’s Works [TABLES]

4.5.1 The Way of G-d – Derech Hashem

The ‘Way of G-d’ explains G-d’s cosmological interface with the world. This was my first introduction to Kabbalah and I recommend it for everyone. The work bridges all Torah teachings with the mystical. Some of the subjects Luzzatto covers include the existence of G-d, the purpose of creation, angels, root of evil, destiny or providence, reincarnation, heavenly courts, influence of the stars, soul levels, dreams, magic, miracles, and prophecy.

4.5.2 The Path of the Just – M’silat Yesharim

This work is dedicated to Midos development. It presents a ladder to holiness consisting of the following traits:[539]
Fear of Sin

The Talmud lists the order differently. Rabbi Pinchas ben Ya’ir said, “Heedfulness leads to alertness, alertness leads to cleanliness, cleanliness leads to restraint, restraint leads to purity, purity leads to holiness, holiness leads to fear of sin, fear of sin leads to humility, humility leads to saintliness, saintliness leads to the gift of the holy spirit.”[540]

The ten levels also represent a manner in which one purifies the Nefesh[541] or lowest soul in order to prepare oneself for the experience of Ruach Hakodesh, the holy wind, which is the middle soul transmitting inspiration. The highest soul or Neshamah is directly connected to G-d.

Table ‎4-1: Ten Principle Steps for Spiritual Inspiration
Mordecai M. Kaplan’s translation
Aryeh Kaplan’s translation
Shraga Silver-stein’s translation
Of Man’s Duty in the World
Man was created to find delight in the Lord and to bask in the radiance of his presence.
To obtain this end, we follow the commandments in this world to merit the good light saved up for us in the world to come.[542]
“But for me, the nearness of G-d is my good”[543]
“One thing have I asked of the Lord that I will seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the graciousness of the Lord.”[544]
Of Watchfulness
A person should be watchful of his conduct. He must know what is truly good and bad to correctly classify his actions.[545]
He should not enter upon any course of action without first determining its character.
Watchfulness pertains to the negative commandments.
Of Zeal
“Depart from evil and do good.”[546]
Zeal pertains to keeping the positive commandments. “Those who are zealous perform a commandment at the earliest possible time.”[547]
“Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep – so shall thy poverty come as a runner and thy want as an armed man.”[548]
Do not taunt your neighbor.
Do not insult your neighbor.
Do not mislead your neighbor.
Do not slander your neighbor.
Do not hate your neighbor.
Do not nurse revenge nor swear nor lie nor act sacrilegiously against your neighbor.
Abstaining from what is permitted brings one to holiness. “Whoever observes a fast not prescribed by law is considered holy.”[549] “Be ye holy”, Leviticus 19:2 means “Be ye abstinent”[550]
Perfecting ones heart and thoughts so that the evil inclination cannot influence them.
Regarding the body, to be as much help to those weighted down with a burden. “Bearing the yoke with one’s fellow.”[551] Spare no effort to prevent neighbor from bodily injury.
Regarding possessions, not to cause damage to public or private property. “Let the possessions of thy neighbor be as to dear to thee as thine own.”[552]
Regarding feelings, to actively or passively (by listening) increase the pleasure of thy neighbor is a mitzvah under the category of saintliness.
A man should be wholly persuaded of his unworthiness to be the recipient of praise and glory for intellectual achievements.
A man should have humility in one’s bearing, in enduring insults, in hating to exercise authority and shunning applause, and in honoring everyone.
In speech: “Let a man always speak gently.”[553] A person should always speak respectfully and never disdainfully.
In walking: “Walk humbly before your G-d.”
In sitting: “Find a place among those of humble rank and not among the great.”[554]
The Fear of Sin
Fear of Sin
Fear of Sin
Refraining from sin out of regard for the glory of G-d. Sensing the awe of G-d.
Cleaving to the will of G-d in all ones thoughts and actions.

Text ‎4-15: Path of the Upright on the Steps to Yihud
According to this program, one begins with constant study and observance, leading to scrupulous care not to violate any religious law. The next step is constant diligence to obey every commandment, and then to live a completely clean life, both in thought and in deed. One then reaches a level where he avoids even permissible things when they can possibly lead to wrong, and once this is accomplished, he can purify himself of all evil, past and present.

The person is then ready to live a life of piety dedicating himself to G-d far beyond the call of law, and this leads to humility, the negation of the ego. A person can then gain such a clear perception of good that he literally dreads sin, being totally aware of the banality of evil. He is then ready for the highest of these ten steps, holiness, the total negation of the physical.

The very next level is that of Ruach Hakodesh. These ten steps thus provide a program of discipline for the individual who wishes to attain true enlightenment.[555]

4.5.3 The Knowing Heart – Daat T’vunot

The “Knowing Heart” is a refreshing course on the foundation of the spiritual in the physical world. The yeshiva education places this work in the realm of philosophy and studies the Path of the Just for self-improvement. The Way of G-d provokes the questioning mind, the Path of the Just sets the way of life and the Knowing Heart refines ones faith.[556] Luzatto reveals new teachings here that are not revealed in previous works. For example, on the importance of ecology:[557]

Text ‎4-16: Luzatto's Knowing Heart on Ecology
The Creator did not implant negation and deterioration in the nature of perfect creatures, but in the nature of imperfect ones, so that when the creatures will have perfected themselves in time to come, they will not be subject to negation at all.
We speak of negation and deterioration as they apply to each species in itself. Their inter-connection and conjunction towards the universal end, to the contrary, is a correction for this because by virtue of it they leave the sphere of evil and are rescued from it.
In sum, it is in the species of nature in themselves and not in their inter-relationship that negation, lowering, and deterioration obtain. In their inter-relationship is rooted their perfection and escape from evil!

Luzatto here presents his view that nature working together is good, but species isolating themselves from other species leads to evil. This is reflected in the sefirot where in their original form, they attempted to exist independently and shattered when they became to full of the flow from Hashem. Their shattered forms are rebuilt into the Partzufim, who transmit the energy to each other and in doing so permit the sefirot to exist in harmony.

4.6 Maimonides

Rambam’s Mishnah Torah says if a prophet prophesizes something bad and it doesn’t happen, it does not indicate that he is a false prophet, but if the prophet prophesizes something good, it must come to pass or we know that he is a false prophet. The idea here is that Hashem does not recall his good decree.

The Talmud teaches that future generations cannot abrogate laws from earlier Rabbis, as there is an assumption that rabbis of past generations are superior in knowledge.[558]

Text ‎4-17: Principle of the Decline of the Generations
R. Zera said in Raba b. Zimuna’s name: If the earlier scholars [rishonim] were sons of angels, we are sons of men; and if the earlier scholars were sons of men, we are like the asses, and not even like asses of R. Hanina b. Dosa and P. Phinehas b. Jair, but like ordinary asses.

However, Maimonides does not approve of this concept of the “Decline of the Generations”:[559]

Text ‎4-18: Maimonides Position on the Decline of the Generations
I have proved that for Maimonides the Tannaim and Amoraim are human beings like all others with respect to their native intellectual and spiritual capacities. One must accept their halakhic determinations, but with respect to all other matters one is free to weigh, measure, consider, accept, reject, or modify their opinions. Their halakhic authority is a consequence of historical circumstance, not their innate capacities. Last, human capacities have not been declining since the time of the Rabbis; if anything, we can expect them to grow, not decline.

Especially in realms outside of law, we must evaluate the merit of earlier teachings and not assume they are correct. Modern Judaism must question the historical validity of ideas like “fallen angels”[560], a singular Satan, a singular Messiah whose name was created before creation, and the notion that angels have free will. These ideas are not consistent with early Judaism.

There is a phrase in the psalms that says, "Let the heavens praise you O Lord...". Maimonides says this is literally the case, as there is ‘soul awareness’ in the heavenly bodies. Soul awareness is also in the grasses and trees around us, and certainly with animals. In essence there are souls everywhere. Even in the rock that Moses struck to bring forth water, there was a soul for which Moses was punished for not asking politely.

What does this mean for us? We have to be very conscious that creation is filled with souls of life on all levels and not take it for granted.

4.7 Nachmanides

4.7.1 Iggeres Haramban

The Ramban’s Letter is a tikkun, a remedy, to repair a hole in ones life. The Ramban said, “Every day that you shall read this letter, heaven shall answer your heart’s desires.” Brides and grooms recite this letter on their wedding day. Singles recite this letter to help find their soul mates.
Text ‎4-19: The Ramban’s Letter
(Written to his elder son, Nachman, with the instruction to read it weekly.)

Hear, my son, the instruction of your father and don't forsake the teaching of your mother (Mishlei 1:8). Get into the habit of always speaking calmly to everyone. This will prevent you from anger, a serious character flaw, which causes people to sin. As our Rabbis said (Nedarim 22a): Whoever flares up in anger is subject to the discipline of Gehinnom, as it is says in (Koheles 12:10), "Cast out anger from your heart, and [by doing this] remove evil from your flesh." "Evil" here means Gehinnom, as we read (Mishlei 16:4): "...and the wicked are destined for the day of evil." Once you have distanced yourself from anger, the quality of humility will enter your heart. This radiant quality is the finest of all admirable traits (see Avodah Zarah 20b), (Mishlei 22:4), "Following humility comes the fear of Hashem."

Through humility you will also come to fear Hashem. It will cause you to always think about (see Avos 3:1) where you came from and where you are going, and that while alive you are only like a maggot and a worm, and the same after death. It will also remind you before Whom you will be judged, the King of Glory, as it is stated (I Melachim 8:27; Mishlei 15:11), "Even the heaven and the heavens of heaven can't contain You" — "How much less the hearts of people!" It is also written (Yirmeyahu 23:24), "Do I not fill heaven and earth? says Hashem."

When you think about all these things, you will come to fear Hashem who created you, and you will protect yourself from sinning and therefore be happy with whatever happens to you. Also, when you act humbly and modestly before everyone, and are afraid of Hashem and of sin, the radiance of His glory and the spirit of the Shechinah will rest upon you, and you will live the life of the World-to-Come!

And now, my son, understand and observe that whoever feels that he is greater than others is rebelling against the Kingship of Hashem, because he is adorning himself with His garments, as it is written (Tehillim 93:1), "Hashem reigns, He wears clothes of pride." Why should one feel proud? Is it because of wealth? Hashem makes one poor or rich (I Shmuel 2:7). Is it because of honor? It belongs to Hashem, as we read (I Divrei Hayamim 29:12), "Wealth and honor come from You." So how could one adorn himself with Hashem's honor? And one who is proud of his wisdom surely knows that Hashem "takes away the speech of assured men and reasoning from the sages" (Iyov 12:20)!? So we see that everyone is the same before Hashem, since with His anger He lowers the proud and when He wishes He raises the low. So lower yourself and Hashem will lift you up!

Therefore, I will now explain to you how to always behave humbly. Speak gently at all times, with your head bowed, your eyes looking down to the ground and your heart focusing on Hashem. Don't look at the face of the person to whom you are speaking. Consider everyone as greater than yourself. If he is wise or rich, you should give him respect. If he is poor and you are richer -- or wiser -- than he, consider yourself to be more guilty than he, and that he is more worthy than you, since when he sins it is through error, while yours is deliberate and you should know better!

In all your actions, words and thoughts, always regard yourself as standing before Hashem, with His Shechinah above you, for His glory fills the whole world. Speak with fear and awe, as a slave standing before his master. Act with restraint in front of everyone. When someone calls you, don't answer loudly, but gently and softly, as one who stands before his master.

Torah should always be learned diligently, so you will be able to fulfill its commands. When you arise from your learning reflect carefully on what you have studied, in order to see what is in it that you can be put into practice. Examine your actions every morning and evening, and in this way every one of your days will be spent in teshuvah (repentance).

Concentrate on your prayers by removing all worldly concerns from your heart. Prepare your heart before Hashem, purify your thoughts and think about what you are going to say. If you follow this in all your daily actions, you will not come to sin. This way everything you do will be proper, and your prayer will be pure, clear, clean, devout and acceptable to Hashem, as it is written (Tehillim 10:17), "When their heart is directed to You, listen to them."

Read this letter at least once a week and neglect none of it. Fulfill it, and in so doing, walk with it forever in the ways of Hashem, may he be blessed, so that you will succeed in all your ways. Thus you will succeed and merit the World to Come, which lies hidden away for the righteous. Every day that you shall read this letter, heaven shall answer your heart's desires. Amen, Selah!

4.8 Nachman’s Works

4.8.1 Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom – Shevachey and Sichos HaRan

“Shevachey and Sichos HaRan,” the “Life and Conversations of Rabbi Nachman” is also titled, “Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom”, the wise sayings of Rebenuzal.[561]

As philosophy is the creation of the house of Esau, so Talmud is connected to the influence of Lilith. Rabbi Nachman warned incessantly on the dangers of the study of philosophy, that it leads to depression, which is rooted in evil. Similarly, Talmudic study in the area of halachic argument is rooted in philosophy based on the ‘Thirteen Principles of Reason’ laid out by Rabbi Ishmael and may lead to depression.[562] The following gematria illustrates the connection:

תלמוד = 480 = לילית

One cultivates intellect while studying Talmudic law. By mastering the tools of reason, one grows in wisdom, but sometimes with a degree of depression.

For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
(Ecclesiastes 1:18)

Agadah, kabbalah and mussar when mixed with halachic talmudic study temper this effect helping one develop the 48 qualifications by which the Torah is acquired.[563] The Talmud in its abundance includes all these areas and is hence, 480, a ten-fold magnification of these qualifications.

In the Sichos HaRan, Rabbi Nachman teaches:[564]

Joy can protect your children from death.
The evil force that destroys children is called Lilith.[565]
Joy is the antithesis of Lilith.

Aryeh Kaplan explains in the footnote, “Lilith comes from the root Laylay-night and is associated with dark moods and depression.”[566]

Rabbi Nachman taught about the importance of names:

Text ‎4-20: Rabbi Nachman on Understanding Names
The Rebbe once spoke at length about Reb Shimon. He said, “Take the letters ShiMOAN and rearrange them. You then have AvON MaSh – ‘away with sin’.[567] ... From what the Rebbe said, we understood that every person’s essence is defined by some combination of the letters of his name. We also were able to realize that the Rebbe himself had complete knowledge of this. The Rebbe said, “The recombination of letters can teach us great lessons. My teachings are very great, but where they involve a play on letters they are still greater.”[568]

This is the technique of the anagram practiced on a Hebrew name. To find the correct anagram one must pursue the process of writing and permuting the Hebrew letters until one finds the combination. Check a Hebrew dictionary to look up the words. If one has two Hebrew names, one permutes the letters in both names to form the words.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov is referred to as Rebenuzal by his followers who consider his name so holy they substitute another. His followers also maintain a faith that he is the “Tzaddik Emes”, the True Righteous One who embodies the qualities and soul of Moshe rabbenu. Some believe this to a greater degree than night is night.[569] While such affirmations seem peculiar within the prohibition of placing ones faith in man, there is some alignment of Rabbi Nachman with the belief in the messiah in Breslov Hasidism. How can we understand this faith and why it is permissible while l’havdil, Christian faith leads to idolatry? Perhaps it is that we consider the assignment or delegation of the will of G-d to a human agent that requires we have a faith in him as well? L’havdil if Jesus were considered an extension of G-d’s will instead of a demigod born of a virgin, his role might not have been distinguished from that of a tzaddik.

What is to be gained by the faith in Rebenuzal as the Tzaddik Emes?[570] Why does this faith supplement a faith in G-d alone?[571] Seeing an expression of G-d makes faith easier.

4.8.2 Likutey Moharan David’s praise

David says something interesting in Psalm 56:11 that Reb Nachman builds upon.

In Elohim I will praise his work, in Hashem I will praise his work.

Elohim is the name of G-d in judgment and Hashem the name of G-d in mercy here. The psalm teaches, in both times of judgment and in mercy, we should sing praise to Hashem. Furthermore, the Shema teaches that Hashem’s name is one. Thus, the names Elohim and Hashem are one.

שמע ישראל יי אלהיני יי אחד
Hear O’Israel the Lord our G-d the Lord is One

How are we to understand this? The gematria of ‘One’, Echad is the same as that for ‘Love’, Ahavah. Thus, when G-d manifests the attribute of judgment, Elohim, this is out of love and so is the manifesting of the attribute of mercy, Hashem, out of love.
אחד = 13 = אהבה

Rabbi Nachman explains:

Knowing all this is called complete awareness. For the essence of awareness is the union of <chasadim (benevolence) and gevurot (severities)>. This is called Daat. In other words, he does not differentiate between loving kindness and judgment, but blesses “Who is good and beneficent” over everything. This is called “YHVH is one and His Name is one”[572] Bones

Ezekiel writes:[573]
And their iniquities will be etched upon their bones.

From this verse arises the idea that a person’s sins are etched upon his bones. Even if G-d forgives one of sins, the traces remain on his bones. Reb Nachman teaches from the Baal Shem Tov, that one needs to confess his or her sins in order for these traces to be removed.[574]

By means of spoken confession, however, the letters disappear from the bones into which they have been etched and are transformed into the words of confession. For speech emanates from one’s bones, as is written (Psalms 35:10), “All my bones will say.”[575] He tears down the negative structure and combination, and from the letters builds Malkhut d’Kedushah.[576]

What is spoken confession? On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, one gathers three Jews together to establish a bet din, a court of law, and one reads a statement of annulment of vows and confession of sin. The bet din responds:

May everything be permitted you, may everything be forgiven you, may everything be allowed you. There does not exist any vow, oath, nazirism, cherem, prohibition, konam, ostracism, excommunication, or curses. But there does exist pardon, forgiveness, and atonement. And just as the earthly court permits them, so may they be permitted in the Heavenly Court.

‘Spoken confession’ is before ones fellow man, ones neighbor, a three-judge court. As people forgive each other in this world, so the traces of sin lift from our bones, the ‘letters’ rise and reform into a ‘Holy Kingdom’.

In a parable on bones, “G-d asks Ezekiel, ‘Can these bones yet live?’ Ezekiel responds, ‘Oh Lord only thou knowest.' The Lord responds, ‘All these bones are the whole house of Israel and though they have lost hope, they shall yet live and walk in the land of the living.’” Our bones are identified with our inner thoughts and deeds, and affect our hopes. A teaching says, “In each of us there is a single bone, an etzem, which is our essence, and is not destroyed, and from which G-d will fashion a new body in the time of the resurrection." To preserve this bone is one reason that Jews do not to practice cremation.

R. Isaac bar Parnakh said: All of a man’s iniquities are engraved upon his bones.[577]
“The Lord will make strong thy bones.” (Isaiah 58:11)
R. Eleazar said: This is the most perfect of blessings.[578] Obstacles in the Mist #115

“Vaya’amod Ha’am Meirachok (The people kept their distance and Moshe entered the mist where God was.)”[579]

When you see the sand and the ocean that is Israel. Pick up some of the sand at the beach and watch it fall through your hands and never leave her, never leave her, for she is the soil of your soul.
No words to be spoken for to leave is to lose all.

“When a person asks, “Where is God?” answer him, “He is right next to you. No matter how dark it is where you are, God is there, waiting for you to return to Him.” This is the meaning of what Rebbe Nachman says, that because of His desire to kindness, the Creator hides Himself in the very obstacles, which He places before anyone seeking to come close to Him. All a person has to do is persevere and truly look for God in wherever he is at that moment!

In the darkness, G-d is there, night shines like day, All is light to Hashem. In the silence, there you will find him. Judgment is an obstacle, but even in the judgment there is G-d.[580]

4.8.3 Letter From Rebbe Nachman My fire shall burn until the coming of Mosiach!

In 1922 a letter was found from Rebbe Nachman to his Student.[581] The letter reads:

Very hard it was for me to descend to you my precious student to tell you that I benefited greatly from your work and upon you I said, “My fire will burn until Messiah will come be strong and courageous. In your work, Na Nach, Nachma, Nachman Me’Uman.”

And with this I shall reveal to you a secret and it is: Full and heaped up from line to line (pay, tzaddi, pay, tzaddi, yod, hay) פצפציה[582]

And with strong service you will understand it and the sign is the 17th of Tamuz they will say that you will not fast.

Figure 4-1: Inspired Letter of Rabbi Dov-Ber Odesser

A more recent translation:

It was very hard for me to descend to you, my precious student,
to tell you that I benefited greatly from your service.
And to you I say, my fire will burn until the coming of the Messiah —
be strong and courageous in your service —
Na Nach Nachma Nachman Me'Uman.
And with this I shall tell you a secret:
Full and heaped up from line to line, and with strong devotional service you will understand it.
And the sign is: They will say you are not fasting on the 17th of Tammuz.

Figure 4-2: Letter I have

I had a copy of this letter and had put it away with some papers. Strangely, on Shabbas morning, the 17th of Tamuz 5758, I was browsing some papers and stumbled upon the letter. When is the 17th of Tamuz not a fast day, when it is Shabbas I thought, so the finding of this letter on this Shabbas was not by chance. While the letter was originally sent to Rabbi Yisroel Dov-Ber Odesser Z”l of Tiberias, it is clear to me that it has a more significant reach. Part of the key is in the song, נ נח נחמ נחמן מאומן, which has gematria 137+148+98+58+50=491. This is also the gematria of תאילן. Ninety-one is the gematria of Hashem-Adonay that is Elon the last four letters. Elon refers to the Tree of Life. The Tav transforms Elon into a verb referring to establishing the tree. Nati Elon – נתי אילן teaches that the essence of moshiach is to see its potential in others, “It is like a seed planted waiting to grow.”[583] A small shadow

L’havdil, the following casts a small shadow before the bright fire that has only stoked the flames.

Text ‎4-21: Final words of Rabbi Dov-Ber Odesser
All the world, and the whole government, do not know who I am! Behold, I inform them who I am!
I am Na Nach Nachma Nachman Me'Uman!

Perhaps, revealing his own part in the inspired writing of the Letter from Heaven.[584] Yet, “Another Hasid by the name of Yoel said later that he had been the one who wrote the letter to Odesser ...”[585]

Text ‎4-22: Revealed at the age of 95
Odesser's revelation of the Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman mantra was rejected by mainstream Breslovers for many decades. Around 1984, when he was 95 years old and living in an old age home in Ra'anana, Israel, a group of baalei teshuva (returnees to the Jewish faith) discovered Odesser and were attracted to his teachings. He eventually became their spiritual leader, or guru. The Na Nach Nachma mantra was adopted by this sub-group of Breslover Hasidim and has appeared on billboards, bumper stickers, and knitted yarmulkes, as well as in musical compositions of this group (colloquially known as the Na Nachs) ever since.

4.8.4 Tikkun for the body

One can speak to each part of ones body praising the mitzvot it performs to elevate its purpose and repair its sparks. For the hand, a man can praise its work in laying tefillin. A woman can praise her hand’s work in separating challah.[586]

For the brain, one can praise its intellect for solving problems, scientific study, and Torah study. For the legs one can praise them for taking one to places to perform mitzvot. For ones heart one can praise its function it caring for others.

4.8.5 Rabbi Nachman’s Stories Closed Hand

The following tale alludes to the striving after vanity that plagues us. It is reminiscent of the Tarot card with an unknown treasure covered and six others revealed. The longing for the unknown treasure is what often leads one astray:[587]

Text ‎4-23: The Evil Magician
I am looking for the source that I can give for a quotation by Nachman of Bratslav: The evil inclination is to be compared to a conjurer who runs among the people with a closed hand daring them to guess what is in it. At that moment each one thinks that the conjurer has what each one desires for himself hidden in the clenched hand. Everyone therefore runs after him. Once the conjurer stops for a moment and opens his hand there is nothing in it. Exactly does the evil inclination fool the whole world. Everyone rushes after him, for all imagine, in their error, that he has in his hand what they want and desire. In the end the evil imagination opens his hand and everyone sees that there is nothing in it. The very one who said to each person "open your mouth and I will fill it," he himself is completely empty. I wonder if you might be able to help me? Seven beggars

The handicap of each beggar is his spiritual gift for healing the world. Every quality we possess can be a gift even a handicap. An American Indian mother told me that her son lifts the spirits of others and is a gift of G-d to whoever he meets. Seventh Beggar

A friend explained to me how the 7th beggar without legs heals the prince and princess. He tells them he doesn’t need legs to walk in hiloni (vanity), because he walks in the way of Hashem. The beggar without eyes heals by saying that he doesn’t need to look at the vanity of the world, since he is focused on what Hashem wishes him to see. The beggar without hands heals because he doesn’t need hands to do mundane works, because he does the work of G-d. Fifth Beggar

Text ‎4-24: Fifth Beggar
Day 5, for the 5th beggar: Send us this beggar and let him give us these gifts![588] And I (i.e. this hunchbacked) was also there with them, and I said to them: “I can bring you to the tree, for this tree has no place at all, for it is above space completely, and the aspect of the little holding the much is yet in space, for in any case it takes up a little space, just that it is the little holding the much, but it still takes up some little space in any case. And the aspect of the little holding the much that I have (i.e. the one who had hunchbackness) is the absolute end of space, above which there is no space at all. Therefore I can carry all of you to the tree, which is above space completely. (Because this hunchback is like a midpoint between space and above space completely, for he has the uttermost extent of the little holding the much, which is the aspect of actual end of space, above which the world “space” does not apply at all, for above there is above space completely, and therefore he can carry them from inside space to the aspect of above space. Understand this.) And I took them, and I carried them there, to the tree mentioned above.

5:13 Hence I have a consensus, that I have the uttermost extent of the little holding the much. (This is why he appeared hunchback, for he caries on him much, for he is the little holding the much.) And now I give you this in a gift, that you be like me. And there was made there a grand celebration and very great joy.... 

4.8.6 Biographical

“Now, there is a Nachal Movea Mekor Chokhmah – A flowing brook, a source of wisdom” (Proverbs 18:4 and an acronym for NaCHMan). In the Chayay Moharan 332, “I am a river which purifies all blemishes.”[589] During Shabbos, 30 Kislev, Shabbos Chanukah, Torah reading, Miketz; (December 25) the Rebbe said, “I am a beautiful wondrous tree, with wonderful branches, and below I reach into the ground” (Shevachey Moharan 4b #5, #245).[590] Purifying the tree image and cleansing the Temple during Chanukah! See ‎18.[591].591

4.9 Solomon Ibn Gabirol

Solomon ben Yehudah Ibn Gebirol, the RaSHBag, was born in Malaga, Spain, in 1021, lived most of his life in Saragosa, and died in Valencia in his early or mid thirties.[592],[593] The following are sections of Ibn Gabirol’s work the “Crown of the Kingdom” consisting of thirty-two chapters grasping for the Thirty-two Paths of Wisdom.

Text ‎4-25: Crown of Kingdom
May man profit by my prayer
May he learn the right and straight through it
I have told the wonders of living El in it
In brief not at full length
I set it above all my other praises
I call it the Crown of Kingdom[594]

4.9.1 The Praises of God Crown of Kingdom - I

Thine are the greatness and the strength and the splendor and the glory and the majesty.
Thine O God is the Kingdom and the rising above all things and the richness and the honor.
Thine are the higher and the lower creatures, and they bear witness that they perish and Thou dost endure.
Thine is the light whose secret our thoughts are wearied of seeking, for Thou art so much stronger than we.
Thine is the name that is hidden from the wise, the strength that sustains the world over the void, the power to bring to light all that is hidden.
Thine is the mercy that rules over Thy creatures and the goodness preserved for those who fear Thee.
Thine are the secrets that no mind or thought can encompass, and the life over which decay has no rule, and the throne that is higher than all height, and the habitation that is hidden at the pinnacle of mystery.
Thine is the existence from the shadow of whose light every being was made to be, and we said “Under His shadow we shall live.”
Thine are the two worlds between which Thou didst set a limit, the first for works and the second for requital.[595]
Thine is the reward which Thou has set aside for the righteous and hidden, and Thou sawest that it was good, and hast kept it hidden. Crown of Kingdom - II

Thou art One, the beginning of all computation, the base of all construction.
Thou art One, and in the mystery of Thy Oneness the wise of heart are astonished, for they know not what it is.
Thou art One, and Thy Oneness neither diminishes nor increases, neither lacks nor exceeds.
Thou art One, but not as the One that is counted or owned, for number and change cannot reach Thee, nor attribute, nor form.
Thou art One, but my mind is too feeble to set Thee a law or a limit, and therefore I say: “I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue.”
Thou art One, and Thou art exalted high above abasement and falling—not like a man, who falls when he is alone. Crown of Kingdom – III

Thou art, but the hearing of ears and the seeing of eyes cannot reach Thee, and how and why and where have no rule over Thee.
Thou art, but for Thine own essence, and for no other with Thyself.
Thou art, and before all time was Thou wert, and without place Thou didst dwell.
Thou art, and thy secret is hidden and who can reach it—“far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out?” Crown of Kingdom – IV

Thou livest but not from determined time or know period.
Thou livest, but not with soul or breath, for Thou art soul of the soul.
Thou livest, but not as the life of man that is like vanity, its end in moths and worms
Thou livest, and whoever attains Thy secret will find eternal delight—“ and eat, and live forever.” Crown of Kingdom – V

Thou art great, and beside Thy greatness all greatness is subdued and all merit is shortcoming.
Thou art great above all thought and sublime above the highest heaven.
Thou art great above all greatness, “exalted above all blessing and praise.” Crown of Kingdom – VI

Thou art mighty, and there is none among all Thy creatures that can equal Thy works and Thy mighty deeds.
Thou art mighty, and Thine is the perfect might that knows neither change nor vicissitude.
Thou art mighty, and from the greatness of Thy power Thou forgivest in the moment of Thy wrath and softenest Thine anger for sinners.
Thou art mighty, and Thy pity covers all Thy creatures—it is the mighty one which was of old. Crown of Kingdom – VII

Thou art the supreme light, and the eyes of the pure of soul shall see Thee, and clouds of sin shall hide Thee from the eyes of sinners.
Thou art the light hidden in this world and revealed in the world of beauty, “In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.”
Thou art the eternal light, and the inward eye yearns for Thee and is astonished—she shall see but the utmost part of them, and shall not see them all. Crown of Kingdom – VIII

Thou art the God of gods[596] and Lord of lords,[597] Master of heavenly and of earthy beings.
Thou art God,[598] and all creatures are Thy witnesses, and in honor of this Name every created thing is bound to serve Thee.
Thou art God, and all creatures are Thy slaves and worshippers, and Thy glory is not diminished by those who worship others than Thee, for the goal of all of them is to attain to Thee.
But they are as blind men who turn to seek the king’s highway, and they stray from the road.
One sinks in the pit of destruction, another stumbles intao an abyss.
All of them believing that they have reached their desire, yet they have toiled in vain.
But Thy servants are as clear-sighted ones who follow the straight path.
They do not stray to right or left until they reach the palace of the king.
Thou art God, who supportest all creatures with Thy Godhead and sustainest all beings with the Thy Oneness.
Thou art God, and there is no separation between Thy Godhead and Thy Oneness, Thy preexistence and Thine eternity.
For it is all one mystery, and though the name of each one be different “all go unto one place.” Crown of Kingdom – IX

Thou art wise; and wisdom, the source of life, flow from Thee, and every man is too brutish to know Thy wisdom.
Thou art wise, pre-existent to all pre-existence, and wisdom was with Thee as nursling.
Thou art wise, and Thou didst not learn from any other than Thyself, nor acquire wisdom from another.
Thou art wise, and from Thy wisdom Thou didst send forth a predestined Will, and made it as an artisan and a craftsman,
To draw the stream of being from the void as the light is drawn that comes from the eye,
To take from the source of light without a vessel, and to make all without a tool, cut and hew and cleanse and purify.
That Will called to the void and it was cleft asunder, to existence and it was set up, to the universe and It was spread out.
It measured the heavens with a span, and its hand coupled the pavilion of the spheres,
And linked the curtains of all creatures with loops of potency; and its strength reaches as far as the last and lowest creature—“the uttermost edge of the curtain in the coupling.” Addendum

Thou art mighty, thou art mighty, far supreme above all beings, lest we forget thee, Thou reminds us correcting our souls.
Thou art mighty, thou art mighty, glorious brilliant, light of being, thy Truth shall ever surround us, till we break free of material strings.
Thou art glory, thou art glory, glory to the eternal King, we are subjects kneeling before Him, our heads lowered before his Ring.
Thou art glory, thou art glory, glory to a newborn king; He shall reign forever and bring us back to our eternal King.
Thou art holy, thou art holy, holiness pervading everything, we search for Thee forever, bring us back to our True being.
Thou art holy, thou art holy, holiness spreads below Your wings, like the rain from heaven, our dew shall rise in the first mist of spring.[599]

4.9.2 Wonders of Creation

The ‘Wonders of Creation’ section of the ‘Crown of the Kingdom’ expounds on the astrological principles of the Book of Creation. Crown of Kingdom – X

Who can utter Thy mighty deeds when Thou madest the globe of the earth divided in two, one part dry land and one part water?
And Thou didst encompass the water with the sphere of air, the air that turns and turns and rests on its turnings.
And Thou didst encompass the air with the sphere of fire.
But the foundation of these four elements is one, their source is one,
And from it they come forth and renew themselves—“and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.” Crown of Kingdom – XI

Who can declare Thy greatness when Thou didst encompass the sphere of fire with the sphere of firmament, in which is the moon, which aspires and glows in the splendor of the sun?
In twenty-nine days she turns about her orbit and goes up by her own way.
Some of her mysteries are simple and some of them are deep; her body is less than the earth, as is one part to thirty-nine.
By the will of her Creator she awakens month after month the changes and events of the world, its good things and its evil things—“to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts.” Crown of Kingdom – XII

Who can tell Thy praises when Thou didst make the moon, the measure for the computing of festivals and holy days and epochs and signs for days and years?
Her kingdom is by night, until her term comes and her radiance is darkened.
And she covers herself with a mantle of blackness, for her light is from the light of the sun.
And on the fourteenth night, if both of them stand on the line of the Dragon, and comes between them,
Then the moon does not show her light and her lamp is quenched,
That all the peoples of the earth may know that the heavenly bodies, though they be precious, have a Judge above them to cast them down and raise them up.[600]
But the moon lives again after her fall and shines after her eclipse,
And when at the end of the month she joins with the sun,
If the Dragon rise between them, and both stand on the same line,
Then the moon stands before the sun like a black cloud, and hides his radiance from the eye of all his beholders,
So that all who see them may know that the Kingdom is not to the host of the heavens and their legions,
But there is a Master above them, who darkens their luminaries,
“For He that is higher than the highest regardeth; and these be higher than they.”
And those who imagine that the sun is their god will at that time be ashamed of their imaginings, for their words will be tested,
And they will know that the hand of God made this, and that the Sun has no power, and that He who darkens his radiance alone has sway.
He sends to him one of His Servants, as reward for his good deeds,
To hide his light, destroy his idolatry, and remove him from being king. Crown of Kingdom – XIII

Who can reckon Thy deeds of justice when Thou didst encompass the firmament of the moon with a second sphere, without break or breach,
In which is the star called Mercury, which is as one twenty-two thousandth of the earth?
He traverses his orbit in tend days, moving swiftly,
And he awakens in the world quarrels and conflict, hatred and strife,
And give strength to succeed, to gather riches, to acquire wealth and honor,
By the command of Him who created it to serve Him as a slave serves his master.
It is the star of understanding and of wisdom—“to give subtility to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.” Crown of Kingdom – XIV

Who can understand Thy mysteries when Thou didst encompass the second sphere with a third sphere in which is Venus, like a queen among her hosts, and like a bride decked with her adornments?
In eleven months she turns about her orbit, and her body is as one thirty-seventh of the earth, according to those who know her secrets.
So also to the Scales and the Scorpion, set by his side; and the ninth that was made in the shape of an Archer whose might does not fail;
So were the Goat and the Pail created by Thy great strength,
And by him the last sign—“now the Lord had prepared a great fish.”
These are the lofty signs, raised up in their heights—“twelve princes according their nations.” Crown of Kingdom – XXIII

Who can search out Thy secrets when Thou didst bring forth, over the sphere of the signs, a sphere that is ninth in order,
Which encompasses all the spheres and their creatures, and they are enclosed within it,
And which leads all the stars of heaven and their orbits from east to west, by the power of its movement?
Once every day it bows down in the west to the King who enthroned it;
And all the creatures of the universe are in it as a grain of mustard in the great sea, so great is it and so vast,
Yet it and its greatness are counted as naught and as nothing before the greatness of its Creator and its King—“ and they are counted to him less than nothing.” Crown of Kingdom – XXIV

Who can understand the mysteries of Thy creatures when Thou didst raise up over the ninth sphere the sphere of intelligence, “the temple before it,” “and the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord”?
That is the sphere exalted above all height, to which thought cannot attain,
There is the mystery, the canopy of Thy glory.
Thou didst cast it from the silver of truth, and from the gold of intelligence Thou madest its covering,
On pillars of righteousness Thou didst set its orbit, and its existence derives from Thy power,
From Thee and to Thee is its purpose—“unto Thee shall be his desire.” Crown of Kingdom – XXV

Who can fathom Thy thoughts when from the splendor of the sphere of intelligence Thou madest the radiance of souls and lofty spirits?
They are the messengers of Thy Will, the ministers of Thy countenance.
They are majestic in strength, mighty in dominion, in their hand is the “flaming sword which turned every way.”
They perform every task, wherever the spirit takes them,
They are all elemental forms, transcendent beings, servants of the outer and inner courts, looking well to Thy ways,
From the holy place they go forth, and from the source of light they are drawn,
Marshalled into companies, with signs on their flag traced by the pen of a skillful scribe,
Some to command and some to minister,
Some of them are hosts that run and come, tireless and unwearied, seeing and not seen,
Some are hewn of flames, some stormy winds, some are compounded of water and of fire.
Some are fiery Seraphim, some leaping sparks, some comets, some flashes of lightning,
And every company bows down before the Rider of the Heavens and at the peak of the universe they stand in thousands and myriads,
Divided into watches by day and by night at the start of their vigils, to make praises and songs to Him that is girded with prowesses.
All of them, in fear and trembling, kneeling and bowing to Thee, and saying: “We confess to Thee,
That Thou art our God, and Thou didst make us, not we ourselves, and we are all the work of Thy hand,
For Thou art our Lord and we are Thy servants, Thou art our Creator and we Thy witnesses.” Crown of Kingdom – XXVI

Who can come to Thy dwelling-place, when Thou didst raise up above the sphere of intelligence the throne of glory, in which is the abode of mystery and majesty,
In which is the secret and the foundation, to which the intelligence reaches—and then stops short?
And above it Thou art raised up and exalted on the throne of Thy might, and none shall come up with Thee. Crown of Kingdom – XXVII

Who can do as Thy deeds, when under the throne of Thy glory Thou madest a place for the spirits of Thy saints?
There is the abode of the pure souls that are bound in the bundle of life.
Those who are tired and weary, there will they restore their strength.
There shall the weary be at rest, for they are deserving of repose.
In it there is delight without end or limitation, for that is the world-to-come.
There are stations and visions for the souls that stand by the mirrors assembled, to see the face of the Lord and to be seen,
Dwelling in the royal palaces, standing by the royal table,
Delighting in the sweetness of the fruit of the Intelligence, which yields royal dainties.
This is the repose and the inheritance, whose good and beauty are without limit, and “surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.” Crown of Kingdom – XXVIII

Who can reveal Thy mysteries, when in the heights Thou madest chambers and treasures, in which wonders are told, and the word of mighty deeds?
Some of them treasures of life for the righteous and pure,
Some of them treasures of salvation for penitent sinners,
Some of them treasures of fire and rivers of sulfur, for the transgressors of the covenant,[601]
And treasures of deep pits of unquenchable fire, “he that is abhorred of the Lord shall fall therein.”
And treasures of storms and tempests, of freezing and frost,
And treasures of hail and ice and snow, drought and also heat and bursting floods,
Steam and time and mist and cloud and darkness and gloom.
All of them didst Thou prepare, in their time, either for mercy or for judgment Thou didst ordain them, “O mighty God, Thou hast established them for correction.” Crown of Kingdom – XXIX

Who can contain Thy might, when from the abundance of Thy glory Thou didst create a pure radiance, hew from the quarry of the Rock, and dug from the mine of Purity?
And on it Thou didst set a spirit of wisdom, and Thou didst call it the Soul.
Thou didst fashion it from the flames of fire of the Intelligence, and its spirit is as a fire burning in it.[602]
Thou didst send it into the body to serve it and to guard it, and it is as a fire within, and yet it does not burn it.
From the fire of the spirit it was created, and went forth from nothingness to being, “because the Lord descended upon it in fire.” Crown of Kingdom – XXX

Who can reach Thy wisdom, when Thou gavest the soul the power of knowledge which inheres in her?
So that knowledge is her glory, and therefore decay has no rule over her, and she endures with the endurance of her foundation; this is her state and her secret.
The wise soul does not see death, but receives for her sin a punishment more bitter than death,
And if she be pure she shall obtain grace, and smile on the last day,
And if she be unclean, she shall stray amid a flood of anger and wrath,
All the days of her uncleanliness she shall sit alone, captive and moving to and fro; “she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled.” Crown of Kingdom – XXXI

Who can requite Thy bounties, when thou gavest the soul to the body, to give it life, to teach and show it the path of life, to save it from evil?
Thou didst from man out of clay, and breath into him a soul and set on him a spirit of wisdom, by which he is distinguished from a beast, and rise to a great height.
Thou didst set him enclosed in Thy world, while Thou from outside dost understand his deeds and see him,
And whatever he hides from Thee—from inside and from outside Thou dost observe. Crown of Kingdom – XXXII

Who can know the secret of Thine accomplishments, when Thou madest for the body the means for Thy work?
Thou gavest him eyes to see Thy signs,
Ears, to hear Thy wonders,
Mind, to grasp some part of Thy mystery,
Mouth, to tell Thy praise,
Tongue, to relate Thy mighty deeds to every comer,
As I do to-day, I Thy servant, the son of Thy handmaid,
I tell, according to the shortness of my tongue, one tiny part o f Thy greatness.
Behold these are the ends of Thy ways—and how splendid are their beginnings, “for they are life unto those that find them.”
By them, all those who hear them can recognize Thee, even if they do not see the face of Thy splendor.
Whoever does not hear Thy power, how can he recognize Thy Godhead?
How can Thy truth enter into his heart, how can he bend his thoughts to Thy service?
Therefore Thy servant found it in his heart to speak before his God.
To tell one tiny part of the heads of His praises.
Perhaps thereby his sins may be overlooked, “for wherewith should he reconcile himself unto his master? Should it not be with the heads...?”

4.9.3 Improvement of the Moral Qualities

Those who wish to improve their character traits can exercise and perform good physical deeds in kind with the corresponding sense. This is the kabbalah of activity, which teaches the physical manifests the spiritual and refines the character and soul. Only by deed do we improve. For this reason, all commandments, mitzvoth, are deeds as opposed to thoughts in Judaism.[603]

Table ‎4-2: Soul connection with the body and how the body refines the soul
Source Texts
Pride, meekness, Pudency, Impudence
Pride - “The lofty looks of men shall be humbled.”[604] “The eyes of the lofty shall be humbled.”[605]

Meekness - “Thou art of humbler eyes than to behold evil.”[606]

Impudence – “The shew of their countenance doth witness against them.”[607]
Hard-heartedness (cruelty)


Joy (Cheerfulness)
Grief (Apprehensiveness)

4.10 Nehunya ben Hakanah

Please, by the force of Your great right hand, release the bound one. Accept the prayer of Your people; strengthen us, purify us, awesome One! Please! Mighty One, those who seek Your Unity, preserve them like the pupil [of Your eye]. Bless them, purify them, have compassion on them; Your benevolent righteousness [may You] always bestow upon them. Mighty, Holy One, in Your abundant goodness, lead Your community. Unique one, Exalted, turn to Your people who are mindful of Your holiness. Accept our prayer and hear our cry, [Your] Who knows hidden thoughts. Blessed [is His] Name, Whose glorious kingdom is forever and ever.[608]

[527] The Mystical Experience in Abraham Abulafia, Moshe Idel, SUNY Press, page 109.
[528] Sefer ha-Meliz
[529] The Mystical Experience in Abraham Abulafia, Moshe Idel, SUNY Press, page 200.
[530] Mikraoth Temimoth Mishlei, trans. Rabbi Shraga Silverstein, Kesher Books, p.130
[531] Chronicles 1:29:11
[532] “The Process of Emanation”, Isaac Blind, trans. in The Early Kabbalah, Dan, Safed Spirituality, p.80.
[533] Ibid p.81
[534] Gate of Kavanah, Azriel, trans in Origens of Kabbalah, Scholem, pp.417-419.
[535] Perhaps the Light of G-d outside this world so that the world may exist.
[536] Harris, Kabbalah class, University of Utah, 2002.
[537] Similar to the Hegelian Dialectic, see
[538] These terms are taken from Hegel’s philosophy of phenomenology. Here Hegel understands that the absolute knowledge of the universe progresses from thesis to antithesis to synthesis. In difference to kabbalah, Hegel assigns the synthesis to be a new thesis. Hegel applied his system to understand the development of Christianity out of Judaism. For example, we expect a good king to arise who will be a messiah. We know that G-d is our savior. Now the thesis is that the messiah is the savior and god.
[539] Path of the Just, Shraga Silverstein translation.
[540] Encyclopedia of Judaism, Rabbeinu Bachaya, page 274.
[541] Meditation and the Bible, Aryeh Kaplan, page 30.
[542] Torah mystical study is a means to glimpse this light while still in this world.
[543] Psalm 73:28.
[544] Psalm 27:4.
[545] In this area divination is particularly useful for getting true feedback on one’s behavior.
[546] Psalm 34:15.
[547] Pesach 4a.
[548] Proverbs 6:10.
[549] Ta’an 11a
[550] M’silat Ysharim, ch. 13.
[551] Perkei Avot 6:6, Quoted in M’silat Ysharim 19.
[552] Ibid 2.12.
[553] Yoma 86a
[554] M’silat Ysharim 22, Mordecai Kaplan trans. page 129.
[555] Ibid
[556] These numbers being according to the mental age in life.
[557] The Knowing Heart, Moshe Chayim Luzzatto, trans. Shraga Silverstein, pp. 199-201.
[558] Shabbat 112B
[559] Maimonides on the “Decline of the Generations” and the Nature of Rabbinic Authority, Menachem Kellner, SUNY Press, page 91.
[560] See Meditation ‎16-4: The Beauty of Darkness and Duma p.596 where the fallen angel is more the manifestation of man’s sin and serving Hashem as opposed to the notion of the ‘rebellious’ angel.
[561] Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom, Rabbi Nathan of Nemirov, trans. and annotated Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, edited by Rabbi Zvi Aryeh Rosenfeld, Breslov Research Institute, 1973, preface.
[562] In Kotels one often finds students suffering from depression. Halachic material in the Talmud intrinsically may have little that is spiritually inspiring and the legal argument methods day after day in these subjects may cause depression. Rabbi Gedahlia Meir, a talmud hocham residing in Tel Stone whom I studied Talmud with in San Jose in 1998 acknowledged that this could be the case.
[563] Perkei Avos 6:6.
[564] Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom, page 173, saying 65.
[565] Zohar 1:14b
[566] Ibid. 3:227b.
[567] Zech. 3:9, Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom 44, page 149.
[568] Rabbi Nosson, Rabbi Nachman’s writer.
[569] Rabbi Aryeh Rosenfeld, tape 1 of Rabbi Nachman’s wisdom
[570] See ‎
[571] See ‎18.1.2
[572] Likutey Moharan #4:3,4 page 123.
[573] Ezekiel.
[574] Likutey Moharan #4 note 1, page 115.
[575] Likutey Moharan #4 note 38, page 129 states:
That is: When my bones say their confession...then Malkhut is rectified. The commentaries point out that atzmtay (“mybones”) can also be understood as “my self,” referring to one’s aetzem (essence). “All my bones” thus implies all of a person’s inner thoughts and deeds (Radak, loc. Cit.).
[576] Likutey Moharan #4:5, page 129.
[577] Ka R. 3:1. The Book of Legends Page 345.
[578] B. Yev 102b.
[579] Likutey Moharan #115, Book X
[580] See ‎ Counting of the Omer p.330
[582] From the mouth of the Tzaddik in heaven to the mount of the tzaddik, G-d speaks wisdom.
[583] Nati Elon lives in Caesaria, Israel.
[584] specifically
[585] “The paper of the Petek was examined in a Police laboratory. It was determined to be 60 years old, dating back to the year in which Rabbi Yisroel Ber received the Petek.” While probably written by a friend or Yisroel Dov-Ber Odesser under meditation with Rabenuzal, Dov-Ber declared, "The whole world does not know who I am! I shall inform all of you! I am Na Nach Nachma Nachman Me'Uman!"
[586] Nissim
[588] Nissim Kaufman trans.
[589] Until the Mashiach, Aryeh Kaplan, p. 186
[590] Ibid. p. 91, also see Text ‎9-13 in which Elon – אילן – distinguished tree has the gematria 91 same as the page number. The works of Aryeh Kaplan are seforim and spiritually distinguished.
[591] {I am a tree} seems to pitch Hasidism back into the realm of early pagan influenced Judaism. See ‎26.9.
[592] The Secret Garden, ed. David Meltzer, p. 99
[593] The Heart and the Fountain, Joseph Dan, p. 82
[594] Introduction translation by Harris Lenowitz from the Secret Garden and the remainder is Bernard Lewis’s translation in Scholem’s “Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism”.
[595] Olam haZeh – this world and Olam haBah – the world to come.
[596] Elohei elohim
[597] Adonai adonim
[598] Eloha
[599] ‘He’ above refers to anointed leaders or kings. Ring refers to His power.
[600] A lunar eclipse, that the events are not mere physical motions but with them have spiritual meaning.
[601] The ‘fire’ is a treasure to the sinner, which burns away sin. Sulfur cleanses the sinners wounds—the source of fire. See Text ‎2-80: Zohar on Life and Meditation ‎16-2: To Hell and Back
[602] This is from Binah which leans towards fire.
[603] The Improvement of the Moral Qualities, p.47
[604] Isaiah 2:2
[605] Isaiah 5:15
[606] Habukuk 1:13
[607] Isaiah 3:9
[608] Metsudah Siddur, p.40

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