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Malkhut

“Earth” is equivalent to the sefirah of Malkhut, which is associated with the earth. Therefore earth – like Malkhut – represents the Oral Law. And the Oral Law is the source of the spirit of every living being, as the verse states: “Let the earth bring forth living creatures, each according to its own kind”
Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, Likutey Moharan I, 12:1).[1]

Torah 12:1

“Tehillah l’David (A psalm of David): I will exalt You, my Lord, the King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever.” (Psalms 145:1)

This that we see that, generally, the learned oppose the tzaddikim and “speak arrogant words, proudly and contemptuously, against the righteous” (cf. Psalms 31:19) —this is precisely the way God intends it.

For there are the aspects of Yaakov and Lavan. Yaakov is the tzaddik who originates Torah insights and studies Torah lishmah (purely for its own sake). The good which is his is stored, guarded and hidden away for the Future, as our Sages taught: … tomorrow, to receive their reward (Eruvin 22a). It is because his reward comes at the end that he is called yaAKoV, which connotes AKeV (heel) and end. His reward comes at the end.

But Lavan is a scholar-demon. He studies Torah in order to show off and criticize. And such a Torah scholar, “a carcass is better than he” (Vayikra Rabbah 1:15).

It is common knowledge that a person is only called a scholar [when versed] in the Oral Law. Someone who knows how to study the Five Books of the Torah is not called a scholar; only one who is knowledgeable in the Talmud and Codifiers. When such a person studies Torah without daat, <i.e., not lishmah,> he is called Lavan—because of the cunning which he acquires. He despises and persecutes the tzaddikim: the upper tzaddik and the lower tzaddik. As is written in the Zohar (I, 153b): The Divine Presence resides between two tzaddikim, as in (Psalms 37:29), “Tzaddikim will inherit the earth”—[the plural,] tzaddikim, indicating two. These are the two tzaddikim: the tzaddik who originated this teaching of Oral Law is the upper tzaddik, and the lower tzaddik is the one who studies these original insights.

And Oral Law is the Divine Presence. As <Eliyahu taught>: Malkhut (Kingship) is peh (mouth)—she is called Torah shebe’ al peh (Oral Law) (Tikkuney Zohar, Introduction). When the Divine Presence, which is known as the Oral Law, comes into the scholar-demon, it is referred to as the Divine Presence in exile. <From this> [the scholar] has the mouth to “speak arrogant words, proudly and contemptuously, against the tzaddik.”

But when, with holiness and purity, a person studies some law or legal decision which a Tanna or some other tzaddik originated, this brings about the aspect of neshikin (kisses). Neshikin is the binding of spirit with spirit. For this legal decision was spoken by the Tanna, and speech is the life-force, as is written (Genesis 2:7), “[Man] became a living soul,” which Onkelos renders: “a speaking spirit.”

Now, the “speaking spirit”—the “living soul”—comes from the Oral Law, as is written (Genesis 1:24), “Let the earth bring forth a living soul.” Consequently, when the Tanna originates some insight and verbalizes this insight, the speaking itself is an aspect of Oral Law which he originated. For that is where he drew it from, as in, “Let the earth bring forth a living soul.” So that now, when one studies this insight and brings the learning and insight into his mouth, the result is that the spirit of the tzaddik who originated this insight binds itself with the “speaking spirit”—with the words of the one who is now studying the insight. This binding of spirit with spirit is called neshikin.

We find then that when a person studies < lishmah> a law which the Tannaim instituted, through this the spirit of the Tanna binds itself with the spirit of the one studying. It is as if he exchanges kisses with the Tanna. However, of the scholar-demon who studies the Talmud or a legal decision it is written (Proverbs 27:6), “The kisses of an enemy are profuse.” This is because the Tanna cannot tolerate the spirit of a scholar-demon. For who could stomach exchanging kisses with a carcass, especially when “a carcass is better than he”?

And even tzaddikim who have already passed away, by studying their teachings, their spirit becomes bound with ours <in the aspect of neshikin>. As our Sages taught: [When a person quotes the sages in this world,] their lips move in the grave (Yevamot 97a). This is a result of the aspect of neshikin.

{“Yaakov kissed Rachel and he wept aloud. Yaakov told Rachel that he was her father’s relative, that he was Rivkah ’s son. She ran and told her father. When Lavan heard the name of Yaakov, his sister’s son, he ran to greet him. He embraced and kissed him, and brought him into his home. And yesaper ([Yaakov] told) Lavan all that had happened. Lavan said to him, ‘Yes, indeed, you are my own flesh and blood.’ And he yeshev (dwelled) with him for chodesh yamim (a month’s time). Lavan then said to Yaakov, ‘You are my brother…’” (Genesis 29:11-15).} This corresponds to, “Yaakov kissed Rachel and wept aloud.” Rashi explains: “he foresaw with the holy spirit that she would not be buried with him.” “Rachel” alludes to the Oral Law, <for she corresponds to speech, to the Divine Presence>. She is “as a rachel (lamb) before her shearers” (Isaiah 53:7). Everyone shears and extract laws from her (Tikkuney Zohar #21, p.46b). [The laws] become garments, as is written (Proverbs 27:26), “Sheep shall provide your garments,” and as in (Isaiah 3:6), “You have garments, you will be our leader.” When a virtuous individual studies the Tanna’s teaching, the Tanna kisses him. And he kisses the Tanna and brings the Tanna great delight, as in, “his lips move in the grave.”

This is the meaning of “Yaakov kissed”—he is the Tanna ; “Rachel”—she is the Oral Law which he originated. He kissed and bound his spirit with the holy spirit in the Divine Presence. “And he wept”—He foresaw with his holy spirit, which he took from his mouth and put into the Oral Law, and saw that in this exile the learned are generally unworthy people. Consequently, the studying in which they engage causes the holy spirit of Rachel/Oral Law not to enter the grave. For [the Tanna’s] lips do not move in the grave from the wicked man’s studying. And because of this, “he wept” over his exile.

Furthermore, there are even times when the learned individual will teach an original insight in his own name instead of crediting the Tanna. As a result, he does not enter the grave with the Tanna. For he does not say it in the name of the one who [first] said it.