CLOSENESS TO HASHEM Class 2

CLOSENESS TO HASHEM

CHAPTER TWO

“HASHEM, TORAH AND THE JEWISH NATION ARE ALL ONE.”

THE MAKE UP OF THE JEWISH SOUL

1. The RamChal in his book ‘Adir Bamorom’ and also in the

‘Nefesh Hachaim’ (4:11), and many other books bring the quote

from the ‘Zohar’; “The Holy One Blessed Be He, Torah and Yisrael

are all one, since Hashem, the Torah and the Jewish nation are

the same thing”. [This expression has not been found in the

Zohar – it seems that they intended to explain a similar

expression written in the Zohar.]

2. These words require explanation. How can it be possible to

say this? Hashem has neither body nor body form; He fills and

rotates all the worlds. The Torah is the holy Torah scroll and

Yisrael are human beings. How is it therefore possible to say that

they are all the same thing?

3. A preface is essential here to explain this matter. Man is

comprised of body and soul. Everyone knows and feels what the

body is. Similarly everyone knows intuitively that the soul exists

within the body, since the difference between a live and a dead

person is quite obvious, still it is extremely difficult to

ultimately define what the soul is. We can explain the little that

we know about the soul with a parable of sun rays extending

from the sun, their whole existence sourced in the sun. Were a

person to place a board in the middle of the sun beam, isolating

it from its source, the sun, it would cease to shine beyond the

board (at least those parts which cannot travel through the

board, meaning all those which are visible to the eye). This is

true also of a Jewish soul. The soul extends from Hashem

(obviously the parable and it’s moral are completely different,

since the actual distance between the soul and The Creator is

immeasurable and totally incomparable to the much smaller

distance between the sun and it’s rays. The purpose of the

parable is simply to illustrate that the ray’s entire existence is

drawn from this source.) In truth, everything in the world

receives its existence from Hashem and although this is not the

place to speak lengthily about this, the soul of a Jew is more

directly sourced in Hashem and can feel its connection more.

4. Let us return to our topic, to explain the aforementioned

saying, that Hashem, the Torah and the Jewish nation are all one

thing. It means that the souls of the Jewish nation are a bounty

of spiritual light. (In Kabbalistic books, spiritual bounty is always

referred to with expressions of shining or light, one of the

reasons being that in the physical world, the most spiritual thing

is light and it is also something completely good. There are of

course many other deeper reasons for the use of this expression

which shortage of space does not permit us to bring here.) This

goodness extends from Hashem himself, who is the Source of

the light. This explains how Hashem and the Jewish nation can

be one thing – one is the source and the other is the result.

5. To understand how the Torah is one with Hashem and the

Jewish nation we need to know a basic principle brought in

many places in Chazal. The gemarah in Sanhedrin 99 explains on

the verse; “A soul labors, the labor is for him” [to clarify the

double expression of labor in the verse] ‘He works in this area

and the Torah works for him in another area‘. Rashi explains

that when a person labors over Torah, the Torah requests that

Hashem help him understand Torah. Clearly Torah is not just a

physical scroll that we have here in this world, but the Torah

exists spiritually in the higher worlds and is able to request

things of Hashem (a well known comparison to this is the

spiritual existence of angels).

6. According to this, we can now understand how the Torah is

also one with Hashem and Yisrael. Hashem structured the world

in a way that the bounty coming from Him to the Jewish soul, is

carried via the spiritual existence of Torah, as the bounty is

created within it. The formation of the souls of Yisrael is

brought about and carried via the beam of the holy Torah which

is also a type of extension of Hashem (as explained in the words

of the Ramchal in his book, ‘Adir Bamorom’, described here in a

general way, without full detail).

7. There is an additional point here. There is a strong inner

longing within the soul of every human being is to have a

greater connection with its source, and receive more goodness

and strength for the soul. The way to merit this, according to

the aforementioned saying, is to increase one’s commitment to

Torah, including all areas of the service of Hashem detailed in

the Torah. These includes keeping mitzvot, distancing oneself

from sin between man and Hashem and between man and his

fellow man, and also strengthening oneself in prayer. This will

increase one’s spiritual bounty and as a result, the higher bounty

will be stimulated to shine on him through the light of Torah.

8. When a person thinks properly about these things, they will

awaken a great desire in his heart to study Torah and fulfill the

will of Hashem in all areas. Through this his soul becomes

connected to its source and receives additional light similar to

the light his soul already has. This is really what the soul longs

for, more than all other desires of this world. We see this in

Mesillat Yesharim (chapter 1), “The soul is way above all,

its true enjoyment is only to bask in the light of Hashem’s face.”

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