Chapter 10, Class # 4

The (very) end of chapter 10

לייחדא קודשא בריך הוא ושכינתיה בתחתונים

“uniting the Holy One, blessed be He, with His Shechinah (the Divine Presence), so that the light of this union reach and be felt even in the lowest worlds.”

וכמו שכתוב ברעיא מהימנא, פרשת תצא: כברא דאשתדל בתר אבוי ואימיה, דרחים לון יתיר מגרמיה ונפשיה ורוחיה ונשמתיה כו׳

As is also explained in Ra‘aya Mehemna on Parshat Tetze: “In the manner of a son who exerts himself for his father and mother, whom he loves more than himself, [more than] his own Nefesh, Ruach and Neshamah,

ומסר גרמיה למיתה עלייהו למיפרק לון כו׳, וכמו שכתוב במקום אחר

and who sacrifices his life for their sake to redeem them, should they be held in captivity,“ and as is also explained elsewhere.

Such is the divine service of “men of ascent”: it is wholly altruistic, motivated only by a desire to please G‑d and make His presence felt everywhere.

The Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain that the two aforementioned interpretations of the term “men of ascent” accord with each other and are in fact complementary.

It is a kabbalistic axiom that the “elevation of mahn” (מ”ן — initials of mayin nukvin, lit., “feminine waters”) effects a corresponding “descent of mahd” (מ”ד — initials of mayin dechurin, lit., “masculine waters”). This means that the arousal of the “feminine” level, i.e., the recipient (which in our case means the efforts of man below, in actions directed “upward” toward G‑d), causes a reciprocal arousal of the “masculine” level, i.e., the giver (meaning, in our case, G‑d’s benevolence as it “flows downward” and is bestowed upon man).

Applying this to the service of “men of ascent” we find the following. That aspect of their service mentioned in the first interpretation — that they elevate evil and convert it to good — constitutes an “ascent of mahn.” The aspect mentioned in the second interpretation — that by their service of love they draw down G‑d’s Presence upon earth — constitutes a “descent of mahd,” for every mitzvah that they perform (as a channel for the descent of G‑d’s Presence) is an expression of G‑d’s benevolence. Thus, the two interpretations are complementary, since the “ascent of mahn” is what causes the “descent of mahd” as stated above.

(The Alter Rebbe employs kabbalistic terms in his explanation, which are explained in Chassidut at length; they will become clearer in the course of further study.)

In the Alter Rebbe’s words:

ושניהם עולים בקנה אחד. כי על ידי הבירורים שמבררים מנוגה מעלים מיין נוקבין

(7Both interpretations are complementary. For by refining [the good found in] kelipat nogah, as the “men of ascent” do by converting their animal soul (which is derived from kelipat nogah) to good, one elevates “feminine waters” (mahn),

ונעשים יחודים עליונים להוריד מיין דכורין

effecting unions in the higher realms, so as to cause “masculine waters” (mahd) to descend to this world.

שהם הם מימי החסדים שבכל מצוה ומצוה מרמ״ח מצות עשה, שכולן הן בחינת חסדים ומיין דכורין

These [“masculine waters”] are the “waters” of kindness that flow into and are contained in each of the 248 positive mitzvot, which are all in the nature of “kindness”, or benevolence, and “masculine waters.”

דהיינו המשכת קדושת אלקותו יתברך מלמעלה למטה להתלבש בתחתונים, כמו שכתוב במקום אחר

This term “masculine waters” as applied to mitzvot means that the mitzvotdraw G‑d’s holiness from above, i.e., from the higher realms,downward, so that [G‑d’s holiness] be clothed in and revealed within the lowest realms, i.e., our physical world, as explained elsewhere.) Thus the two interpretations of the term “men of ascent” are complementary.

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Footnotes

8 The Rebbe notes that two reasons are given for the use of the name bnei aliyah for the same level of tzaddikim, viz., the higher level. One reason corresponds to the appellation “complete tzaddik,”while the other corresponds to the term “tzaddik who knows only good.” (As we have seen, the “complete tzaddik” is so called because of the degree of his love of G‑d; the explanation appropriate here is the latter — that his love is utterly selfless. The “tzaddik who knows only good” is so called because of his eradication and conversion of evil; the explanation appropriate to him is the former — that he elevates evil to holiness.)
9 Yeshayahu 55:1.
10  Introduction to Tikkunei Zohar 1b. See Zohar II, 114b; III, 222b; 288a.
11  Parentheses are in the original text.

 

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