11 Controversy and Strife
1) You should not allow yourself to be disturbed by the various disputes between the Tzaddikim (as for example the differences of opinion between the Sages of the Mishnah, the Talmud and so on). If a person is troubled by these disputes and states raising all kinds of questions about them, it is a sign that he has allowed some impurity into his mind. It is this internal impurity that is the real source of his doubts. The danger is that his doubts could grow to the point where he becomes permanently separated from the Tzaddikim and their followers, who are the source of true and enduring life. A person should understand that if he finds himself troubled by doubts and questions about the Tzaddikim it is an indication that a flaw exists within himself. If he realizes this, it will help him return to the truth (5:4).
2) You should always make every effort to search out whatever merit and goodness you can find within the Jewish people. Judge everyone in the scale of merit, even those who oppose you and treat you disrespectfully. If you do this you will never be troubled by opposition and arguments. When you seek out the merit of your fellow Jew, you make a precious crown for God studded with beautiful gems (6).
3) If you find yourself in the middle of a dispute, it is very good if you can remain silent and pay no attention to the abuse which people throw at you. When you can hear what is said against you without answering back this is true repentance. It is the remedy for all past sins. Someone who achieves this can truly be said to be wise. He will receive a share in the glory of God and a goodly portion in the World to Come. He will be merged in the figure of the Man on the Throne which is the source of all the judgements passed on the inhabitants of the world (Ibid.).
Ezekiel 1:26 Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary 26. The Godhead appears in the likeness of enthroned humanity, as in Ex 24:10. Besides the "paved work of a sapphire stone, as it were the body of heaven in clearness," there, we have here the "throne," and God "as a man," with the "appearance of fire round about." This last was a prelude of the incarnation of Messiah, but in His character as Saviour and as Judge (Re 19:11-16). The azure sapphire answers to the color of the sky. As others are called "sons of God," but He "the Son of God," so others are called "sons of man" (Eze 2:1, 3), but He "the Son of man" (Mt 16:13), being the embodied representative of humanity and the whole human race; as, on the other hand, He is the representative of "the fulness of the Godhead" (Col 2:9). While the cherubim are movable, the throne above, and Jehovah who moves them, are firmly fixed. It is good news to man, that the throne above is filled by One who even there appears as "a man."
Barnes' Notes on the Bible
Sapphire - Clear heavenly blue.
The appearance of a man - Deeply significant is the form of this manifestation. Here is no angel conveying God's message to man, but the glory of the Lord Himself. We recognize in this vision the prophetic annunciation of the Holy Incarnation. We are told little of the extent to which the human form was made evident to the prophet. For the vision was rather to the mind than to the bodily eye, and even inspired language was inadequate to convey to the hearer the glory which eye hath not seen or ear heard, and which only by special revelation it hath entered into the heart of man to conceive.
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
A sapphire - The pure oriental sapphire, a large well cut specimen of which is now before me, is one of the most beautiful and resplendent blues that can be conceived. I have sometimes seen the heavens assume this illustrious hue. The human form above this canopy is supposed to represent Him who, in the fullness of time, was manifested in the flesh.
All the other parts of this vision were but a preface and introduction to this. God in them had made himself known as Lord of angels and supreme director of all the affairs of this lower world, whence it is easy to infer that whatever God by his prophets either promises or threatens to do he is able to effect it. Angels are his servants; men are his tools. But now that a divine revelation is to be given to a prophet, and by him to the church, we must look higher than the living creatures or the wheels, and must expect that from the eternal Word, of whom we have an account in these verses. Ezekiel, hearing a voice from the firmament, looked up, as John did, to see the voice that spoke with him, and he saw one like unto the Son of man,
Rev. 1:12, 13. The second person sometimes tried the fashion of a man occasionally before he clothed himself with it for good and all; and the Spirit of prophecy is called the Spirit of Christ (1 Pt. 1:11) and the testimony of Jesus, Rev. 19:10. 1. This glory of Christ that the prophet saw was above the firmament that was over the heads of the living creatures, v. 26. Note, The heads of angels themselves are under the feet of the Lord Jesus; for the firmament that is over their heads is under his feet. Angels, principalities, and powers are made subject to him, 1 Pt. 3:22. This dignity and dominion of the Redeemer before his incarnation magnify his condescension in his incarnation, when he was made a little lower than the angels, Heb. 2:9. 2. The first thing he observed was a throne; for divine revelation comes backed and supported with a royal authority.We must have an eye of faith to God and Christ as upon a throne. The first thing that John discovered in his visions was a throne set in heaven (Rev. 4:2), which commands reverence and subjection. It is a throne of glory, a throne of grace, a throne of triumph, a throne of government, a throne of judgment. The Lord has prepared his throne in the heavens, has prepared it for his Son, whom he has set King on his holy hill of Zion. 3. On the throne he saw the appearance of a man. This is good new to the children of men, that the throne above the firmament is filled with one that is not ashamed to appear, even there, in the likeness of man. Daniel, in vision, saw the kingdom and dominion given to one like the Son of man, who therefore has authority given him to execute judgment because he is the Son of man (John v. 27), so appearing in these visions. 4. He saw him as a prince and judge upon this throne. Though he appeared in fashion as a man, yet he appeared in more than human glory, v. 27. (1.) Is God a shining light? So is he: when the prophet saw him he saw as the colour of amber, that is, a brightness round about; for God dwells in light, and covers himself with light as with a garment.How low did the Redeemer stoop for us when, to bring about our salvation, he suffered his glory to be eclipsed by the veil of his humanity! (2.) Is God a consuming fire? So is he: from his loins, both upward and downward, there was the appearance of fire. The fire above the loins was round about within the amber; it was inward and involved. That below the loins was more outward and open, and yet that also had brightness round about. Some make the former to signify Christ's divine nature, the glory and virtue of which are hidden within the colour of amber; it is what no man has seen nor can see. The latter they suppose to be his human nature, the glory of which there were those who saw; the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, Jn. 1:14. He had rays coming out of his hand, and yet there was the hiding of his power, Hab. 3:4. The fire in which the Son of man appeared here might be intended to signify the judgments that were ready to be executed upon Judah and Jerusalem, coming form that fiery indignation of the Almighty which devours the adversaries.Nothing is more dreadful to the most daring sinners than the wrath of him that sits upon the throne, and of the Lamb, Rev. 6:16. The day is coming when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed in flaming fire, 2 Th. 1:7, 8. It concerns us therefore to kiss the Son lest he be angry. 5. The throne is surrounded with a rainbow, v. 28. It is so in St. John's vision, Rev. 4:3. The brightness about it was of divers colours, as the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, which, as it is a display of majesty, and looks very great, so it is a pledge of mercy, and looks very kind; for it is a confirmation of that gracious promise God has made that he will not drown the world again, and he has said, I will look upon the bow and remember the covenant, Gen. 9:16. This intimates that he who sits upon the throne is the Mediator of the covenant, that his dominion is for our protection, not our destruction, that he interposes between us and the judgments our sins have deserved, and that all the promises of God are in him yea and amen. Now that the fire of God's wrath was breaking out against Jerusalem bounds should be set to it, and he would not make an utter destruction of it, for he would look upon the bow and remember the covenant, as he promised in such a case, Lev. 26:42.
Lastly, We have the conclusion of this vision. Observe, 1. What notion the prophet himself had of it: This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. Here, as all along, he is careful to guard against all gross corporeal thoughts of God, which might derogate from the transcendent purity of his nature. he does not say, This was the Lord (for he is invisible), but, This was the glory of the Lord, in which he was pleased to manifest himself a glorious being; yet it is not the glory of the Lord, but the likeness of that glory, some faint resemblance of it; nor is it any adequate likeness of that glory, but only the appearance of that likeness, a shadow of it, and not the very image of the thing, Heb. 10:1. 2. What impressions it made upon him: When I saw it, I fell upon my face. (1.) He was overpowered by it; the dazzling lustre of it conquered him and threw him upon his face; for who is able to stand before this holy Lord God? Or, rather, (2.) He prostrated himself in a humble sense of his own unworthiness of the honour now done him, and of the infinite distance which he now, more than ever, perceived to be between him and God; he fell upon his face in token of that holy awe and reverence of God with which his mind was possessed and filled. Note, The more God is pleased to make known of himself to us the more low we should be before him. He fell upon his face to adore the majesty of God, to implore his mercy and to deprecate the wrath he saw ready to break out against the children of his people. 3. What instructions he had from it. All he saw was only to prepare him for that which he was to hear; for faith comes by hearing. He therefore heard a voice of one that spoke; for we are taught by words, not merely by hieroglyphics. When he fell on his face, ready to received the word, then he heard the voice of one that spoke; for God delights to teach the humble.
4) Only the perfect Tzaddik has the strength to fight against the wicked and the enemies of truth. It takes a person who has already rid himself of evil completely to fight this battle successfully. The various character traits are rooted in the four cosmic elements of Fire, Air, Earth and Water. The Tzaddik must be pure in all of them. He must be assured that nothing will make him trip up and sin. Only such a Tzaddik and his followers can fight against the wicked. A person may have cleansed himself to the point that he is entirely free of sin in practice. But if even the mere possibility that he might sin remains, he is not a `perfect Tzaddik,' and it can be very dangerous for him to try to fight the wicked. They draw their life-force from the Other Side, the `raging stormwind' (Ezekiel 1:3), which has tremendous force at the peak of its power. Only the perfect Tzaddik can descend unharmed into the channel through which the wicked draw their strength in order to break them and humble them and cast them down to the earth (8:5).
5) If you are scrupulous about the mitzva of tzitzit you will be able to stand up against any opposition (Ibid.).
6) The people who set themselves in opposition to the Tzaddik are called dead even in their lifetime because they have no share in the holy life-spirit which the Tzaddikim alone draw into the world (Ibid.).
7) At times the wicked become so bitter in their battle against holiness that the only recourse is to fight them with the legal apparatus of the non-Jewish authorities. In fact it is a positive duty to do so, and to do the utmost to crush the opposition by this means, even if the cost is heavy. It helps to elevate the sparks of true justice from the domain of the husks and the forces of the Other Side. There are times when God intentionally brings it about that the opposition to the righteous and God-fearing should be so fierce that the only recourse is to the non-Jewish authorities. The whole purpose is precisely to elevate the sparks of true justice from the domain of the husks (20:9).
8) Those who ridicule and abuse the genuinely religious are under the influence of Torah they have learned from scholars who lack the necessary integrity. These scholars are termed `Jewish devils' (Zohar III, 253) because their Torah is `fallen Torah,' which lacks the power to guide men along the path of truth and goodness. There is nothing to be gained from such scholars. Anyone who associates with them will turn into an atheist (28:1).
9) One way of developing genuine faith is by offering hospitality to true Torah scholars. When you have true faith it will give you the strength to be untouched by the abuse and ridicule of others (Ibid. 2:3).
10) There are people who do not have a good word for anybody. They always look on the bad side of people. The source of their life-force is in the forces of the Other Side, which is called `the end of all flesh' (Genesis 6:13). Such people are constantly trying to make an end of things. They are highly destructive. Their accusations and slander arouse harsh judgements in the world. The fundamental evil here is the abuse of the faculty of speech. Therefore the way to crush and humble these people is by developing the faculty of speech to perfection (38:2).
11) Clapping your hands when you pray helps against strife and divisiveness. Murder and destruction are driven from the world, and peace reigns (44).
12) The deeper a person's understanding the more detached he will be from in-fighting and controversy. The main reason for factionalism and anger is lack of understanding. Torah is the source of all understanding. Therefore the study of Torah brings peace to the world and causes factionalism to disappear (56:3, 6).
13) Immersing in a mikvah deepens understanding. It is therefore also a help against factionalism (Ibid. 7).
14) When a person is prone to anger, it strengthens his enemies and opponents. One remedy is fasting. Another is taking pleasure in the delights of Shabbat especially the Shabbat meals (57:6).
15) A potent reason for factionalism and quarreling is because people lack sufficient faith in the Sages of the Torah. Someone who finds himself at the center of an argument, with people raising all kinds of questions about him, should take it as a sign that he does not have sufficient faith in the Sages. He should think about the implications of the argument and use it as a stimulus to help him correct the deficiency in his faith (61:5).
16) There are certain Tzaddikim in particular who could never be said to have less than perfect faith, yet they are still surrounded by controversy. In the case of a Tzaddik such as this the reason for the opposition is that `he bore the sin of many' (Isaiah 53:12) and he has to bear the anguish of this controversy precisely because the rest of the world is lacking in faith in the Sages. The very controversy which surrounds him enables him to correct the flaws in the people's faith in the Sages (Ibid.).
17) Another reason for the opposition against these Tzaddikim is that they do not have sufficient faith in themselves. They lack adequate faith in the value of the original Torah concepts which they have developed, nor do they fully believe that God has great joy from their teachings. They have insufficient confidence in their own originality, and as a result their powers grow weaker. This is the reason why opposition is sent to them -- to encourage them to repent for their weak faith. Because a lack of faith in one's own originality is also a lack of faith in the Sages. When the Tzaddik repents for this, it gives him new enthusiasm to explore fresh horizons and innovate further, and out of his teachings a book is made. Many holy books of Torah come to be written in this way. As a result disputes and faction-fighting are put to rest and all the harsh judgements are sweetened (Ibid.).
18) At the deepest level, the fact that there are disputes between the various Tzaddikim (for example the arguments between the Sages of the Mishnah and the Gemarah and so on) has its root in the concept of the `Empty Void,' the mystical concept of the void that was left after the primordial light was contracted. (See Likutey Moharan 64 for a fuller discussion of this.) Any real understanding of this concept is beyond the capacity of our human intelligence. Because of this it is wrong for a person to allow himself to be troubled by fundamental doubts through an inability to understand how it could be that there were disagreements between the Sages on matters of Torah. One must simply have faith that `these and these are the words of the living God,' even if we are unable to understand how this can be. We must strengthen ourselves with faith alone (64:4).
19) The more divisions among the enemy, the greater their power of endurance. When they unite, however, they very quickly suck dry the source of their life-force, which is in the waste substances of the brain, and they soon collapse (87:6).
20) The urge to dominate has its source in the blood with which a person has not yet served God. He must see to it that he serves God with every single drop of blood in his body. He must pour forth words of Torah and prayer until all his blood has been turned into words of holiness. Then he will attain peace and his urge to argue and dominate will disappear (75).
21) One who restrains his impulse to take part in disputes will be worthy of being quoted by name for his legal rulings. After his passing he will dwell in both worlds, the World to Come and this world, where his name will still be mentioned. It will be as if he is not dead at all (145).
22) Arguments and in-fighting make it difficult for a person to pray and speak words of holiness. This is why before we begin our prayers we must take upon ourselves the mitzva of `love your neighbor as yourself' (Leviticus 19:18) in order to draw love and peace into the world. Peace is the root and source of speech (239).
23) Factionalism can cause even truly religious people to start having doubts and questions about their faith (251).
24) A person who is involved in a controversy can be thrown down from his level. He has to be very determined and pray profusely and plead with God not to let him stray from his path because of this (258).
25) When a person is involved in a dispute he should never get up and say that whatever his opponent does to him he will do to his opponent in return. This will only help his opponent achieve what he wants, which is to see his victim suffer. The best thing is to judge his enemies in the scale of merit, and even to do them favors where he can. This is the best way to foil their intentions. In the end their evil intentions will all come back on their own heads (277).
26) This applies when one's opponents are not good people. But when they are Tzaddikim there is no doubt that their only intention is to benefit him. Their very opposition has the power to raise him up and sweeten any harsh decrees which may have been made against him. This is why they oppose him in the first place. A person must understand that when he is confronted with opposition from Tzaddikim, it is only for his benefit. He must pray to God not to allow him to fall into the error of thinking this is real hostility, because if he does it can arouse genuine opposition from the forces of the Other Side (Ibid.).
27) Strife brings poverty. It also prevents people from being healed. Peace brings healing and prosperity to the world (Ibid.).
28) When the world is afflicted with wars and bloodshed it can cause the rains to be withheld and bring about high prices (Ibid. II, 60).
29) When men abuse the honor of God it causes factionalism (71).
30) The whole world is filled with quarreling. Nation disputes against nation. Every city has its factions. Each household is locked in arguments with the neighbors. Within the household the husband argues with his wife, with the children and the servants. And so on and so on. Nobody thinks about what the ultimate goal of the world is. Every day man dies -- because the day that has passed will never come back, and each day he draws closer to the day of his death. How can he waste his time on arguments? Anyone who has any sense should understand this and win long life for himself. Let him not waste his life on quarrels, big or small. He should control himself, hold his anger in check and live peacefully with everybody (Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom 77).
THE COVENANT -- BREACH AND REPAIR:
The Brit is the foundation of the Jewish people and the Jewish religion. There is no single word in English which conveys the richness of meaning in the word Brit, which is usually translated as `Covenant'. The Brit which God struck with Abraham (Genesis 17) was the source of the special relationship between God and those of Avraham's descendants who observe the obligations which the Brit carries with it.
12 Covenant 1) If you guard the sacred Covenant in purity you will be worthy of true prayer (2:2).
2) The sexual appetite is the root of the evil inclination. It is the source of all impurity. Confronting the sexual desire is the main trial one has to face in this world. Happy indeed is the one who wins the battle (Ibid. 6).
3) Someone who knows that he is guilty of having wasted the drops of his very mind and soul should be careful not to get involved in any of the conflicts and disputes between the Tzaddikim. He should believe in all of them. The various doubts and questions which arise in his mind when he sees the Tzaddikim in conflict with one another stem from the mental weaknesses he himself brought upon himself when he wasted those drops of his very soul. If his mind had not been flawed he would not find anything to trouble him at all. He should understand that all their conflicts are really for his benefit, to prompt him to examine and purify himself (5:4).
4) The guidance given by the Tzaddik and his followers are the foundation of the Covenant. But the smooth talk of those who oppose them, who have their own ideas about the right way to live, is a denial of the Covenant and can only undermine it. The ideas that a person receives from another are like seeds planted in his mind. Advice and counsel are `drops of wisdom' which impregnate the soul. A person who has given way to immorality in the past must be extremely careful to protect himself from the influence of these enemies of the truth. Otherwise he is in danger of losing his share in the world to come, God forbid (7:3).
5) Sexual desire is subject to the eyes: when the eyes wander, desire is aroused. The mitzvah of tzitzit, the fringes on the garment, is a protection against this. It also gives protection against the influence of those who are enemies of the truth. Be very careful to fulfill this mitzvah properly. If you do this you will begin to understand the meaning of the teachings of the Tzaddikim and to follow their ways. When you wrap yourself in the tzitzit and recite the blessing, concentrate on the thought that you desire a life of purity governed by the Holy Covenant and by the advice and counsel of the Tzaddikim. This is the foundation of true faith. You will be worthy of coming to the Land of Israel, and bringing the era of Mashiach closer. You will attain true prayer, and with it the power to bring about miracles. Your livelihood will be sent without difficulties -- because a person's livelihood is governed by the purity with which he leads his life. In the end you will learn to find wisdom wherever you are: you will see the teachings which are contained in all the things around you. All the wisdom of the world will be revealed to you like a table spread with delights (Ibid. 4).
6) Pride and sexual immorality are bound up with one another. By guarding the Covenant in purity a person can rid himself of pride and find the light that will guide him on the path back to God (11:3).
7) The basic reason why people have to struggle bitterly to make a living is because they are guilty of sexual impurity. People who keep themselves pure also have to work. But in their case the work they do is the labor of building the Sanctuary. Our sages teach us that there were thirty-nine separate kinds of labor connected with the construction of the Sanctuary. Each labor is a light, making thirty nine lights. But when a person undermines the Holy Covenant, poverty pursues him. He takes the yoke of bitter struggle and puts it around his own neck. For him, work is the scourge of the thirty-nine lashes with which offenders are punished (Deut. 25:2,3) (Ibid. 4).
8) There are two different levels of observance of the Covenant. The first is that of the man who has relations with his wife during the six working days of the week. He too can be said to be observing the Covenant since he only approaches his wife at the times when she is permitted to him in accordance with the rules of family purity. He must of course take care not to come to sin. This is the level of the lower unification. Purity here leads to understanding the Law of the Torah -- the `secrets.' The second level is that of one who has relations only on the night of Shabbat. This is the level of the upper unification, where it is possible to penetrate to the mystical depths of the Torah, the `secrets of secrets.' Those whose relations are only on Shabbat must guard themselves scrupulously to ensure that they conduct themselves in perfect holiness. This applies all the more so to those on the lower level, who have relations during the six working days. When the Covenant is observed on both these levels the glory of God is complete (Ibid. 5).
9) A remedy for a nocturnal emission is to talk to one's friends about their spiritual difficulties and give them encouragement in their search for God (14:12).
10) Sexual desire is the comprehensive evil. It is the root of all the different kings of evil found in the seventy nations of the world. Each of the seventy nations and languages is associated with its own special form of evil -- an evil character trait, a particular desire for which that people is especially known, or whatever. This special evil is what binds this people to the forces of evil. The sexual desire is the sum of all evil. All the different desires found in the seventy nations are, as it were, gathered together and included in this. They all burn together, and the effect is a flaming furnace which urges men on with sexual lust. But God has separated us from the nations and exalted us above all languages. We are therefore obliged to keep apart from all the different kinds of evil which are found among them. Their desires are totally worthless to us. More than anything we must guard ourselves against sexual desire which is the sum of all evil. The fact that we keep ourselves apart from this is the essential difference between ourselves and the other nations. It is the foundation of the holiness of the Jewish people. Man has the power to uproot this impulse from himself completely. In this lies our sanctity (19:3).
11) The key to subduing and breaking your desires, and especially sexual desire, which is the main challenge, is to strive to gain mastery of the Holy Tongue. This means that you should sanctify your tongue with words of Torah and prayer -- the formal prayers and your own spontaneous private prayer. Even if the words you speak are in your own native language they are still considered as the Holy Tongue. (In fact, when you converse with God in your own words, it must be in your own language.) The point is to sanctify your tongue by always speaking in a way that is holy. This is what is meant by gaining mastery of the Holy Tongue. Through sanctifying your speech you will have the power to subdue the sexual desire, which is the comprehensive evil (Ibid.).
12) Sexual purity and mastery of the Holy Tongue are both connected with each other. The more words of holiness which you speak, the more you will succeed in purifying yourself, and in this way you will make amends for any immorality in the past. By the same token, the purer you become the more your mastery of the Holy Tongue will grow. But, you should understand that a similar relationship exists between sexual immorality, God forbid, and the abuse of language. Each one feeds the other (Ibid.).
13) The serpent which beguiled Eve and corrupted her is the embodiment of sexual lust. (Other expressions used for this in our holy literature are the `whirling stormwind,' the `spirit of madness,' and the `foolish woman.') It is the way of the serpent to try to beguile the `spirit of holiness,' which is the Holy Tongue, and to insinuate its way into our speech. The holiness of language is bound up with sexual purity. Therefore the serpent constantly strives to corrupt our speech. It is written: `sin coucheth at the door' (Genesis 4:7). This refers to the serpent lurking in wait for man, trying to suck his strength by tripping him into sexual impurity. The evil inclination constantly tries to push one to sin. Its main force is directed to the area of sexual desire (Ibid. 4).
14) Use words of holiness -- Torah and prayer -- to cool the heat of your passion. As King David said: `My heart waxed hot within me; while I was musing, the fire was kindled. Then I spoke with my tongue' (Psalms 39:4). When you cool your passion with words of holiness, you will be protected from night-time emissions (Ibid. 4).
15) Most people go through life subjected to a constant barrage of discourtesy, rudeness and outright insults and humiliation. All this is sent only because of their immorality. Those who guard the Covenant in purity will be treated with honor (Ibid. 3).
16) One who is pure and masters the Holy Tongue can interpret dreams, like Joseph did (Ibid. 4).
17) The Tzaddik is one who has attained perfect purity and perfect mastery of the Holy Tongue. Only through the words of his lips can you yourself achieve that mastery and thereby free yourself of all your desires. But you must actually go to the Tzaddik and hear the words from his lips yourself. It is not enough to read books of his teachings or even to hear them second-hand from someone else. You must go to him yourself. His holy lips are a fountain flowing with the fear of Heaven. His words are the foundation of the Holy Covenant. They are the comprehensive tikkun (Ibid. 9).
18) Because of the desecration of the Holy Covenant a sword is let loose in the world. This is the sword that `executes the vengeance of the Covenant' (Leviticus 26:25) (20:10).
Our LibraryCommentariesJohn Gill's Exposition of the BibleLeviticusLeviticus 26Leviticus 26:25
Thou shall rise up before the hoary head
Or "before old age" F17, which may be discerned by the hoary or grey hairs upon the head; that is, before a grey-headed man, or an old man, and one was reckoned so when he was of seventy years of age; for so it is said F18, one of sixty years is arrived to old age, and one of seventy to grey hairs. Fagius relates, that according to the tradition of the Hebrews, a young man was obliged to rise up when an ancient man was at the distance of four cubits from him, and to sit down again as soon as he had passed by him, that it might appear it was done in honour of him. And this was not only observed among the Jews, but anciently among Heathens, who reckoned it abominable wickedness, and a capital crime, if a young man did not rise up to an old man, and a boy to a bearded person F19. Herodotus F20 reports, that the Egyptians agreed in this with the Lacedaemonians, and with them only of the Grecians, that the younger, when they met the elder, gave them the way and turned aside, and when coming towards them rose up out of their seat; and this law was enjoined them by Lycurgus, and which Aelianus F21 commends as of all the most humane.And this respect to ancient persons is due to them from younger persons, because of their having been in the world before them, and of their long continuance in it, and because of the favour and honour God has bestowed upon them in granting them long life, as also because of the experience, knowledge, and wisdom, they may be supposed to have attained unto: the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan restrain this to such as are expert in the law; so Jarchi says, there is no old man but he that has acquired wisdom; but it seems not to be the intention of this law to limit the respect to such only; though it must be allowed that ancient persons, who are wise and good, are worthy of special regard, see ( Proverbs 16:31 ) ; and honour the face of the old man;
who for the wrinkles of it, and his withered countenance, might be liable to be despised. The Targum of Jonathan interprets it, the face of a wise man, which agrees with what is observed before; and so Jarchi, Ben Gersom, and other Jewish writers explain it; and the former asks, what is this honour? he may not sit in his place, nor contradict his words. All this may be applied to elders by office, as well as in age, to magistrates, masters, and teachers; and particularly, as Ben Gersom observes, this may admonish us to give honour to God, who is the Ancient of days, who always was, and ever will be: and fear thy God, I [am] the Lord;who has commanded such reverence of ancient persons, and will punish for any marks of irreverence shown them; and who is himself to be feared and reverenced above all, being, from everlasting to everlasting, God, and whose name is holy and reverend.
32 " 'Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect1 for the elderly2 and revere your God.3 I am the LORD.4
F17 (hbyv ynpm) "ante canitiem", Pagninus; so Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
F18 Pirke Abot, c. 5. sect. 21.
F19 "Improbitas illo fuit" Juvenal. Satyr. 13. v. 53, 54, 55, 56.
F20 Euterpe, sive, l. 2. c. 80.
F21 Hist. Animal. l. 6. c. 61
And the man that committeth adultery with [another] man's
Which is a breach of the seventh command, ( Exodus 20:14 ) ;
[even he] that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife:
which is only an explanation of the former clause; though the Jewish writers, as Jarchi and Ben Gersom, say this is so expressed to except the wife of a stranger, or a Gentile; but it means whether a Gentile or an Israelite; and which may be confirmed by the instance of Phinehas slaying a prince of Israel, that lay with a Midianitish woman, ( Numbers 25:6-8 ) :
the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death;
on account of her that is espoused, by strangling, with a hard napkin within a soft one; and on account of her that is married, by casting stones; even both the adulterer and adulteress, as the Targum: and the Jews say F2, strangling was thus performed; they that were strangled were fixed up to their knees in dung, and then they put a hard napkin within a soft one, and rolled it about his neck, and one drew it to him this way, and another drew it to him that way, until he expired: and there is no unlawful copulation punished with strangling, according to Maimonides F3, but lying with another man's wife; and who observes, that the death which is spoken of in the law absolutely, that is, without specifying any kind of death, is strangling; but stoning seems rather meant, agreeably to ( Deuteronomy 22:24 ) ( John 8:5 ) .
F2 Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 7. sect. 3.
F3 Hilchot lssure Biah, c. 1. sect. 6.
Leviticus 26:25 (New International Version)
5 And I will bring the sword upon you to avenge the breaking of the covenant. When you withdraw into your cities, I will send a plague among you, and you will be given into enemy hands.And I will bring a sword upon you
War upon them by the sword of their enemies; they that use and kill with the sword, as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan; their neighbours that delighted in war, and bore an implacable, hatred unto them, and gladly embraced every opportunity of shedding their blood, and ravaging their country: that shall avenge the quarrel of [my] covenant;
the covenant made with them at Sinai, which they transgressed, and for which vengeance would be taken on them in this way, God so ordering it in his providence, though the enemy meant it not, ( Isaiah 10:5-7 ) ; and when ye are gathered together within your cities;
from the fields and villages, fleeing from the enemy invading and destroying, to their fortified towns and cities for safety: I will send the pestilence among you;
which shall destroy those that escaped the sword, and thought themselves safe in a strong city, and even the very soldiers in the garrisons, who were set for the defence of the city: and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy;
so many being taken off by the pestilence, there would not be a sufficient number to defend the place, and therefore obliged to give it up, by which means those that escaped the pestilence would fall into the hands of the enemy.
19) Crying out loud is a remedy for sexual impurity and can bring an illumination of da'at, perception and understanding of Godliness. That is why guarding against impurity elevates the mind to higher levels (Ibid.).
20) The underlying reason why we should recite the Passover Haggadah in a loud voice is that the Haggadah is a tikkun for the Holy Covenant. The original exile in Egypt was the result of the abuse of the Covenant, as we find explained in the sacred literature. The redemption from Egypt was a tikkun for this. The wine of the four cups which we drink on the first nights of Passover symbolizes da'at, perception and understanding of Godliness. Drinking the wine is a tikkun for the distortion in our consciousness which stems from sexual impurity (Ibid.).
21) The Holy Covenant is a protection against the `face' of the Sitra Achra, the Other Side. This `face' of the Other Side is the craze for money and materialism which is a form of idolatry and the source of the darkness, depression and heaviness in the world. They are really a form of death. But through the Covenant we become bound to Godliness. In the joy of God's radiance we can attain true contentment, because the light of the Countenance of the King of Life shines upon us (23:2).
22) One who guards the Covenant in purity will come to perceive the source of all the blessings which flow into the world, spiritual and material. This root is pure radiant light. When one attains this perception, all desire for materialism simply disappears (Ibid. 5).
23) The Holy Covenant is the foundation of true enlightenment, which is called the `glory of the face', hadrat panim. The mind is refined by the wisdom of the Torah, which one learns to interpret with grace and beauty through the thirteen rules of interpretation. These rules are the `glory of the face' (In the Kabbalah they are known as the `thirteen perfections of the beard'. The beard, a symbol for wisdom is zakan, which also means `old man'; and it is written in the Torah: `Honor (ve-hadarta) the face of the old man'; (Leviticus 19:32).) The voice also becomes purified. One has only to lift up his voice and utter the sounds of song, even without words, and God will save him in his time of distress. Then he will attain peace, and the power to draw the entire world closer to the service of God (27:6).
24) Any transgression of the laws of the Torah stains the Shechinah with the blood of impurity and sunders the Shechinah from the Only One, blessed-be-He. To rectify every single sin one by one would be impossible, because each transgression has many implications and ramifications: every prohibition has its fine points and subtleties. The only solution is the Tikkun Klaki, the general remedy. This is the tikkun habrit, the `restoration of the Covenant.' Through this, all of a person's transgressions are rectified. The healing influence of the Tikkun Klaki has the power to reach the narrowest, most inaccessible channels of the soul which no other remedy could reach (29:3).
25) One who has not yet achieved the Tikkun Klaki has no right to speak. He does not know how to use speech as it should be used. Nor is he able to speak words which radiate Torah. For him to speak would be a transgression of the prohibition against tale-bearing (Leviticus 19:16), because anything he says amounts to slander. He is unable to keep secrets. But the Tikkun Klaki confers on the one who achieves it the right to open his lips and speak. His words will be filled with the light of Torah (Ibid. 6).
Tikkun Habris [Tikun Bris, Tikkun Habrit, Tikun Brit, Tikkunay Habris, Tikunay Habrit]
Rectifying the damage created through sexual sins.
Tikkun Haklali [Tikun Hklali, Clali, Kelali, Tikkun Haclali, Tikun Klali]
A Tikkun revealed by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov to rectify spiritual damage especially from sexual sins.
26) Sexual impurity can result in epilepsy, God forbid. The Covenant is a protection against this (Ibid. 7).
27) A person who has not yet achieved the Tikkun Klaki should avoid wine, because it stirs up the blood and this is the source of all sin. Drinking can have an adverse effect on one's livelihood. The wine becomes like a poison. But someone who has achieved absolute purity can reach profound enlightenment when he drinks wine (Ibid. 8).
28) All the suffering which a person goes through when he is travelling is sent to him only because of abuse of the Covenant. One who is pure will be free of pain and torment when he travels (Ibid. 4).
30) The Covenant is the source of true freedom (Ibid. 5).
31) There are two aspects to the Covenant. The first is embodied in the figure of Abraham. This is the Upper Covenant, which is a firmament separating the upper and the lower waters. The second is the Lower Covenant, embodied in the figure of Abraham's servant. This is the firmament dividing the pure and the impure waters, that which is permitted from that which is forbidden, the ritually clean from the ritually unclean. The Upper Covenant entails the endeavour for absolute purity, the purity of the perfect Tzaddik. The Lower Covenant involves the observance of the laws of what is permitted and what is prohibited, and this entails learning. Every person must try to fulfill the Covenant on both these levels: to be a Tzaddik and a scholar. `For an ignoramus cannot be a saint' (Avoth 2:6). One who fulfils the Covenant on both these levels is likened to an angel of the Lord of Hosts. He will attain true faith and he will be blessed with an abundance of Divine favor and grace. He will be filled with love and yearning for God. The letters of Torah have two opposite powers: they can be turned to good or to evil. Through the longing and yearning we have for God we invest the letters of Torah with goodness. The very letters themselves push forward and ask to be mouthed on the lips of those who long for God. The letters themselves yearn to be invested with goodness. When one attains this sanctity it is accounted to him as if his very eating had the holiness of the show-bread of the sanctuary. His table brings atonement like the altar. The entire universe -- the stars, the planets and all the nations of the world -- all labor to provide him with livelihood and blessing (Ibid. 5).
32) Sexual temptation is the main test in life. It is sent as a challenge to refine us. When you are subjected to this test it puts you in a type of `exile'. You should cry out to God: scream and cry out to Him over and over again, like a woman in labor who cries out from the pain of her contractions. Seventy times she cries out (Zohar III, 249b). You must do likewise and cry out to God again and again until He takes pity and helps you to strengthen yourself and break your desire. New ideas and new perceptions will be born within you. The secrets of Torah, which before were guarded, will now be unveiled for you. The greater the determination with which you stand up to the trial, the greater the revelation you will receive in Torah and devotion to God. You will be able to see the seventy faces of the Torah (36:1,2).
It should also be borne in mind that the Sages tell us there are many valid interpretations to the Torah. The Midrash writes that there are 70 "faces" (facets) to the Torah (Bamidbar Rabbah 13:15). There are many valid ways of understanding each part of the Torah -- some more literal and some more profound -- but all valid according to the legitimate methods of Torah study handed to us. Thus, the Sages who contested R. Eliezer did not consider themselves "wrong". Perhaps their opinion was not the most profound in an absolute sense. But they correctly recognized that it was the only explanation their generation could fathom.
I'd like to illustrate this principle with yet another fascinating episode from the Talmud (Shabbos 12b). I recognize this topic is one of our most profound and to be honest, most difficult to explain. Hopefully another illustration will shed a little more light -- and then we'll call it a day.
The Sages of the Mishna forbade reading from the light of an oil lamp on the Sabbath for fear the reader will tilt the lamp to adjust the light (causing the fire to burn better on the Sabbath). R. Yishmael son of Elisha responded: "I will read and I will not tilt." He felt, no doubt rightly, that he was so cognizant of the Sabbath that it could never possibly slip his mind. He went ahead and ignored the decree and the inevitable occurred: he found himself tilting the lamp.
The simplest explanation of this incident is that one never really knows for sure and we can never be too sure of ourselves.
My teacher, R. Yochanan Zweig, however, saw a much deeper lesson. One person cannot disassociate himself from his generation. Just as the sages of a generation bring down the Torah according to their ability, they also recognize precisely how it applies to their generation. This is a part of their mission of applying the Torah. They define the reality of Torah for their day -- what precisely is the Torah their generation is privy to. If the Sages correctly see that their generation requires an extra safeguard for Torah observance, they are defining how their generation (and future generations) relate to Judaism -- in this case, to the Sabbath. The Sages of the Mishna saw that as a whole, their generation did not have the same awe of Sabbath that previous generations did. There was the need for an additional fence or decree. They had therefore defined their generation's relationship to the Sabbath. And that was now the Sabbath that existed for them. And so, no individual, no matter how great, could relate any differently
PARDES Four levels on which one can read the Torah for meaning. The four levels correspond to the four hebrew
consonants in the PaRDeS: http://davidpfield.com/other/Wylen.pdf
pp53-4 – reference to the Seven Rules of Hillel and then summary statement of the Thirteen Principles of
Ishmael. [Both online – at http://www.nazarene.net/Hermeneutics/Hillel.html and
http://www.nazarene.net/Hermeneutics/Ishmael.html respectively]P = peshat, the literal or simple meaning. Halakah and actual historical events are aspects of peshat.
R = remez, the allegorical meaning according to the way philosophers read the Scriptures in which
every story is an allegory for a philosophical truth.
D = derash, the rabbinic way of interpreting scriptural verses through midrash.
S = sod, the secret, mystical message of the Scriptures which is available only to the initiated adept.
This level is revealed through study of the Kabbalah, medieval Jewish mysticism. The Holy Zohar
reveals Torah on this level. (89)
The Rabbis taught as a principle of Torah interpretation that “there is no before and after in the Torah.” That
is, every verse in the Torah stands as an independent message from God, unrelated to its context in the five
books. Even a single phrase or word or letter may be interpreted independently. (61)
33) The tikkun for sexual fantasies is to say the words of the Shema: `Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One', and the phrase which follows it: `Blessed be the name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever'. The six Hebrew words of each of these two lines adds up to twelve, corresponding to the twelve Tribes of God. By saying these words one attaches his soul to the Twelve Tribes and separates it from the `Mixed Multitude' who went up with the Children of Israel from Egypt (Tikkuney Zohar, Introduction) The `Mixed Multitude' stems from the `harlot woman,' the `wicked maid'. This is the source of sexual lust, which is the root of all evil character traits (Ibid. 3).
Bava Metziah 59
The Midrash writes that there are 70 "faces" (facets) to the Torah (Bamidbar Rabbah 13:15).
One person cannot disassociate himself from his generation.
34) When one merely has a stray thought or fantasy it is sufficient to say these two verses as we have mentioned. But certain people are plagued with sexual fantasies all the time. They find they cannot rid themselves of it. In this case, they must bring themselves to tears when they take on the yoke of heaven. They must literally weep as they say the words `Hear O Israel' and `Blessed be the Name of His glorious Kingdom' (Ibid. 6).
35) The level of religious perception that a person can attain depends on the degree of purity he achieves. It is a fundamental principle that one can only comprehend the words of the Tzaddik if he first purifies himself. Immorality leaves a blemish on the mind. Not only will one fail to understand what the Tzaddik is saying; he is also in danger of putting the wrong interpretation on the words. He can easily stumble if he follows the crookedness of his heart and accepts the distorted logic of the doubts with which his head is filled (Ibid.).
36) Sexual temptation can literally make a person go out of his mind. This is why the medical authorities have written that castration is a cure for madness (Ibid. 6).
37) Once one breaks his sexual desire, he can easily break all his desires. This is why the tikkun for sexual impurity is called the Tikkun Klaki, the comprehensive tikkun. The further a person is from sexual desire, the closer he comes to the radiance of Torah. The opposite is also true. This explains why, before a person can receive a new revelation of Torah, he is first tested in the crucible of this passion. If he stands up to the test and breaks his desire, it is like breaking the shell which proceeds the fruit, and he will be worthy to receive the revelation (Ibid.).
38) Be careful not to listen to the words of a person who is wicked and also intelligent. The mere words themselves can arouse sexual desire. They are laden with poison and enter the very body of the one who hears them (43).
39) One who abuses the Covenant will have the taste of bitter waters -- the `waters of impurity' and the `seed of uncleanness.' He will be unable to pray with the fervor of total devotion. He will never taste the sweetness of the words of the prayers. The offering he brings -- his prayer -- will be eaten by a dog. His prayer will be bitter -- a `double-edged sword'... `hell'. But when one guards the Covenant in purity his prayers are sweet waters -- the `waters of purity', the `seed of holiness'. As the words emerge from his lips and enter his ears, their sweetness passes into his very bones and his prayer flows out with fervent passion -- as it is written: `All my bones declare, Lord who is like unto Thee?' (Psalms 35:10) Then a lion comes and consumes his offering (50).
40) The `dogs' who snatch at the prayers of one who has not achieved sexual purity are the brash and arrogant peole who disturb him and spoil his prayers (Ibid.).
41) One who succumbed to sexual immorality in the past should be wary of dogs and the sword (Ibid.).
42) The vanity of beauty leads men to the charm of deceit (cf. Proverbs 31:30). One who is captured by the beauty of women falls victim to its vain futility. There are many ways he can fall into deceit, be it in the way he stands, the way he eats, the way he speaks to people and so on. No matter what he does he must always think how will he appear: will he seem charming and attractive? Each separate act demands a different kind of charm. One who fails to guard himself against the attractions of female beauty will become a slave to the charm that he feels he must project (60:3).
43) The vanity of beauty brings men to poverty (Ibid.).
44) Life depends upon breathing. Sexual desire affects the breathing, causing gaps between breaths. This allows the body fluids to dry, which results in damage to the brain and the mind, because mental life depends on the fats and fluids in the body. This is why all forms of madness are caused fundamentally by sexual desire, as is known. Even in the case of those who are not actually insane but who lack stability and strength of character, the root cause is also sexual (Ibid.).
45) Anyone who marries a woman for money is a fool and an idiot (Kiddushin 72) He will be spiritually crippled and his children will turn out to be immoral (69).
46) Charity given in secret is a tikkun for a nocturnal emission (83).
47) Depression and anxiety are the main cause of sexual immorality. The foundation of the Covenant lies in joy (169).
48) The milk that a baby suckles when being breast-fed can have a decisive effect on his sexual behavior later on. If a baby is given to a wet-nurse to be suckled it is essential that she should be a good and pious woman. A child who sucks milk from a woman who is morally lax can be overwhelmed by sexual temptation in later life. But a child who is suckled by an honest, pious woman will only have as much desire as is necessary to fulfill the commandment of God (II, 1:4;see Tosafoth, Avodah Zarah 11b).
49) Today publicity and fame go to false figures. The arrogance of these false leaders causes sexual immorality to become rife, with the wanton destruction of seed. The `flesh is stopped' (Leviticus 15:3). This `sealing' of the flesh is the seal of the forces of the Other Side. The only way to escape this is through the strength of the Guardians of the age, the Tzaddikim and those who are truly pious. They are called the `Guardians of the earth.' The battle they have to fight is very fierce. But these Guardians have the power to transform the `stopped up flesh' to a `seal of holiness'. This seal is the tefilin. The greater the victory over sexual immorality the greater the spiritual enlightenment which follows. This enlightenment is the `seal of holiness' which the tefilin embody. Every one can draw strength from the `Guardians of the Earth' to break his desires and put all his fantasies out of his mind, filling it instead with holy thoughts. Something you should understand is that the more strongly you are assailed by temptation and desire, the greater the tikkun when you fight and break them. Holiness is realeased from the power of the husks. You will be suffused with the holiness of the tefilin: to know and make known God's power and glory in the world. The sole reason why these fantasies and evil thoughts are sent to a person is precisely that he should transform them and sublimate them to the realm of holiness (5:6).
50) One who breaks his sexual desire, and cleanses and purifies his mind, is worthy of dreams sent by an angel. Then he is worthy of the status of Man. But a person whose mind is impure receives dreams from a demon and resembles a beast (Ibid. 9).
51) Rabbis and judges who are dishonest and pervert the law cause the filth of nocturnal pollutions. The perversion of the `thrones of judgement' (Psalms 122:5) causes the love that is in the Chariot (the Throne) to fall, and stirs up the heat of impure passion. The remedy for this is `binding the chariot' - a reference to the institution of the Sages that before we go to sleep we should say: `In the name of the Lord God of Israel: at my right, Michael; at my left, Gavriel; before me, Uriel and behind me, Rafael, and upon my head, Shechinat-El' (Ibid. 11).
52) The spiritual powers of the mind and the soul are the shield against sexual desire. Each of the three main facets of the mind is a separate barrier against this impulse. The power of the sexual impulse derives from the `spirit of folly' which overwhelms one with lustful thoughts and fantasies. As soon as a person feels himself threatened by them he should remind himself of the intrinsic superiority of the spiritual realm. He should immediately turn aside from the `spirit of folly' and take refuge in the powers of his soul, setting up the barriers of wisdom and intelligence to protect him against this desire. They are the best shield of all. Understand this well. It is something which cannot really be explained. Each individual will see for himself how to escape the `spirit of folly' and draw closer to his spiritual powers, which are the shield against it (8:2).
53) Every Jew has within him a spark of Mashiach. How much it shows through depends on the purity and holiness he attains. He must be very careful not to weaken this spark in any way. The main thing is to guard against the sexual desire, because even the slightest trace of it can seriously affect this spark. The spirit of Mashiach is a jealous one. The full force of its zeal is turned against every place where there is even the slightest trace of sexual immorality. The holiness and purity of everything associated with Mashiach is so great that even a mere hint of sexual immorality cannot be tolerated. The full force of its jealousy is directed against it (32).
54) When man and wife have relations in purity and holiness untouched by the slightest flaw, their relations brings unification in the uppermost spheres. This is truly precious (Ibid.).
55) One who attains absolute purity knows how to send forth the words of prayer like arrows from a bow. His whole being becomes suffused with the spirit of the holy Shabbat. He is totally free. He reaches the ultimate enlightenment. He strips himself of his leprous body, the `skin of the serpent', and is clothed instead in Shabbat garments - a holy body from the Garden of Eden. His guardian angel is raised high. He is blessed with wealth and joy. All the passion in his heart is for good. Depression and cynicism have no place. He has the power to go out into the world and bring life to those caught in the net of degraded passions and irrational fears: in their place, he inculcates them with the love of God and the fear of Heaven. The darkness is lifted from their eyes, and their eyes are opened to wonders around them. So great is his power, it is as if he had created the world. Those whom he teaches learn the ways of prayer: their pleas and entreaties become infused with deeper meaning and higher purpose. The hearts of men are purified, and the age of Mashiach begins to dawn. The leaven of the evil inclination is destroyed, and in the radiance of Torah the heart takes fire with flames of love. `Many waters cannot quench love' (Song of Songs, 8:7). The `many waters' are the degraded loves and irrational fears. Now they are powerless to quench the passion of this love of God. The Shechinah spreads her wings over Israel in the light of this love, and protects the Jewish people from the power of the wicked and the `waters of the flood.' (Cf. Niddah 13b) All this is founded on the holy Covenant and sexual purity (83)
56) Today it is easy to resist temptation. When people withstand a temptation, its evil husks are broken. It then becomes easier for others to resist it. Many Tzaddikim and righteous men have already withstood very severe sexual temptations. Now even an ordinary person can easily withstand this test, if he wants to take pity on himself in This World, and the World to Come (Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom 114).
57) A person who experiences a night-time emission should recite the following ten psalms on the same day: Psalms 16, 32, 41, 42, 59, 77, 90, 105, 137, 150. One who recites these psalms on the same day need have no further fears about the harm such an emission can cause. Any damage will certainly be repaired through doing this. It is a very great tikkun (II, 92).
1) If the food a person eats is pure in accordance with the dietary laws and he eats it with dignity, without swallowing it hurriedly, the powers of his mind will be restored and grow and his foolishness will be subdued. But if he eats like a glutton, then he will be overwhelmed by foolishness. He will lose his intelligence and the light of the Tzaddik will be concealed from him. He will no longer be able to learn the love and fear of God from the Tzaddik (17:2,3).
2) If you are conscious that your eating habits are bad, the remedy is to give charity to the Tzaddik and to poor people who are genuninely deserving. The Tzaddik has the power to draw people who are far from God closer, even if they were sunk in idolatry. Eating greedily causes the light of God to be darkened in the world. But through this charity, God's light is spread through the world. The powers of your mind and soul will be restored and you will see the light of the Tzaddik and learn the love and fear of God (Ibid. 5).
3) When a person attains perfect mastery of the Holy Tongue and guards the Holy Covenant in purity he has the power to stir up the sparks of the letters which exist throughout the Creation. All the pleasure he has from eating and drinking and other enjoyments comes only from the sparks of the letters. His heart is illumined and his face becomes so radiant that people are moved to return to God simply by seeing it. Everyone who looks at his face sees his own reflected there as if in a mirror -- and sees, in contrast, how far sunk in darkness he is. Without a single word of preaching he will want to be released from his darkness, all through seeing this person's face (19:7-9).
4) Whenever you feel a sudden strong impulse to eat it is a sign that there are forces which hate you. This sudden appetite for food is caused by the animal part of your nature. You must break the animal impulse. Then you will be free from the clutches of those who hate you (39).
5) Gluttony leads to divisiveness and strife. The glutton is an object of contempt. Other people look down upon him: they have no wish to help him, on the contrary they put all kinds of opposition in his way. But a person who succeeds in breaking his greedy impulses will find peace. And peace will also reign in the realms above. A profound and wonderful contentment will reveal itself in the world (Ibid.).
6) When a person is sunk in the desire to eat greedily it is certain that he is far from truth. A person like this is under the force of the Divine aspect of severe justice. Greed is a sign of impoverishment to come, and will subject him to contempt and embarassment (47).
23 Land of Israel