Thursday, December 19, 2013

The 10 Martyrs of Malchut

Legs and the 10 Martyrs

"Gate of Reincarnations": Chapter Five, Section 7

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Legs and the 10 Martyrs
The martyrs paved the way for us
It is possible for the Nefesh, Ruach, or Neshama of a person to elevate its sparks that were immersed in the depths of the kelipot. They will be rectified through him, like what was explained concerning the deaths of the Ten Political Martyrs. See there.
To comprehend what is being said here it is necessary to understand the kabbalistic explanation of the Ten Political Martyrs. Following is a brief summary of what was taught in Sections 5 - 6.
The Ten Political Martyrs are called, literally, the Ten Martyrs of malchut. Their souls ascended to malchut of Atzilut, which is called the Shechina. Because of their ascent it became possible, even in these later generations when spiritual power is severely diminished, to complete the rectification of the sparks that are supposed to be raised from the kelipot to the malchut of Atzilut.
Historically, the time of the Ten Political Martyrs was the time of the destruction of the Second Temple. The rule of the Romans over the Land of Israel and the Jewish People was at its height. The oppression was great, violence was ubiquitous, and sin was extremely prevalent. At that time the Romans grabbed ten leaders of Israel and condemned them to death, hoping in this way to forever eliminate Israel as an independent identity, G-d forbid. The Ten Martyrs were cruelly tortured and murdered. Their martyrdom is commemorated during the prayers of Yom Kippur, and it is praiseworthy to weep over them at that time. Now, the words of the Ari (Etz Chaim 39:1, p.2:132b) will continue the description of those times from the kabbalistic point of view.
The time of the Ten Political Martyrs was the time of the destruction of the Second Temple. At that time sin was so prevalent that people did not have the power to purify the sparks through prayer and to raise them up in the secret of ma'n.
Whenever the sparks are rectified through our Torah, mitzvot and prayer, they ascend to the malchut of Atzilut, where they are refurbished into rectified partzufim that emanate blessing and knowledge until our world is penetrated by those good things. The beginning of this process is called the raising up of mayin nukvin [female waters, abbreviated as ma'n], and it has already been discussed somewhat in Chapter Three, Section 8.
It was as if the world had no more purpose At the time of the Ten Martyrs and the destruction of the Temple, the people did not have the power to raise ma'n. It was as if the world had no more purpose. It certainly could not continue to endure if the purpose of Torah, mitzvot, and prayer could not be accomplished.
Moreover, even the ma'n of bina descended downward and got mixed up once again among the kelipot, as it is written, "For your sins your Mother was sent away" (Isaiah 50:1).
The ma'n of bina-Imma [Mother], moreover, does not normally descend to the lower realms among the kelipot. Therefore, we do not need to raise them from the kelipot back to the world of Atzilut. That this ma'n began to descend into the realm of the kelipot was another indication that the world was on the edge of destruction.
The physical sufferings of the Ten Martyrs...made possible...the raising of ma'n… The holy Zohar says, furthermore, that the souls of these extraordinary tzadikim were totally pure, but their bodies were given over to the Evil Side. The Ari explains that the physical sufferings endured by the Ten Martyrs at the hands of the evil torturers made possible, once again, the raising of ma'n through prayer, mitzvot and Torah. In this way the world was saved.
In addition, in Chapter 36 the Ari will explain that the physical sacrifice of the Ten Martyrs gives hope and inspiration to all the later generations. Also, because of them it is possible for all the later generations to raise ma'n. If they, through the sacrifice of their lives and the physical suffering that they endured had not opened the way for our tikunim to ascend to the Shechina, then we in these later generations would be without hope because of the intense levels of impurity from which our souls must ascend.
Malchut of Atzilut is called the Shechina. She is exiled from the world of Atzilut to descend among the kelipot in the lower realms.
In the lower realms she is covered by the souls of the soul body of Adam that have also been exiled into the realm of the kelipot.
Throughout the lower realms are strewn sparks that belong to the souls of the soul body of Adam who cover the Shechina exiled into the realm of the kelipot.
When we pray, study Torah and perform mitzvot, then we release the sparks from the kelipot and they ascend to malchut of Atzilut. She receives them and returns with them to the world of Atzilut. This ascent is called Female Waters [ma'n]. When they reach the world of Atzilut they become the germs to draw down illumination from above. At this point they are comparable to the female zygote.
The ability of the various levels of soul to rectify their corresponding sparks is enhanced by the interconnectedness of souls who give and receive assistance from each other.
In these later generations, because of their diminished spiritual power, rectification would be entirely impossible if it were not for the assistance consequent upon the interconnectedness of the souls.
When the spiritual level descends so low that the world is on the verge of destruction, then physical sacrifice can restore spiritual power. The classic expression of this phenomenon was the Ten Martyrs of malchut.
[Commentary by Shabtai Teicher.]
By Rabbi Yitzchak Luria as recorded by Rabbi Chaim Vital; translation from Sha'ar Hagilgulim by Yitzchok bar Chaim; commentary by Shabtai Teicher
Rabbi Yitzchak Luria […Ashkenazi ben Shlomo] (5294-5332 = 1534-1572 c.e.); Yahrtzeit (anniversary of death): 5th of Av. Buried in the Old Cemetery of Tzfat. Commonly known as the Ari, an acronym standing for Elohi Rabbi Yitzchak, the
G-dly Rabbi Isaac. No other master or sage ever had this extra letter Aleph, standing for Elohi [G-dly], prefaced to his name. This was a sign of what his contemporaries thought of him. Later generations, fearful that this appellation might be misunderstood, said that this Aleph stood for Ashkenazi, indicating that his family had originated in Germany, as indeed it had. But the original meaning is the correct one, and to this day among Kabbalists, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria is only referred to as Rabbenu HaAri, HaAri HaKadosh [the holy Ari] or Arizal [the Ari of blessed memory].
Yitzchok bar Chaim is the pseudonym of the translator, an American-born Jerusalem scholar who has studied and taught Kabbala for many years. He may be contacted through: He translated the Ari's work, "Shaar HaGilgulim;" his translation into English (but with much less extensive commentary than offered here). Information about his translation in book form may be obtained through
Rabbi Chaim Vital c. 5303-5380 (c. 1543-1620 CE), major disciple of R. Isaac (Yitzchak) Luria, and responsible for publication of most of his works.
Shabtai Teicher, a descendant of the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Rebbe Reshab, was born in Brooklyn in 1946 and settled in Jerusalem in 1970. He studied for over 7 years with one of the outstanding and renowned kabbalists of our generation, Rabbi Mordechai Attieh, and has also studied deeply in various other fields of Jewish scholarship. He is a specialist in Lurianic Kabbala, edited and annotated the first eleven chapters of our English rendition of "Shaar HaGilgulim," and completed his manuscripts for "Zohar: Old Man in the Sea," in both Hebrew and English, shortly before his unfortunate passing in November 2009.

Children — Large and Small


Children — Large and Small
The first time the Jewish people are referred to as “G-d’s children” is in the Torah portion of Shmos , where the verse states: “Israel is My son, My firstborn.”1 The term “firstborn,” as Rashi explains,2 denotes maturity.
In many other instances, however, we find that Jews are considered G-d’s children because of their extreme youthfulness. Thus we find the verse,3 “For Israel is but a lad and [therefore] I love him.” This is further explained by our Sages, who offer the parable of a king who had many children, but loved the youngest most of all.4
Since the love for a young child is more palpable than the love for an older one, why does the verse in Shmos imply that Jews are older children?
What, exactly, causes a parent to manifest a greater degree of love for a young child than for an older one?
An older child, who has already matured intellectually and emotionally, will not always be loved by his parents merely because he is their child. The parents may also come to love the older child because of his wisdom or fine character. This kind of love is grounded in logic.
The love of a parent for a very young child, however, is an elemental love — one that transcends reason — since an extremely young child does not display any particular qualities for which he should be loved; the love that emanates from parents to young children derives entirely from the fact that the parents and the child are essentially one.
The love for a grown child, although also an essential love, is intermingled with feelings that have a basis in logic. This logical foundation conceals the elemental love between parent and child.
Just as this is so regarding the love of human parents, so too with regard to G-d’s love for His children, the Jewish people. Here too, there exist two manners and degrees:
When Jews serve G-d and thus reveal their sterling qualities, His ever-present love for us is mingled with a love dictated by logic — similar to the love felt by parents for an older child.
However, G-d also shows His elemental love for the Jewish people — a love that springs from the fact that every Jew is “truly a part of G-d above.”5 This love — similar to that felt by parents for a very small child — does not depend at all on the quality of the Jews’ spiritual service.
This elemental love is revealed when Jews serve G-d in the manner of a small child; when they feel small and humble in G-d’s presence, and obey Him as a small child obeys his parents — out of a sense of inherent loyalty, even when they fail to understand G-d’s reasoning.
This, however, does not mean to imply that when Jews serve G-d intellectually and emotionally His intrinsic love for them is not revealed, for a Jew’s intellectual and spiritual state is intricately connected to his degree of self-nullification.
A Jew realizes the necessity of intellectual toil to understand Torah, and that his emotions must be permeated with enjoyment of Torah and mitzvos. This realization is a direct result of the fact that such enjoyment is G-d’s desire.6
The reason the verse states “Israel is My son, My firstborn ” will be understood accordingly:
When seeking to indicate G-d’s essential love for the Jewish people in and of itself , the metaphor used is that of a very small child, for in that instance the elemental love is felt naturally.
When, however, one seeks to convey the essential qualities of the Jewish people, then the term “Israel is My son, My firstborn ” is used, for it indicates that the Jews’ essentially childlike nature permeates even their intellect and emotions.
Based on Likkutei Sichos Vol. XXI, pp. 20-26.
Counting by Name
The Torah portion Shmos begins by saying:7 “And these are the names of the children of Israel who came to Egypt….” Rashi comments:8 “Although He counted them by name while they were alive, He counted them again after their passing in order to make known (and demonstrate) his love for them; for they are likened to the stars, which He takes out and brings in by their numbers and names….
If Rashi simply desired to prove that something loved is counted by number as well as by name, he would have simply stated that they are “like the stars which He takes out and brings in by number and name.” Rashi’s statement, “for they are likened to the stars,” serves to imply that because the children of Israel possess the same quality as the stars, they are therefore counted in a like manner.
What is this “star” quality?
Although love of something is evinced through counting as well as through naming, counting and calling by name emphasize two different aspects of that which is being counted or called:
Counting emphasizes the commonalty of things — wholly disparate entities cannot be included in the same count. A name, on the other hand, emphasizes the individuality of each thing.
Rashi indicates this when he states “for they are likened to the stars,” for stars possess both these aspects. On the one hand, they all share the fact of star-hood, and are counted precisely because each star is important. On the other hand, each star possesses unique qualities, for which reason each has it own name.
Each Jew, who is “likened to the stars,” shares the essential quality of Jewishness, and is “truly part of G-d above.”9 In addition, each possesses qualities unique to the individual.
G-d’s love for the Jewish people thus finds expression in two ways: By counting them He manifests His love for their essential Jewishness, and by calling each by name He demonstrates His love for the unique qualities of each and every one.
However, when G-d desired to show love for individual Jews, He could have done so in any number of ways. Why did He specifically choose to count them by name?
G-d’s intrinsic love for the Jewish people serves as the template for all parental love.10 With human parents also, we find that mentioning a child’s name arouses a degree of love that cannot be elicited by other means, such as by giving the child a gift, showering him with words of love, or even hugging and kissing him.
Giving a child a gift or loving words depends on the child’s age: If a parent gives his grown son or daughter a gift fit for a very young child, then rather than it being seen as an expression of love it may be taken in the opposite way. Words of love, too, must be geared to the individual child’s level.
Since gifts and loving talk must be tailored to the age and comprehension of each child, it is clear that love manifested through these vehicles is limited. It thus cannot be an elemental love for the essence of the child, since elemental love is not limited by the child’s intellect, maturity, etc.
Even hugs and kisses, which can be given to both younger and older children, are limited, for they can only be bestowed when the recipient is close at hand. Essential love is not limited by time or space.
The only evocation of love that is truly unlimited is the mentioning of a child’s name: it matters not whether the child is young or old, near or far, bright or dim, etc.
Thus, when G-d desired to show His essential love for the Jewish people, He “counted them by name. ”
Compiled from Likkutei Sichos , Vol. VI, pp. 1-10.
1. Shmos 4:22.
2. Ibid.
3. Hosheah 11:1; See at length Or HaTorah, Beshallach p. 382ff; Ki Na’ar Yisrael , 5666, Sefer HaMa’amarim 5678 p. 159ff.
4. Devarim Rabbah 5:7.
5. Tanya , beginning of ch. 2.
6. Cf. Tanya ch. 38 (p. 50b and onward).
7. Shmos 1:1.
8. Ibid.
9. Tanya ch. 2,
10. See discourses titled Atta Echad 5702, 5729.