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This is the class of the series on Rebbe Nachman’s famous story the Lost Princess.
DO YOU LIKE THIS POST? SUPPORT US ON PATREON
This is the class of the series on Rebbe Nachman’s famous story the Lost Princess.
Our souls yearn to be free, so much so that it is as if they are weeping for redemption. Dovid Mark continues his class on the Lost Princess by Rebbe Nachman.
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As I noted in my previous article, Rav Kook teaches the following in Orot HaTechiya 28:
“The holiness that is expressed from within the physical is the holiness of the Land of Israel. When the Shechina (Divine Presence) descended into exile with the Nation of Israel, holiness stood in opposition to the physical. But holiness which battles the physical is not a complete holiness. It is necessary that holiness become subsumed within the Divine from above, which leads to a holiness that is expressed through the physical itself. This is the foundation of repairing the entire World.”
By drilling deeper into this point we gain an understanding of the harmonious nature of the process of Redemption. In exile the Jewish people found it necessary to separate between the physical and spiritual. One could not fathom a world where the two could exist in harmony. Yet, this is exactly the point of returning home.
Rebbe Nachman teaches the following in the 35th lesson of the Likutey Moharan:
“Know! Teshuvah (Repentance) entails returning the thing to where it was taken from.”
This applies on both an individual level and national level. Our spiritual condition cannot be complete until we have returned to the place from where we were taken. Since Israel outside of its Land is not in its rightful place, then on an individual level as well one cannot fund harmony between the spiritual and physical.
Teshuvah is about returning to ourselves – about being in balance between the physical vessel that we were given when we came into this world and the spiritual expression, the ideal we are meant to bring into reality, which is the will of the Creator.
This balance can only happen in the Land of Israel. Outside the two cannot work in harmony, with the spiritual side always pushing back against the physical.
In Rebbe Nachman’s story of the Lost Princess, when the viceroy falls asleep after failing to follow the Princess’s instructions for a second time, his servant runs and hides when a long procession of soldiers walk by.
The servant represents our body and the viceroy who is asleep our soul. Sleep is always a hint to exile. as it says in the Song of Songs: “I am asleep and my heart is awake.” The servant, as the body cannot stand up to the rigors and challenges of this world as long as the soul is asleep and so hides.
Only in Israel can we truly awaken and achieve a complete harmony between the physical and spiritual.
“Everyone who has Da’as, it is as if he has built the Beis HaMikdash (Temple).” [Tractate Barachos 33/a]
The building of the Beis HaMikdash begins with Da’as – a deep knowledge of the Creator, drawn from building a connection to our inner Godly consciousness.
The more we bind ourselves to the Divine intellect hidden behind the layers of our reality, the more we ourselves leave the world of the emotions, (which can be manipulated) – and allow ourselves to be a vessel for the Godly wisdom to guide our actions.
This “switch” from a me centered world, to one where the Creator’s wisdom drives our approach to the physical realm is a preparatory requirement that must be in place to build the Beis HaMikdash.
We have allowed doubt to penetrate our hearts and in turn this has cut us off from the Da’as held within each of us. Yet, as we reach the final stages of the Geulah Shleima, there is still hope that we can unlock the Godly intellect and awareness held within.
It is for this reason that both the Tzaddik Emes and the Land of Israel are interrelated.
The elevated consciousness found within the Land injects the Nation with the first formulation and concretization of the Da’as Elyon (Supernal Knowledge/Consciousness), but doubt still bites at us, gnawing at our minds. This is why the Tzaddik Emes, who blazed a path to Geulah ahead of us, readies our weapons of prayer and Godly awareness.
He is whispering through his teachings and advice – all we have to do is listen and begin.
(Based on Likutey Moharan 1; Likutey Moharan Tinyana 71 and 72; Ain Ayeh Brachos Page 157 Paragragh 91; Shemoneh Kevatzim Volume 1)
Trump , The Seed that will help transition a whole Nation.”
Trump , The ring bearer to the marriage of Jerusalem and Israel!
The declaring of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel ; a historical event yes indeed but also a piece of boldness that will redefine how Jerusalem is looked upon for generations to come. Palestine ! Oh Palestine has been the Goliath, the one who has held Jerusalem in its hands for far too long . Jerusalem has been stagnant because of their unableness to see past the giants.
The questions we ask are:
1)Why has this great moment of making Jerusalem the Capital of Israel been concreted for this time ?
2)Why has no other President heard the inner voice to want to bring peace to a Holy Nation whom has not rested in peace in decades?
My observance to the matter is that President Trump has been mandated for a time as this to not beg the bread of the adversary but to go and boldly claim back what the enemy has stolen. Trump has given the people of Israel the “First Fruit Blessing ” on Dec 6th 2017. On that historical day that Jerusalem was declared the Capital of Israel; it’s purpose and meaning that day meant that everything that was stolen from the people of Israel would now have to be returned . It amazes me how one word from Trump blasted over every Media House that day and delivered into the realm of Israel that it would shake the Nation’s and scatter every enemy.
“We are indeed set and ready to see great change among the Nations.”
A farmer who plants seed among his soil isn’t bothered by watching to see if the seed will grow, he knows he can leave the seed to grow and he will come back to redeem his crop without doubt in harvest time. Trumps voice to the Nations was an establishment to create boundaries for all Nations. He sees that a time of desolate and famine is over in his eyes.
Why must we salt the food that has already been seasoned and ready for consumption? It is a time of Jubilee and restitution upon every enemy camp. In closing; Jerusalem the “Great” will be like the donkey that was said not to be sufficient to stand alone but in the donkey it bore witness to welcome in a King and a kingdom.
The culture of Egypt had dominated the world, casting its dark and oppressive shadow over all of civilization while abandoning the hope for any ethical or moral progress. Ancient Egyptian philosophy pictured life as fixed and recurrent cycles of materialism determined by the immutable laws of nature that all human endeavors must serve. Their gods were the sun, the Nile and the animals. The sun created the cycle of the year. The Nile provided water and was the source of life. The animals represented the basic fundamental life forces. This comprehensive perspective was the very basis of ancient Egyptian civilization.
The danger of this idolatrous worldview was that it related to human beings as nothing more than products of nature. Trapped in the matrix of natural law, man was seen as having no choice but to go with the inexorable flow of reality. Although acknowledging that man possessed the ability to make decisions, Egyptian philosophy claimed that those choices were in essence no different than those of a beast. Human psychology – our desires, motivations and weaknesses – was viewed as a product of nature. Negative emotions such as anger, jealousy, lust and the will to dominate others were understood to be natural and ordinary features of existence, prompting man to live no different from the animal predators that devour and plants that overrun their weaker competitors. The world was seen to reach a natural ecology of forces in conflict, balanced between the strong and the weak – the masters and the slaves.
This suffocating paradigm imprisoned the spirit of man in an absolute bondage to the fetters of nature, with no possibility of breaking free and transcending its restrictive boundaries. All of humanity’s higher yearnings were denigrated and debased under the pernicious influence of this toxic worldview until mankind was entombed in pyramids of darkness and spiritual decay. Egypt is referred to as the “house of bondage” not merely on account of its large slave population. Egypt was a “house of bondage” through and through. All were mentally enslaved to the fixed laws of nature that determined the fate of individuals and groups alike. No slave even imagined that escape from bondage was possible because slavery was simply a condition of life.
We learn that “had the Kadosh Barukh Hu not taken Israel out of Egypt, we and our children and our children’s children would still be enslaved to Pharaoh” (Haggadah). While one can assume that over the course of thousands of years, other geopolitical factors might have led to Israel’s freedom, this is actually not the point our Sages are making. Had HaShem not taken us out then, we would have remained slaves in our essence. Human civilization would have remained stagnant, sunk in the mire of Egypt’s slave mentality. Even had Egypt’s dominance on the world stage declined later in history due to natural circumstances, the Pharaonic worldview would have continued to dominate the thinking of man.
“Pharaoh replied, ‘Who is HaShem that I should heed His voice to send out Israel? I do not know HaShem, nor will I send out Israel!’” (SHEMOT 5:2)
When the Kadosh Barukh Hu dispatched Moshe and Aharon to demand that the Hebrews be permitted to serve Him in the wilderness, the Egyptian monarch responded with contempt. Pharaoh not only rejected the demand to send out his slaves but also denied the very existence of HaShem. The Egyptian view of life limited his ability to fathom a Divine Author and purpose to history. G-D then informed Moshe what would transpire next.
“‘Pharaoh will not heed you, and I shall put My hand upon Egypt; and I shall take out My legions – My nation the Children of Israel – from the land of Egypt, with great judgments. And Egypt shall know that I am HaShem, when I stretch out My hand over Egypt; and I shall take the Children of Israel out from among them.’” (SHEMOT 7:4-5)
Due to his ability to enslave and persecute the Hebrew tribes, Pharaoh was certain that there was no G-D of Israel. To him – as to most of Israel’s persecutors throughout history – the very degradation of the Jewish people appeared as proof of the Kadosh Barukh Hu’s weakness or non-existence. The ability of gentiles to persecute Israel is the ultimate profanation of HaShem’s Divine Ideal, which is inseparably connected to Israel’s stature on the world stage. Even in a situation where the Jewish people are guilty of serious transgressions, our honor is still intrinsically united with the honor of the Holy One. The main purpose of the plagues was to reveal the Divine unity of HaShem’s Oneness over all and to show that there is value and meaning to human history. In order that the worldview of the Egyptians be shattered, it was necessary that they directly experience HaShem’s power.
“‘For this time I shall send all my plagues against your heart and upon your servants, and your people, so that you shall know that there is none like Me in all the world. For now I could have sent My hand and stricken you and your people with the pestilence and you would have been obliterated from the earth. However, for this have I let you endure, in order to show you My strength and so that My Name may be declared throughout the world.’” (SHEMOT 9:14-15)
The plague of hail is described here as “all My plagues” because it begins the collapse of Egyptian faith in false gods. This was the purpose for all of the plagues – the destruction of idolatry and the revelation that everything in Creation is subordinate to HaShem. Pharaoh was permitted to survive the fifth plague – disease – only in order that he would be forced to recognize HaShem’s sovereignty over all and proclaim it to the world.
“‘You still tread upon My people, not to send them out. Behold, at this time tomorrow I shall rain a very heavy hail, such as there has never been in Egypt, from the day it was founded until now. And now send, gather in your livestock and everything you have in the field; all the people and animals that are found in the field and are not gathered into the house – the hail shall descend upon them and they shall die.’ Whoever among the servants of Pharaoh feared the word of HaShem chased his servants and his livestock into the houses. And whoever did not take the word of G-D to heart – he left his servants and livestock in the field.” (SHEMOT 9:17-21)
The sanctification of G-D’s Name – His Ideal for this world – comes about through the revelation of His might and the degradation of false deities. The plague of hail was the first time HaShem granted the Egyptians an opportunity to spare themselves. Through the very experience of making such a choice, they would have essentially been rejecting the Pharaonic worldview. Were they to heed Moshe’s warning, it would have constituted acknowledgment that the Kadosh Barukh Hu encompasses and directs everything in existence and that their idols would be powerless in protecting them from His plagues. The Egyptians would only be saved through abandoning their faith in false gods, transcending their society’s worldview and acknowledging HaShem’s all-encompassing sovereignty over all.
According to Rabbi Avraham Yitzḥak HaKohen Kook, Israel’s Exodus marked “the springtime of the entire world” because out of the darkness of Egypt burst forth the Light of HaShem. Through the birth of Israel and the civilization we are meant to create, mankind would discover that it is possible to establish a strong and prosperous nation founded on eternal values of morality, justice, purity and Divine good beyond what the limited human intellect can conceptualize. With the liberation of the Hebrew tribes from the bondage of Pharaoh and the revolt against further servitude to mortars and bricks, the world saw that there was Divine value to history, a Guiding Hand ruling over the forces of the universe, and that it was in the power of mankind to rise up and transcend its baser instincts and passions.
Because HaShem is the timeless and boundless ultimate Reality that encompasses yet is beyond all existence, ascribing any genuine power to false deities or human rulers prevents one from truly recognizing His Divine unity over all. Viewing idols or human rulers as having any power independent from HaShem therefore diminishes our awareness of G-D’s Oneness and profanes His Name. It is through the story of Israel, as it unfolds throughout time, that humanity sees history as possessing Divine meaning and purpose. Because the Children of Israel are the earthly human expression of HaShem’s Ideal in this world and the weakness of the Jewish people appears to the nations as the weakness of our G-D, Israel must strengthen our resolve and advance our national mission without fear of human rulers or the power they ostensibly wield. The Jewish people must stand strong against those seeking to obstruct the attainment of our aspirations. We must bring this world to its destiny of ultimate good through establishing the Hebrew Kingdom that will manifest HaShem’s Ideal while shining blessing and light to all of Creation from Jerusalem.
Originally indited in Hebrew but surviving only in the form of an ancient Greek translation, I Maccabees is both history and a tripartite biography of Jewish leadership, covering over 40 years of eventful affairs in which courageous and tenacious rebels surmounted overwhelming odds and overthrew imperial occupiers who persecuted Jews and sought to suppress Judaism. The book was written by an unknown Judean author between 134-63 BCE, likely around the year 100 BCE. As a religious history modelled on biblical historical works, it limns a series of remarkable figures striving valiantly for religious freedom and national liberation—The Brothers Maccabee—especially Judah, Jonathan, and Simon.
Rather than a continuation of I Maccabees, the independent II Maccabees is a partially parallel digest of the Maccabean Rebellion, beginning and concluding its central narrative earlier than the preceding account and covering a period of about 15 years (corresponding to the first 7 chapters of I Maccabees). Originally indited in Greek, it summarizes 5 books previously written by a certain Jason of Cyrene and its style is more Hellenistic. The work is directed toward the Jews of Alexandria, Egypt, and seeks to enlist their solidarity with their Judean brethren in Jerusalem. Its date of composition is sometime after 124 BCE.
Initially, in response to the Hellenizing decrees and sacrilegious acts of Syrian-Greek (Seleucid) emperor Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Hasmonean patriarch Matityahu and his sons tore their garments, wore sackcloth, and mourned. Then they put away grief, vowing not to swerve from Judaism either to the right or to the left, come what may. They withdrew into the wilderness of the Gophna Hills, living in forests and caverns, eating wild plants, making their way secretly among Judean villages, rallying their kinsfolk. Soon they recruited 6,000 loyalists, organizing them into a trained and mobile guerrilla force. They attacked imperial Seleucid soldiers and Hellenist traitors abetting the enemy using surprise and the cover of night, capturing advantageous positions and inflicting numerous reverses on their foes.
On his deathbed, Matityahu singled out Simon for his sound judgment and appointed him his successor, and appointed Judah as general for his might and bravery. Perhaps on Simon’s advice, Judah assumed command of the revolt and together the Maccabees, as they came to be known, “fought for Israel with a will.”
Following the example of their fervent father Matityahu, a zealot in the spirit of the high priest Pinhas and prophet Elijah, The Brothers Maccabee devoted and even gave their lives in the cause of their ancestors and countrymen, resisting an empire through intrepid leadership and willpower. Theirs were victories both martial and moral. Despite the occasional katabases, the Maccabees repeatedly proved resilient and resourceful. The following précis highlights their generational exploits as steadfast stalwarts in defense of tradition and homeland:
Eleazar (a.k.a. Avaran) (d. 162 BCE) The bold Eleazar proved his mettle in the battle of Beth Zechariah, charging through the Seleucids’ thick phalanx toward a royally caparisoned elephant that he presumed carried the young Antiochus V Eupator or his regent Lysias. The elephant was taller than all the others arrayed by the Seleucids, and Eleazar managed to scatter the enemy from before him in order to dart in beneath the beast, stabbing it fatally with his sword. But the elephant collapsed on top of him, and Eleazar died on the spot. He took a daring risk by attempting to target the enemy leadership, but ended up sacrificing himself in a hasty move that factored into the Judean battle loss. Eleazar was the first Maccabee brother to fall.
Judah (Yehudah, a.k.a. Maccabee) (r. 166-160 BCE) The mighty Judah overcame a series of Seleucid military commanders—Apollonius, Seron, Gorgias, Nicanor, Lysias—sent by Antiochus IV Epiphanes and his successors. He marshalled and exhorted his army to be strong, rousing them to courage, instilling in them the righteousness of “fighting for our lives and our laws.” Judah always led from the front. Like Moses, Judah organized and delegated leaders to oversee men by the thousand, hundred, fifty, and ten. He dismissed the fearful from his ranks. Undaunted, he inspired confidence in his fellows regarding their intimidating enemies, adjuring them to “not be afraid of their numbers” and “not flinch at their attack.” He disciplined his men not to plunder when further battle urgently awaited them. At the first opportunity, Judah led his brothers and the entire army to Mount Zion (Temple Mount) to purify and dedicate the sanctuary, which lay desecrated and partly ruined. He selected priests to remove the abomination of desolation (the pagan altar of Baal-Shamin), dismantle the profaned altar of sacrifice, and fashion a new altar and new sacred vessels. He did not usurp the authority of a prophet but, in December 164 BCE, did institute the celebration of the rededication of the sacrificial altar and Temple for 8 days annually on 25 Kislev—the festival of Chanukah (in 160 BCE, he also instituted the short-lived Day of Nicanor holiday annually on 13 Adar, the day before the Day of Mordechai/Purim). He built high walls with towers round Mount Zion, stationed a garrison to protect the Temple, and fortified Beit Tzur to the south against the Idumeans. He rescued persecuted Jews in Gilead, rallying stragglers as they were brought into Judea. He sought alliance with Rome in order to consolidate his position. Abandoned by over two-thirds of his army before overwhelming enemy numbers, Judah fell in battle at Elasa (near Beit Horon), and “his memory is blessed forever and ever.”
Johanan/Joseph (Yohanan/Yosef, a.k.a. Gaddi) (d. 160) The oldest brother, Johanan commanded a division of fighters under Judah and later was sent by Jonathan to lead a convoy into Nabatea to request their assistance, but he was ambushed by the raiding sons of Jambri of Medeba, captured, and killed.
Jonathan (Yonatan, a.k.a. Apphus) (r. 160-142 BCE) Appointed by the Judeans, Jonathan succeeded Judah despite being the youngest brother. Whereas Judah was a masterful military strategist and tactician, Jonathan was politically astute and adroitly played one Syrian contender for the throne against another. After defeating the great Seleucid general Bacchides with Simon’s help, Jonathan negotiated peace terms and a prisoner exchange. He recovered Jewish hostages from the Seleucids, obtained the removal of foreign garrisons, and refortified Jerusalem. He was appointed high priest by Alexander Balas circa 153 BCE and was later recognized in this role by Demetrius II and confirmed by Antiochus VI. He raised troops and manufactured arms in quantity, but was savvy enough to make a favourable impression upon Balas and King Ptolemy of Egypt when they convened at Akko. With the help of military intelligence, he won an important victory over the forces of Demetrius II at Ashdod, and routed the Seleucids at Hazor despite lacking timely military intelligence. He renewed the alliance with Rome, as well as with the Spartans. He not only enlarged the territory under Judean control but secured peace within its borders. Jonathan proved gullible, however, and was lured by a treacherous Trypho—a Seleucid usurper—into a trap at Akko, costing him his freedom and the lives of a thousand of his men. He soon died a prisoner at Baskama, northeast of the Kinneret.
Simon (Shimon, a.k.a. Thassi) (r. 142-134 BCE) Wise and patient, Simon succeeded Jonathan and lent his support to Demetrius II, who regained the Seleucid throne. Both Demetrius II and his successor Antiochus VII Sidetes recognized Simon as high priest, military governor, and ethnarch of the Jews. With their political independence restored, the Judeans approved Simon’s titles and his hereditary rule was established. Simon renewed the treaty with Rome and ushered in an era of stability and prosperity. He fortified and provisioned Judean fortresses, reconquered Jaffa, Beit Tzur, and Gezer, and expelled the die-hard holdouts from the Akra citadel in Jerusalem. “He established peace in the land, and Israel knew great joy. Each man sat under his own vine and fig tree, and there was none to make them afraid.” Tellingly, Rome and Sparta initiated the renewal of their treaties with Judea during Simon’s tenure. Like Jonathan before him, though, an aged Simon proved credulous in his dealings with the mercurial Seleucids. Antiochus VII Sidetes turned against the Jews, and Simon’s son-in-law Ptolemy, ambitious and currying favor, lured Simon and two of his sons into a deadly banquet at the desert fortress Dok, overlooking the plain of Jericho. Only Simon’s son Johanan Hyrcanus, who had not been present, survived to perpetuate Hasmonean rule.
I & II Maccabees make clear Judah’s central concern for the welfare of the Jewish People and for the common good. In warfare, Judah could act pre-emptively and vengefully: The Hammerer struck mightily. Yet he was also inclined to diplomacy and during his campaign in Gilead he offered or accepted peace terms whenever reasonable opportunities presented themselves. He invoked God and frequently recalled Jewish history to his fighters to hearten them against the always daunting odds. Above all, Judah recurrently encouraged and exhorted his forces to remember all that they were fighting for, and to trust in divine favor. He was motivated as “a man who had devoted himself entirely, body and soul, to the service of his countrymen, and had always preserved the love he had felt even in youth for his people…”.
Jonathan and Simon evinced skill on the battlefield and deftness in the political realm, conducting successful negotiations and assuming responsibilities while insisting on their national rights. They engaged in diplomacy when possible, waged war when necessary, and displayed loyalty according to their international treaties. Unlike Judah, however, Jonathan and Simon did not maintain the separation of power between political ruler and sacerdotal leader, and although the Hasmoneans were Jewish priests originally from Jerusalem and could trace their descent to the priestly Jehoiarib line, they were not next in the priestly line of succession. The rightful heir was Honya/Onias IV, who had previously fled from Judea after the accession of Alcimus (Eliakim) to the high priesthood so as to establish a temple in Leontopolis, Egypt circa 154 BCE. Thus the Hasmonean brothers incurred resentment both for assuming the high priesthood out of turn and for the worse offense of arrogating to themselves the de facto kingship (their familial successors Judah Aristobulus and Yannai Alexander would claim the de jure kingship), which properly belonged only to the descendants of King David. For these reasons, therefore, both the high priesthood and kingship of the Hasmoneans were to some extent tainted with illegitimacy, which engendered what is believed to be their negative depiction in the Essenes’ Dead Sea Scrolls. Nonetheless, Jonathan and Simon rebuilt and refortified Judean sites and earned the enduring gratitude and fealty of the Jews—fighters and civilians alike—even above and beyond that which Judah had enjoyed.
Not all who would lead were of the same caliber as The Brothers Maccabee; even in their own day, there were would-be heroes “not of the same mold as those to whom the deliverance of Israel had been entrusted.” Likewise, not all rebels were equally zealous for the Torah and ancestral ways: underlings who had accepted bribes from besieged adversaries were dealt with severely. Moreover, the popular Hasidean party (forerunners of the Pharisees) which had joined the Maccabean army were prematurely satisfied when religious freedom had been reclaimed, but the Maccabees understood that without their national sovereignty reestablished, Jewish freedoms would forever be subjected to the capricious whims of this or that foreign occupier.
When a hostile Antiochus VII Sidetes sent Athenobius to Jerusalem to reprimand Simon Maccabee for “occupying” Jaffa, Gezer, and the Akra citadel in Jerusalem, threatening war unless these were surrendered or steep extortion payments were made for them, Simon responded calmly with the wisdom for which his father Matityahu had commended him decades earlier: “It is not any foreign land that we have taken, nor any foreign property that we have seized, but the inheritance of our ancestors, for some time unjustly wrested from us by our enemies; now that we have a favorable opportunity, we are merely recovering the inheritance of our ancestors.”
During an epoch of deep mourning throughout Israel, when “the very land quaked for its inhabitants and the whole House of Jacob was clothed with shame,” The Brothers Maccabee arose to meet the challenge of their age and uphold the faith of their forebears, each making the ultimate sacrifice in order to restore freedom of religion and national independence to the Jewish People.
The Torah begins with the dawn of Creation. To fully appreciate this narrative, one must recognize history to be more than a mere series of coincidences. There is a purpose to existence and a mission incumbent upon Israel to fulfill. Rashi explains the first verse of our Torah to teach that the entire reason for the description of Creation is to establish the G-D of Israel as the Creator and Master of the universe. HaShem creates, sustains and affectionately empowers all that exists. History has a goal and the ability for mankind to successfully reach this goal has been compassionately built into the system of Creation, existing specifically within the vehicle of Knesset Yisrael – the giant spiritual organism revealed in our world through the Jewish people in space and time. Israel’s earthly function is to perfect the world through the establishment of a kingdom that will manifest the Divine Ideal in all spheres of human behavior and bring all living beings to the awareness of themselves as unique sparks of the one and only absolute Reality – that there is nothing outside of Him and that all of Creation exists unified within Him. Israel’s mission of Divine perfection requires us to elevate this world to its highest potential – the initial ideal behind Creation from its inception.
History’s goal, clearly revealed only at the end of the process, is what has been pushing all major and minor occurrences from the start. All people and events up until today have only existed for the Divine goal that will be gloriously revealed through its ultimate fulfillment. Man – the crowning pinnacle of Creation – was not fashioned until the sixth day. Everything else appeared to have been set up in advance and the only thing introduced after human beings is the Shabbat. While it could be assumed that something as important as mankind or Shabbat should have been fashioned before all else, an explanation is found in the Lekha Dodi song, which states “sof ma’ase b’maḥashava t’ḥila” – “last in deed, first in thought.” Shabbat was the very last act of Creation but primary in the Kadosh Barukh Hu’s Divine blueprint for the world. Whenever a monumental project is envisioned, several preparations must be made for that project’s goal to be attainable. That there would be a weekly day of kedusha in our world was foremost in HaShem’s plan. But it was necessary for the entire universe to exist beforehand.
The same idea holds true for mankind. The finale reveals the original objective. In theShabbat Musaf tefillah, the first twenty-two words of the paragraph Tikanta Shabbatbegin with the letters of our alphabet in reverse order, moving from Tav to Aleph. This concept, referred to as Tashrak (Tav, Shin, Reish, Koof…), shows the Aleph as symbolizing the One – the Divine Ideal and universal awareness of HaShem as the infinite Whole in which we all exist. The Tav represents an illusion of multiplicity, symbolizing that which is seemingly base and material as opposed to the evidentkedusha expressed by the Aleph. The closer something comes to the Aleph – to its ultimate goal and true essence – the more explicitly its inner holiness is revealed. Projects of great value are generally built from the bottom up with secure foundations that appear insignificant when judged in isolation from the greater enterprise. While at the early stages of an endeavor, the full grandeur is hidden as it appears mundane or often even iniquitous, the concept of Tashrak teaches that the ideal comes at the end in order to reveal the kedusha of the entire process.
The Maharal of Prague teaches in Netzaḥ Yisrael that Creation begins with the most mundane creatures and then leads up to the formation of man and eventually Israel. He points out that Am Yisrael was the last of the nations to enter the stage of history while every other people had previously existed. Israel was created last, but possesses within our collective soul the ability to achieve man’s lofty mission of bringing every living creature to fully actualize and express itself as a unique aspect of the greater ultimate Reality we call HaShem.
The purpose of Creation is to build a world of total perfection where all will recognize HaShem as not only the Creator and Divine Source of all that exists but also as transcending all of existence and beyond. It is the Hebrew mission to achieve a world that is entirely just and harmoniously unified in the universal recognition and awareness of this truth.
“And G-D saw all that He had made, and behold it was very good.” (BEREISHIT 1:31)
The Rambam comments that everything was fit for its exact purpose and able to function appropriately within Creation. He further teaches in the fifth chapter of his introduction to Pirkei Avot that “Man should place one goal before his eyes: the comprehension of G-D – glorified be He – to the full extent of mortal potential. This means to know Him. One should divert all of his activities, endeavors and even his relaxation toward that goal, to the extent that none of his activities are purposeless – i.e., that they do not lead to this goal.”
The Divine Oneness of HaShem and the harmonious unity of existence within Him is the deterministic blueprint of all human history that will be revealed to mankind through the story of the Hebrew Nation. The Kingdom of Israel will rise and – as the heart of mankind – pump Divine blessing to the rest of humanity. Political independence in our historic homeland is the prerequisite for our bringing the world towards perfection and higher consciousness. The national rebirth of the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael brings with it an entire revolution in the thinking of man. Concepts of morality, justice and truth will be clarified and elevated beyond their current human limitations through Israel’s ascension and exemplary example. This will occur through the Jewish people living a full and all-encompassing national life of kedusha that infuses every sphere of human existence with meaning and blessing, from sanitation and social services to governance and diplomacy. The light of HaShem’s Ideal will be perceived in every detail of life as His chosen people builds a model society on the land uniquely created for this mission. The ultimate good pushing history forward from the start will be revealed through the redemption of the Hebrew Nation.
The Tur, commenting on the Shulḥan Arukh (Oraḥ Ḥaim 286), discusses the notion of Tashrak regarding Israel’s redemption. The concept of the Divine Ideal becoming exposed in all of its glory at the end of a seemingly mundane process refers specifically to the redemption of the Jewish people.
History has already begun to witness the process of our redemption through the Land of Israel bringing forth abundant produce after so many centuries of dismal infertility. The ancient Hebrew language has experienced an unbelievable revival and the Jewish people has gained sovereignty over much of Eretz Yisrael. Israel has achieved miraculous victories in war and tremendous innovations in the fields of medicine and technology.
While some may still doubt the spiritual value and extraordinary significance of what is transpiring, these skeptics can rest assured that when history reaches the Aleph of the process, all will be able to appreciate the kedusha of even the seemingly extraneous Tav. Even that which appeared to be secular, or at times even hostile to our ancient collective yearnings, has come only to prepare the way for the full expression of HaShem’s Ideal for this world. The strong physical body of the Hebrew Nation reborn in our land – first erected by Jewish pioneers and statesmen seemingly uninterested in Israel’s Torah – has been built for the purpose of housing the giant spirit that will bring all Creation full circle to its ultimate goal – the Aleph that has been pushing since the beginning of time.
When people hear of Uman Rosh HaShana many different things comes to ones mind such as ״woah why do people leave Israel and go to Uman?” Or “dude Uman is awesome it’s like a Jewish rave.” It’s shocking that I actually went to Uman after hearing all the negative gossip from the various peanut galleries but there is an aspect of Uman that is not televised on the news and written in articles. First of all traveling to Uman for Rosh HaShanah is not an easy journey, it’s a spiritual experience that challenges your emuna (faith) and your gratitude. Besides leaving the comfort of your home and family to travel to celebrate Rosh HaShanah in Uman doesn’t make any sense(if you don’t know why your going) but for a Torah observant Jew that has a strong connection to the teachings of Rebbe Nachman it makes a lot of sense. Anyways the moment you step outside your house with your suitcase ready or in my case a giant camping backpack the obstacles start to begin….. Now I can write down each and every thing that happened to me on my spiritual journey in UMAN during Rosh HaShanah but instead I’m going to share with you one powerful story that has forever changed the way I think.
This story that I am about to share with you is a true story and just happened this past Monday morning when I was at the Kiev airport traveling back to Israel. First of all I almost missed my shuttle to the airport from UMAN because I didn’t hear my alarm and I think I only got like an 1hr30mins worth of sleep that night. Ok but I made it on a later shuttle with my big backpack and a plastic carrying on bag which had my Tefilin and 5 of my Sefarim and my Rabbis book as well, so 6 books total (and all of them are very important, especially my Tefilin.) You might be asking yourself ” well if it was so important why didn’t he put it his big back pack?” Well when I flew to Kiev they made me check my bag and I thought they would make me do it again which they did. Anyways back to the story….. So we we make it to the Kiev international airport where no employee speaks english fluently. We soon found out we were at the wrong terminal and our flight was taking off in about an 2hrs, so we were all over the place trying to figure out how to get to this other terminal.
After a 20min walk in the cold damp land of Ukraine we made it to Terminal B. While we were going through security I realized I didn’t have my plastic carrying on bag which had my Tefilin and books. Once we got through security and passport control I received a text message in Hebrew that someone found my stuff and I was so relieved, but the flight was going to be taking off in about an 1hr and now I had to go back to the other terminal where I just came from. So I went back to the other terminal and it wasn’t there. I checked everywhere. I called the guy who texted me that he found it and he told me that security wouldn’t let him take it through. I think he was trying to bring it to Israel for me. Well anyways it didn’t work and no one had any clue where it was.
Since I was tight on time because I had a flight to catch and was in the wrong terminal I made my way back to my terminal and to my gate to start boarding. The entire flight back to Israel I spoke to G-D. I remember telling him “I know everything happens for a reason and even though I don’t know why this had to happen to me I know everything is going to be okay.”
I was bummed out but I was trying remain positive….. Well yesterday I was trying to figure out how I’m going to afford a new pair of Tefilin because they are not cheap and my Rabbi was telling me try not to worry about it right now, I think he also told me that because for the past 4 days I’ve been under the weather and it’s not so smart to make decisions when you are not feeling good.
Well anyways yesterday I pushed myself to go to work, and while I was at work I received a phone call from an unknown number. I picked up the phone and the man only spoke Hebrew, but I was able to understand what he was saying. Do you know what he told me???? “יש לי תפילין וספרים ” (i have your tefilin and books)…. I was blown away.
This man must of found my stuff in Kiev and brought it back with him to Israel. He lives in a city that’s about 2hrs away from me.
This is what UMAN is about. It’s about hardships, and happiness, faith and gratitude at the exact same time. When hardships happen in our life how are we going to deal with it? When amazing things happen to us will we be grateful? On the surface UMAN looks like a party but it’s actually a doctors appointment for the soul, and everyone need to get a check up once a year.