Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Our Fate is in Our Hands

In the Tenth hour of the Sixth Day, Adam haRishon sinned. But what does that mean?

I explained before that as part of the Nesirah, the Nukva is necessarily reduced to a single point, instead of being a full partzuf. This is a negative reality that must occur as part of Geulah in its time. When the Shechinah leaves Exile, this contraction is necessary. We can save ourselves by simply not being in the Lands of Exile. When the Shechinah is completely out of Exile, the process of being rebuilt back to a partzuf begins, via Ateret haYesod. From this point, theoretically, there is only advancement towards perfection.
As is brought in Pitchei Shearim, Netiv Nukva, chapter 28, the sin of Adam haRishon caused the Nukva to again return to this state of contraction.
To bring all of this material together:
At the completion of the Nesirah, the Shechinah will return to its place in Tzion, bringing the spiritual Beit haMikdash in to place (falling from heaven completely "built"), afterwhich time the physical Beit haMikdash can be built. At this time, the pain of Exile will be taken away, there are no further excuses: We must live up to our potential. Our test is relatively short, lasting only a few years. If we do not succeed, G-d forbid, then the troubles listed in the book of Daniel will play out. Namely, Daniel 7, the last two verses of Daniel 9, Daniel 11, and Daniel 12:1-2.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Kol haTor and the Sixth Day

A short tidbit from Kol haTor chapter 1, siman bet:

עפ"י רבנו הגר"א כל עבודת קבוץ גלויות, בנין ירושלם והרחבת ישוב אר"י להחזרת השכינה
According to our Rabbi, the GR"A, all of the work of ingathering of the Exiles, building of Yerushalayim, and expanding the settlement in Eretz Yisrael is (in order to bring) the return of the Shechinah.
In tandem with this, we have that this work begins at the beginning of the first hour in 5500. Putting this together, this appears to confirm what I wrote before; the 24 hour division in Kol haTor comes to explain the GR"A's words in Sifra diTzniuta regarding the correlation in time between the tikkunim Above and the events below. The Nesirah brings the return of the Shechinah to Tzion.

The Three Planes

(part 2)
Yosef is known in our tradition as Yosef haTsaddik. Per Kabbalah, the righteous are from the sefirah of Yesod.
We have a principle, which is brought down in Sefer Yetzirah, called עש"ן. It is an abbreviation that stands for:
  1. עולם - world
  2. שנה - year
  3. נפש - soul
What this means is that for all of our principles, there is a correlation on the spatial plane (עולם), temporal plane (שנה), and the spiritual plane (נפש).
  1. In space, the Yesod is the Land of Israel (per Midrash Ne'elam on Zohar 1:114a, Eretz Yisrael can be considered as Yerushalayim and Tzion).
  2. In the soul, where the soul is the collective soul of the nation of Israel, the Yesod is the Tsaddik of the generation.
  3. In time, Yesod is the Sixth Millennium.
The common denominator is that Yesod brings all work from "before" it to its fruition, to its conclusion.
Yesod itself is divided in to 2 sub-parts. The first 2/3 are referred to as regular Yesod, and the last 1/3 is referred to as Ateret haYesod.
  1. In space, Ateret haYesod is the Final Beit haMikdash, located at the heart of the Land of Israel.
  2. In the collective soul of Am Yisrael, Ateret haYesod is Moshiach ben Yosef.
  3. In time, Ateret haYesod is Yemot haMoshiach (the days of the Messiah), in the last part of the Sixth Millennium.
The difference between Yesod and Ateret haYesod can therefore be seen as follows:
  1. The difference between just the Land of Israel and when the Beit haMikdash is built is that the connection between Jerusalem of Above and Jerusalem of Below will be connected with the Beit haMikdash in place.
  2. The difference between a regular Tsaddik (who is Moshiach ben Yosef of his generation, or a potential final Moshiach), and the actual Moshiach ben Yosef (of the last generation) is that Moshiach ben Yosef is able to make the theoretical in to reality. It is (theoretically) the end of the suffering of Moshiach.
  3. The difference between the period directly before and after the onset of Yemot haMoshiach is the cessation of the servitude of Israel to the nations of the world.
The natural flow of history dictates that no matter what, these three planes are bound together, and therefore there is no delaying Moshiach ben Yosef and the Beit haMikdash. "And a three-fold string will not easily break" (Kohelet 4:12). This means that, to an extent, we can also move things towards us. How so?
Moshiach ben Yosef, per the Ramchal (I believe in Milchemet Moshe), knows what needs to be done to bring the world to where it needs to be. The essence of his suffering is that he is unable to put this knowledge in to real action. He is missing that essential characteristic of Yosef from the Chumash: "And whatever he (Yosef) does, Hashem makes successful" (Breishit 39:23). Moshiach ben Yosef of the final generation, on the other hand, succeeds in bringing us towards our goals. The exiles are gathered, Yerushalayim is built. Truth reigns.
To advance the collective soul, we must allow Moshiach ben Yosef of each generation to truly lead us.
To advance our place in space towards the Beit haMikdash, we must gather the exiles and build up all of Eretz Yisrael. For the redeemer only comes when Tzion is already built (so says Chazal on the verse "And a redeemer comes to Zion", see Rashi there).
If we advance those two planes, the plane of time will come forward as well.
Now see the Sin of Mechirat Yosef. They sinned against the leader of their up and coming generation.
Now see the Sin of the Spies. They sinned against against Eretz Yisrael.
Fixing these two sins brings us the merit to be redeemed earlier than scheduled (if such actions are taken in time), or at least qualitatively improve our experience in this world (even if the actions are taken right before the end).
And of course that is perfectly logical. The redemption comes to right the wrongs of history.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Between Yosef and Tzion

There is a well known tradition (recorded in Mishnah Ta'anit 4:6) that the first Tishah b'Av was when the spies came back and ten of them gave their evil report. But there is an earlier Tisha b'Av which is less obvious.
The Zohar Chadash Ma'amar Mechirat Yosef points out (at the end of the ma'amar) that from the 17th of Tamuz until the 9th of Av is 22 days, just like there are 22 years that Joseph did not see his father Jacob (Quick math: Yosef was 17 when he was sold. Breishit 41:46 says he was 30 when he went before Par'oh. Then there were 7 good years, and then 2 bad years, hence he was 39 when Yaakov came to Mitzraim. 39 - 17 = 22).
To take the metaphor to its conclusion, the sale of Yosef by his brothers is the beginning of the troubles, the 17th of Tamuz, when the walls of Yerushalayim were breached. The beginning of the exile to Egypt, therefore, is the 9th of Av. Mechirat Yosef was the beginning of the 210 year exile.
The Midrash Tanchuma to parshat VaYigash (siman 10) notes that everything that happened to Yosef happened to Tzion (aka the Land of Israel). And indeed a long list of verses are given there to prove the point. In Kol haTor, it is noted that both Yosef and Tzion share the same gematria, 156.
The connection here is that the Sin of the (ten) Spies is a repeat of the Sin of Mechirat Yosef (by ten of his brothers). The sins are similar in nature. Yosef displayed signs of being special (both in his relationship with their father, and with his dreams), and his brothers were jealous of this. Jealousy of someone else's lot indicates a lack of faith (See the GR"A's Even Shleimah, chapter 3). Who is rich? One who is happy with his portion (Pirkei Avot 4:1). The ten spies, similar to the ten tribal heads before them, were worried about losing their leadership status upon entering Eretz Yisrael (per the Zohar). This worrying is the beginning of jealousy, as they didn't actually have anyone to be jealous of at that point, as it was all still theoretical.
This lack of faith, and in turn jealousy, caused the destruction of the House of our G-d, the desolation of our land, and the exile of our nation. As preparation for the rebuilding of the House of our G-d, we must reverse the sins which caused it in the first place. We must all settle all of our land with faith, and rebuild what has been lost.
The Beit haMikdash will be rebuilt in its time, and it is forbidden to build it too early (See the Vilna Gaon on Tikkunei Zohar). But nonetheless, much work is left to be done before that day, as everything short of the actual building is in our hands. With faith, we will learn to love each other. Each of us will then seek out his or her own mission, and no one will be jealous of the other's achievement.
ישעיה יא:יג וסרה קנאת אפרים, וצררי יהודה יכרתו: אפרים לא-יקנא את-יהודה, ויהודה לא-יצר את-אפרים