Finding Your Shidduch: Rectifying Adam

Part 3: The Lights of the Supernal Aleph (Likutei Moharan 6:5)

This is the third article in our series focused on finding one’s zivug in today’s world. To recap, the first article explained that the root of the problem is related to the widespread difficulty that [young] men today have in being shomer brit. When we cause damage to our brit (which corresponds to the sefirah of yesod in this world of Asiyah) we cause a corresponding damage in the higher worlds (all the way up to the sefirah of yesod in the world of Atzilut). This damage causes a separation between the Holy One, blessed be He, and His zivug, i.e. the Shechinah. This disconnection in the lights of the higher worlds leads to catastrophic consequences in all of the lower worlds, one of which, in true middah k’neged middah fashion, is that a man loses his true zivug. The second article explained that the best way to rectify this problem (in addition to the need to cease causing further damage to the sefirah of yesod) is by accepting humiliation and disgrace with love, i.e. being silent in words and quiet in spirit. How does it work? When we realize that Hashem is the One responsible for bringing the disgrace upon us but He does it through another person (usually someone whom we think is the least qualified for this holy mission), and we actually feel ashamed of being disgraced by Hashem because we disgraced Him and His Shechinah, then our silence becomes the natural response. Accepting this judgment from Hashem repairs the damage caused in the higher worlds by our sin of failing to be shomer brit in the first place.

As we learned previously, the Sitra Achra receives its life force from the blood [דָּם, dam] on the left side of our heart. By being silent in the face of disgrace, we drain that blood by transforming it into דֹם [dom, silence], thus weakening the Yetzer ha-Ra that constantly seeks to trip us up. As Shimon the son of Rabban Gamliel used to say (Pirkei Avot 1:17): כָּל יָמַי גָּדַלְתִּי בֵין הַחֲכָמִים וְלֹא מָצָאתִי לַגּוּף טוֹב אֶלָּא שְׁתִיקָה (I grew up my whole life among the Sages and I never found anything better for the body than silence). Silence is the key to rectifying the Supernal lights in the upper worlds, i.e. the 10 sefirot which make up the Supernal אָדָם [Adam] in the world of Atzilut. It leads to the re-creation (or ‘rectification’) of Adam in the image of G-d, and when Adam is re-created, he is re-created together with Chavah, allowing for his reunification with his soul-mate, his true zivug. Let’s explore this more deeply.

The topic of sefirot and heavenly lights is abstract, but we can bring it within our reach by focusing on one letter, the aleph, א, the first letter of the aleph-bet. This works because each of the 10 Supernal lights, i.e. sefirot, are contained in a compact form within the Supernal א; therefore, by focusing on how these 10 lights become rectified in the א, we can understand how silence re-creates the Supernal Adam. In short, when the א is rectified in the merit of דֹם [dom, silence], it can be added to the דָּם [dam, blood] to form “א-דם” [Adam], and once that happens one merits to find his Chavah. (This article is adapted from Likutei Moharan 6:5. The interested reader is encouraged to study further there.)

Let’s look carefully at the structure of the א. The א can be divided into three parts: the lower left leg (which resembles an upside down yud, י), an upper right head (which resembles a regular yud, י) and a dividing diagonal (which can be compared to a vav, ו, on an angle).

What does the lower left leg of the א represent? When David ha-Melech expressed the essence of his existence with his famous words (Tehillim 109:4) וַאֲנִי תְפִלָּה (And I am prayer), he was declaring that he epitomized the sefirah of malchut, the “empty” sefirah that has no light in and of itself. It is similar to a female’s womb— empty on its own and incapable of producing a child without impregnation from the male. What malchut receives, it receives from the sefirah of yesod. To put it another way, David’s words express the essence of bitul or self-nullification, for אני [ani, I] are the same letters as אין [ein, nothingness]. Not only is bitul the attribute that makes prayer so effective, it is also the attribute needed to be capable of responding with silence in the face of disgrace. Silence indicates acceptance of G-d’s decree. It demonstrates our understanding that we deserve what happened and that it is really for our good. This is the aspect of the lower left leg, i.e. the upside down י (gematria of 10 as malchut is the 10th sefirah from the top down). In short, through silence and self-nullification, we rectify the sefirah of malchut, the lowest of the ten sefirot and begin the process of rectifying the Supernal א.

The upper right י of the א corresponds to keter. Like malchut, it is also likened to the numerical 10 because it is the 10th sefirah from the bottom up. Alternatively, since all sefirot unfold from this uppermost sefirah of keter, it actually includes all 10. Now, as we have explained before, keter is like the crown on the top of the head. It precedes the brain—thoughts and understanding—for it is the seat of ‘will’ or ‘desire’, which precede these capabilities. It is also the seat of honor [kavod]. Therefore, by being silent, we take off our crown, which means that we relinquish our will and accept the Will of the Holy One, blessed be He. Through this, we merit having a Divine kavod bestowed on us, which is the true aspect of keter. In short, by accepting the Will of Hashem, resisting the temptation to defend our own kavod, and responding to disgrace with silence, we rectify the sefirah of keter.

What is the ו which hangs in the middle between the lower י of malchut and the upper י of keter? The letter ו has the gematria of 6, which corresponds to the six fundamental attributes: chesed, gevurah, tiferet, netzach, hod and yesod. Together, these six form a spiritual body called ze’ir anpin. It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss this idea in detail. What we need to appreciate now is that these six form an integrated whole that function together, similar to how the main parts of a man’s body (below the head)—right arm, left arm, torso, right leg, left leg and the male organ—function together as an integrated whole. As is known, David ha-Melech mentions these six along together with malchut in a single verse (Divrei ha-Yamin Aleph 29:11): לְךָ יְיָ הַגְּדֻלָּה וְהַגְּבוּרָה וְהַתִּפְאֶרֶת וְהַנֵּצַח וְהַהוֹד כִּי־כֹל בַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ (Yours, Hashem, are the greatness [chesed is sometimes called gedulah] and the gevurah and the tiferet and the netzach and the hod; indeed, everything that is in heaven [yesod] and earth [malchut]). Why does ‘everything that is in heaven’ refer to yesod and ‘earth’ refer to malchut? To simplify a complex topic, the heavenly lights of chesed, gevurah, tiferet, netzach and hod funnel down into yesod, the lowest of the six sefirot of ze’ir anpin, and it is from yesod and only from yesod that these lights enter malchut through a spiritual process similar to impregnation. Therefore, the ‘male’ sefirah of yesod corresponds to ‘heaven’ or sky (even as rain comes down from the sky) while the ‘female’ sefirah of malchut corresponds to ‘earth’ (which can then produce its ‘fruit’ in response to the rain). Keep in mind that the entire purpose of creation is to enable man to experience the heavenly light from the Ein Sof down here below, i.e. on earth. So this ו in the middle of the א represents these six attributes, corresponding to heaven or sky, which unfold the light from keter and channel it down into malchut.

But what does this have to do with being silent in the face of disgrace? To answer that question, we need to know why heaven, i.e. the middle ו of the aleph, is called שָּׁמַיִם [shamayim]. The Gemara explains (Chagigah 12a): מַאי שָׁמַיִם אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹסֵי בַּר חֲנִינָא שֶׁשָּׁם מַיִם בְּמַתְנִיתָא תָּנָא אֵשׁ וּמַיִם מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהֱבִיאָן הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וּטְרָפָן זֶה בָּזֶה וְעָשָׂה מֵהֶן רָקִיעַ (What is shamayim? R’ Yosi bar Chanina said that ‘there is water’ [sham mayim]. It was taught in a Baraita, fire and water [eish u’mayim], to teach that the Holy One, blessed be He, brought them together and combined them to each other and made from them sky [rakia]). Since we are not dealing here with the physical world, what does ‘heaven’ being a combination of ‘fire and water’ really mean? Our Sages are speaking about the lights that come down from keter into ze’ir anpin. Fire corresponds to the light on the ‘left’, i.e. gevurah—judgment, constriction, strictness. Water corresponds to the light on the ‘right’, i.e. chesed—kindness, loving, giving. Fire is red; water is clear or ‘white’. Fire represents blood while water represents its absence. In short, the ו, which represents ‘heaven’, which represents the six sefirot which make up ze’ir anpin, corresponds to the embarrassment or feelings of shame that a man of truth experiences when he hears his disgrace. They are an aspect of the different hues of color that appear on our face, from being blushed with red to being made pale.

If you’ve been keeping track, we have accounted for 8 of the 10 sefirot which comprise the image of G-d in which the first Adam was made. We have the will and the body, but no head yet. Therefore, we need Adam’s brains. If we look closely, we’ll notice that the י is itself composed of three parts: the crown that points upward, a horizontal portion and the lower portion that hangs down. The upper crown that points up is the actual keter itself, highest above all and beyond comprehension and understanding. Extending out and to the right of that is the horizontal portion which corresponds to chochmah [right brain], and finally, extending from that and somewhat angling to the left is the lower portion which corresponds to binah [left brain].

We have now accounted for all 10 sefirot which comprise the image of G-d with which Adam was created, as it is written (Bereshit 1:27): וַיִּבְרָא אֱלֹקִים אֶת־הָאָדָם בְּצַלְמוֹ בְּצֶלֶם אֱלֹקִים בָּרָא אֹתוֹ זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה בָּרָא אֹתָם (And G-d created the Adam in His image, in the image of G-d He created him, male and female, He created them). As we have explained above, the Supernal Adam, which is the image of G-d, is composed of male (ze’ir anpin) and female (malchut) aspects. In summary, this is how to solve the shidduch crisis in the orthodox Jewish world. When a man accepts the decree of Hashem by responding to insults and disgrace with loving silence [דֹם, dom], he builds all of the heavenly lights contained in the Supernal א. This rectified א then combines with the dalet, ד, and mem sofit, ם, of דָּם [dam, blood] to form אָדָם [Adam]. Even though it requires dedicated and consistent effort, the good news is that since Adam was created together with his zivug, when a man merits to be re-created in the aspect of Adam ha-Rishon, he merits to be with reunited with his Supernal soul-mate, his Chavah, his true zivug.

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