Unification of God's Name On Purim
From the Pri Tzaddik, by Rav Tzaddok HaCohen Mi-Lublin, Vol. 2, pp. 187 - 188,
Lublin 5667 (1907), Reprinted in Jerusalem, 1972
Translated by David Jay Derovan, Jerusalem
Aside from the intrinsic value of its content, this "Dvar Torah" was selected for translation because it presents primary Kabbalistic contents and applies them to a major holiday, Purim. From time to time, a number of words appear in parenthesis. These words have been added to facilitate easier reading and understanding. The explanation of obscure points and elucidation of issues raised in the text appears in paragraphs with indented margin. Certain small pieces of the original article were not included, for they presented side issues and digressions. Their placement is noted by the use of three periods ( . ).
1. Introduction ‐ God's Name and Amalek
Megillah reports that the letters concerning the destruction of Amalek were
written (and sent out by Esther and Mordechai), it says, " ןוששו החמשו הרוא התיה םידוהילרקיו - The Jews had light, happiness, joy and honor." This corresponds to the idea which
and in the Midrash Tanchuma, i.e. so long as the descendants of
Amalek exist, God's name is not complete, as it is written, " -
ה י סכ לע די יכ - (God swears)
ה י), (God will wage war on Amalek in every
ה י) nor the word for throne (סכ) are spelled out completely in
the Torah text. This is an indication that neither God's throne nor his name will be complete until Amalek is eradicated. Thus, once Amalek is defeated, by Esther and Mordechai, for instance, then various kinds of joy and happiness are experienced. How this idea is connected to God's name will become apparent as Reb Tzaddok proceeds.
Take note that the Tetragrammaton, the name "
ה יוה, is never pronounced, yet the name
ה י, which refers to המכח (Wisdom) and הניב (Understanding), is pronounced, while -
which refers to the seven lower ones, is not pronounced.
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Unification of God's Name on Purim - 2 Sefirot: The point of the 'י is רתכ (the Crown). The 'י itself is המכח (Wisdom). The
first or upper 'ה is הניב (Understanding). The ' ו (which is the numerical equivalent
of 6) refers to דסח (Love), הרובג (Restraint), תראפת (Beauty), צנ
דוה (Empathy), דוסי (Foundation). The final or lower 'ה refers to תוכלמ (Kingship).
The Sefirah of רתכ (the Crown) is not mentioned here, for it is basically beyond
man's comprehension and therefore cannot be connected directly with anything in human experience.
In Kabbalah, the Sefirot represent two basic ideas: A. The Sefirot are the ten
steps along the spiritual bridge which connects God and the created physical universe. B. The Sefirot are the tools used by God in relating to His creation. Thus, they are the ways that God manifests Himself in our world and the ways we comprehend His manifestation.
However the essential unification takes place between the -
before (performing) every Mitzvah (we say), " -
ה יד אמש אדחיל- To unite the name -
ה י are a name (of God) by themselves, for they refer to המכח
(Wisdom) and הניב (Understanding), the brain and the heart. Through merit (תוכז), we are
able to attain the unification of המכח (Wisdom) of the brain with the הניב (Understanding)
and the will of the heart, but it is crucial to unify the names -
unifying them with, Knesset Yisra'el, לארשי תסנכ (the spiritual parallel to the people of
ה י are a name by themselves because the combination of רתכ (the
Crown), המכח (Wisdom) and הניב (Understanding) form a self-contained unit. In
Luriannic Kabbalah, המכח (Wisdom) and הניב (Understanding) are the father and
mother, who naturally form a unity. Given their closer "proximity" and connection with the "Source," God, the three first Sefirot are considered an entity separate from the lower seven Sefirot. Contrary to Western thought, Judaism is of the opinion that the brain (or intellect) is inseparable from the heart (the emotions). Together, they form a single entity. From a Kabbalistic point of view, the unification of the higher three Sefirot with the lower seven, the achievement of total spiritual unity, is a major goal in the religious life of a Jew.
The importance of this goal cannot be overstated. The creation of a unified
whole out of the separated spiritual entities symbolized by the Sefirot is the ultimate Tikkun (repair work) for which man was created.
ה ו refer to Torah and Mitzvot therefore, the letters -
themselves. המכח (Wisdom) and הניב (Understanding) are hidden in the brain and the
heart in love and awe. Torah, without the love and awe (of the brain and the heart) does not ascend upward (to heaven).
Continuing the Luriannic metaphor, a father, mother and God form the basic
nuclear family, even without children. Children, on the other hand, cannot exist without parents. Thus, Torah and Mitzvot, the children, can only exist when they are attached to parents. Thus, the ultimate unification is the -
"children" with their "parents." The -
ה ו, as Torah and Mitzvot, are not a complete,
7 Zohar, Naso p. 123, top of side b.
Unification of God's Name on Purim - 3
inseparable entity. It is possible to be a scholar and not fulfill Mitzvot or to be a fully practicing Jew with very little Torah knowledge.
The essential unification is to merit the combination of the name -
unity not often achieved. (The idea is) to unify the המכח (Wisdom) and הניב
(Understanding), the brain and the heart, with the act of Torah and Mitzvot. This
unification cannot be complete as long as the descendants of Amalek exist, meaning as long as Amalek, i.e. the Yitzrah Bishah, the אשיב ארצי (the most evil inclination), exists. This
is what the Zohar means when it explains the verse, "Amalek lives in the land of the
Negev" and is (therefore) even able to enter the hearts of the great and holy ones.
In Rabbinic and Kabbalistic thought, Amalek represents the epitome of evil,
evil in its purest form. The true goal of Torah and Mitzvot is to break down this barrier of evil and unite the -
ה ו. The unification of God's name is one of
the primary expressions of the major practical goal of Torah, as understood by Kabbalah. While applying these ideas to Purim, Reb Tzaddok only hints at how this unification is to be achieved by the individual.
3. The Unification of God's Name on Purim
Consequently, after the destruction of Amalek, "רקיו ןוששו החמשו הרוא התיה םידוהיל -
The Jews had light, happiness, joy and honor," four things corresponding to the four letters of the Tetragrammaton, the name -
ה י. הרוא (Light) hints at the 'י, which is המכח
(Wisdom), corresponding to the statement, "רוא יהי - let there be light." The five times that
light is mentioned during the first day of creation refers to the five books of the Torah.
Here the word "Torah" means the spiritual entity or force which was God's
primary tool in creating the world. This is the Torah which existed in God's mind, so to speak, before the creation of the world. " הרותב טיבמ אוה ךורב שודקה ה יה
םלועה תא ארובו - So, the Holy One, blessed be He, looked into the Torah and
created the world." The "Torah" referred to above ("The letters -
and Mitzvot") is the Torah given to us at Sinai, which we read in the Bayt Knesset, study and struggle to understand. The five books of the Torah are but a physical container for the primordial, spiritual Torah.
החמש (Happiness) corresponds to the first or upper 'ה, which is הניב (Understanding),
the heart, as it is written, " ןיבי ובבלו- (with) his heart will understand" and " בל ירשילוהחמש - and for the straight of heart, happiness." This (second verse) means that once the
heart is straightened out by emptying the foolish heart of all evil and making it good, then the "straight" ones achieve happiness, החמש.
At this point, Reb Tzaddok hints at the practical means which must be employed to achieve the unification of the -
Unification of God's Name on Purim - 4
performance of Torah and Mitzvot with the proper love and awe straightens out the heart, the inner being of the individual. By allowing the combination of all these forces to affect the inner soul, the individual achieves the happiness associated with the unification of the name. The Kabbalah posits that a person's actions and thoughts affect the spiritual world. The greater the effort below, the greater the effect above.
We also find a number of other verses which refer to
"בל חמשי 'ה ישקבמ - those who seek God will have a happy heart," "יבלב החמש התתנ - You
gave my heart happiness," "ינא םג יבל חמשי - I, too, my heart will be happy" and many
ןושש (Joy) corresponds to the 'ו in the Tetragrammaton, the name "
which flows forth from Eden to water the garden. As it is written, " ןוששב םימ םתבאשוהעושיה יניעממ - You will draw water joyously from the wells of salvation" "This is the
river which flows and flows without stopping, from the very first day until eternity." The Talmud Yerushalmi explains that from there we draw the שדוקה חור (the Holy Spirit). The
Zohar explains that the שדוקה חור (the Holy Spirit) is the חור (Spirit) (derived) from the שודק (source of Holiness) above, which flows via the middle pillar (the אתיעצמאד אדומע,
meaning the letter ' ו in the middle of the name) from Eden to water the garden, i.e. תסנכ לארשי (Knesset Yisra'el), the lower Shekhinah. .
החמש (Happiness) and ןושש (Joy) are usually viewed as being synonymous,
even though they represent vastly different things. Yet, their similarity forms the bridge between the upper Sefirot, represented by the name -
happiness." The flowing river is the metaphor used to represent the continual flow of עפש
(spiritual essence) which emanates from God and is distilled through the Sefirot until is reaches our world, providing it with the life force, the basis of existence. Thus, שדוקה חור (the Holy Spirit), associated with prophecy, infuses the spiritually
adept person when the individual "drinks from the stream," i.e. connects with the spiritual flow, becoming consciously aware of the soul's connection to its source, which is the essence of mystic experience.
The middle pillar (the אתיעצמאד אדומע) refers to the Sefirot of תראפת (beauty)
and דוסי (Foundation), which serve as a main conduit of the continual flow of עפש
(spiritual essence) from the 9 Sefirot to the tenth Sefirah, תוכלמ (Kingship).
רקיו (Honor) correspond to the lower or final 'ה in the name. The Gemara connects
this with the Tefilin שארבש (literally, in the head), which refers to the ןוילע רתכ (the
uppermost crown), meaning the crown of תוכלמ (Kingship), the head (wearing) Tefilin, a
21 See Tosafot, Sukkah 50, top of side b.
24 See Shulchan Arukh, Orach Cha'yim 98:1.
Unification of God's Name on Purim - 5
The Tefilin represent the Mitzvot on the one hand and are a sign of the covenant between God and man, on the other. The Tefilin inside one's head is a theme developed by Reb Tzaddok in a subsequent article. It refers to the necessity to internalize the ideas and experiences provided by the performance of Torah and Mitzvot, the need to be personally and deeply affected by religious practice. Tefilin worn on the head is also the Jewish crown. It is the symbol of ןוילע רתכ
(the uppermost crown), the uppermost level in the highest Sefirah, רתכ (the crown),
and when worn by the Jew, a symbol of our status as princes, sons of the king, and of the ultimate unification of the lower seven Sefirot with the upper three.
רקיו (Honor) also refers to the אקיתע (literally, the Old One), which is always described
as the crown of תוכלמ (Kingship), together with the 'ה, the lower Shekhinah. The secret (of
this combination) lies in the idea: the end is in the beginning.
רקיו (Honor) as אקיתע (literally, the Old One), Reb Tzaddok
brings the discussion around to the beginning. The אקיתע (the Old One) is the first
Sefirah, רתכ (the Crown), the first expression or symbol of God's sovereignty. This is
now connected to the last Sefirah, תוכלמ (Kingship), God's sovereignty in practice.
This is another way to express the unification of God's name, when רתכ (the
Crown) becomes synonymous with the תוכלמ (Kingship).
These four combinations (outlined above) correspond to the four Mitzvot of Purim, (1)
reading the Megillah, (2) the festive meal and merrymaking, (3) Mishlo'ach Manot - חולשמתונמ - giving gifts to friends, and (4) Matanot Le'Evyonim - םינויבאל תונתמ - gifts to the poor.
Megillah is הרוא (Light), which is the 'י, המכח (Wisdom), the light of
Torah, i.e. בתכבש הרות (the Written Law). This is the implication of the statement that the
parchment of the Megillah must be scored (with lines preparatory to the writing of the text), just like a Sefer Torah. Even though reading the Megillah is only a Rabbinic commandment, the Gemara states that MegillatEsther was meant to be written, implying that Megillat Esther is infused with the light which is planted in the heart for every generation to eternity. . This is the meaning of the 'י in the Tetragrammaton, the name
If the reading of Megillat Esther is only a Rabbinic commandment, then why
does it produce the same effect as reading from the Torah? How can a book from the םיבותכ (Writings) section of the Bible carry the same spiritual weight as the
Torah, which was transmitted by God to man via a much higher prophetic medium? Reb Tzaddok solves this problem by demonstrating the halachic and conceptual similarity between the two acts.
Talmud Yerushalmi we derive from the verse, "םערזמ ףוסי אל םרכזו - nor will
their remembrance perish from their descendants" that Megillat Esther and its attendant
26 See Shemot 4:22 & Devarim 14:1.
Unification of God's Name on Purim - 6
laws will never be voided, even after all the other prophetic books will be voided. This is because all the prophetic books were written to remove the סעכ בר (the great anger), as it
says in Nedarim, "If Israel had not sinned then they only would have been given the five
books of the Torah and the book of Joshua, as it is written 'סעכ בר המכח בורב יכ - for with
While Christians live with the eternal blot of the original sin of Adam and Eve
on their records, Jews live with the effects of the sin of the Golden Calf. This is the sin referred to by the Gemara in Nedarim (above). Were it not for this sin, then the Jewish Bible would consist of the five books of the Torah and the Book of Joshua. Since we sinned with the Golden Calf, we came down a few notches spiritually and all the ideas contained in the rest of the Bible had to be spelled out for us, instead of our being able to understand them from the five books of the Torah.
Megillat Esther, on the other hand, has the light which illuminates the heart, set in the
heart for all eternity, and this can never be voided. This is why the first Mishnah of Tractate Megillah begins, "תארקנ הליגמה - the Megillah is read." For the light which we merit by
reading the Megillah comes from above, from God, when the people of Israel read below.
This corresponds to the idea connected with the destruction of Amalek, i.e. "You remember his name below (through the reading of Parashat Zakhor or Megillat Esther) and I (God) will eradicate his name from above." .
The quotation from the Midrash Tanchuma connects this Dvar Torah with the
previous one in the Pri Tzaddik. Reb Tzaddok uses this quote to help solve the problems surrounding the statement in Midrash Mishlay that in the future all of the holidays will be voided except for Purim. He then quotes the Rashba, who asserts that the Midrash is referring to a time when those ruling the Jews will prevent them from celebrating any of the holidays. Reb Tzaddok explains that on Purim, like on Yom Kippur (םירופיכ םוי - Yom Kipurim, literally, a day like Purim)
the spiritual goals are achieved, even if the Jews do not fulfill the Mitzvot of the day. As the Midrash Tanchuma says, by simply remembering Amalek below, without any concomitant ritual act, we cause God to destroy Amalek from above.
The festive meal and merrymaking corresponds to the word החמש (Happiness) which
is the first or upper 'ה, which is הניב (Understanding), the heart. It is written, "החמשו התשמ
- (literally) drinking and happiness," for happiness comes through the drinking of wine. Even though wine can cause the opposite of happiness, wine being the symbolic cause of all the תוירע (sexual licentiousness), still and all the people of Israel merit through the
drinking of wine "בל ירשילו החמש - and for the straight of heart, happiness," to straighten
out the heart to make it totally good, to be happy and glad of heart. This is what is implied by "if they merit, it makes them happy as said above. .
33 Midrash Tanchuma, Ki Taytzay 4.
Unification of God's Name on Purim - 7
Wine is an appropriate symbol of mundane existence. On the one hand, Eve
feeds Adam wine (or grape juice) from the tree of knowledge and Noach gets drunk on wine. Yet, on the other hand, with a little "straightening out" wine can be the source of true spiritual happiness, " חמשי ןייו שונא בבל - And wine will make
Mishlo'ach Manot - תונמ חולשמ (giving gifts to friends) corresponds to the word ןושש
(Joy), the 'ו in the name. . The purpose of this Mitzvah is to unite the hearts (of the people
Israel) so they are like one person with one heart. This is the proper preparation to receive
the Torah, as it says concerning the giving of the Torah (at Sinai), "לארשי םש ןחיו - and
Israel camped (singular) there," as one person with one heart and as a result they merited receiving the Torah. .
Reb Tzaddok explained above that ןושש (Joy), the 'ו in the name, corresponds to the
Torah we read and study. Thus, its is wholly appropriate to relate Mishlo'ach Manot - תונמ חולשמ (giving gifts to friends) to the giving of the Torah. Ultimately, Torah is
the great unifying factor among all Jews. We are all bound together by it and it provides a common language and experience. Mishlo'ach Manot - תונמ חולשמ
(giving gifts to friends) is a practical expression of this idea.
Matanot Le'Evyonim - םינויבאל תונתמ (gifts to the poor), הקדצ (Charity), corresponds to
the word רקיו (Honor), the lower or final 'ה in the name, as it says, "אשידק אתוכלמ קדצ -
Righteousness (charity) of the holy King." Being whole (complete) with God is described as הקדצ (Charity). The Shekhinah is also referred to as הקדצ (Charity), for God is a לעבהקדצ (giver of charity). That which is righteous (קדצ) does acts of charity (הקדצ). When the קדצ (righteousness) of the Shekhinah below is drawn from Eden, the Shekhinah above, it is הקדצ (Charity). This is derived by the Tikunay Zohar from the verse, "יוג םמורת הקדצ -
charity will raise a nation." It will rise as high as the אקיתע (the Old One), for the word םמורת (will raise) in the Torah always implies rising without end. .
Once again, the act which corresponds to תוכלמ (Kingship), the lowest Sefirah,
is also related to the אקיתע (the Old One), the רתכ (the Crown), the higher Sefirah,
indicating unification of the name. Notice that giving הקדצ (Charity), a simple
every day act, has enormous metaphysical effect, for it is an act of imitateo dei, an act of unification of the name, literally connecting the תוכלמ (Kingship) with the רתכ(the Crown).
It is written, "רודו רוד לכב םישענו םירכזנ הלאה םימיהו - and these days will be
remembered and performed in each and every generation." Even if, heaven forbid, the
Unification of God's Name on Purim - 8
festivals will be voided (by those who rule us), the power of these days of Purim will still result in the eradication of Amalek, then we will merit the unification of the
ה יוה, the four letters. .
Even though God will destroy Amalek in times of persecution, even if we are prevented from doing anything other than simply remembering the evil of Amalek, the actual fulfillment of the Mitzvot of Purim certainly achieves the unification of God's name. Thus, Purim is a major contributor toward the ultimate goal, the spiritual unification of the Jew with his Creator, through the unification of all elements in the spiritual world.
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