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Rav Nachman Shiur #20: Shabbat and Yom Tov – A Single Entity

By: Rav Itamar Eldar

 

In our previous shiur, we addressed the two aspects of Divine Providence that find expression in our world through Shabbat and Yom Tov. We saw that Shabbat symbolizes Creation; it focuses man's attention on God's creation of the world and teaches that God's will resides within Creation.

 

Yom Tov, in contrast, seeks to burst through the boundaries of nature and expose the free will of God to all, demonstrating that it is not connected to or subject to nature and its laws. Shabbat, from this perspective – as R. Nachman notes – is revelation clothed in garments, while Yom Tov is a revelation without garments.

 

In this shiur, we shall study a teaching of R. Natan, as well as its source in the teachings of R. Nachman himself, which provide a slightly different perspective: here, Shabbat and Yom Tov are perceived as a single manifestation. We shall attempt to explain this approach.

 

"7. This is the significance of "Shabbat ha-Gadol" [the Shabbat preceding the festival of Pesach]: that the Shabbat before Pesach is called "the great Shabbat" in commemoration of the miracle. For the essence of the miracles and wonders that were involved in the Exodus from Egypt was that God turned everything upside down; he cancelled [the laws of] nature and revealed His Providence in the world. It all emerges from the aspect of Shabbat, which is the "World to Come" - which is all Shabbat, and from there the blessed God draws out, as it were, His Providence, from the aspect of the end of the world – signifying the end, "The end has come…," as explained. Hence the essence of the Exodus from Egypt was drawn from the aspect of Shabbat, which symbolizes the World to Come, and therefore Pesach too is called Shabbat, as it is written (Vayikra 23), 'You shall count for yourselves from the day after the Shabbat…' – i.e., [the day after] Pesach, as our Sages taught (Menachot 65). For the essence of the power of the miracle of Pesach is drawn from Shabbat, as explained. And this is the aspect of the Shabbat preceding Pesach, which is called Shabbat ha-Gadol – in commemoration of the miracle. For all the miracles involved in the Exodus from Egypt are drawn from the aspect of Shabbat, as explained. And therefore it is called "Gadol" (great) – for the miracles, which are called the aspect of greatness, as it is written (Melakhim II 8), 'Tell me of the great things [i.e., wonders] that Elisha has performed.' And as our Teacher wrote in his teaching, concerning the above, 'And sheds two tears into the Great Sea' – see above.

 

8. And this is the meaning of [the teaching] (Pesachim 2), 'On the night preceding [lit: "the light of"] the fourteenth [of Nissan] one searches for chametz by candle-light.' The Sage calls the night "light," deliberately using a most appropriate expression. For the essence of the search for chametz and its destruction is a reflection of the destruction of the aspect of nature from the world, for it represents chametz, as explained. And when nature is nullified and Divine Providence is revealed, this represents the nullification of darkness and night, as explained. For these symbolize the power of exile, which is drawn from the aspect of the wisdom of nature, as explained. For when God's Providence is revealed in the world, then there is no darkness at all. For the essence of light is God Himself, as it were. And then "night will illuminate like the day…," as it is written (Zekharia 14) 'And it will be, at evening time, there will be light.' As we ask (in the Pesach Haggada), 'Illuminate like the light of day the darkness of night.' For the essence of the darkness of night is from the aspect of the wisdom of nature – these themselves are the essence of darkness. And faith in God's Providence is the essence of light. Therefore the night when we search for chametz is a nullification of nature, which represents the chametz that we seek out on that night. And through this the night comes to give light, as it is written (Tehillim 139), 'Night will illuminate like the day….' And therefore the Sage calls that night, "light."

 

9. And this is the significance of [the concept of] (Shemot 12) the "leil shimurim" ("night of guarding" - Pesach eve]: it is "guarded" from evil forces. For the essence of the evil forces is to be found in the aspect of the wisdom of nature, which represents "dinim" [strict justice] – which represents the idolaters who cause evil in the world. And so, on the night of the Exodus from Egypt, which represents the nullification of nature – specifically at night, in order to destroy and nullify the aspect of "night," which symbolizes the wisdom of nature – therefore that very night is guarded from all evil forces and from all strict judgments, for then Divine Providence was revealed, and through this all harm and all strict justice is nullified."

(Likutei Halakhot, Orach Chaim,

 Washing of Hands in the Morning,law 2)

 

R. Natan makes mention of what we learned in the previous shiur – that Pesach symbolizes the aspect of the revelation of Divine Will, "That everything is by His will." The signs and wonders are the response to all the wise men of the natural sciences who try to explain all of reality solely through the dimension of nature, claiming that there is nothing beyond it. R. Natan adds that the destruction of chametz on the night of the 14th of Nissan represents the banishing of the aspect of nature from the world and the removal of darkness. According to what we learned in the previous shiur, R. Nachman describes nature as a garment at the very least, but usually as darkness and concealment. The removal of the darkness and the exposure of light is in fact the ability to look at the natural reality, to remove the laws with which it is surrounded, and to see God's hand operating from behind, as it were. This perspective is attained by virtue of Pesach, which eternalizes the great miracles. Therefore that night, "leil shimurim," when God's miraculous Divine Providence reached its climax – is guarded from the evil forces that seek to ignore and conceal God's Providence in the world.

 

Up to this point, this teaching sits well with what we have learned thus far. But R. Natan introduces a significant innovation that requires some explanation. Shabbat, he maintains, expresses the same aspect of miraculous Divine Providence. This is "Shabbat ha-Gadol," and for this reason Pesach itself is also called 'Shabbat.'

 

In the previous shiur we saw how Shabbat is an expression of God's light that is revealed with garments (as we quoted R. Nachman himself). This is because Shabbat does not aim to eternalize a miracle and thereby express God's greatness, but rather, to eternalize the act of Creation – i.e., nature.

 

A similar contradiction would appear to arise from the following teaching of R. Nachman:

 

"'Go and behold God's works; He has made desolations in the world' (Tehillim 46). For indeed, it is exceedingly wondrous and awesome that the blessed God created all of Creation, which contains many exceedingly wondrous and awesome things-- 'How many are Your works, O God!' Even just in this world God's wonders are great, for He created inanimate objects, plants, etc. Who can measure the greatness of God that [resides in] the creations of this world – and how much more so the other worlds. And all of it is created solely for the benefit of Israel. And Israel itself – the essence of its creation is for the aspect of Shabbat, which is the ultimate purpose. For Shabbat is the purpose of the creation of heaven and earth, which represents the aspect of the world of souls (Introduction to the Zohar 1; and Zohar Teruma 136), which is a world that is altogether Shabbat, and there God is perceived properly – without any separating screen, and without any interference…" (Likutei Moharan Tanina 39).

 

The aspect of Shabbat, according to this teaching, is a reflection of the world of souls, which is a world that is altogether Shabbat, where God is perceived with no coverings and with no screens.

 

It should be noted that R. Nachman arrives at this aspect via observation of the world: "Go and observe God's works; He has made desolations in the world!" This verse, to R. Nachman's view, is not referring to wonders and miracles, but rather to the laws of nature: "Even just in this world God's wonders are great, for He created inanimate objects, plants, etc."

 

This is a different approach in R. Nachman's teaching; it views the very laws of nature as a window onto the aspect of "the day that is altogether Shabbat," expressing God's revelation without garments.

 

There is another teaching, Likutei Moharan Tanina 83, where R. Nachman again creates a connection between Shabbat and Pesach. Let us attempt to understand its theme, starting with the first part [1]:

 

"Through 'tikkun ha-berit' (repair of the covenant – circumcision) which is the (rain)bow, a person can send forth arrows – which represent prayer. These are three "vav's," representing arrows, and their place in the covenant, as it is written (Tehillim 89), 'And My covenant stands fast with him;' (Shemot 17) 'And his hands were strong [stood fast];' (Tehillim 132) 'I shall cause a horn to rise up for David,' symbolizing (Habbakuk) 'Horns from His hand for him:' "his hand" is the aspect of prayer, and there are three prayers, for the totality of Mashi'ach is included in the blessing of the forefathers – i.e., Mashi'ach which is speech with which one prays, what we know as "He Who makes the dumb speak" (meissi'ach ilmim), which is from fire, water and wind.

 

And then he becomes free, i.e., he achieves the holiness of Shabbat, when creative work is forbidden, for Shabbat is "shin be-tav" - three dimensions: fire, wind and water (Bava Batra 16b). 'He had a daughter whose name was Ba-kol,' as it is written (Bereishit 24), 'And God blessed Avraham with everything (ba-kol).' And the sanctity of Shabbat is the aspect of the ultimate knowledge, and the ultimate knowledge is that which we do not know. For this reason Shabbat is called "the end [ultimate purpose] of the heavens and the earth," and this ultimate purpose is as it is written (Kohelet 7), 'I said, 'I shall become wise' – but it was far removed from me.' In other words, this is the essence of wisdom, that a person should come to realize that wisdom is far from him. And this ultimate purpose is the essence of place (ha-makom), i.e., the aspect of the "Place of the world," which is the ultimate purpose that surrounds all of the world that was created with wisdom, as it is written (Tehillim 104), 'You created them all with wisdom.' And this is the significance of (Berakhot 6b), "One who establishes a permanent place for his prayer" – for this is the essence of place, reflecting what is written (Shemot 16), 'No man shall leave his place on the seventh day.'

 

"And then he discards his leprous body, which is drawn from the serpent and dons Shabbat garments – i.e., a holy body from Gan Eden. For the place determines, as it is written (Shemot 3), "Remove your shoes… for the place…" (Ein Tikkun 12). And Shabbat is named after this holy body, as it is written (Shemot 4) "And behold, it returned to be like his flesh" – "that he was cured of his leprosy," and was clothed in a holy body from Gan Eden, which is called 'flesh,' as it is written (Bereishit 2), "Flesh of my flesh.""

 

R. Nachman writes that through "tikkun of the berit," a person is able to pray, and this ability is the dimension of faith. Through faith one merits that the "horn of David" is raised up. This raising has two aspects.  One is the national-historical aspect, which is not addressed by R. Nachman in this teaching; the other is the redemption of man – i.e., the ability to open his mouth in speech and in prayer.

 

This act, for R. Nachman – as we have seen in the shiurim on the subject of speech – is not a simple one. Since speech, in his view, is the revelation of God's light that resides within reality and within oneself, a person who succeeds in uttering words of prayer is one who succeeds in contemplating himself and reality, and redeeming God's light -- Divine revelation -- which is the meaning that exists within reality and within man. [2]

 

This aspect of the ability to pray is the aspect of Shabbat. Let us examine the points that R. Nachman emphasizes with regard to Shabbat:

 

Firstly, he emphasizes the prohibition of 'melakha.'

 

Secondly, he addresses the prohibition, "No man shall leave his place on the seventh day," and relates it to the dimension which he connects with Shabbat – prayer – i.e., that a person must establish a fixed place for his prayer.

 

Most of all, R. Nachman relates to Shabbat as a reflection of "the ultimate knowledge: that we do not know," which he has addressed in the past. Shabbat is a reflection of, "I said, 'I shall become wise' – but it was far removed from me." [3]

 

I believe that all three of these points reflect the same psychological movement and the same spiritual stance. Let us begin with the prohibition, "No man shall leave his place…."

 

Man is, by nature, fond of journeying. The desire to travel and to set off on journeys is, on one hand, part of man's curiosity and desire to know, to learn, and to observe reality, while on the other hand also part of his aspiration for conquest and control of the world. This activity accompanies man during the six work days, but on Shabbat he is required to stop. This halting is not a mere technical limitation, but rather a demand that man change his whole orientation. The aspiration to conquer and know has no place in the experience of Shabbat. On Shabbat man is required to be silent, to listen and to receive: "Come, my beloved, to greet the bride; we shall welcome the Shabbat."

 

For this reason, a person is forbidden to perform 'melakha.' This is more than just a commandment to rest. There is an aim of quieting the tumult that arises from regular activity and one's involvement in it, and contemplating instead that which lies beyond. When I succeed in contemplating what lies beyond, the only thing that I am able to say is, "I said: 'I shall become wise' – but it was far removed from me." As we have seen in the past, this statement does not express a lack of comprehension, but rather is the highest comprehension – "the ultimate knowledge: that we do not know."

 

It is specifically the silence of Shabbat that enables man to understand that all that he has achieved during the week and all that he has learned pertain to the world of garments. Shabbat is a "taste of the World to Come," in the sense that refraining from work and remaining in one's place brings one to ignore the world of activity and to behave as though it did not exist.

 

R. Nachman is teaching us, through the connection that he creates between Shabbat and prayer, that this is also our attitude in prayer. A person must establish a fixed place for his prayer. The establishing of a place expresses, for R. Nachman, the preparedness to halt for a moment one's life's journey and to address the situation in which I find myself (before the King of kings) as though nothing else exists – neither in the past nor in the future, and even the present is, as they say, "like the blinking of an eye" – and this is the meaning of faith. The readiness to sever oneself from the past and future that support me on either side, as it were, can come about only if I believe that there is something else that will carry me and hold me. Here, within the reality within which I find myself, there is an ultimate purpose that is higher and more inward than the world surrounding me.

 

It is this that allows one to remove the soiled garments and to elevate oneself to a different level, which R. Nachman calls the "holy body from Gan Eden." It should be emphasized here: we saw, at the beginning of this study, that R. Nachman is speaking about acquiring the ability to pray, which is the aspect of faith, and this is what leads to the next stage – the aspect of redemption, which is the ability to speak and discuss.

 

The first stage, then, is the aspect of faith and prayer where there is as yet no speech, only the ability to pray. Only at the next stage – that of redemption – do the words burst forth from man's lips, leaving their captivity.

 

This distinction is an important one, for it appears that Shabbat is an expression of the first stage. Shabbat is not speech but rather silence; it is not the aspect of redemption, but rather that of faith. As we have seen, Shabbat is the acquisition of the ability to believe, to contemplate inner reality. This acquisition is achieved through silence and listening; through a psychological movement of halting and relinquishing. A person concentrates upon himself, he lowers his gaze and opens his hand to receive. This is the aspect that R. Nachman calls "a holy body from Gan Eden" – an appellation for man prior to the creation of woman, and this is the "flesh" that is man's body. [4]

 

The second stage – that of redemption, of speech – R. Nachman addresses in the following words, which are a continuation of the same teaching:

 

"And then his 'mazal' is elevated – for it is "flesh of his flesh" – and he merits wealth, as it is written (Mishlei 10), "God's blessing makes wealthy." And his positive inclination is strengthened, i.e., a "heart of flesh" (Yechezkel 36) – the positive inclination; "One who finds a woman has found good" (Mishlei 18); (Shemot 19) "The sound of the shofar grew exceedingly loud" – the 'sound of the shofar' that emerges from this handsome body, and this voice – prayer – "grew exceedingly loud" – "this is wealth" (Berakhot 54). When his 'mazal' and his positive inclination are strengthened, sadness and the scoffing that comes from black bile are nullified, for sadness results from wretchedness and poverty, and scoffing is "the laughter of the foolish" (Kohelet 7), as it is written, "The spleen laughs" (Berakhot 61).  These are cancelled by the 'mazal' of wealth and by the positive inclination, which represents (Kohelet 10), "A wise heart at his right side."

 

"And at this right side he reinstates those who have fallen into evil loves and fears; he brings them to holy loves and fears, as it is written (Tehillim 150) "Let all life [soul] praise God." For His right side causes darkness to pass from their eyes, and then their eyes see wonders, as it is written (Tehillim 119), "Open my eyes, that I may see wonders." And these wonders are of the aspect of Pesach, which is the right side, as it is written (Mikha 7), "As in the days of your exodus from Egypt I shall show you wonders." (Malakhi 2), "The Torah of truth was in his mouth," and he is considered as having created the world, for there it is written (Bereishit 1), "Let there be light" – and the darkness passed, which had covered the face of the deeps. And the light of the eyes elevates all the requests and supplications that are uttered in prayer to the [place of the] Temple, for it is from there that all the requests ascend (Melakhim I 5), and from there the light of the eyes emerges, as it is written (Melakhim I 9), "And my eyes and my heart will be there." And the light of the eyes arouses redemption, which is dependent upon the heart, as it is written (Yishayahu 63), "For the day of vengeance is in my heart," for his eyes and heart are there, and this is as it is written (Bereishit 1), "And He called the light – 'day.'" The light of the eyes arouses the 'day of vengeance' that is in the heart, to nullify the chametz of the evil inclination of man's heart which remains with him from his youth (Bereishit 8). And the leaven and chametz that are in man's heart are what incite him to think about the Torah sages of the generation, and to say "This one is praiseworthy, this one is not praiseworthy," as it is written (Hoshe'a 10), "Their heart is divided:" "their heart" means the 72 tzaddikim of the generation (Pesachim 2). "The eve of the fourteenth" is the light of the eyes, which contain twice seven membranes of the eyes, with which he searches for chametz…" (Likutei Moharan Tanina 83)

 

The "holy body from Gan Eden" does not remain silent indefinitely, and the flesh does not remain flesh unto itself, but rather creates "flesh of its flesh." The creation of woman, in this teaching, is the symbol of the rising of man's 'mazal' and the strengthening of his positive inclination. And now man begins to speak! "The sound of the shofar grows exceedingly loud" – the sound of the shofar that emerges from this handsome body. And "sound" – voice – is prayer.

 

Here, then, R. Nachman is already describing the second stage, in which man breaks the boundaries of the silence of faith and begins to utter words of prayer. This renewal of strength finds expression in the rising of his 'mazal' and the strengthening of his positive inclination. Both of these, it would seem, bring man from "a taste of the World to Come" back into this world, with its 'mazal' and its positive and negative inclinations, but this time his situation is completely different.

 

The sadness that arose from wretchedness and poverty, reflecting his involvement in material reality, and the scoffing that arose from foolishness, expressing distance from God's illuminating light of wisdom, disappear in the face of the new revelation that comes to man by virtue of his peek into "the day that is altogether Shabbat." This peeking revealed a new vision, in which he looks and sees God's wonders within reality. This phenomenon of seeing wonders is known as "yamin" (the right side), and the right side, according to R. Nachman, represents Pesach. [5]

 

Attention should be paid to the fact that the transition to this stage from the previous one represents a revolution in one's entire psychological attitude, as expressed in several expressions described in this stage:

 

Firstly, the verse reflecting the spiritual situation of the person at each of the two stages:

 

"I said, 'I shall become wise,' but it is far removed from me" – this is the first position, reflecting the experience of Shabbat.

 

"Open my eyes that I may behold wonders" – this is the second position, reflecting the experience of Pesach.

 

In the first verse, man acknowledges his lack of ability to see the light of wisdom, for it is far removed and distant, while man stands in the midst of his material reality, full of screens and coverings.

 

In the second verse, man does not hesitate to ask of his Creator: "Show me Your glory." He is asking for a miracle! He wants to see the wonders – and, indeed, he is answered.

 

Secondly, as we have seen, the first stage – the stage of faith – focuses on the experience of silence and listening which characterize Shabbat. At the second stage, in contrast, man breaks out in speech: "Pesach" is "peh sach" ("the mouth speaks"). And in this utterance, teaches R. Nachman, he "is considered as though he created the world." This brings us to the third difference between the two stages:

 

At the first stage, the emphasis is on Shabbat, in which we cease from work, on halting and standing in one's place. At the second stage man participates together with God in the creation of the world. This is not the experience of Shabbat, but rather the opposite: the experience of the six days of activity. [6]

 

Likewise, a person who prays at the first stage must look inward and try to listen to the inner voice that emanates from within him. When he locates this voice he becomes its shofar, and in this sense he joins with God in creating the world: "By God's word the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all of their hosts," as R. Nachman quotes elsewhere. [7]

 

This teaching seems to introduce the idea that Shabbat and Yom Tov are not two different manifestations of God's Providence, two separate phenomena, but rather that Shabbat may be seen as the foundation for the experience of Yom Tov.

 

Now we can return to teaching no. 39, and explain this idea in light of its continuation:

 

"This is the meaning of, "Go and behold:" "Go" – referring specifically to the aspect of the legs, which are the instruments for walking – even they will behold "the works of God, Who has made desolations in the world" – i.e., the works of God that He has placed in this world, this lowly world. Through the works of God in this lowly world we are able to know and perceive the ultimate purpose. This is "Who has made desolations in the world" – i.e., the ultimate purpose which is the names of "rashei teivot:" the ultimate purpose of the creation of heaven and earth, as it is written (Bereishit 2), "Living soul is its name," and as our Sages taught (Berakhot 7b), "Do not read 'shamot,' but rather 'sheimot.'" The world of souls, which is the ultimate purpose, is clothed and held within this lowly world. For it is through this lowly world – specifically through it – that the ultimate purpose must be perceived. Indeed this is a wondrous and awesome idea: that the perception of the ultimate purpose, which is a such a lofty idea  - like perceiving God Himself – depends specifically on the creatures of the lowly world. And all souls must pass through this world in order to perceive that ultimate purpose, for "The Messiah, son of David, will come only when all the souls have passed from the body" (Yevamot 62). For all of them must come to this lowly world, in order to perceive the ultimate purpose through it. Thus they all have a need for mortal beings, in order that the ultimate purpose be perceived by them."

 

R. Nachman establishes not only that "through God's works in this lowly world it is possible to know and to perceive the ultimate purpose," but that "perception of the ultimate purpose is such a lofty idea – like perceiving God Himself, and it depends specifically on the creatures of this lowly world. And all souls must pass through this world in order to perceive that ultimate purpose." The perception of the ultimate purpose is not possible through this world as an option -- rather, ONLY through this world.

 

When God created the world and placed man within it, He created a thick barrier separating Him from man. But at the same time He created its antidote: the world that separates is, at the very same time, also the window through which man can perceive the ultimate purpose and contemplate God's light without screens.

 

Shabbat, then, is not an alternative but rather a necessity. The only way in which a person can elevate himself to the level of speech, to the ultimate purpose, to "peh sach," is through Shabbat.

 

Shabbat turns man's gaze towards reality, towards the six days of activity whose ultimate purpose is Shabbat, and allows him, through a position of listening, to contemplate those days and through them to expose the ultimate purpose which is higher than this world. When this is exposed,for him, God's light is revealed in all of reality.

 

Shabbat is indeed light with garments, when it is connected to the six days of activity; however, this also has a great advantage, because the cessation of activity on Shabbat allows for a glance at the light devoid of garments, and this light is the light of "a taste of the World to Come," which brings man to "a day that is altogether Shabbat." The experience that man has at that time is one that is not connected to the reality in which he lives. He is severed from it and elevated beyond it. He is completely forbidden to engage in 'melakha' because 'melakha' belongs to this world.

 

But then he returns to reality and sees God's light revealed in reality itself, in miracles and in God's kindness. Now 'melakha' is permitted, but only such 'melakha' as relates to food required for the festival (okhel nefesh – literally, "soul food"), as mentioned, reflecting the idea that “living soul is his name" – which is the ultimate purpose. Yom Tov is where a person succeeds in drawing the ultimate purpose from the World to Come, which he merited through Shabbat, and to bring it into the reality of this world. He is active in this world, but his 'melakha' is such that its ultimate purpose is clear and recognizable – it is "okhel nefesh"!

 

Likewise, on Shabbat, God Himself ceases from all His 'melakha' and reveals to us its aspect of being "a taste of the World to Come." Yom Tov is the complete opposite, in which we do not mention God ceasing or 'resting,' but rather the epitome of His activity and His wonders. But that aspect draws, as R. Nachman teaches, on the aspect of Shabbat: all the miracles and wonders of reality are nourished by Shabbat, which is "a taste of the World to Come."

 

The attempt to skip over Shabbat and move directly to Yom Tov is bound to fail. A state of self-nullification and listening is a necessary precondition to active participation in speech and creation; only that state can expose the pure aspect of the Divine light. Nature is itself the window through which man perceives miracles, and when he encounters a miracle all of nature becomes one great miracle.

 

R. Nachman concludes his teaching as follows:

 

"It is proper for us to utter it with weeping, with tears, to cry with longing, to ask and plead before God – When will we merit this, that we will have this knowledge, that we will be able to know and recognize the Creator in every element of this world in all its details, to the ultimate purpose? In light of our lowly stature right now, and since our faces are not beautiful at all (see Tehillim 143), we need the blessed God to have mercy on us, to give us a loyal shepherd of a leader who can enlighten us with that knowledge in order that we may be able to serve God properly, and to achieve the ultimate purpose." (ibid.)

 

Let us, too, weep with longing, ask and plead before God that through our observance of Shabbat and observance of Yom Tov may we merit to serve Him properly, and to attain the ultimate purpose which we so desire: "Go and behold the wonders of God!"

 

Notes:

[1] This teaching is difficult and contains many kabbalistic symbols. Within the limited framework of this shiur we shall not be able to address all of them; we shall treat only those that pertain to our present discussion.

[2] This ability is dependent, according to the present teaching, on the tikkun of berit mila. We shall not enter here into an intricate discussion of this concept; we shall suffice with the comment that the tikkun of the berit, which begins with circumcision and continues in observing a level of sanctity and purity in all that is related to the world of sexual desire, represents a fundamental component in R. Nachman's teachings. The berit represents the connection between the upper 'sefirot' and the world, i.e., the ability to preserve the connection between the material reality and the Divine ideal depends on observing the berit. The forging of a covenant with God specifically through the organ that represents man's material desires, enables man to take part in the material world while at the same time not losing for a single moment his connection with the upper worlds. This is dependent on observing the berit and its purity.

The ability to expose the Divine speech that exists within man and the world depends, first and foremost, on the tikkun ha-berit, which facilitates an encounter with the material world while preserving the ability to connect him with the spiritual world. The scope of this shiur does not allow for a full elaboration of this subject.

[3] We shall not address here the discussion of the "shin" as having three aspects – fire, wind and water. Hopefully we shall find another opportunity to deal with this important subject.

[4] Once again, for lack of space we shall refrain from entering into a discussion of these concepts, which are likewise based upon kabbalistic teachings.

[5] The "right side" symbolizes God breaking through reality and revealing His strength in a way that deviates from nature: "The right hand of God performs valor, the right hand of God is raised in triumph;" "A strong hand and an outstretched arm," etc.

[6] This is expressed in the absolute prohibition of 'melakha' on Shabbat, as opposed to the license to perform 'melakha' required for the preparation of food on Yom Tov. We shall address this point further on.

[7] This principle is also explained in the difference between Shabbat (which is fixed and permanent, where man is not a partner in its creation but rather accepts it as it is) and Yom Tov, where man is a partner (through sanctification of the month) in its creation: "These are the holy days of God… which you shall proclaim (asher tikre'u otam") – this should be read, "which you yourselves shall proclaim" (asher tikre'u atem)!

Translated by Kaeren Fish