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The Jewish Home Chapter 3: Man in the Aura of the Tzelem

The absolute definition of man is dependent on the home. In Kabbalah, this is called the secret of the Divine Tzelem, “Image,” in which man was created and in which he walks. As in the verse (Psalms 39:7), “Ach b’tzelem yithalech ish,” man is always walking in the aura of the tzelem. The word tzelem is constructed of three letters; tzadik, lamed, mem. The Arizal explains that each letter corresponds to a different level of man.

The tzadik refers to the “inner light,” the or pnimi, which, in our context, corresponds to the food, that element of reality which a person integrates in order to derive life force. As in the verse (Proverbs 13:25), “Tzaddik ochel l’sova nafsho,””A tzaddik eats for the satiation of his soul.”

The lamed is the proximate makeef, representing the or makeef hakarov, which in our context corresponds to “clothing,” l’vush, which also begins with the letter lamed.

The mem is the makeef harachok. It corresponds to makom, “space,” referring to the space in which a man lives. This concept can be developed to include living in Divine Space. The physical space that a person constructs for himself is his home. A person has a physical home, his “Temple,” a place to worship G-d, and to become conscious of and united with Him, as a bride and groom. A person’s meditation constructs around him a spiritual space.

To summarize:

Mazon

Sustenance

Or pnimi

Tzadik

Levush

Clothing

Makeef hakarov

Lamed

Bayit

Shelter

Makeef harachok

Mem

 

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