Reconstructing Rachel: Return to Jewish Nature – Part 1

Secrets of the Jewish Year
Holiday Messages and Meditations on the Jewish Year

The Jewish Month of Cheshvan

 Cheshvan According to Sefer Yetzirah
 
When Will my Deeds Reach the Level of Those of My Forefathers
 
Jewish Mothers Day: The 11th of Cheshvan, yorhtzeit of our matriarch Rachel.Reconstructing Rachel: Return to Jewish Nature
 Part 1: 
Return to National Jewish Nature
 Part 2: 
Applying the Meanings of Hod on a National Level
 Part 3: Reconstructing Rachel in our Service of God
 Part 4: A Deeper Understanding: Relating the Types to the Sefirot
 Part 5: 
Understanding the Middle Axis: The Axis of Self-Consciousness
 Part 6: Malchut: Rectified Jewish Nature

The 11th of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan, is the yahrtzeit (“day of passing”) of our Matriarch, Rachel and has been declared the “International Day of Unity for Jewish Women.” 

Rachel represents the promise of the return of the Jewish People to their Land and to their true nature. The following is an excerpt from Rabbi Ginsburgh’s lecture in Chicago in Kislev 5764 (Dec 04).


 Part 1
Return to National Jewish Nature

Kabbalah teaches that our matriarch Rachel (our patriarch Jacob’s wife) symbolizes the Jewish People. The exile of the Jewish People is referred to in Kabbalah as the exile of Rachel. Rabbi Izik of Homil, the deepest philosopher of Chabad, explains that the return of the Jewish People from exile to the Land of Israel is the reconstruction of the spiritual figure of Rachel. In exile, the spiritual figure of Rachel is unable to manifest. It regresses to a point and is vulnerable to destruction. In the Land of Israel, this point expands to a line and then to an entire area. This area is the reconstructed figure of Rachel, called in Hebrew binyan partzuf Rachel.

Return to Jewish Nature

The last words in the Torah’s account of creation (Genesis 2:3) are:

asher bara Elokim la’asot,
“all that God created to do.”

Our sages explain that “to do” means “to rectify.”  God left the essential rectification in creation to us, so that we may make this world His dwelling place. The numerical value of la’asot is 806, the same value as binyan partzuf Rachel. Included in the last words of the account of creation are God’s instructions for its perpetuation. We must reconstruct the figure of Rachel on a personal, communal and universal level.

 Jewish nature is much more than observance of the commandments. It is a return to our natural, Jewish state of consciousness

Rabbi Izik of Homil explains that reconstructing Rachel is our return to Jewish nature. In exile, that nature is concealed, unknown even to us. It has returned to a point, with no expanse. When we return to Israel we also return to our true identity. Jewish nature is much more than observance of the commandments. It is a return to our natural, Jewish state of consciousness — when our entire identity is motivated by our connection to God.

The Immune System and the Identity Crisis

The most basic task of the immune system is to identify its own self — the body. Once it has identified itself, it can go on to distinguish between friend and foe, allowing positive elements to be integrated into the body and expelling the negative.

The most fundamental problem plaguing the Jewish People today is its lack of identity

This basic model applies to the Nation of Israel as well. The most fundamental problem plaguing the Jewish People today is its lack of identity. Because we are so far from our Jewish Nature, we are far from knowing who we are, who is our friend and who is our foe. This is an immune illness, causing all the other ills that the Jewish People in Israel and the Diaspora face today.

Kabbalah explains that the immune system in the body corresponds to the sefirah of hod. By rectifying the attribute of hod in our personal and national lives, we will come closer to achieving Jewish nature, reconstructing the figure of Rachel for ourselves, for our People, and for the entire world.

 

The Five Meanings of Hod

In order to understand how to rectify Hod, we must understand what it means.

Every sefirah has five levels that correspond to the four letters of God’s essential Name, Havayah, and the superational crown above it. These five meanings are the secret of God’s essential signature in the given sefirah.

Let us now explore the five meanings of hod. 

1) Splendor:
This is the level of keter “crown.” There are eight synonyms in Hebrew for beauty, each with its own subtle meaning. Splendorous beauty implies an aura, such as an aura surrounding the head.

2) Confession:
This is the level of the yud of God’s Name, which corresponds to chochmah“wisdom.” Spiritually, this is the attribute ofbitul, “self nullification.” In relation to hod, this is one’s ability to confess that he was wrong and to ask for forgiveness.

3) Acknowledgement:
This is the level of the first hei of God’s Name, which corresponds to binah, “understanding.” In relation to hod, this is one’s ability to acknowledge that he previously did not understand something. He now understands, confesses that he was wrong and acknowledges that the other person/concept etc. was right.

4) Thanksgiving:
This is the level of the vav of God’s Name, which corresponds to the six emotions of the heart. In relation to hod, this is one’s ability to give thanks, which is rectified Jewish Nature. The great book of Jewish ethics, “Duties of the Heart,” explains at length that the first ethical principle that one must rectify in his soul is the ability to give thanks. Otherwise, he may be ungrateful, which is the source of all evil properties of the soul. Thanksgiving is the emotion that follows the understanding of acknowledgment.

5) Echo:
This is the level of the final hei of God’s Name, which corresponds to malchut“kingdom.” Spiritually, the attribute of kingdom is true lowliness. In relation to hod, that lowliness manifests as an echo. It is our ability to realize that all that we accomplish in this world is simply an echo of the energy coming from God. In Chronicles 1 29:14 King David says to God:

From You is all and from Your hand I give back to You

That sense of giving back to God all that is His is the echo. It has a deep component of confession and acknowledgment.Giving thanks naturally and sincerely is also an echo, projecting energy back from the receiver to the giver. Thus we see that typical to malchut, this meaning of hod reflects all the preceding meanings of the concept.

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