Insights of the Chassidic Masters-Seeking Hashem #9

4 09 2011

Based on a shiur by Rabbi Moshe Weinberger   

Seeking G-d

In his essay, “Atem Nitzovim,” the Baal HaTanya writes about connecting to Hashem through penimiyut halev-the innermost depths of the heart.

The process begins by awaking the chitzoniyut halev-the outer heart. This is accomplished through daat (knowledge) and hitbonnenut– meditating on the greatness of Hashem. Thinking about how Hashem created everything and brought the world into being from nothing and how He renews our existence at every moment, should arouse us.

Concentrating on these truth further, brings to ze’akat halev- a cry from the heart, which is compared to the roar of a lion. This comes forth from the outer point of the heart because in the vision of the heavenly chariot in Yechezkel, the lion is on the right side of the camp of Michael. It is an expression of our great love for Hashem, our tremendous desire to negate ourselves in the light of Him, and the will to sense that chiyut Elokut (the Divine spark), although only external.

What is the difference between chitzoniyut (externality) and penimimyut (internality) in the spiritual sense? Similar to physical reality, only the outside is visible while the inside is hidden.  It is compared to a great sage learning with a young child whose comprehension is still limited. The sage will teach the child the superficial aspect of the truth, rather than the deep ideas contained in his heart. Similarly, we cannot grasp Hashem’s presence and thoughts. It’s only the external aspects that are somewhat accessible. His penimiyut ha’or, His Infinite Light, which transcends the boundaries of creation, is hidden, much like the penimiyut of the teacher’s mind. If so, how can a Jew cry out to Hashem from penimiyut halev which is higher than anything that can be clothed in words?

Hashem’s name is exalted above and beyond what a human mind can comprehend, “Ani Hashem lo shanisi” (I am Hashem, unchanged). The same way He was before creation, He is afterwards. His penimiyut hasn’t diminished in any way.  Where Hashem’s essence isn’t enclosed in chitzoniyut nothing has changed. Hashem is like an eish ochla-a consuming flame. By nature, fire is the opposite of water which flows down. Fire rises up and doesn’t spread out to the lower world. This refers to the penimiyut ha’or-the Inner Light of Hashem which we can’t experience. When Hashem’s Infinite Light reaches down to give life and light to our world, it’s a tremendous descent from a very high place. Just as the rebbe must constrict his knowledge to connect to the mind of the child, there are many veils that conceal the revelation of Hashem’s light so that the world can continue to exist.

Hashem displays extraordinary kindness when He descends to us in the way of flowing water that comes down from above as chitzoniyut ha’or. He listens to us despite the fact that He’s Kel Elyon- higher and exalted than anything we can imagine. This awareness should shake a person to the core so that a cry escapes from the depths of his soul, l’mala min hadaat-higher than anything he can understand himself. This cry from his penimiyut halev which can never be separated from Hashem. It is like burning coal, like a flame that rises higher on its own.

Hashem relates to the world in two ways: He is memaleh– fills all worlds and m’sovev-surrounds all worlds, but His Essence remains above, unchanged. When a person is aware of this reality, believes it, and meditates on the idea that there is nothing other than Hashem, it creates within Him a great love and longing in the depths of his heart to become one with the Creator; to the point that He feels nothing of himself and disappears into the infinite reality of Hashem. In such a state, a person is capable of giving up his life for the sake of His Name. This great love is called the outpouring of the soul and is not constrained to anything the mind can comprehend. It’s a deveikut penimiyut which awakens from the inner essence of the heart and can never be extinguished.




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