Monday, March 23, 2009

Sustaining All Of Creation

I heard from my grandfather [the Baal Shem Tov] that when the Holy One, blessed be He, created His world, it was unable to endure. Everything would have reverted to nothingness had He not created the children of Israel. When He did so, the world was able to endure.

The name Yisrael (ישראל) alludes to this. The letter reish (ר) corresponds to the sefira of chochma (wisdom). The letter lamed
(ל) corresponds to the sefira of bina. And the letter alef (א) corresponds to the sefira of da'as. Together, these three sephiros express the Divine Intellect which animates the universe. The remaining two letters yud (י) and shin (ש), spell the word yesh (יש) - somethingness. The world was created yesh m'ayin (something from nothing). These two letters allude to the "somethingness" which enables the world to endure - the Jewish people. The name Yisrael thus indicates that they preserve all of creation, for without them, everything would revert to its original state of nothingness. The "somethingness" of the Jewish people sustains the "somethingness" of the rest of creation. However, this is true when a Jew possesses only enough somethingness to fulfill his role in sustaining the universe. If he has more, none of the above applies.

This was the gist of my grandfather's awesome words. There is nothing else to say, for "all words are spent" due to the depth of the perception and the inability of those who wish to grasp it. According to my limited understanding, the entire Torah is contained in this teaching.

(Degel Machaneh Ephraim)