"Come my Beloved to greet the Bride, let us welcome the Shabbos." The previous Rebbe relates in the discourse Lecha Dodi, which is included in the series of wedding Maamarim,
that a groom is like a king and a bride a queen.
[Metaphorically], the groom refers to G-d and the bride to Israel. [In the spiritual realms], the Sefiros, Ze'er Anpin [Z"A] represent the groom, and Malchus the bride. [The phrase] "Come my Beloved to greet the Bride" represents a transmission of influence from Z"A to Malchus which follows an ordered pattern. First, there is an external transmission of influence (from Z"A to Malchus) which is only an encompassing light [i.e. a revelation of a level too high to be internalized which leaves only a general impression] followed by an internal transmission. A similar procedure occurs in every transmission of influence from a Mashpia (giver) to a Mekabel (receiver). At first, the influence must be transmitted from the external aspects of the Mashpia to the external aspects of the Mekabel. Through this bond, the Mekabel can rise up and approach the level of the Mashpia, thus acquiring the capability to receive a transmission of the Mashpia's inner aspects.
The previous Rebbe gives two examples [of this process] which illustrate this point: the instruction given by a teacher to his students and a father playing with his small child. It is possible to say, that the purpose of giving these examples was not merely to demonstrate the order of transmission, i.e. that an external bond precedes an internal one, but (also) to emphasize the great level contained within these two transmissions of influence. In these cases, even the external transmission of influence represents a very high level, to the point where it possesses an advantage over even the internal connection. The external influence, which is an encompassing [light], is above the vessels [i.e. ability to contain] of the receiver. (In contrast, the influence transmitted through the internal bond can be received [and grasped] by the receiver.) Nevertheless, [despite the advantage of the external connection], it is only an introduction to the internal bond, for through the internal bond, a level is attained that is even higher than the encompassing light. This level is [alluded to in the maamar in the quotation] "upon all the glory shall there be a canopy." The word all implies two aspects of glory - the glory of the groom and the glory of the bride [in the spiritual realm - Z"A and Malchus], and on an even higher level, the glory of the Supernal Father [the Sefirah of Chochmah - wisdom] and the glory of the Supernal Mother [the Sefirah of Binah - understanding]. Through this [the transmission of glory - an external bond ] the union of Chochmah and Binah and the union of Z"A and Malchus is brought about. Although both glory - and the marriage canopy - of Chochmah-Binah and Z"A-Malchus are "encompassing lights," nevertheless, only through the union of Z"A and Malchus (which is an inner bond) is the Essence drawn down.
The first example given by the previous Rebbe is the transmission of the knowledge from a teacher to a student. The Talmud
illustrates the proper order to be used in such a transmission, relating how before Rabbah began his discourse, he would make a humorous remark, the sages would laugh, and he would then sit in awe and commence his lecture. The humorous remark before the lesson [interpreted by the previous Rebbe as a reference to] the "casual conversation of scholars which demands study,"
is only an external [aspect of the teacher]. Nevertheless, this external influence is an introduction to the internal influence [conveyed] when he began the lesson. [The humorous remark] opens the heart and mind of the student, making him a vessel fit to receive the inner influence.
The source for this example is the discourse VeEleh Toldos in Toras Chaim by the Mitteler Rebbe. However, there, no connection is noted between this example and the concept Lecha Dodi. The discourse Semuchim L'ad 5680, recited by the Rebbe Rashab on the last birthday he celebrated in this world, mentions that it is possible to connect this example with the concept of Lecha Dodi. In the previous Rebbe's discourse Lecha Dodi, he omitted the disclaimer "it is possible" and stated the relationship as an accepted matter.
The Mitteler Rebbe explains in Toras Chaim that laughter is rooted in [the soul's potential for] simple, uncompounded pleasure. We can understand from this that the source of humor, (the level of simple pleasure), is higher than the intellectual concepts transmitted afterwards (for the pleasure derived from intellect is compounded). Nevertheless, [humor] is only external and it is through the inner transmission of influence that a much higher level is reached.
The explanation of the matter [i.e. that despite the high source of humor an even more sublime level can be attained through an inner transmission of influence] is as follows. There are two levels of simple, uncompounded pleasure: one which is felt [and thus limited by the finite nature of our perception] and the essential capacity for pleasure which transcends feeling. It is through the inner transmission of influence which can, in turn, be internalized by the student, that one is brought to the level of the essential pleasure which transcends feeling. Therefore our Sages' declared "From my students [I have received] more than from all the others."
The second example is that of a small child with whom his father wants to play. Since the child is small, the father must lower his hands to lift the child up in order to play with him closely, face to face. Lifting the child up is an external activity, only a preliminary step to the inner closeness (the play) that follows. The source for this example is a statement of the Maggid of Mezeritch in Or Hatorah,
in which we find an added concept which is not brought down in the previous Rebbe's discourse. [There, the text relates that] the son plays with his father's beard, alluding to the concept that drawing down the encompassing light (which precedes the inner transmission of influence) transcends [all the limitations of] the order of spiritual worlds. The beard refers to the "thirteen strands of the beard," the thirteen attributes of mercy which transcend [the limitations of] the order of spiritual worlds. Nevertheless, they do have some connection to the order of spiritual worlds, as it is written
"Remember Your mercies and kindnesses, for they have existed for all time." [The Hebrew word MeOlam
translated as "for all time" can also mean "from the world." Even G-d's infinite mercies are related to the world.] Hence, the Hebrew word for attributes Middos is used to describe them, a term related to the word "Middah" meaning measure.
Likewise, the hairs [of the beard also signify a degree of limitation] for [the revelation that comes through] the hairs is only a ray. Nevertheless, [despite this high level], through the inner transmission of influence which follows (even though it is lower than the encompassing light), the Essence, which is above the encompassing light, is drawn down. (This is similar to the concept explained in the first chapter, that the union of Z"A and Malchus - which is an inner bond - possesses an advantage over the union of Chochmah and Binah, a concept explained by the Tzemach Tzedek in many places.
The previous Rebbe's discourse continues, explaining that a parallel exists in our service to G-d. The beginning of an individual's service each day is the service of prayer. [The discourse explains that the Hebrew word for prayer] Tefillah means connection,
and through prayer, a person connects himself to G-d. The verse
"Separate yourself from the man whose soul is in his nostrils for what can he be accounted for?" [applies to someone who has not prayed]. Our Sages
commented, "do not read 'bammeh' - for what, but 'bammah' - a platform." Before prayer, a person is like a platform
[i.e. just as a platform is a lofty and separate entity, such a person is proud and holds himself separate from others. Through prayer, a connection with G-dliness is established that eliminates these qualities.] The order of prayer is that first a general closeness (parallel to the external transmission of influence) is established, followed by an inner closeness as the person connects himself to G-dliness in a manner in which G-dliness is drawn down into all of his material affairs. (Although prayer marks the beginning of the day, one becomes able to connect it to all of his material affairs, making them vessels for G-dliness.)
Similarly, the Baal Shem Tov explains the prohibition against greeting someone before prayer [- the first thought of a person in the morning influences his behavior during the entire day-] based on an explanation in the works of the AriZal in reference to the obligation to honor one's older brother. There is more of the father's spirit in the oldest brother than in any of the other sons; and all the other sons derive the spirit of the father through the oldest son. Therefore, because of the spirit of the father that is found in the older brother, [his siblings] are obligated to honor him as they are obligated to honor their father. In fact, in the Talmud this law is derived from the verse "Honor your father." [The Hebrew original reads Kabed Es Avicha - the word Es is seemingly superfluous; however our Sages interpret it to refer to one's elder brother.] Hence, the honor of the older brother is included in the honor of the father. Similarly, [explains the Baal Shem Tov] in regard to an individual's thought, speech, and action; all of them branch off and are drawn down from his first statement in the service of G-d, made as soon as he rises from his sleep. (The same applies in regard to thought and deed.) In this manner, he draws holiness down into all of his thought, speech, and action throughout the entire day. Behold, because the inner closeness to G-d in prayer draws G-dliness, a potential for an even higher elevation is made possible as is well known in the interpretation of the verse: "Many crops come through the strength of an ox." [Chassidus explains that this verse refers to the transformation of the animal soul.]
A similar pattern is followed in the transmission of influence from Z"A to Malchus. First there must be an external transmission of influence, and afterwards, an internal one. Although the external transmission of influence represents an encompassing light, above the order of spiritual worlds and the vessels (it cannot be accepted and internalized by the Sefirah of Malchus because it is above the limitation of its vessels); nevertheless, it is only an external influence, only a ray. On the other hand, through the internal transmission of influence which can be internalized by Malchus, it is possible to reach a level higher than the encompassing light.
The explanation of the concept is as follows: The source of Malchus is higher than the source of Z"A. The source of Z"A is in the external aspects of Keser, while Malchus is rooted in the inner aspects of Keser. Although the Zohar comments that Z"A is "unified and dependent on Atik [the inner aspects of Keser]," it is well known that this does not refer to the inner aspects of Atik, but merely its external aspects, while Malchus is rooted in the inner aspects of Atik, "the head that is not known." Nevertheless, as it descends below, the source [of Malchus] is hidden and is revealed by Z"A. [Through that bond], the Sefirah of Malchus then becomes elevated above Z"A. The order is as follows: First Z"A must be drawn down into Malchus in a manner through which Malchus feels how Z"A is above it (for only in this manner is the source of Malchus revealed). This influence is transmitted because of the advantages of Z"A, hence, it is still related to the order of spiritual worlds (as are the 13 attributes of the beard). Only through the inner transmission of influence - received and internalized by Malchus, is the source of Malchus, which is above Z"A, reached - since this transmission comes because of the advantages of Malchus. At this level Malchus becomes a Mashpia, transmitting influence to Z"A, as the verse declares "a woman of valor is the crown of [i.e. above] her husband."
This is the reason why, in the beginning of the discourse, the previous Rebbe brings two extremes. On the one hand, Shabbos is called the queen, a reference to the Sefirah of Malchus which is lower than all the Sefiros and receives from them; as the Zohar
declares "the moon (a symbol of Malchus) has nothing of its own." Similarly, our Sages
comment "he who works on Erev Shabbos, will eat on Shabbos" [i.e. Shabbos also is a receiver]. On the other hand, all the days of the week are blessed from the Shabbos.
Not only is Shabbos holier than the other days [of the week], it brings down blessing to them. [The resolution of this seeming contradiction is as follows:] The seven days of the week refer to the "seven days of creation"; the six week days refer to Z"A as it is written
"In six days G-d created the heavens and the earth." [The Zohar
explains that the Hebrew phrase which reads Sheshes Yamim Assah
is literally translated as "Six days created." The prefix "B." which means "in" was omitted intentionally. The six days refer to G-d's six emotional attributes, which were the active agents in creation.] Each day performed its service. Shabbos refers to Malchus. Since Malchus descended below, particularly as it has descended to the worlds of Briah, Yetzirah, and Asiah where "its legs descend towards death," Shabbos (Malchus) receives from the six days of the week (Z"A). This is the service of purification (the purification of the animal soul and all material things) in the six days of the week. However, after (and through) this service on Shabbos, Malchus rises from the worlds of Briah, Yetzirah, and Asiah to its original source, [to a level where] it transcends Z"A. From [this level] all the days of the week are blessed and [Shabbos] draws down influence to the six days of the week (Z"A).
This is the meaning of the verse "Come my Beloved to greet the Bride, let us welcome the Shabbos." This is the request of the Jewish people that [there should be a] transmission from Z"A to Malchus. The first stage of the transmission is "Come my Beloved to greet the Bride" - only coming
[an external bond]; but through this it is possible to "welcome the Shabbos." [The Hebrew word used - P'Nei
- can also be translated as] "Receive the inner aspects of the Shabbos." The inner aspects of Malchus, Malchus as it is rooted in Atik [the inner aspects of Keser], are revealed. Therefore, a plural form of the word received is used, for Z"A also receives from the source of Malchus. [Thus], "A woman
of valor is the crown of her husband," [i.e. the woman, Malchus become higher than] Z"A and Malchus. A similar process occurs with every Mashpia and receiver. Through the receiver, the Mashpia himself reaches a higher level; as the Talmud states, "From my students I received more than all." This is particularly true in regard to a bride and groom on the physical plane. Through the transmission of inner influence, "a woman of valor is the crown of her husband." [Similarly], everything "came from dusted"
- [dust, the lowest level, served as a source for creation]. Through this process G-d's infinite power is transmitted in a blessed and righteous generation with children and grandchildren occupied in Torah and Mitzvos.
- (Back to text) Kuntreisim Vol. 1, p. 20a.
- (Back to text) Pirkei d'R. Eliezer, end of Ch. 16.
- (Back to text) Isaiah 4:5.
- (Back to text) Likkutei Torah, Shir HaShirim.
- (Back to text) Samach TeSamach 5657, p. 90.
- (Back to text) Pesachim 117a.
- (Back to text) Sukkah 21b; Avodah Zorah 19b.
- (Back to text) Chapter 6.
- (Back to text) Chapter 12.
- (Back to text) Sefer HaMaamarim 5666, p. 99.
- (Back to text) Ta'anis 7a.
- (Back to text) 85:4.
- (Back to text) Tehillim 25:6.
- (Back to text) Or HaTorah, Vaiyera, p. 93b.
- (Back to text) See Mafteichos to Tzemach Tzedek.
- (Back to text) Torah Or, Terumah, 79:4.
- (Back to text) Isaiah 2:22.
- (Back to text) Berachos 14a.
- (Back to text) Likkutei Torah, Pinchus, p. 79:4.
- (Back to text) Keser Shem Tov, Ch. 212.
- (Back to text) Berachos, Ibid.
- (Back to text) Sha'ar HaMitzvos, Parshas Yisro.
- (Back to text) Kessubos 103a.
- (Back to text) Shemos 20:12.
- (Back to text) Likkutei Torah, Ha'azinu p. 75b.
- (Back to text) Mishlei 14:4.
- (Back to text) Sefer HaMaamarim 5659 p. 11.
- (Back to text) III, 292a.
- (Back to text) Mishlei 12:4.
- (Back to text) I, 249b.
- (Back to text) Avodah Zorah 3a.
- (Back to text) Zohar II 63b, 88a.
- (Back to text) Shemos 20:11.
- (Back to text) III, 94b.
- (Back to text) Koheles 3:20.