Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Kavanos for “Shema”: Part 2



Based on selections from Likutey Halakhos and other Breslov works, as found in Rabbi Noson Zvi Kenig’s Siddur Sha’arey Ratzon, “Kavanos Kriyas Shema,” pp. 203-205 (Bnei Brak, first edition).
Li-zekhus Dobra bas Basha, li-refuah sheleimah bi-karov

In Part 1 of this posting we began to discuss some of the kavanos (“intentions”) one may wish to bear in mind while reciting the “Shema,” according to various Breslov teachings. Here are a few more.

“Hashem Echad”
Basing his words on Likutey Moharan I, 91, Reb Noson teaches that the underlying theme of reciting the “Shema” is to elicit holy faith from above, and transmit it to all 248 limbs or components of the body—which correspond to the 248 words in the “Shema.”[i] Thus, faith in God’s Oneness should permeate one’s entire being (Likutey Halakhos, Hefker vi-Nikhsey ha-Ger 4:23).

Closing One’s Eyes
When reciting the first verse of the “Shema,” one should close his eyes.[ii] This is related to the Zohar’s “beautiful maiden who has no eyes” (a symbol of the Jewish people).[iii] For these two verses have twelve words, corresponding to the Twelve Tribes, and the 49 letters in these two verses correspond to 49 letters in the names of the Twelve Tribes.

The “acceptance of the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven” expressed by the recitation of the “Shema” is an aspect of the “Sea of Solomon” (Yam shel Shlomo) that stands on twelve oxen, which represent the Twelve Tribes.[iv] When one accepts upon himself the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven with these verses, his soul becomes incorporated into the paradigm of the Twelve Tribes, which is the paradigm of the Ishah Yiras Hashem (G-d-Fearing Woman, as in Mishlei 31:30). And he separates himself from the souls of the Erev Rav (Mixed Multitude), symbolized as the Shifchah Bisha (Evil Maidservant) and Ishah Zonah (Promiscuous Woman).[v]

Shutting the eyes at this time demonstrates that by accepting the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven, one enters the paradigm of the “beautiful maiden who has no eyes,” the eyes being related to the desire that encompasses all evil traits (Likutey Moharan I, 36:3, abridged).

Beyond “Me”
In this teaching, Reb Noson explains the “Shema” in terms of the concepts found in Likutey Moharan I, 65:

Shema Yisrael”—this denotes nullification of the ego (bittul). One nullifies himself and becomes incorporated into the Divine Oneness. This is the mesiras nefesh, self-sacrifice for the sake of G-d, which Chazal associate with the recitation of “Shema.”[vi]

Vi-ahavta … bi-khol levevkha u-vi-khol nafshekha u-vi-khol me’odekha” (“And you shall love the Lord, Your G-d, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might”). Chazal relate “me’odekha (with all your might)” to one’s wealth.[vii] Thus, one instills the “light” of the after-impression (reshimu) of the experience of ego-nullification (bittul) into one’s “heart” and “soul” and “might,” which is one’s wealth; all worldly traits are included in these three categories, and everything must be nullified for the sake of ahavas Hashem (love of G-d). For the essential bond with the “light” of the after-impression of the experience of self-nullification is accomplished by purifying and sanctifying even one’s wealth, which is the most external of these three categories, from worldly desires (Likutey Halakhos, Milah 5:11).

No Matter What
Barukh shem kevod malkhuso li-olam va’ed … Blessed be the name of His glorious kingship forever.” That is, the “name of His glorious kingdom” is blessed forever, even after all the sins, etc. For no flaw or damage can reach the Blessed One, as the verse states, “I am G-d, I do not change…” (Malakhi 3:6) (Likutey Halakhos, Orlah 4:16).

New Life, Every Day
Shema Yisrael” and “Barukh shem”—are composed of twelve words, corresponding to the Twelve Tribes (as has been stated above in Likutey Moharan I, 36). They also correspond to the twelve months of the year and the twelve hours of the day, which in turn correspond to the twelve permutations of the Divine Name HaVaYA (yud-heh-vav-heh). For all twelve months of the year and all twelve hours of the day represent the category of time, and similarly, the Twelve Tribes represent the category of the entire Jewish people. And all are incorporated in the “Shema.”

That is, every individual Jew has a unique spiritual source in the paradigm of the Twelve Tribes and the 49 letters of their names, which correspond to the 49 letters of these two verses (“Shema Yisrael” and “Barukh shem”). And according to one’s “grasp” of the sublime holiness of the Twelve Tribes, the Blessed One’s G-dliness scintillates in his heart.

Likewise, all the days and hours that are included in the twelve months and twelve hours of the day are incorporated within these two verses. And each person, according to his “grasp” of the paradigm of the Twelve Tribes and according to the specificity of the day must accept upon himself faith in G-d and His Oneness, every day, anew. For no individual is the same as another, just as no day is the same as another. Therefore, we are taught that “every day they should be in your eyes as entirely new”[viii] (Likutey Halakhos, Kriyas Shema 5:4).

*

In addition to these sources from Rabbi Noson Zvi Kenig’s siddur, I found many more such excerpts in Rabbi Chaim Kramer’s anthology, “Rebbe Nachman’s Torah,” Number/Deuteronomy (Breslov Research Institute). Here is a small sampling of Rabbi Kramer’s translations from the Rebbe and Reb Noson on the “Shema”:

“Hear, Israel!”
The Shema is our declaration of faith. Yet shouldn’t it be enough to proclaim: “G-d is our Lord, G-d is One” without prefacing it with “Hear, Israel?”

This preamble teaches us that we must listen closely and pay attention to what we are saying, as one says to another, “I have something very important and wonderful to tell you—so listen carefully!” (Likutey Halakhos, Kriyas Shema 5:2).

“Hear, Israel!”
“Hear”—let your ears hear what you say (Berakhos 15a).
“Hear”—in any language that you can hear [i.e., understand] (ibid. 13a).
Listen carefully to what you are saying about G-d’s Unity. Then, whatever you hear, no matter if it is spoken in the Holy Tongue or in a mundane language, you will detect the message that G-d is present at all times (Likutey Halakhos, Kriyas Shema 5:5).

Love G-d
“And you shall love the Lord, Your G-d, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.”

One fulfills the mitzvah of “Love G-d” by making the Name of Heaven beloved through him. How? When he has read and studied and attended Torah scholars, and his dealings with people are pleasant, and he conducts his business affairs honestly, what do people say? “Fortunate is the one who has taught him Torah…“ (Yoma 86).

The mitzvah “Love G-d” is the root of all the positive commandments. A person who, by acting honestly, caises G-d’s Name to be beloved, arouses that root of all mitzvos (Likutey Moharan I, 93:1).




[i] There are 245 words in “Shema,” “Barukh shem,” the paragraphs of “Vi-ahavta” and “Vi-hayah im shamo’a,” the third paragraph of “tzitzis,” plus the three words “E-L Melekh Ne’eman,” or as an alternate custom, the repetition of the last three words, “Hashem Eloheikhem Emes.” Thus, the total is 248. See Iyyun Tefillah in Otzar ha-Tefillah, citing Midrash Tanchuma, Kedoshim, which counts E-L Melekh Ne’eman” as part of the 248 words, while Zohar, Vayeira, counts the repetition of “Hashem Eloheikhem Emes.
[ii] Orach Chaim 61:5. It is customary to cover the eyes with the right hand (RaMA, et al.). Some cover their eyes for both “Shema” and “Baruch shem kevod…” I have heard that in the Breslov community, Rabbi Gedaliah Kenig, zal, followed the latter custom.
[iii] Zohar II, “Saba,” Mishpatim, 95a, which is also cited in the writings of the Arizal.
[iv] I.e., the “sea” of wisdom, unity and peace.
[v] I.e., the inner condition of craving, disunity and falsehood.
[vi] Berakhos 61b; also see Likutey Moharan I, 193, and the “Tzetal Katan” of Rabbi Elimelekh of Lizhensk re. Kriyas Shema.
[vii] Rashi on Deuteronomy 6:5, citing Berakhos 61b.
[viii] Sifri, Ve’eschanan, 8, on the phrase “asher anokhi metzavkha ha-yom.”

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

13 Adar - Tcheriner Rov's Yahrtzeit

The 13th of Adar is the yahtzeit of Rabbi Nachman Goldstein (the Tcheriner Rov), one of the the greatest and most prolific scholar among Reb Noson's students. Please be sure to light a 24-hour candle and give a little tzedakah in his memory before Shabbos.

Biography taken from "
Breslov Pirkei Avot":

Rabbi Nachman Goldstein
(d. 1894)

Rav of Ukrainian town of Tcherin and grandson of Rabbi Aharon, the Rav of Breslov. Rabbi Nachman was one of the younger students of Reb Noson but later emerged as the greatest scholar in the Breslov community of the second generation. He edited and published Reb Noson's works and published many of his own, being the first to write commentaries specifically on Rebbe Nachman's teachings. His extant works include: Parparaot LeChokhmah (on Likutey Moharan), Rimzey HaMa'asiyot (on Sippurey Ma'asiyot), Nachat HaShulchan (on the first lesson in Likutey Moharan), Zimrat Ha'Aretz (on the theme of Eretz Yisrael in Likutey Moharan), Yekara de-Shabbata (on the theme of Shabbat in Likutey Moharan), Yerach HaEitanim (on the theme of Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot in Likutey Moharan), and Chassidic anthologies Derekh Chassidim and Leshon Chassidim. He also produced a source index for Sefer HaMidot, tracing Rebbe Nachman's references throughout the Tanakh, Talmud, and Midrash.

Nachal Novea Tsfat Fund: Matanot L'Evyonim


Gifts to the Poor on Purim, called Matanot L'Evyonim is one of the four main mitzvot for Purim. The Megilla refers to "sending gifts of food to one another, and gifts to the poor (Esther 9:22). Halacha states each adult must give two different foods to one person (Mishloach Manot) and two charitable donations to two poor people (Matanot L'Evyonim).

Giving charity to two poor people can be fulfilled through giving either food or money equivalent to the amount of food eaten at a regular meal. It is considered better to spend more on charity than on giving Mishloach Manot.

This year in Tsfat, as we have done for 40 years, we will be distributing Matanot L'Evyonim to needy families on Purim day.

Fulfill an important Purim mitzvah in Tsfat this year!
Click here to donate for Matanot L'Evyonim in the Holy City of Tsfat.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Remembering Rabbi Shmuel Horowitz



By Rabbi Dovid Zeitlin


Monday night and Tuesday, March 21-22 / 12 Adar, is the yahrtzeit of of HaGaon HaChossid R' Shmuel ben R' Yeshayah Halevi Horowitz, zt"l, one of the extraordinary Breslever mashpiyim (teachers) of the past generation. He passed away in 5732 / 1972. All remember him as a giant in Nigleh, Nistar and Chassidus, who was constantly in a visible state of deveykus to Hashem. Reb Elazar Kenig, shlit"a, of Tsfas remembers: "Er iz gevein mufshat fun der velt . . . He was beyond this world." His lips were constantly occupied with words of Torah and Tefillah.

We are all indebted to him for his mesirus nefesh (self-sacrifice) for all matters related to the Rebbe -- particularly for printing and disseminating ALL of the Rebbe's seforim during those very difficult years of poverty and hunger in Eretz Yisroel. He redeemed, compiled, saved and printed under extremely adverse conditions the writings of HaGaon HaKadosh R' Avrohom ben R' Nachman Chazan (i.e., he was the son of Reb Nachman Tulchiner, zt"l, leading disciple of Reb Noson zt"l). These works include Bi'ur HaLikkutim (on Likkutei Moharan), Chochmah U-Tevunah (on Sippurey Ma'asiyos), Kochvei Ohr (oral histories and traditions), etc. If not for Reb Shmuel, these "crown jewels" would have been lost forever.

He was a "flamm fieyr," a true "soul on fire," with an extremely profound sense of hiskashrus (spiritual bonding) to the Tzaddik. His unbelievable journey from Eretz Yisroel to Poland and Russia in the 1920s, in order to get to know and serve all Gedolei Breslev, is recorded in his multi-volume autobiography, "Yemey Shmuel." This courageous and dangerous trip, during those dark years of Communist oppression, and what followed upon his arrival in the Ukraine gave us a unique window into the various Breslover Chassidim in Uman during the last years of the community's existence. He spent three Rosh Hashanos in Uman during those years with mesirus nefesh. He was a unique figure, even amongst the great Chassidim of his day.

Reb Shmuel was a "baal tzurah" an impressive person to behold; he was also a yachsan (a person of noble lineage -- Reb Shmuel was a direct descendant on his father's side from the Shelah Hakadosh and many great tzaddikim). And he had "yichus atzmo" -- he was a model of devotion and dedication to all inyonim of the Tzaddik. He was a true inspiration for Breslover Chassidim and for everyone.

Reb Shmuel personally reached out to Jews from all walks of life and brought countless people closer to Yiddishkeit and Chassidus. A few years ago, a collection of his letters (both in Yiddish and Hebrew) were printed in the multi-volume "Michtevey Shmuel."


More recently, Breslever Chassidim in Monroe reprinted his powerful "Ma'amar Hiskashrus L'Tzaddik HaEmes," with additional footnotes. It sells for $6 a copy. Anyone interested in obtaining this ma'amar may contact the publisher: Gedolim Tzaddikim, 845-248-3449, or email gdoilymtzadykem@gmail.com.

It is interesting that this fiery mystic and profound thinker was also known to personally prepare many special, tasty dishes in honor of Shabbos (I think he started on Wednesday). This was a great and serious avodah for him every week. But it is not really a contradiction at all. Deveykus in the Tzaddik is the same as deveykus in Shabbos Kodesh -- one is in Neshomah (soul) and one is in Z'man (time). Besides, the Zohar HaKadosh says of the Tzaddik: "Antt hu Shabbos d'kulo yomin . . . You are Shabbos of all the days."

Zekhuso yagein aleinu, may his merits shield us!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Kavanos for “Shema”: Part 1



By Dovid Sears
Based on selections from Likutey Halakhos and other Breslov works, as found in Rabbi Noson Zvi Kenig’s Siddur Shaarey Ratzon, “Kavanos Kriyas Shema,” pp. 203-205 (Bnei Brak, first edition).
L’ilui nishmas imi morasi Gittel bas Ida, a”h, whose yahrtzeit was 5 Adar II.

We recently discussed several kavanos—“intentions,” or in this case, conceptual frameworks—for the “Kedushah” in the communal prayer service. Another key part of the davening, whether we are in or out of shul, that deserves our attention is the “Shema.” (I remember reading that Rabbi Dov Ber, the “Mittler Rebbe” of Lubavitch, once said, “The deeper one’s ‘Shema,’ the deeper one’s Shemoneh Esreh”—or something similar. I no longer have the source.)

Here we will sum up a few Breslov teachings that can serve as kavanos when one recites the “Shema.” Like virtually all Breslov teachings, they are excerpts from larger contexts—either lessons from Likutey Moharan, sections of Reb Noson’s Likutey Halakhos, which are based on lessons in Likutey Moharan, or other Breslov works. Thus, to understand these teachings about the “Shema,” we also need to understand their underpinnings. We’ll do the best we can to sum them up.

 "Hear, O Israel: the Lord [Y-H-V-H] our God, the Lord [Y-H-V-H] is one" (Deuteronomy 6:4).
שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ ה' אֶחָד

1    Bringing Down the Light

Reb Noson cites the Arizal, who states that the kabbalistic intention
when reciting the “Shema” is to unify Abba and Ima (the sefiros of Chokhmah and Binah), thus to “draw down” the higher mentalities (“mochin”) to the lower sefiros. To the uninitiated, the meaning of this is obscure. But in Chassidic fashion, Reb Noson brings the Kabbalah down to earth—or at least, he heads in that direction. Reb Noson expounds on the Arizal’s principle as it applies to the person performing the mitzvah, and how it affects that person’s spiritual condition and state of mind: By reciting the Shema, we express our faith in G-d’s unity and in so doing, gain a more vivid spiritual sense of that unity.
  
However, Reb Noson adds, we still have not been privileged to reveal G-d’s malkhus (kingship) to all humanity. This universal revelation is the ultimate purpose of the tzimtzum (constriction of the Infinite Divine Light) at the beginning of creation, which will be fulfilled in the time of Mashiach. We contribute to this redemptive knowledge every time we recite the Shema and accept G-d’s malkhus upon ourselves, particularly by contemplating and revealing G-d’s unity when we pronounce the word “echad.”  

This tikkun still requires that we “draw down” the light of that Divine Unity to the level of the middos (i.e., the “emotional traits” that parallel the seven lower sefiros). This is accomplished by our overcoming foolish and evil thoughts with holy and good thoughts. Then when we serve G-d in a measured way, “one step at a time,” we imbue ourselves with G-d’s malkhus and reveal it to all the world.

This is also the theme of the two paragraphs of “vi-ahavtah” and “vi-hayah im shamo’a” that we recite after the Shema. That is, after bringing about the “yichuda ila’ah” (“upper unification,” as the Zohar describes the Shema), we accept the “yoke of the kingdom of heaven” by expressing our love of G-d, and by guarding against evil thoughts (as in “hishamru lakhem pen yifteh levavkhem vi-sartem…”)—for all evil thoughts are aspects of the Evil Inclination and idolatry. Then we recite the third paragraph about the tzitzis (fringes on four-cornered garments) and the tekheiles (blue string), which the Zohar describes as destroying all evil. This empowers our struggle to overcome evil thoughts with good thoughts, and thus reveal G-d’s malkhus.

The same tikkun is reflected in the declaration that follows the Shema: “Barukh shem kevod malkhuso li-olam va’ed,” “Blessed be the name of His glorious kingship forever” (an addition of Chazal based on the verse "Blessed be His glorious name," Psalm 72:19).

The Shema represents what Rebbe Nachman calls “beisa ila’ah,” the “upper house,” while “barukh shem kevod” represents “beisa tata’ah,” the “lower house.” (These in turn correspond to the upper and lower letters “heh” in the Four-Letter Name yud-heh-vav-heh, and the Supernal Jerusalem and Earthly Jerusalem—corresponding to the sefiros of Binah and Malkhus.) Through this tikkun of the “lower house,” we merit to reveal G-d’s malkhus to all humanity, even to those who are extremely far from holiness. This reflects the Gemara’s teaching that “Barukh Shem” is recited in a whisper because it is analagous to the tasty burnt remnants at the bottom of a pot (“tzikey kedeirah”) that the Princess craves, although it is beneath her station—therefore, her servant must provide it to her “on the sly” (Pesachim 56a). [That is, according to this line of interpretation, the Shekhinah desires the service of those who are unworthy, as well as those who are righteous] (Abridgement of Likutey Halakhos, Hil. Minchah 7, sec. 73-74, based on Likutey Moharan I, 49; see there.)

2    Everything is Included in the “Shema”

Rabbi Nachman Goldstein, one of the youngest disciples of Reb Noson, who later became the Rav of Tcherin and the leading Breslov scholar of his generation, discusses the Shema in his Chassidic chiddushim on Shulchan Arukh, “Nachas ha-Shulchan” (the entire sefer being based on the first lesson in Likutey Moharan).

There, he states that all the kavanos of reciting the Shema are incorporated in the simple belief in G-d’s Unity and Oneness—that G-d is the One Authority, Ruler, and Overseer of all that exists; He transcends all things, and there is nothing higher than Him.

This includes all of the kavanos, which (as stated above) are to “draw down” all of the mochin (higher “mentalities,” namely Chokhmah and Binah) when we recite the Shema, thus to unite the Holy One (“Kud’sha Brikh Hu,” the Zohar’s term for G-d’s transcendent aspect) and the Shekhinah (G-d’s immanent aspect).

That is, it is necessary to elicit all aspects of mystical knowledge (Da’as) and higher consciousness into the simple faith in G-d’s Oneness, may He be blessed (Nachas ha-Shulchan, Orach Chaim sec. 48).
  
We hope to return to this subject in the next posting, im yirtza Hashem.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Rabbi Shalom Arush and Rabbi Lazer Brody Coming to Borough Park


Rabbi Shalom Arush, noted Breslov mashpia and author, will be speaking in Borough Park, accompanied by his associate and translator, Rabi Lazer Brody. This will surely be a memorable evening.

Location:
Young Israel-Beth El of Borough Park
4802 Fifteenth Ave
Brooklyn, NY

Date:
Tuesday March 15th
8:00 PM

Admission: $10
Men and women invited

For more details, please e-mail:

Friday, March 4, 2016

Reciting the “Kedushah”


Thoughts on the Heart of the Prayer Service
By Dovid Sears
L’ilui nishmas imi morasi Gittel bas Yitzchak, a”h.
Yahrtzeit: 5 Adar II

Every Shacharis and Minchah where a minyan is present (as well as in the repetition of the Musaf service on Shabbos and Yom Tov), we recite in unison the “Kedushah.” This is the heart of the communal prayer service. Yet I suspect that many of us recite these words with only the most basic intention or understanding of the text. What is the meaning of the Kedushah? Why are these particular verses of such central importance?

Like virtually all facets of Judaism, there are many ways to approach this subject and many divergent meanings that the words imply, as discussed by the various commentators. There is no “one true way” when it comes to such matters; rather each sage presents his truth in his own terms. I would like to explore just a few commentaries here, and especially one that is based on a Breslov teaching. They can all work as kavanos, conceptual frameworks, when we recite the Kedushah in shul, which will make this part of the service all the more meaningful.

First let’s take a look at the text:

We will hallow and adore You—like the sweet words of the assembly of the holy Seraphim, who thrice repeat “holy” unto You, as it is written by Your Prophet:
“And they call to one another and say:
קָדוֹשׁ קָדוֹשׁ קָדוֹשׁ ה' צְבָאוֹת מְלֹא כָל הָאָרֶץ כְּבוֹדוֹ
Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh Hashem Tzivaos milo khol ha'aretz kevodo
"Holy, Holy, Holy, the Lord of Hosts, the entire world is filled with His Glory" (Isaiah 6:3).[i]
Those facing them offer praise and declare:
בָּרוּךְ כְּבוֹד ה' מִמְּקוֹמוֹ
Baruch kevod Hashem mim'komo
"Blessed be the glory of G-d from its Place" (Ezekiel 3:12).
And in Your holy scriptures it is written thus:          
יִמְלֹךְ ה' לְעוֹלָם אֱלֹהַיִךְ צִיּוֹן לְדֹר וָדֹר הַלְלוּיָהּ
Yimlokh Hashem li-olam Elohayikh Tziyon li-dor va-dor halleluyah.
"The L-rd shall reign forever—Your God, O Zion, from generation to generation.
Praise the L-rd” (Psalms 146:10).

1.       View of the Eitz Yosef
The Otzar ha-Tefillah cites the Eitz Yosef of Rabbi Chanokh Zundel ben Yosef of Bialystok as explaining the Kedushah to be a declaration of G-d’s absolute transcendence. The word “kadosh” means separate or removed. Therefore, according to the Eitz Yosef, the threefold repetition of “kadosh” denotes G-d’s transcendence in three categories: a human being's body (guf), the vital force within the body (nefesh), and the soul (neshamah). The Kedushah teaches us that G-d is separate and removed from all three sets of limitations.

The Eitz Yosef comments on the verse “Blessed be the glory of G-d from its Place" that in saying this, we acknowledge that we don’t know G-d’s “place”—for this is beyond the mortal mind. Thus the main idea behind the Kedushah according to this view is that of G-d’s absolute transcendence.

Yet despite this fact, the Creator is not utterly remote and disconnected from us. The conclusion, “The L-rd shall reign forever—Your God, O Zion, from generation to generation,” says the Eitz Yosef, is our request for G-d to reveal his kingship through Israel and through the Holy Temple (may it be rebuilt speedily in our days). This revelation redeems the world entirely  (Rabbi Chanokh Zundel cites the Maharal of Prague’s Nesivos Olam as underlying his interpretation.)  

2.       View of the Yavetz
Rabbi Yaakov Emden, known as the “Yavetz”  (the acronym of his name, Yaakov ben Zvi),  in his famous Siddur Beis Yaakov, offers a kabbalistic interpretation of the Kedushah. We join the angels in declaring G-d’s holiness that suffuses the array of the Ten Sefiros, through which the world and all it contains came into existence and is governed. The first “kadosh” corresponds to the higher triad: Keser (Crown), Chokhmah (Wisdom), Binah (Understanding). The second “kadosh” corresponds to the middle triad: Chesed (Kindness), Gevurah (Might), Tiferes (Beauty or Harmony). The third “kadosh” corresponds to the lower triad: Netzach (Eternity/ Victory), Hod (Splendor), Yesod (Foundation)—while the phrase “milo khol ha'aretz kevodo / the entire world is filled with His Glory” corresponds to Malkhus (Kingship).

Rather than stressing G-d’s transcendence, the Yavetz sees the Kedushah as instructing us concerning G-d’s immanence within all of His causations or powers, namely the Ten Sefiros. G-d’s holiness is present in all of His doings, right here and now.

With this, we’ll enter the Chassidic realm.

3.       View of the Baal ha-Tanya
Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad and author of the Tanya, discusses the Kedushah in Likutey Torah, parshas Shelach (as excerpted in the Likutey Torah Siddur, pp. 121-122). The “Alter Rebbe” of Chabad explains that the Torah was given on the three planes of thought, speech and action, each with its own commandments. Yet they are all the same to Hashem. Nor is there any difference between “high” and “low,” for everything in the hierarchy of creation is as naught before the Blessed One, who is without end or beginning. Hashem transcends everything and is holy and removed from all creation—even though he enlivens all and brings everything into existence. We say “kadosh” three times in our desire to “draw down” G-d’s holiness into the three categories of thought, speech and action. Accordingly, the Kedushah is an act of theurgy (or nearly so), a means of channeling the Divine holiness into this world.

Rabbi Shneur Zalman goes on to say that through our engagement in Torah and mitzvos in these three categories, which are “garments” for the soul, we will be able to experience the radiance of the Shekhinah (Divine Presence) and become incorporated into the ultimate reality of the Divine Oneness. This is another powerful kavanah to bear in mind when reciting the Kedushah.

(Reb Noson of Breslov similarly relates the threefold declaration of “kadosh” to thought, speech and action in Likutey Halakhos, Hil. Dayyanim 4:5. He adds that when one sanctifies himself in these three areas, it follows that “milo khol ha'aretz kevodo / the entire world is filled with His Glory”—i.e., the G-dliness hidden within all things will be revealed. Maybe he’s describing the same experience as Rabbi Shneur Zalman in a slightly different way.)

Elsewhere in Likutey Torah, Rabbi Shneur Zalman expounds on “Atah kadosh,” the prayer text which immediately follows the Kedushah and ends with the blessing “Ha-E-l ha-Kadosh (Blessed is the Holy G-d)” He explains that G-d’s Name is exalted alone, beyond all the “worlds” (in the Kabbalah there are four, but I think he means not only the “four worlds” but also the mysterious realities beyond them, which are sometimes described as tzachtzachos, “pure lights”). Only a faint illumination of the Divine Name is drawn upon the earth and heavens. “Atah kadosh”— the Blessed One in His glory and His essence is absolutely transcendent (akin to the view of the Eitz Yosef).

4.       View of the Keser Nehorah
Another early Chassidic master, Rabbi Aharon Hakohen of Zhelikhov, in his commentary “Keser Nehorah” (published in the Siddur Tefilah Yesharah, known as the “Berditchover Siddur”), remarks on “Atah kadosh” in terms of yirah (fear, awe, reverence) and ahavah (love). (These are pervasive themes throughout his commentary.)

First, Rabbi Aharon states that “Atah kadosh” alludes to yiras Hashem, fear and awe of G-d. (Rabbi Chanokh Zundel of Bialystok in Anaf Yosef says the same.)  This is because these words refer to the Ein Sof, the Infinite One who gives life to all, just as the soul enlivens the body. This is the culmination of the Kedushah, for there is no limit to G-d’s holiness. Hence, “Atah kadosh” should bring one to yiras Hashem, a sense of religious awe.

The next phrase is “vi-shimkha kadosh (and Your Name is holy).” This alludes to the four-letter Divine Name “HaVaYaH” (yud-heh-vav-heh), also known as the Shem ha-Etzem, or Essential Name. Each letter corresponds to one of the “Four Worlds” and animates it:
Yud = Atzilus (World of Emanation)
Heh = Beriah (World of Creation)
Vav = Yetzirah (World of Formation)
Heh = Asiyah (World of Action)

Rabbi Aharon states that this alludes to ahavas Hashem, the love of G-d, which reciprocates G-d’s love of Israel, in that G-d constricted His Infinite Light in these four basic constrictions (tzimtzumim), thus to create this world for our ultimate spiritual benefit (as well as the benefit of all beings).

When used as a kavanah for the Kedushah, Rabbi Aharon’s teaching thus “calibrates” the feelings of ahavah vi-yirah, love and awe of G-d.

5.       A Breslov Perspective
Now we’re ready to consider a Breslov teaching, which will give us yet another perspective and another set of kavanos. A novel way of understanding the Kedushah may be constructed on the basis of Likutey Moharan II, 7. (Please note that this is our interpretation of a teaching in Likutey Moharan. The original only discusses the Kedushah of Musaf. But the Rebbe’s words seem to extend to the regular Kedushah, as well, as we will discuss below.)

In  section 7 of that lesson, Rebbe Nachman speaks of two hasagos, or perceptions, which are expressed by the angels in the Kedushah of Musaf. One group of angels declares, M’lo kol ha’aretz kivodo, the entire world is full of His Glory” (as in the regular Kedushah). The Rebbe calls this “M’lo” for short. It is the immanent Divine Presence, the essential unity into which all diversity is subsumed.[ii]   However, a second group of angels asks, “Ayeh makom kivodo? Where is the place of His Glory?” The Rebbe calls this “Ayeh” for short. It is the world of mystery, the realm of the unmanifest.

These two hasagos correspond to two followers of a tzaddik: one is his Talmid (disciple), the other is his Ben (son), who is an actual extension of the father. They in turn correspond to two groups of people, the dorei matah,” “those who dwell below,” and the  “dorei ma’alah,” “those who dwell above.”

To recap, the angels express two opposite perceptions:
1.       Milo kol ha’aretz kivodo – Immanence.  In Torah 7, this is the perception of the Talmid (disciple) and the “dorei matah,” “those who dwell below.”
2.       Ayeh – Mah. Transcendence. In Torah 7, this is the perception of the Ben (son) and the “dorei ma’alah,” “those who dwell above.”

Although opposites, these two perceptions are “flip sides of the same coin.” Both are true. And the Rebbe states that they must be combined for a person to experience yirah—which is the prerequisite for serving G-d. One can only experience yirah when there is a distance between self and other, in this case, the worshipper and the object of worship, which is G-d Himself.

The Rebbe adds that the disciple also must possess the perception of the son, and the son  must also possess the perception of the disciple. Only then can there be shelimus, or wholeness. And lack of this wholeness can lead to grave error.

In section 9 of the same lesson, the Rebbe he points out that if one is privy only to the perception of “Ayeh” and “Mah” (as are the “son” and “those who dwell above”), he risks succumbing to atheism – since G-d is ultimately a mystery and beyond mortal understanding. And on the other hand, if one is privy only to the perception of “M’lo” (as are the “disciple” and “those who dwell below”), he risks bittul bi-metziyus, self-nullification to the point of being “blinded by the light.”

Therefore, one must combine the two contrary perceptions to create yirah. And in that “margin,” one can serve G-d, and thus fulfill the purpose of creation.

Both opposites are suggested in each of the main declarations of the regular Kedushah, as well. We say “Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh…” indicating G-d’s transcendence, but in the same breath, “m’lo kol ha’aretz kivodo,” indicating G-d’s immanence.[iii] This may be understood as a perception mi-le-ma’alah le-matah, from above to below.

The next declaration is “Baruch kevod Hashem mimkomo” The kavod Hashem or Divine Glory denotes G-d’s immanence, while “mimkomo,” “His Place,” denotes G-d’s transcendence.[iv] Thus, this may be understood as a perception mi-le-matah le-ma’alah, from below to above. In each verse, the two perceptions are combined. According to Breslov (if our understanding is correct), this is the lesson of the Kedushah.






[i] The Targum on Isaiah 6:3 interprets the threefold “kadosh” to mean that the Blessed One is holy above, in the highest heavens; holy on earth; and holy for all eternity. Rashi subscribes to this interpretation, as well (ad loc.).
[ii] In Likutey Moharan I, 33 (sec. 2), Rebbe Nachman cites this verse from Isaiah to support the idea of G-d’s immanence: “M’lo kol ha’aretz k’vodo,” the entire world is full of His Glory. He also quotes the Tikuney Zohar (Tikkun 57, 91b): “les asar panui minei, no place is devoid of Him”—for G-d fills all worlds (memale kol almin) and  encompasses all worlds (sovev kol almin) (Zohar III, 225a).
[iii] Reb Noson expounds on Isaiah 6:3 that this declaration of G-d’s simultaneous transcendence and immanence represents the perfection of G-d’s sovereignty (malkhus), in fulfillment of the verse, “Do I not fill the heavens [the transcendent] and the earth [the immanent]? says G-d” (Jeremiah 23:24) (Likutey Halakhos, Rosh Chodesh 4:3).
[iv] In Likutey Moharan I, 24 (sec. 7), Rebbe Nachman cites “Boruch kevod Hashem mimkomo,” Ezekiel 3:12, to describe the baal hasagah’s or mystic’s spiritual ascent to Keser (Crown), the highest of the Ten Sefiros and the domain of pure potential in creation. Thus, “Keser,” the transcendent level, may be called “G-d’s Place.”