Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Greatest Consolation

From Likutey Moharan I, 21, sec. 11

In honor of Shabbos “Nachamu,” the Shabbos following Tisha beAv, when we customarily read the Haftorah that begins: Nachamu, nachamu ami … Be consoled, be consoled, My people, says your God” (Isaiah 40:1).
In the course of a lengthy teaching concerning the transcendent and immanent levels of wisdom, Rebbe Nachman weaves in the following drush (homiletical interpretation):

“Be consoled, be consoled…”—this denotes the levels of “transcendent” and “transcendent of the transcendent.” For divine knowledge is the consolation for all suffering. And how is it possible to attain this divine knowledge? Through [the conclusion of the verse]:

 “says your God”—this is “saying quietly (amira ba-chashai)” (Zohar II, 25b), which is the characteristic of oil [which flows quietly and is symbolic of wisdom], corresponding to the “seven candles” [of the Menorah. At the beginning of this lesson, Rebbe Nachman uses the seven candles of the Menorah as corresponding to the seven apertures of the head and the purification of the faculties associated with them].

 Reb Noson (abridged) adds: 

The Rebbe explained above that by crying out to God we may give birth to previously hidden spiritual perceptions. And by sanctifying the “seven candles,” we internalize those transcendent mentalities. 

Two things are needed for one to attain holy perceptions. First, one must give birth to them, which requires crying out to God, just as a woman cries out when she gives birth. Afterwards, when the mentalities are born, they still have immanent and transcendent aspects. To internalize the transcendent, one must sanctify the “seven candles,” corresponding to the eyes, ears, nose and mouth and the perfection of the faculties associated with them.  

And this is the explanation of “Be consoled, be consoled…” This higher comprehension is the main consolation, as stated. We attain this through crying out and by sanctifying the “seven candles.” “Says your God” alludes to “speaking quietly,” like the oil which the candles in the Menorah used as fuel. By virtue of these two aspects we may comprehend the various transcendent levels of divine wisdom, the “transcendent” and “transcendent of the transcendent,” which is the main consolation.

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