Sunday, February 4, 2018

Hisbodedus and Deveykus (Meditation and Cleaving to G-d)

From the Rav of Tcherin’s “Zimras Ha’aretz” (I, 52)
Translation by Dovid Sears
Published in TheTree that Stands Beyond Space (Breslov Research Institute), p. 83
L’ilui nishmas avi mori, Leib ben Yitzchok Yaakov, zal
Yartzeit: 30 Shevat (Rosh Chodesh Adar)

The perfection of hisbodedus is to attain deveykus—to cleave to G-d until you become utterly subsumed within the Divine Oneness.[1]

The word hisbodedus is  a construct of badad, meaning either “seclusion” or “oneness,” as in the phrase “they shall be one with one [i.e., of equal weight]” (Rashi on Exodus 30:34). That is, you must become “one with G-d” to the extent that all sensory awareness ceases and the only reality you perceive is G-dliness. This is the mystical meaning of the verse, “There is nothing but G-d alone” (Deuteronomy 4:35).

This, too, is why the Torah calls Israel, “a people that dwells alone [badad]” (Numbers 23:9). The destiny of every Jew is to attain complete unification with G-d, without any intermediary.[2]

[1] This concept is more fully explained in Likutey Moharan I, 52; cf. Likutey Moharan I, 108, 156, 259; II, 25, 84, 93-101. Rebbe Nachman’s path of hisbodedus is the subject of the anthology Hishtapkhus HaNefesh by Reb Alter of Teplik (Moshe Yehoshua Alter Bezhilianski), translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan as Outpouring of the Soul (Breslov Research Institute 1980).

[2] Righteous non-Jews too are destined to share this experience, as stated in Isaiah 40:5, Joel 3:1, et al. Similarly, the Midrash states in the name of the Prophet Elijah: “I call heaven and earth to bear witness that the Divine Spirit may rest on anyone, Jew or non-Jew, man or woman, slave or handmaid. Everything is in accordance with one’s deeds” (Tanna D’vei Eliyahu Rabbah 9:1); cf. Likutey Moharan I, 21:11, s.v. chaim nitzchiyim.

Regarding the concept of an intermediary, see this posting.

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