brit milah of the torah

In the system of the Arizal there are a number of inter-related structures, each one is simply another face, another facet of a united whole. The woven thoroughly intertwined nature of the whole world is mind-boggling. In a way it reminds me of an idea put forward in modern physics that the entire universe is made of a single particle threaded through spacetime. (I'm no expert on either topic, but i've been trying for years to wrap my head around both.)

My Rav constantly reminds me that these different Partzufim, faces, aren't actually anything, if they were something discrete and separate, created in any real way, then trying to connect to them would constitute Avodah Zara, idol worship. In our connecting or uniting these different facets we are, as we've mentioned in the past, trying to forge some kind of connection with HaShem, the underlying and overarching force in all of creation from the largest galaxy to the smallest microbe, and beyond.

As I've mentioned in the past, I'm always tempted to throw out these systems, cutting out the middle men. (k'vyachol) So the question remains, what do we gain from these systems?

On the one hand, if we really start to look at and recognize whats going on, all these systems are undifferentiated, united at their root, but when we look at them a certain way, from a certain perspective we're seeing a warped view, in which a particular attribute becomes more obvious, more emphasized.

Let's try and take a simple example. The partzuf, Atik Yomin, bears all the same sefirot as all the other partzufim, but from that perspective we are dealing with each sefira's aspect of keter. (Each of the ten sefirot are comprised of ten parts, each one represented by one of the sefirot. So for example the Sefira of Hesed has within it keter of hesed, hochmah of hesed, binah of hesed, hesed of hesed...etc.) If we look at Atik Yomin's sefira of hesed, it is actually the sefira of keter of hesed. If we look at Atik Yomin's sefira of hochmah, it is actually keter of hochmah.

If this isn't making sense, it's ok, this is really complicated and its not the kind of thing that really can fit into a single post or many posts. I don't want to get into it too much, only to illustrate that every perspective, every subset of the system, is simply a matter of focusing or emphasizing a particular part of the system over every other part of the system.

This is at the essence of all these systems. We are always narrowing down HaShem's infinite light into concepts or containers that we can hope to glean something from.

We'd like to say that this isn't necesary, lets connect to HaShem's light directly. We can't do that. Not yet. That is basically the goal. Everything in creation is working on bringing us to that goal where we no longer need these intermediate veils, bumper lanes, or training wheels.

We'd like to look at and examine the system, recognize that it is all different expressions of the underlying singularity and then ignore the systems and go straight for the singularly unique creator of it all.

Instead of trying to fight the system, we can actually work a little differently, something I've spoken about in the past, and we can engage the system. As we take the different systems and connect to them, clothing our thoughts, our desires our intentions within these systems, we are taking these manifold systems and putting them on as clothes. When we dress ourselves in these systems, they become a protective layer that allows us to connect to the essence of HaShem's light without being harmed.

The Rosh Yeshiva of Shuvu Bonim, Rav Berland (shlita) brings down a related teaching about the oneness of Bnei Yisrael, in this shiur he gave. He explains that each Jew is unique and bears a unique spark of mental accuity necesary to understand the Torah in its entirety. The only way for us to ever achieve total knowledge and understanding of the Torah is to connect to and love every one of the Jewish people. Every person we hold a grudge against ensures that some part of Torah will be blocked and unclear to us. Only by clothing our intellects in the love of each and every one of klal Yisrael can we truly connect to the unified Torah.

HaShem created the world in such a way that if we try to hide ourselves away from the world, we can't find Him. But, if we turn around and dive into the world in its multifaceted brilliance, striving to find the hidden intellect within each and every part, then that's where we will find HaShem.

This is, I think, the hardest stage in the service of HaShem. First we need to cleanse and rectify our body through the performance of the mitzwoth. This is the removal of the orlah of the foreskin.

Then we need to serve HaShem with tremendous love and affection, with total devotion out of the joy of fulfilling His command. This is the removal of the orlah of the heart.

Then we need to recognize the insignificance of ourselves in the scheme of things, to complete eliminate our personal interests from playing any part in our actions. This is the removal of the orlah of the mind.

But the final orlah, is the orlah of the Torah. We need to cut to the heart of the Torah, bind ourselves to it until there is no Torah left, only HaShem.

At each stage the bitul of the essence of the stage is the removal of the orlah. It's not that the bitul eliminates something but rather it reveals that something's oneness with HaShem in an undeniable way. In the first stage it is our physical needs, in the second our emotional needs, in the third the needs of our ego, and finally the veil of the Torah, the paradox of the Torah being separate and one with HaShem is nullified until there is only the constant experience of HaShem, something that is [practically] beyond achievable in this world, but will be the day to day reality at the right time.

[i'm sure there is also a bitul of the soul, meaning a removal of the orlah of the soul, essentially killing the yetzer hara, but that (i think) happens simultaneously with the final stage of removal of the orlah of the Torah.]


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