Sunday, December 09, 2007

I'm heartened by the fact that quite a few people have come upon this blog. The truth is, I've been doing a lot of re-writing in hopes of having this published, so I decided to revise the entries one at a time, starting with Chapter One.

I'll scrap the projected condensation for now, and go ahead with the chapter-by-chapter re-writes. I might enter new things from time to time, though. Oh -- and if you're a publisher who'd like to consider this work, please let me know ....

Please contact me at if you care to. Thanks.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A New Sefer

Rabbi Gottlieb of has published a new edition of Shamatti, entitled "Hashem, Shamatti Shemaacha". While the first one published just a few short years ago by Rabbi Chagai Horowitz is fine and attractively set out, this new one has more biurim, mekorot, and more. The two volumes sell for $42 at my serforim store, and I suggest you grab it as soon as you can, as it will surely have a short shelf life. Try Biegeleisen's in Boro Park (718-436-1165). They'll probably have it.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Chapter Seventy:

Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag's "Introduction to the Zohar"

-- as translated and commented on by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman




"And the reason for that (i.e., for the Moshiach’s refusal to appear in our generation) as we've said is because those who do delve into Torah depreciate their own and Torah’s interior (aspect, by eschewing Kabbalah), and they regard the Torah’s interior as superfluous, only studying it when it’s neither 'day nor night'”.

"But they’re like blind people running their hands along a wall."
-- That’s to say, those laudable souls who study Torah in depth and dedicate their lives to the punctilious observance of mitzvot in the hopes of encouraging the Moshiach to arrive are barking up the wrong tree, if you will; they’re shortsightedly looking here (in the revealed Torah) for what’s actually there (in the concealed Torah).

"For they thus strengthen their own exterior (aspect), meaning the advantages of their body (over their soul), and they likewise bestow more importance to the Torah’s exterior (aspect) than to its interior (one) ... "
-- That is, they lend more credence to their bodies than to their souls by favoring the more practical, this-worldly aspects of the Torah over the Kabbalah-based ones.

" ... and thus allow the world’s exterior (aspects) to hold sway over its interior (ones), each according to its own makeup."
-- That is, they thus seem to advocate and grant more importance to externals, which is so much more destructive because they’re our greatest Torah scholars and leaders.

"For the exterior (aspect) of the Jewish Nation, meaning its less learned individuals, thus hold sway over and undo the Jewish Nation’s interior (aspect), her Torah Greats. And the exterior (aspect) of the Gentile nations, their destructive elements, likewise hold sway over and undo their interior (aspect), the righteous Gentiles. And the entire world’s exterior (aspect), the Gentile nations, holds sway over and undo the Jewish Nation, its interior (aspect)."
-- And so all externals overwhelm internals, leading to the more unlearned elements of the Jews to hold sway over the Torah greats, the more brutish elements of the Gentiles holding sway over its more righteous elements, and the Gentiles themselves to hold sway over the Jews in toto.


"It’s (in fact) in just such a generation that the Gentile destroyers rear up their heads and most especially want to annihilate and butcher the Jewish Nation, (for) it’s said, 'calamity only befalls the world for (the sins of) the Jewish Nation' (Yebamot 63), and (as) it was said in the Tikkun (cited) above, 'the Gentile destroyers (will) bring poverty, ruin, robbery, looting, murder, and destruction upon the world' (then)."

"Hence, since all that had been (stated) in the Tikkunim has come about (in our times), because of our many sins; since (it’s also true that) disaster has struck at the very best of us in particular (in the course of the Holocaust), as it’s said, 'It (i.e., disaster) invariably begins with the righteous (Babba Kama 60); and since the dignity that the Jewish Nation once enjoyed in Poland, Lithuania, etc. only abides with the remnant (of Torah greats) living in Israel now, it’s incumbent upon us to correct that dreadful wrong. Each of us (of that caliber left) must take it upon himself with every fiber of his being and with all his means to bolster the Torah’s interior (aspect) and grant it its (rightful) place of honor above the Torah’s exterior (aspect) from now on (by studying the Zohar and Kabbalah)."


"Then each one of us (Torah greats ourselves) will be awarded with a bolstering of his own interior (aspect), his inner 'Jewish Nation', which is the needs of the soul over his exterior (aspect), his inner 'Gentile nations', the needs of the body. But the capacity to do that will only come to the Jewish Nation (in its entirety) once the unlearned among us acknowledge and realize the value of the Torah greats over them and (begin to) listen to and obey them."
-- That is, once the Torah greats themselves delve into Kabbalah as they should they’ll nourish their own beings inside and out. And -- the implication is -- then they’ll appear in a new light in the eyes of the unlearned, who’ll admire and obey them by that point, study Kabbalah as well, and grow in their own beings. And once all that happens, ...

"Then the interior (aspect) of the Gentile nations, the righteous Gentiles, will overpower its exterior (aspect), their destroyers, and subdue them as well. And then the world’s interior (aspect), the (actual) Jewish Nation, will likewise gloriously and nobly overpower the world’s exterior (aspect), the Gentile nations, and all the nations of the world will recognize and acknowledge the preeminence of the Jewish Nation."

"And the words, 'The people will take them and bring them to their place; and the House of Israel will inherit them in G-d’s land' (Isaiah 14:2) will be fulfilled, as well as (the words) 'they will carry your sons in their arms, and carry your daughters on their shoulders' (Isaiah 49:22). For as the Zohar (itself) says, 'It is through (the study of) this work, the Zohar (most especially), that they’ll be freed from exile with mercy' (Parshat Nasah. p. 124). Amen, may it be so!"

(c) 2006 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

(Feel free to contact me at )

AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman's translation of "The Gates of Repentance" has been reissued at *at a discount*!
You can order it right now from here
Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon "The Path of the Just", and "The Duties of the Heart" (Jason Aronson Publishers). His new work on Maimonides' "The Eight Chapters" will soon be available.
Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes on entitled
"Spiritual Excellence" and "Ramchal"
Free Website Counters