Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Izbitzer Matzah 1 (From הגדת בית יעקב א)

Matzah is lechem oni- poor bread. This is because it is missing something. What’s it missing? Close examination reveals that the word matzah is the word mitzah without a ו.# The Beis Yaakov asks , “Why would the zohar decide to make the comparison what between the words matzah and mitzvah? “
He says that when we see the word mitzvah, we really can understand quite a bit about the way Hashem runs the world. The letters of the word Mitzvah are really the letters of Hashem’s name י and ה and ו and ה. The Zohar (Pinchas 251b) says מצ in ATBASH is י”ה making the word מצוה really Hashem’s name.
The name of Hashem describes the creation as it descends from abstract (its source) to concrete, the reality which we live in, what his intent is for creation, and furthermore what happens when we do a Mitzvah. The letters י and ה are source of all of reality, but it is hidden and above the understanding of all of creation, hence they are concealed in the ATBASH .# The ו and ה means the choice a person makes and its result.#
The first two letters mean that Hashem energizes and creates the world, without our help. The last ה means this world and its existence. The ו means the 6 midos , which is the work of a person in divine service. It means a person’s ability to bring his understading and Hashem’s life force into that man’s reality life and actions.
The Izhibitzer analyzes how Hashem’s name works in terms of the creation of a specific thing. The yod means the point of life which exists in everything, and gives it existence, to each creation equally. The first ה is the taste which is distinctive in each food. The last ה constructs the specific substance of the food. The ו is the air inside the food which unites all of the separate ingredients.
The Izhbitzer explains more about the nature of this air. While two objects cannot occupy the same space, air can share space with anything. The Zohar (Vayikra 23:) explains that there are four “Yesodos” elemental spiritual foundations in all of reality. They described as fire, wind, water and dirt.

This world is a world of separations and distinctions, when one leaves this concrete world and ascends to more abstract, spiritual levels of creation, the more abstract one becomes, the less it is constrained. The more one ascends toward the ultimate source, the desire which Hashem used to create the world, the more connected to Him it becomes, and the less it is bound. In converse, the further something gets from Hashem, the more bound it is until, ultimately the last and most distant descent is something which becomes Domem, dead physical matter, incapable of even movement or growth whatsoever
Everything is composed of a combination of this spiritual fire, wind water and earth. We know that for the most part all of these spiritual elemental foundations are self exclusive, like their physical counterparts, they cannot share space with any other element. Fire and water will not be able to coexist in the same place, fire burns, water dissolves things, the earth swallows up things. Only air allows other things to share its space, or to share another’s space. Air is the only one that can contain and negotiate between the two opposites.
Within a person the same holds true as well. There are attributes that seem exclusive of each other as well. There is kindness (Chesed) within a person which is diametrically opposed to strength. Usually, we don’t think of the nice guy being a (Gevurah) powerful personality, and vice versa. However there is an ability to choose between which Midah to use as it contains both Midos. This Midah is called Tiferes, and it is the air which goes in between the different Yesodos, it can choose from amongst them to whatever Hashem requests at the moment. When a person understands which Midah Hashem wants us to use, we use that Midah, and sometimes he wants the opposite, so we do the opposite.
The Izhbitzer explains that the Yesod of water is Chesed,which is is Avraham, fire is Gevurah is Yitzchak, and Yaakov is Tiferes. Tiferes is the ability to choose from one Midah or the other. The Midah of Yaakov is the Midah to choose whatever is proper for Avodas Hashem and represented by the ו. ו therefore means Bechira. Zohar (Vayikra 6a) the letter ו is truth, because it is representative of the formation of a whole person,. A person completes themselves only th4rough free choice.
But inherent within free choice is the danger of it fermenting like the Pasuk in Malachi says,” isn’t Eisav Yaakov’s brother?” Even though Yaakov is the personification of the ו, which is free choice, it would seem that with the same Midah of free choice becoming an Eisav is also possible.
The Zohar (Yisro 79)calls Bechira/Tiferes a good and precious Midah, which is awesome Midah, because the Zohar says when you find Bechira, you need a proper awe of Hashem. You must have Yiras Hashem when you have Bechira, because its so easy to fall into the opposite when you have Bechira. Eisav and Chometz means Bechira without Yiras Hashem. This is why the Chamtez itself is full of air..
In Lashon Hakodesh, the ו means “and.” This means the ability to connect to different Madregos, and it is specifically for this reason that there is no ו in Matzah. The ו means a person’s ability to choose, and bring down energy, that a person choose good, and be disgusted by evil. Therefore, there is no air in Matzah and it cannot spread by itself, it shows there is no choice, just to follow after Hashem’s will. Matzah means that Hashem Himself sends down the energy from the upper ה to the lower ה, without the person’s contribution of the ו to connect the two הs. Hashem skips over the ו, to show even in a place which is outside of the grasp of man, Hashem can save us. #
The Zohar (Pinchas 256) says that Matzah, without a ו is like Masah strife. Why is that? Hashem skips over the development of free choice in Mitzraim, like in all other evil nations and causes the to crumble, as He sees their hearts. However, he looks at the Jews and sees that even without any action, they are in their hearts true and good. Matzah means that hashem can’t stand evil nations and does not wait around for them, rather acting immediately to destroy them. Therefore we say in the Hagadah, we eat Matzah because there was no time for the dough to rise before Hashem revealed Himself and saved us. Hashem skipped the over the ו of free choice, and the time it takes for a person to act and choose, and saved us.

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