Thursday, October 2, 2008

A non-Chabad source for Divine revelation via Tzaddikim: 

“And you shall command the children of Yisrael”[1]

In the holy Zohar it is asked: Why did the verse employ an expression here that is different from that found in all the other Parshiyos [sections] of the Torah? [Here] it is not written, “And G–d spoke to Moshe, saying ‘Command the children of Yisrael.’“ Rather, it is written, “And you shall command ... And you shall draw near to yourself ... And you shall speak.” 

It appears [to me as follows:] It is known that after their passing from this world, each of the Tzaddikim returns to the source of his Neshama, whether in AsiyahYetzirahBeriah, or Atzilus—each one according to the place where the root of his Neshama is held. As is also known, it is written that since Moshe said to G–d, “and if not, erase me from Your book,”[2] Moshe’s name was not mentioned in this entire Parsha. For his word made an impact, and it became necessary for some small measure of death to be fulfilled for him. Although he lived in this world for another forty years, approximately, it appears that the aspect of death that was fulfilled for him was that he became more attached to G–d than before. In a way similar to the [greater] attachment of Tzaddikim to G–d after their passing from this world. Similarly, he connected himself to G–d in his lifetime more than he had before. Rising from one level to another is an aspect of death, as is known.[3]

This also answers the above question of the Zohar, concerning the reason that in this  Parsha it is written, “And you shall command ... And you shall draw near to yourself ... And you shall speak,” using an expression that implies that Moshe himself will command. This is because he attached himself to G–d to such an extent until he came to be on the level of G–d, as it were; [thus,] he himself had the power to command. For that which he was commanding was as if G–d was commanding, due to his tremendous attachment to the divine. I said this concerning the verse, “See, I make you as Elokim to Pharaoh, and your brother Aharon shall be your prophet.”[4] [I explained that] Moshe was then on the level of Elokim, as he is called, “a man of Elokim,”[5] and Aharon was his prophet. 

So, too, here. This is the level of death that was fulfilled for him, such that his name was not mentioned in this  Parsha, for he became attached to G–d while still alive to the extent that Tzaddikim reach after their passing. Thus, through this he reached the level of Elokim. The intelligent one will understand. 

Rabbi Shmuel ben Naftali Hertz, Atara LeRosh Tzaddik, pp. 57-58.


[1] Shemos 27:20.

[2] ibid. 33:32.

[3] Zohar Shelach 159b; see Mikdash Melech and Ramaz.

[4] ibid. 7:1.

[5] Devarim 33:1.


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