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Giving charity increases unity in the world

Righteous Generosity

Righteous Generosity

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Righteous Generosity
Giving charity increases unity in the world

We will now explain the mystical meaning of the verse, "There is one who gives generously yet ends with more", (Proverbs 11:24) which our sages applied to the mitzvah of charity. (Yalkut Shimoni ad loc) Indeed, we will also relate [this verse] to the same subject, for yesod is called the "righteous one" [in Hebrew, "tzadik"], inasmuch as it gives "charity" [tzedaka] to Nukva, who is a priori termed "righteousness" [tzedek], but thereby becomes "charity" [tzedaka].

The word for "charity", "tzedaka", is composed of the word for "righteousness" ("tzedek", spelled tzadik-dalet-kuf) plus an additional hei. Since the hei at the end of a word is a sign of the feminine gender, tzedaka may be considered the feminine form of "tzedek". Thus, yesod transforms Nukva into a female.

Now, [the verse speaks of] the tzadik [i.e., yesod] as "giving generously". The literal meaning of this word [in Hebrew, "mefazeir"] is "spreading", implying that it crumbles the supernal states of chesed into small crumbs, which scatter from the pulverizing blows. This is in order to give [these crumbs] to Nukva, and the crumbs spread throughout Nukva in a manner similar to [how the coins of] tzedaka [a person distributes spread salvation throughout the world]. Someone who gives charity…will become wealthier, and possess more than he did beforehand…

You should not think that these states of chesed are diminished by [passing through] Zeir Anpin, or that they lack anything by being given to tzedek [i.e., Nukva]. On the contrary, [the result of this process] is not a lacking but "ends with more." For these [pulverizing] blows magnify all the states of chesed, and their light increases infinitely. Zeir Anpin grows through this process, as we have explained elsewhere. This is the meaning of the phrase, "yet ends with more".

Zeir Anpin must process its abstract experience of chesed, "breaking it down" or concretizing it into terms and contexts that are meaningful to the objective-oriented partzuf of Nukva in order for the latter to assimilate it. Lest one think that Zeir Anpin suffers from its "marriage" to Nukva (for which it must "trouble itself" to contextualize its inherent abstractness, which would seem to be a regrettable descent), we are told here that it, in fact, matures and develops from the process. The descent into reality rebounds as a greater ability to achieve abstraction.

It could be that this is why yesod is called "Joseph".

As we have explained numerous times, Joseph is associated with yesod by virtue of his sexual purity. Here, we note that the word "Joseph" (in Hebrew, "Yosef") means "he will add", alluding to the increase Joseph - i.e., holy coupling with Nukva - causes in Zeir Anpin.

So will it be with someone who gives charity. [He will not suffer financially from this, but]on the contrary, he will become wealthier, and possess more than he did beforehand.

Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Likutei Torah, Shaar HaMitzvot; subsequently published in "Apples From the Orchard." available at Kabbala Online Shop]

Reprinted with permission from Chabad of California. Copyright 2004 by Chabad of California, Inc. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work or portions thereof, in any form, without permission, in writing, from Chabad of California, Inc.

Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky is a scholar, writer, editor and anthologist, living in Jerusalem. He has recently produced two monumental works: "Apples from the Orchard: Arizal on the Weekly Torah" and a Chumash translation with commentary based on the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe (Kehot).
Rabbi Yitzchak Luria […Ashkenazi ben Shlomo] (5294-5332 = 1534-1572 c.e.); Yahrtzeit (anniversary of death): 5th of Av. Buried in the Old Cemetery of Tzfat. Commonly known as the Ari, an acronym standing for Eloki Rabbi Yitzchak, the G-dly Rabbi Isaac. No other master or sage ever had this extra letter Aleph, standing for Eloki [G-dly], prefaced to his name. This was a sign of what his contemporaries thought of him. Later generations, fearful that this appellation might be misunderstood, said that this Aleph stood for Ashkenazi, indicating that his family had originated in Germany, as indeed it had. But the original meaning is the correct one, and to this day among Kabbalists, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria is only referred to as Rabbenu HaAri, HaAri HaKadosh [the holy Ari] or Arizal [the Ari of blessed memory].
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