"When you go out to war against your enemy, Havaya, your Elokim, will give them into your hand, and you will capture a captive…" (Deut. 21:10)

Rashi explains that this verse is speaking of a Milchemet Reshut, a war that is not compulsory as a result of a direct Divine command, although permissible to be fought.

Existence is divided into three domains...

Existence is divided into three domains: 1) a place of holiness 2) a place of impurity 3) a place of Reshut (permissibility). In the place of holiness, there is no need to make repairs and refinement. On the other hand, a place of impurity cannot be refined. For example, it is wrong for a person to say he is eating a food that is forbidden to consume for the sake of Heaven. Rather, one is obligated to distance oneself from forbidden items.

Reshut represents neither a place of holiness nor of impurity. It is the realm of the mundane whose source is Kelipat Noga, existing between these two realms. One has free choice to use things which are presently neutral. How one chooses to use these spiritually neutral objects will then immediately place them into either the realm of holiness or the realm of impurity, dependent on the intent of the person. (Peri Chacham, Baal Sulam)

Examples of this from everyday life include making a living from a profession, going to a doctor for healing, and other mundane activities that form part of the general functioning of society, yet are not included in the enumerated mitzvahs. The realm of the permissible includes all of nature that a person uses throughout his life. These activities are in the realm of the permissible, that is, they contain neither Mitzvah nor sin, although it is possible to refine also this realm.

The verse above combines two seemingly conflicting Names of G‑d: Havaya, representing the emanation of holiness, and Elokim, representing His constriction that allows the existence of nature, which appears separate from Holiness. The word Ha’teva, meaning "the nature", is numerically equal to Elokim. According to the Holy Ari, Gematria expresses the ‘back’ or the external aspect of a word, the side of concealment, since its relation to other words is only by means of a mathematical correlation, whereas the word itself represents the inner level, the side of revelation.

...he has expanded the place of Holiness and extended its dominion even within the realm of the permissible.

By attributing personal success to the Al-mighty and not to his own powers, when he attributes nature (Elokim) to G‑d the Creator (Havaya), he thereby reveals the inner aspect of nature and unites the two Divine Names of Havaya and Elokim. The result is that he has expanded the place of Holiness and extended its dominion even within the realm of the permissible. But if, G‑d forbid, he does the opposite, and attributes all of his success to his own powers and "the strength of his own hand", he thereby expands the place of impurity, which then rules even in the place of Reshut.

The inner meaning of the above verse - "When you go out to war against your enemy…" - when you extend the realm of holiness even into the area of the permissible, (and as Rashi explains, this verse refers to a war of Reshut), "Havaya, your Elokim, will give them into your hand…" When you will be victorious, you will unite the two Names, Havaya and Elokim. The verse specifically uses the words "in your hands," since people’s hands symbolize their free choice.

Delivered orally; translated by David Devor from his notes and extensively edited by KabbalaOnline.org staff.

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