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Soul Steps
The Zohar
When G-d first created man, He gathered soil from the four corners of the world. He then drew down into him the breath of life from its source in the spiritual Holy Temple above it to create a living soul. This soul was composed of three levels [in ascending order]: Nefesh, Ruach and Neshama.
130 Evil Years
The Holy Ari
There are three cardinal sins which the Torah instructs us to give up our lives for rather than transgress: idolatry, murder, and sexual licentiousness. It is explained in the Zohar that Adam, in a certain sense, transgressed all three of these cardinal prohibitions in committing the Primordial Sin, and each of the Patriarchs rectified one aspect of the collapse of spiritual consciousness that Adam precipitated.
Retrieved from Exile
Mystical Classics
"Do not be afraid, for I will make you into a great nation there"

The Ohr HaChaim teaches that the purpose of the various exiles is to isolate elements of holiness which are scattered within the kelipa, the "peel", which surrounds the "fruit", i.e. the realm of complete holiness.

Inasmuch as Egypt was full of abominations, many elements of sanctity were also scattered there. By descending to that impure place, the Jacob's family (i.e. the Jewish People) retrieved the elements of holiness trapped therein.
From Father to Son
Chasidic Masters
When Jacob was informed by his sons that Joseph was alive, he remarked: "My son Joseph still lives. I shall go and see him before I die."

Shem miShmuel teaches that vision is an "outgoing" activity, a form of spiritual energy emitted by the eyes that actualized our vision. The Chassidic masters further comment that by looking, we actually influence the object we see.
Heifer Reminder
Intermediate
Heifer Reminder
Contemporary Kabbalists
Going out into the "field" means leaving the environment of Torah and Judaism into Esau's realm, becoming susceptible to spiritual death. The leaders must fortify those venturing out into the "field" with spiritual food (knowledge of the Torah) and proper clothing (observance of the commandments) to protect them from the spiritual dangers awaiting them there.
Taking Initiative
Ascent Lights
After Chanukah, each of us has been invested with new strength to be innovative in our Jewish observance. The warmth of Chanukah is needed especially now, during the month of Tevet, the coldest of the months. Likewise, Judah did not wait to be called. He took the initiative to do something. Similarly, each of us has to get out there and use some of the new potential we have acquired.
The Shortest Verse in Torah
Mystical Stories
A verse from this week's Torah reading has only eleven letters.
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