Sunday, June 28, 2015

חלק אלוה ממעל ממש


פרק ב ונפש השנית בישראל היא חלק אלוה ממעל ממש כמ"ש ויפח באפיו נשמת חיים ואתה נפחת בי וכמ"ש בזוהר מאן דנפח מתוכיה נפח פי' מתוכיותו ומפנימיותו שתוכיות ופנימיות החיות שבאדם מוציא בנפיחתו בכח: כך עד"מ נשמות ישראל עלו במחשבה כדכתיב בני בכורי ישראל בנים אתם לה' אלקיכם פי' כמו שהבן נמשך ממוח האב כך כביכול נשמת כל איש ישראל נמשכה ממחשבתו וחכמתו ית' דאיהו חכים ולא בחכמה ידיעא אלא הוא וחכמתו א' וכמ"ש הרמב"ם

This passage in the Tanya has been taken far too literally - and erroneously - to the point that it has caused much misunderstanding that is close to heretical.


It cannot mean that there is a "piece of God" within every Jew. That is in direct contradiction to the principle of Achdus Hashem. That meaning is also contradicted by the mashal to the breath that comes from within a person. The breath does not contain a little piece of the person. Chelek in this context means a distribution. And Eloka means divinity. And thus it is tantamount to sayin that Man is Tzelem Elokim

18 comments:

  1. I am not sure how your non-literal take is consistent with the Tanya's understanding of "ein od milvado" and "yeish mei'Ayin" (cap intentional).

    I agree with your "cheileq" but not necessarily that "[Eloak] means divinity".

    (Side note: the rule by which Noach's name is Noach and not Nocha applies to this sheim Hashem too. Also to Yehoshua', for someone who actually acknowledges ayins.)

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    1. The One Who wasn't really metzamtzeim. If "ein od milvado" that includes people.

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  2. Nefesh Hachayim in Shaar 3 deals with the seeming self-contradiction between the all encompassing unity of Hashem, and the Tzimtzum. Man can be both Tzelem Elokim and Cheilek Elokim at once, (and as limited humans we have no idea what this means).

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    1. I don't think that's what he means. After all is said, the right way to sing the song would be: "Hashem is not here, Hashem is not there, Hashem is truly nowhere."

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    2. I argued on my blog that NhC refers to two kinds of tzimtzum: an actual tzimtzum of Kevod Hashem which leads to the illusion of a tzimtzum of HQBH Himself. A synthensis.

      Then he begins shaar 4 by discussing two kinds of lishmah. The lishmah of mitzvos maasios is lesheim Po'alam, but the Torah is actually lishmah -- lesheim Torah. Then I try to show that the NhC implies that mitzvos lesheim Po'alam bring back Kevod Hashem, and Torah lishmah breaks through the illusion that Hashem Himself is absent.

      Which answers the "why" question to cheileq 3. Why, in a seifer where the other sections are about the effects of mitzvos maasios (shaar 1), tefillah (shaar 2) and Torah (shaar 4) -- action, speech, and thought -- we have an interruption about G-d, not man and human activity?

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    3. http://www.aishdas.org/asp/torah-lishmah-and-nefesh-hachaim

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    4. Oh, and I conclude that the Baalei Mussar were more loyal to NhC's original intent than the Yeshivish way of learning it. (When they actually look at the first three she'arim or the "chapters".)

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    1. I must confess, much of the Tanya reads like that to me too. (Although why RPD could quote Nefesh haChaim to explain the Tanya is beyond me, they have entirely different concepts of tzimtzum.)

      In particular, if tzimtzum is an illusion, and really ein od milvado, exactly who is it experiencing that illusion?

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    2. There is a difference, but not as great as people make it out to be.

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    3. I like the question of who experiences the illusion. :-)

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    4. BTW, that's the point of the Cogito, Des Cartes "Cogito ergo sum -- I think therefore I am."

      I can be sure I exist, because if I'm wrong on that point, who exactly is being wrong? This means that there is one postulate I can reason from with a 100% certainty that my postulate is true.

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  5. The Gr"a in Imrei Noam on Berachos 58. says that it means literally a chelek.

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  6. http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14215&st=&pgnum=87&hilite=

    The Gra does not use the word "mamash." As a matter of fact, the Gra leads me to a new understanding of Chelek Eloka Me'ma'al. Chelek is used in the sense of "portion of." The Gra is saying the Chachmei Yisroel are the portion of HKBH, and therefore he distributes his chochmo to them. V'duk.

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