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Table of Contents

Sharing the Primordial Delights of Torah with God

The rectified essence of this day is then “taking delights” in the Torah by studying Hassidism, just as King David says in Psalms, “If Your Torah was not my delights, then I would be lost in my poverty.” This does not refer to the Torah as it affects reality; rather the Torah as it was before reality was created, before You even decided to create reality. The verse is explained thus, “if it would not be for the fact that Your Torah constitutes my delights, that I am able to experience and take delights in the Torah as You did, then I would be lost.”


There are two interpretations of what it means to learn Torah for its own sake. The simple meaning is that a person has to learn Torah in order to apply it.  However, the deeper meaning is that one must study Torah in order to reach a level that is above reality altogether. This is the transcendent state of becoming a partner, so to speak, together with God in experiencing the delights of the Torah as God experienced them before the world was created. 


The level of “If Your Torah was not my delights, then I would be lost in my poverty” is the level of studying Torah for its own sake, not in the sense of in order to do it. The word “avad’ti”, “I would be lost,” also has the connotation of committing suicide. We can thus understand that someone at this level feels that if he does not learn Torah it would be as if he was committing suicide.

Shechem: Joseph’s City

We began this article by stating that the present round of world terror has its roots in the desecration of Joseph’s Tomb in the City of Shechem (Nablus). We will now delve deeper into the more profound significance of that place.

 The City of Shechem is named after the archetypal rapist in the Torah. There, Shechem, the son of Hamor, raped Dinah, Jacob’s daughter from his wife Leah. Shechem was so enamoured by Dinah that he wished to marry her, however, her brothers told Hamor that in order to allow marriage between the two families, all their males must first circumcise themselves. This they did, however Simon and Levi, two of Dinah’s brothers, took her revenge; while the men were still weak from the circumcision, they entered the city and smote all the males.

Despite the apparent rectification of their sister’s defilement and thereby the flaw of the covenant, Jacob did not give the city to Simon and Levi, but to Joseph. This was because the two brothers brought about rectification, however it was temporary, a rectification that came from their chaotic energies without containing them in rectified vessels. The eternal rectification, however, the rectification through vessels that can contain the abundant energies of chaos, will be achieved by Joseph. 

Jacob gave Shechem to Joseph because he saw that the ultimate rectification would come through him.


The word “shechem” in Hebrew also means “shoulder”. In the future, after the rectification of all nations, all of the peoples on earth will serve God together with one shoulder.” The ultimate rectification will be that they will all serve God together. The word “shechem,” therefore, is also used in the Torah as an idiom to mean together,” or togetherness.” From here we can deduce that the City of Shechem also reflects this quality of togetherness. Shechem ben Hamor had a chaotic desire to connect with the family of Jacob, the Jewish nation, however it was not expressed in a way that could be tolerated. In the future, Shechem will be rectified and his unbounded energies will be contained in rectified vessels when all families of the earth will serve God together.

Only Joseph is capable of achieving this task. Joseph has the talent to take the power that Shechem expressed in the worst possible way in his city, and rectify it. 

Another correlation, this time between Joseph and the lulav, will help further develop this idea.

The Lulav

On the festival of Sukot we are commanded to rejoice with the four species, lulav, etrog, hadasim and aravot. These are three branches of myrtle (hadasim) and two branches of willow (aravot), all bound together with a lulav, the center branch of the date palm. These are held, together with an etrog (citron fruit) and a blessing is made. Thus we have four species which include seven items: the three myrtle branches correspond to our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the two willow branches correspond to Moses and Aaron, Joseph is the lulav, and King David is represented by the etrog. Yet, the formula for the blessing we make states, “Blessed are You, God... who commanded us... to take the lulav.” We can see from the fact that only the blessing concludes with the lulav, with no mention of the other species, that the lulav is the most outstanding of all the four species. As stated, the lulav corresponds to Joseph and is therefore relevant to the subject we are discussing.

In the Midrash, we find that each of the four species represents a part of the human body. In this case, the lulav is considered to represent the spine, the backbone. This is the sefirah of yesod reaching all the way up to the mind, the origin of the seminal drop15. The rectification of yesod, the brit, is by drawing down the holy drop of the Jewish soul to be born. Our sages say that the condition for the coming of the Messiah is that all the souls are born into the world. In order to reach up and draw down that holy soul and that holy drop, the yesod has to reach all the way back up to the mind.


15. See Rabbi Ginsburgh’s upcoming book on Kabbalah and medicine for more on this subject.


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