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Monday, December 17, 2012

Chomer and Tzurah, Ohr Yashar and Ohr Chozer: Explaining Chassidic/Kabbalistic Concepts Based on the Writings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

In the Rebbe's first Ma'amar for Shavuot, the Rebbe explains the significance of concept that the Torah was created 2000 years before Creation and that it was (and will be) G-d's joy (Sha'ashuah). Within the Ma'amar, the Rebbe explains in passing the concepts of Chomer and Tzurah and Ohr Yashar and Ohr Chozer.

The Rebbe explains that everything in the world is created with material (Chomer) and [spiritual] form (Tzurah). The material aspect of created things is made from the word of G-d, while their form come from the will and desire of G-d. The Torah is connected to the creation of both aspects.

The Rebbe also explains that there are two ways in which G-dliness is drawn down to the world: a light that comes straight down (Ohr Yashar) and a light that is reflected (Ohr Chozer). The same is true for Torah study, and is connected to the two kinds of Talmuds that exist. When one studies something and immediately understands it, that's related to the Ohr Yashar and that the Talmud Yerushalmi (the Jerusalem Talmud). If someone studies something and does not immediately understand it, having many questions on the subject, that's related to the Talmud Bavli (the Babylonian Talmud).

Studying in the way of Ohr Chozer, the Babylonian Talmud, brings one to levels that are higher beyond measure than studying through the way of Ohr Yashar. Yet, we see that that are the Talmud Yerushalmi also has advantages that are beyond measure, as we see from Rabbi Zeirah, who fasted 100 fasts in order to forget the Babylonian Talmud in order to study the Jerusalem Talmud. Both ways are important.

There are two levels of study through Ohr Chozer. First, is study with effort in order to understand what one is study. Second, higher still, is study with effort to understand what actions are needed and a desire to understand the essence of G-d, accompanied by awe and fear of not fully complying with the Divine will.

Torah study through the ways described above, particularly through the second, higher level of Ohr Chozer, brings pleasure (Ta'anug) and joy (Sha'ashua), for us and for G-d Himself.     

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