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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tests and Elevating Holy Sparks: Explaining Chassidic/Kabbalistic Concepts Based on the Writings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

In the Chassidic discourse (Ma'amar) for the 12th of Tammuz, 5711, the Rebbe's first Ma'amar on the date of this Chabad holiday, the Rebbe elaborated on the verse, "You have given those who fear You trials with which to be tested, in order to beautify [Your behavior] forever." (Psalms 60:6)

The Rebbe begins by quoting his father-in-law, the Previous Rebbe, who wrote a discourse on this very same verse, explaining that this verse is referring to the service of self-sacrifice and the topic of tests specifically. 

When it comes to elevating the holy sparks found in this world, the Divine service requires involving oneself with a physical object and using it for a Divine purpose. However, when it comes to tests, it is not the object that is elevated, but rather the person him/herself, to bring out ones own inner strength, until there is no longer any obstacle or determent.  This involves greater strength as well as greater nullification to G-d. 

The Previous Rebbe also stated that our generation, which is in the "heels" of the Messianic era (Ikveta d'Meshicha), was given greater power to overcome tests than the generation in Egypt. At that time, the Jewish people did not listen to Moshe and Aharon due to hard labor. This is not the case today.

The Rebbe then explains that there are three elements related to every Divine service: 1) The object of the Divine service; 2) The Jewish person involved in the service; 3) The kind of service related to the person and the object involved. All three elements are different depending on whether the service involves the service called Avodat HaBeirurim (the service of elevating holy sparks) and Avodat HaNissionot (the service of tests).

The Rebbe explains that when it comes to tests, the test itself has no intrinsic reality. Also, the spark itself that must be elevated during this time of Ikveta d'Meshicha is much darker in nature, for which the name "light" hardly applies. The service of tests is one that is linked to the Yechidah, the highest aspect of the soul, which is connected to desire and pleasure, Ratzon and Taanug. On the level of Ratzon and Taanug, there is no test, because they are connected to levels of the soul that are above intellect. 

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