How shall a man train himself to acquire the quality of Lovingkindness? The main way in which man can enter into the secret of Lovingkindness is to love God with perfect love so as not to forsake His service for any reason whatsoever for nothing has any value at all for him compared with the Blessed One's love. Therefore, he should primarily attend to the requirements of God's service and the rest of his time may be for other needs.
This love should be firmly fixed in his heart whether he recieves good at the hands of the Holy One, Blessed is He, or whether he recieves sufferings and rebukes. These latter, too, he should look upon as tokens of God's love. As it is written: 'Faithful are the wounds of a friend .' As it is written: 'With all thy might' which the Rabbis explain as 'For whichever measure He measures out to thee,' in order to include all measures under Lovingkindness. It will then be found that the secret of his life's direction will be from Sovereignty, but even when Sovereignty acts in judgment it is still bound to Lovingkindness. This was the quality of Nahum of Gamzu who used to say: 'This, too, is for good,' namely to bind it constantly to the side of Lovingkindness which is called "Good." He used to say: 'Also this, which appears to belong to the Left bound to Power, is for nothing but good, that is bound to Lovingkindness.' He concentrated on the good side of the quality and concealed its judgment. This is a great method of constantly binding oneself to Lovingkindness.
In the Tikkunim it is explained: 'Who is a saint?' He who does Lovingkindness to his Creator.' For in the acts of benevolence man carries out in the lower world he should have the intention of perfecting the upper worlds after the same pattern and this is what is meant by doing Lovingkindness to his Creator. It is necessary, therefor, to know the types of benevolence practised among men, all of which he should do on his Creator's behalf in the upper worlds, if he wants to acquire the quality of Lovingkindness. We, therefore, state that the following are the types of benevolence:
First, when man is born it is necessary to provide him with all his food. Man should therefore have the following in mind. When Understanding begets Beauty and it comes to pass that she is in hard labor because of the aspect of judgment, God forfend, then Beauty finds its exit towards the Powers and her birth is with difficulty. It is necessary for man to put things right there are as far as possible so that the birth of Beauty be towards the Right in order that the child may be born without blemish. As we say: 'And bring forth our justice as the light, O holy God,' that is, that Beauty (=Justice) should emerge towards the light, which is the Right, and it will then be holy and seperate from the Powers. In this is included that he intends, with the deeds he performs, to bind it constantly to Lovingkindness and to bring it forth from Understanding in the direction of Lovingkindness and the child will then be born well formed and of strong vitality. Practically every prohibition of the Torah is included in this, that the Powers do not stir up the power of stern judgment there so that God forfend, the birth be a difficult one.
Secondly, to circumcize the child: namely, to carry out the rules of circumcision in a proper manner so as to circumcise every kind of husk and foreskin which attaches itself to Foundation. And he should run after all those who cause a foreskin there and bring them back in repentance in such a way that by circumcising the foreskin of their heart he causes the Supernal Righteous One to have no foreskin and to stand firmly and he puts to right all those things which cause a foreskin. This is the reason that Phineas merited the priesthood when he circumcised the foreskins of the Israelites, for he did kindness to his Creator according to the secret of circumcision, in circumcising Foundation from that foreskin, and as a result he was deserving of kindness. From this one can learn all other qualities of lovingkindness.
Thirdly, to visit the sick and to heal them. For it is know that the Shekinah is love-sick for the Union, as it is written: 'For I am love-sick.' Her cure is in the hands of man who can bring her the good medicine she requires, as it is written: 'Stay me with dainties, support me with apples.' The secret of 'ashishoth is explained in the Tikkunim, namely, all the things bound to Sovereignty, 'ish (with the letter yod) representing Lovingkindess, 'ishah (with the letter he) representing Power, these are the Two Arms and there she is supported. ANd he who does so supports the sick in his illness. Secondly, 'support me with apples,' meaning to bind Her between Endurance and Majesty for there is Her support when she is white and red, like these apples whose colors are mixed, from the side of Lovingkindess. And it is necessary to visit Her soul and to entreat Her to take food and drink from the Supernal Flow from which she abtains because Her soul is sick for the misery of Israel, just as it is with the sick of the material world. So it is necessary to do on behalf of the Supernal Sick Ones. For She is sick, as we have said. And He is sick for He moves from His place in the world to come to wander after Her in this world. As it is written: 'As a bird that wandereth from her nest (namely, the Shekinah), So is a man that wandereth from his place.' He waits for Her and swears that He will not return to His place until He takes Her back to Her place. Therefore, He, too, 'was wounded becaue of our transgressions. He was crushed (of His own free will) because of our iniquities.' The cure of both lies in our hands. It is right to visit them and attend to their needs by studying the Torah and carrying out its precepts.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend Prov. XXVII. 6
With all thy might. 'And thou shalt love the Lord thy God... with all thy might' (Deut. VI. 5)
which the Rabbis explain Mish. Ber. IX. 5
for whichever measure A play on the word me'od, 'might,' to connect it with middah, 'measure,' i.e, give thanks unto Him whatever the measure of life He apportions.
Sovereignty The loweset of the Sephiroth and hence the closet link with the worlds beneath. By recognising the element of mercy even in judgment, man binds Sovereignty to Lovingkindness.
Nahum of Gamzu A Talmudic saint who met with great sufferings which he accepted in love. The name Gamzu is probably Gimzu, a small town near Lydda, by C. follows the folk-etymology given in the Talmud that the world is a compound of gam (=also) and zu (=this). 'What was he called Nahum of Gamzu? Because whatever befell him he would declare, This also is for the best' (Ta'an. 21a). C. takes 'for the best' to mean 'for the Sephirah of Lovingkindness.'
belong to the Left The Sephiroth on the left hand of the Supernal Man are those of Judgment and Power.
In the Tikkunim Introduction 1b, cf. Zohar III, 222b, Schechter: 'Studies in Judaism,' Phil. 1908, Vol. II, p.181, and p.316, n.79.
Who is a saint? Hasid, 'he who does Lovingkindess' mishassed. The Sephirah, Lovingkindness, is Hesed in Hebrew.
after the same patter C. understands the expression 'doing kindness to his Creator' literally, i.e., that, in a sense, God becomes the recipient of man's kindness because the acts of human kindness here below have their effect on the world of the Sephiroth. The greater part of this chapter is devoted to detailed description of the way in which human acts of mercy are paralleled in the world of the Sephiroth.
begats Beauty The Sephiroth of Beauty derives ultimately from the Sephirah of Understanding.
she is in hard labor Gen. XXXV. 17
exit toward the Powers The Sephiroth on the Right are Wisdom and Lovingkindness, those on the Left are Understanding and Power. Beauty emanates from all of them and should ideally be found a little towards the Right. Then there is harmony amoung the Sephiroth. But if, as a result of man's sins, strength is given to the Powers on the Left these will draw Beauty towards them and the harmony will be disturbed. The 'birth' of Beauty is then with difficulty. When man performs acts of kindness to the new-born child he should have the intention of performing this tikkun for the 'child' in the world of the Sephiroth. Namely, Beauty, so that it emerges toward the Right.
And bring forth A New Year Prayer, v. Festival Prayer Book, New Year, ed. Routledge, p. 157.
should emerge towards the light The Hebrew for 'as the light' is la'or and can mean, and is so interpreted by C. 'towards the light.' The Hebrew for 'O holy God' is kadosh and can mean simply holy or seperate. One of the symbolic names of Beauty is Justice because it is the Sephirah balanced between Lovingkindness and Power. Hence C.'s mystical interpretation of the prayer is: 'And bring forth (from Understanding = "Mother") our Justice (= Beauty) towards the light (= the Right) and it will then be holy and seperate from the Powers.'
bind it Beauty
well formed and of strong vitality A Talmudic expression used of the birth of a healthy child, Nidd. 31a
prohibition of the Torah included in this The Rabbis divide the divine precepts into positive and negative commandments. C. here says that practically all the negative commandments have as their aim the prevention of the Powers being stirred up. That is to say, when man commits forbidden acts he causes the power of stern judgment to be removed from its lawful place, just as his acts are unlawful. And this has the effect of preventing the 'easy birth' of Beauty. It might here be mentioned that the Kabbalists do not think of the process of the Sephiroth as having taken place in past time only but as recurring throughout time.
Foundation Symbolized by the penis.
those who cause a foreskin i.e., the wicked. 'Therefore also one must persue and run after the sinner and buy him for a good price, in order that the filth of sin may be purged away from him and the spirit of impurity, the emanation of the "other side," be subdued' (Zohar II, 128b, Soncino trans., Vol. III, p. 364).
foreskin of their heart Deut. X. 16
Righteous One Tzaddik = Foundation: 'But the righteous (Tzaddik) is an everlasting foundation' (Prov. X. 25
Phineas merited the priesthood. Num. XXV. 10-13
Shekinah The divine Presence, the Sephirah Sovereignty.
the Union With the Sephirah of Beauty, known as the 'Holy One, Blessed is He.' The harmony of the Sephiroth is chiefly brought about by the union of the Sephiroth of Beauty and Sovereignty.
I am love-sick Song of Songs II.5
Stay me. Song of Songs ibid.
'ashishoth Hebrew from 'dainties' interpreted as 'ish (man) and 'ishah (woman). The letter yod in the word 'man' symbolizes the Sephirah of Lovingkindness, the letter he in the word for 'woman,' the Sephirah of Power, because these two letters are found in the Tetragrammaton, the divine name of four-letters.
the Two Arms Symbol of Lovingkindness and Power. This interpretation is given in Tikkunim, 64, p.98a
Her support i.e., her proper resting-place.
white and red The colors of mercy and judgment respectivly. C'.s interpretation of the verse in Canticles follows Zohar III, 40a.
from the side of Lovingkindness The proper resting-place of Sovereignty is between Endurance and Majesty and then, because the harmony is perfect, she contains the colors of both white and red.
soul is sick Judg. X.16
the Supernal Sick Ones The Sephiroth of Beauty and Sovereignty
She is sick Sovereignty
He is sick The Holy One, Blessed be He, the Sephirah of Beauty
As a bird Prov. XXVII.8, Tikkunim 1b, and Zohar III, R. Meh., 278a.
was wounded Is. LIII. 5