Lag BaOmer: a turning point

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In his talk on Parashat “Emor”, the Rebbe reminds that the whole process of spiritual refinement during the Omer period can be divided into two stages. The first stage is perfecting the ‘core’ powers of the soul. They correspond to the first five ‘midot’ (‘qualities’) – the sefirot of ‘Chessed’ (lovingkindness), ‘Gevurah’ (discipline), ‘Tiferet’ (balance), ‘Netzach’ (ambition) and ‘Hod’ (acknowledgement).

The next step is the perfection of the soul’s connection to the world. This connection is represented by two sefirot: ‘Yesod’ (connection, attachment) and ‘Malchut’ – a sefirah which is focused on transmitting the revelation of the sefiros to a lower level.

“The first day of Sefirat haOmer which corresponds to the quality of « Chesed of Chesed » was the beginning. The sefirah of Lag BOmer – “Hod of Hod” – is the conclusion and the completion of the sefirot representing the ‘core’ powers of the soul. In Kabbalah they are called « gufah » – the body. From the quality of “Hod she’b’Hod” and below it the ‘body’ is already formed. The ‘midot’ coming after the “Hod” begin a new process – that of transmitting the « influence » of the body [into the world]. As, for example, the quality of ‘Yesod’ which embodies the power to influence others”. (From the “סידור עם דא »ח”, free translation).

 

Lag B’Omer is illuminated by the sefirah of “Hod she’b’Hod”. What is its inner meaning?

• The sefirah of ‘Hod’ as such is connected with the idea of ‘hoda’ah’ – the acknowledgment that G-d is the Master of the world. The Rebbe: “Since the world itself conceals the G‑dliness within it (the word ‘olam’ related to ‘helam’, ‘concealment’), a Jew must serve G‑d in a way that reveals that everything within the world has G‑dliness within it”.

• However, on a higher level, this sefirah gives a person an opportunity to tap into the level of G-dliness which is beyond comprehension, beyond expression in the world. This hoda’ah corresponds to the level of ‘peleh’ (miracle) – an acknowledgement of G‑d which completely transcends natural limitations, even those of intellect.

The mutual inclusion of the two levels of ‘Hod’ into a united sefirah of ‘Hod she’b’Hod’ works wonders. Even this seemingly inaccessible level is drawn down and revealed in the human intellect. Thanks to the ‘Hod she’b’Hod’ we’re able to grasp the ideas of G-dliness which completely transcend the natural order of the world…

Based on the Rebbe’s talk on Parshat Emor, 20th Day of Iyar, 5751 (1991).

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