Vol 21.32 - Vayakhel 2                        Spanish French Audio  Video

Hebrew Text:

Page244   Page245   Page246   Page247   Page248   Page249  

 Likkutei Levi Yitzchak 2


(5741) Zohar (217b) and Likkutei Levi Yitzchak (ibid) in that R' Yose would think of worldy matters.

The difference between the Avodah of R' Shimon bar Yochai (a Torah occupation) and R' Yose (refining)  

Zohar: While he was speaking he saw Rabbi Yosi contemplating worldly matters. He told him 'Yosi, stand and complete your image, for one letter is missing in you'. For since he was contemplating worldly things, he called him Yosi and not Rabbi Yosi. Rabbi Yosi arose and rejoiced in words of Torah and stood before him. Rabbi Shimon looked upon him and said 'Rabbi Yosi, now you are whole before the Ancient One (Heb. Atik Yomin), and your image is whole.


1.In the Zohar (217b) on this week’s Parsha it tells that once, when the Chavraya (the group of disciples) of R' Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi) were gathered around him and they discussed mystical Torah aspects, Rashbi saw R’ Yosi “contemplating worldly matters”. He told him 'Yosi, stand and complete your image, for one is missing in you”

- Rasbhi saw that since R’ Yosi contemplated “worldly matters”, that there was a lacking in his “deyukan” (image). In other words, that one letter (from his name) was missing (in him)

Afterwards “R’ Yosi arose and rejoiced in words of Torah . . R’ Shimon looked upon him and said: R’ Yosi, now you are whole” . . and your image is whole ( and subsequently R’ Shimon said a Torah exegesis on the verse: “ And he made the Tzitz”)

In essence, this story is very puzzling:

How is it possible that R’ Yosi, one of the greatest Tannaim and someone who was part of Rashbi’s gathering and his group – contemplate, at the very moment that they were discussing esoteric Torah concepts, “worldly matters”?!

And even if one could find a reason that R’ Yosi’s contemplation of “worldly matters” was in a manner that is permissible in Torah (in which, due to this cause, he was correct to stop listening to the esoteric Torah concepts that they discussed) – then it is difficult from the opposite perspective: Why was he, because of this, lacking a letter from his name?

2. One could seemingly explain this – based on the explanation of my father in his footnotes on Zohar. (as will be explained in Par 3) – by prefacing:

Even though R’ Yosi was part of the “Chavraya of R' Shimon bar Yochai”, whose group consisted (in general) of those who were completely “occupied with Torah” (Torah umnatan), he (R' Yose) however, was not (at least, not always) in the same category as those who “dealt exclusively in Torah” (Oskin baTorah). Namely, those who did not suspend their learning in order to engage in business (“worldly matters”). As it is told in the Talmud that he was a craftsman who tanned hides (a “shilcha”)

We also find that R’ Yose also engaged in communal affairs (Osek b’tzarchei tzibbur). (For example certain improvements that he enacted in the town of Tzippori).

Therefore, one could say that the “worldly matters” that R’ Yose contemplated, were of aspects of communal affairs. And therefore he stopped in the middle of listening the Torah secrets – because dealing in communal affairs defers one (docheh) from leaning Torah (Talmud Torah)

And with this, one could also explain why he, nevertheless, lacked, because of this dealing, a letter from his name. Because although the reason that dealing in communal affairs defers a person from leaning Torah, is because of the benefit and good to the community (rabim). However, in the actual dealing in communal affairs, there could be (because of the effort) a (spiritual) descent. (As the sages state: “Lay upon them public cares, and they will cease prophesying of themselves” (Sanh17a regarding Eldad and Medad – since communal activities bring sorrow, and prophecy is possible only to the joyous spirit (Tosaf.).

[And as we find concerning Mordechai, - as has been spoken about at length, that the reason he remained a viceroy to the king was because “Mordechai neglected the study of the Torah when he assumed power” (Megilah 16b). Thus, although Mordechai’s activities were for the benefit of Klal Yisroel (which defers Torah study), he nevertheless personally experienced a descent (His stature was diminished by the sages), because he lacked the advantage and greatness of Torah study.

3. This explanation is also used in the commentary of my father (in his footnotes on Zohar) on this story.

Namely, that R’ Yose’s contemplation of “worldly matters” does not mean that he was thinking “idle thoughts (Devarim bitailim) G-d forbid”. But rather (his actions) were an aspect of “amal sicha” (the toil of speech) which is a “great thing” (davar gadol),

[As was previously explained at length: The Talmud (Sanhedrin 99) on the verse “Man was born to toil” (adam l’amal yulad) discusses what type of toil man is charged with - toil of work or toil of speech (“amal sicha”), and after concluding it is toil of speech, the Talmud debates whether it is speech of sicha (prayer) or Talmud Torah and concludes it is the latter. (Ed. Note: Sefas Emes (5640) distinguishes between the attitude of the generations leading to Noach, who focused on engaging in the physical building of the world, and the approach of Avraham Avinu, whose focus became toil in Torah.)]

Since the Torah of Truth has a supposition that man was created for the “toil of speech”, it follows that “speech” is a lofty Avodah. And even more so. Even according to the conclusion that man was “created for the” toil of Torah”, this does not entirely negate the notion of “toil of speech”. But rather, it means that “toil of speech” (alone) is not the epitome of man’s creation.

And on the contrary, in order to reach the main purpose and advantage of “toil of Torah”, there must first be the Avodah of “toil of speech”

This specifically is because through “toil of speech” one affects the Supernal “speech” – Namely, that G-d should “say”, as it were, the Ten Sayings that created the world. For as the Alter Rebbe explains in Tanya, the Ten Sayings that created the world are constantly enclothed within the world to create it, enliven it and sustain it.

(And this is the meaning of “worldly matters” (milei d’alma) - the Ten Sayings that create and are enclothed in the world, and which are termed “mundane matters” (“milin d’hedyota”)).

In technical terms of Avodah (“Avodah Otios”) this means:

“Contemplating worldly matters” (“toil of speech”) is the Avodah of “Birurim” – which means refining and clarifying the aspects of the world (particularly) through the Avodah of: “Let all your deeds be done for the sake of Heaven” (“kol maasecha yih'yu l'shaim shamayim”), and “In all your ways know Him” (“b'chol derachecha de'eihu”). (This refers to the refining and clarifying of (man’s) “permissible affairs” (reshut) - “worldly matters” (milei d’alma). For this Avodah accomplishes sustaining the world (through affecting Supernal “speech”)

Yet, this is not comparable to the Avodah of “toil of Torah (and particularly to the esoteric aspects and secrets of Torah (sodot vRazei torah). For even though, through “toil of speech” one can accomplish sustaining the world (- through the Ten Sayings)

[And even more so, the intent of the soul’s descending into this world is (not to fix itself (soul)), but rather to fix the body (guf) and animalistic soul (nefesh HaBahamit) and its portion on the world. And through this Avodah – Avodat HaBirurim (refining), one brings out, primarily, the purpose of the creation of the world. For G-d created the world in order for it to be a dwelling place for Him]

Nevertheless, the “toil of Torah” is higher than the “toil of speech” for it brings down the G-dly light (“Or Eloki”) which is higher than the world.

Therefore, there was a lack in R’ Yose’s name when he contemplated “worldly matters”, because this is a descent ( yeridah) compared to the aspect of “toil of Torah”

4. However, on a deeper level, this is not a sufficient explanation why “one letter missing in you

The conduct of the Tanaim and Amoraim corresponded to the essence of their souls.

Thus we find in our case, the reason that R’ Yose, specifically, contemplated “worldly matters”, is, as my father explains: Because R’ Yose was (synonymous to) the level of Malchut (sovereignty) which is the source of worlds: Briah, Yetzirah and Asiyah which are created from the Ten Sayings of Malchut).

Therefore, R’ Yose’s Avodah was in the aspect of “toil of speech” (sustaining the world).

And if R’ Yose’s mission in this world was the Avodah of “toil of speech”,

(Even though it is really true that there is an advantage in “toil of Torah” over that of “toil of speech”, since Torah is higher than the world, yet)

how could one say, that because R’ Yose “contemplated worldly matters”, that there should be a lacking in his name,

 (For the name of a person corresponds to the level of his soul)

since that is the very same Avodah which is fitting to his soul (and consequently – to his name)?

[This is comparable to the famous saying of R’ Zushe of Anipoli, that when (he goes before the heavenly court) they will not demand why he was not on the level of great Tzaddikim, but rather: “why he was not Zushe?”]

More so:

Since R’ Yose does not possess the quality of the second Avodah, and consequently there is a lacking in his name, (telling him about it will cause him to) become dejected, and (this knowledge) will deter him in fulfilling the Avodah (that he was charged with) – with happiness and a glad heart.

We also must understand:

Why did R’ Yosi not feel the lacking that was in his image (“deyukan”) and name until R' Shimon bar Yochai told him?

Also, when he (his status) was reversed (through “rejoicing in words of Torah”) and he became “complete” (Shalim), why did (it require) R' Shimon bar Yochai to reveal it to him?

5. The explanation in this is that, this itself is the very point (“hi hanosenes”):

According to R’ Yose’s essence, which means, according to the way his Avodah must correspond to the source of his soul, the contemplation of “worldly matters” was not a deficiency in him. On the contrary (as above), his Avodah (and accordingly, his “image” and name) was complete.

However, his deficiency was in regard to his being a member of the “Chavraya” of R' Shimon bar Yochai.

(R' Shimon bar Yochai possessed the trait of being completely “occupied with Torah” (Torah umnato) (as  will be explained later).

R’ Yose, thus, should (also) have possessed this trait.

And therefore, specifically R' Shimon bar Yochai (who was the head of the “Chavraya”) was able to discern in R’ Yose the lacking (and also – when the lack afterwards became complete)

6. One could understand this according to that which the Alter Rebbe cites in the laws of Talmud Torah:

Every soul (nefesh) requires for its rectification, to study the “PaRDeS” ,

(Ed. Note: types of interpretation of text in Torah study: Pshat (direct), Remez (allegoric), Derash (midrashic) and Sod (esoteric/mystical) meanings)

according to one’s ability to comprehend . .and it is impossible to be rectified and completed . . without this knowledge. And one who is “neglectful and does not comprehend and know except a bit (m’at), must be reincarnated (bo bgilgul) until he comprehends and knows everything that is possible for his soul to comprehend from the knowledge of Torah”

What is the case when one who learns “a bit” is not because he is neglectful (lazy), but rather because, according to Torah, he is exempt from studying Torah?

The Alter Rebbe states (in Torah Or) that, in that case, there could be two perspectives:

  1. This itself, is an indication (hora’ah) that his soul is not fit to study (and consequently does not need) more Torah knowledge. The soul therefore receives the light of completeness (Or Shleimus) (also) with his minimal study. So much so, that (one could achieve this) even with one chapter (perek) in the morning and one chapter at night.
  1. Since he “occupies himself (with Torah) to the best of his ability”, “G-d completes (recompenses him for)” that which he deserves yet was not able to receive through his study and comprehension of Torah.

One could possibly say that, in general, these two perspectives are dependent in the cause why the  person is unable to study Torah:

  1. If it is because he is pre-occupied with matters ( that are permissible by Torah) of livelihood or other personal matters etc., this indicates that his soul does not correspond to those that are “masters of Torah (Morei Torah) but rather to those that are “masters of good deeds (Morei Uvdin Tavin). The soul is not so fitting to comprehension of (difficult) Torah concepts and therefore it sufficient for him to study “one chapter (perek) in the morning and one chapter at night.”
  1. If however, he is pre-occupied with matters (that are permissible by Torah) of other matters (Tzedaka etc.) and particularly - with communal matters, that exempt one from the study of Torah due to the good and benefit to the community – this is a situation, where G-d completes that what he was not able to receive through his study and comprehension of Torah.

This includes a manner where G-d blesses him with extraordinary success in Torah study. So much so that in a minute period of time, he can accomplish in Torah study that which normally would take a much longer period.

This is comparable to the statement in the Talmud Yerushalmi (concerning the early Chassidim (Chassidim haRishonim) who would meditate and pray for nine hours a day). Yet since they were exceedingly righteous there was a “blessing” in their Torah study. This caused that: “They were successful in immediately grasping and understanding (Torah concepts) and they did not have to tarry (to understand them)”

And this is also expressed concerning Tzedaka, that through Tzedaka “one’s mind and heart become a thousand -times more refined”

7. Accordingly, we can also explain the aforementioned story in Zohar:

That which R' Shimon bar Yochai saw that R’ Yosi lacked a letter from his name -

and particularly the way my father explains – that it refers to the letter Yud from “Yosi”, which corresponds to the letter Yud of the name of G-d (Tetragrammaton) which radiates in Atzilut; and which, in Avodat HaAdam represents “Toil of Torah” (and specifically secrets of Torah (Sodot)) which is higher than “toil of speech” (the Ten Sayings which are the source of the worlds Briah , Yetzirah and Asiyah)

is because this is the aspect of R' Shimon bar Yochai - the trait of being completely “occupied with Torah” (Torah umnato) (and a master of the secrets of Torah (Marei razei Torah) –

And this is a proof and lesson that, from now on, R’ Yosi is required to transcend his Avodah of “worldly matters” and now occupy himself with “toil of Torah” in a manner that is an accordance with the Chavraya (the group of disciples) of R' Shimon bar Yochai – who is completely “occupied with Torah” (Torah umnato) .

And one could possibly say an additional point:

That moment, was an auspicious time (Ais Ratzon) concerning Torah. Namely , that his Torah study, at that time should be “a thousand -times more” - and that he should receive (be ompleted/compensated) for all that he needed to receive through his study and comprehension of Torah (in the period when he was “contemplating worldly matters”):

And how it later transpired, that “R’ Yosi arose and rejoiced in words of Torah”, caused that (as R' Shimon bar Yochai said to him): “now you are whole” . . and your image is whole”. And one could say that this means - the epitome of completeness - that even the past has been completed.

M’Sichas Shabbat Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei (5735)


 Date Delivered:   Reviewer:       
Date Modified:    Date Reviewed: