Sunday, January 15, 2006

Shema Yisrael - Baruch Shem (Yichud Hashem)

R' Tzadok explains that this Mishkan-Mikdash paradox (see previous post) is the meaning of Shema Yisrael followed by Baruch Shem...Kvod Malchuso. Shema is a proclamation of G-d's unbounded transcendent existance; Baruch Shem Kvod Malchuso stresses G-d's immanance and the notion of Malchus, his allowing for a separate creation space to reveal his Kingship. G-d at one and the same time remains forever unchanged, unbounded, complete, and at the same time, allows himself to be hidden behind our experience of a separate world and an existance that allows for free will. "Yichud Hashem" means proclaiming the Unity of this paradox.

Witht this we have a little better insight into the meeting of Yehudah, whose name means to always praise G-d, to see G-d in the most transcendent form, with Yosef, who represented the Shechina acting in hiding, when we do not perceive its presence.

We also begin to uderstand the meeting of Ya'akov and Yosef, where our Rabbis teach that Ya'akov was reading Shema and Yosef was silent. Ya'akov's spirit soared to reflect on G-d's transcendent power, while Yosef, true to character, remains the archetype of the hidden hand of the Divine (see Sefas Emes).

Recall also Ya'akov's words at the loss of Yosef - "vatikach ha'Echad m'iti", you have taken "Echad" from me. Explains the Tiferes Shlomo, the word "Echad" hints to "Shema Yisrael... Hashem Echad". The veil drawn across Ya'akov's perception of the unfolding events as G-d's hand meant his experience of Shema Yisrael, as seeing G-d in everything and everywhere, was somehow diminished, until retored with his reunification with Yosef.

And finally, we now understand a bit more of what the Midrash teaches in this week's parsha. Ya'akov wanted to reveal the "keitz", the ultimate redemption plan, the guide to perceiving the unity of KB"H and his Shechina, the "ain sof" as one with the hidden hand of G-d in the world. Yet, at that moment the ruach hakodesh departed from him. Ya'akov could not prophetically proclaim the destiny of his children while in touch with the spirit of ruach hakodesh as that would remove all free will. Yaa'kov suddenly experienced Hashem hidding, the idea of Shechina which masks itself in the world. The Midrash teaches at that moment the Shevatim unanimously comforted their father by saying Shema Yisrael - at that moment the Shevatim reminded their father that although the mask has been pulled over his eyes, in truth all that ever exists and ever existed is the Echad, the indivisable unity of the ohr ain sof. And Ya'akov in turn responded, Baruch Shem Kvod Malchuso, he recognized that the same ohr ain sof that transcends time/space gives us the opportunity to have free will so that we may bring about his Malchus, and through that come to recognize the ultimate yichud of these two ideas of Mishkan and Mikdash.