Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Nisyonos: the power to elevate Divine sparks trapped in complete evil

In a discourse of the year 5679 the Rebbe Rashab explains the difference between the work of "birurim" (refining the sparks of holiness found in mundane physical objects) and "nisyonos" (tests) [..] and it states:

The important thing to understand about nisyonos (tests) is that the nisayon itself is not a thing unto itself, and it is not like physical things which are some sort of entity which can be refined. The depth of the matter is that all physical things possess a nitzutz Eloki (Divine spark), and thus they have a Divine purpose, which is that the thing should be used l'shem shomayim (for the sake of G-d) and through this the nitzutz (Divine spark) will be refined and elevated to its source...this is not the case with nisyonos (tests)...because in the nisayon (test) itself, meaning the thing which is standing to the test, there is no Divine intent. (Other than the intent that the person should stand against it and withstand the nisayon.)

In physical things themselves there is a Divine intent that they should be refined and whitened and be elevated, etc. Not so with a nisayon, for there is no Divine intent in the thing irself because it has no Divine spark (only like forbidden things), and the Divine intent is in the person, that he should withstand the nisayon and be elevated through it. And this elevation is much greater than the elevation from birurim (refinement), etc., as
it states (Re'eh 13:4) "Because Hashem your G-d is testing you", because via the nisayon the person comes to the level of da'as (inner knowledge)...meaning that through this [withstanding the nisayon] is revealed the level of the da'as ha'ne'elam (concealed knowledge, meaning that in the essence of the soul there is a recognition of the essence of the Ein Sof, as explained in this discourse).

Seemingly, according to this explanation, we find that the work of nisyonos (tests) is not so much greater than the work of birurim (refinement), because:

Regarding the person—the work of nisyonos (tests) is much harder than the work of birurim (refinement) and the elevation that comes about in the person from withstanding a nisayon is much greater than the elevation through the work of birurim (refinement), since it comes from the opposite side (of holiness), the lowest things.

But on the other hand—through the avodah of nisyonos (tests) the person only elevates himself, his G-dly soul alone, whereas the elevation from the work of birurim (refinement) not only pertains to him, the powers of his G-dly soul, and also the powers of his animal soul, but it elevates the physical item as well. Through this he refines the nitzutz Eloki (G-dly spark) that is in it.

Indeed, since it is explained in numerous places that the work of nisyonos (tests) is greater than the work of birurim (refinement), one could say that the special quality of the work of nisyonos (tests) relative to birurim (refinement) is (not only vis a vis the person himself, but rather) also regarding the thing which brings about the nisayon (test).

This will be understood based on what is explained elsewhere, and published at the end of Derech Mitzvosecha:

Despite that the object which the nisyaon (test) is enclothed is like forbidden things, which derive from the 3 completely impure klipos (shells of impurity), and as the Rebbe Rashab explains in his discourse, that the G-dly spark within them is totally darkened (as stated in Mishlei (Proverbs) 13:9 “the candle of evildoers will go dark”) until it is like evil, like something permitted which becomes forbidden, and it is impossible to elevate these sparks “until their day will come and death will be swallowed forever, as it says – I will remove the spirit of impurity from the earth” (as explainedin Tanya).

Nonetheless, there is a way to refine and elevate even the Divine sparks which are found in forbidden things during golus, before the coming of Moshiach—through the work of nisyonos (tests). As far as the person is concerned, he needs to flee from any sort of nisayon, to daven “don’t bring me to a test”; but when he is brought to a nisayon (test) from Above, then they give him the strength to withstand the nisayon (test) and to refine and elevate the Divine spark that is found in forbidden things (in a way of “the candle of the evildoers will go dark”…), so that even before Moshiach comes it will return and be turned to kedusha, in a way of “willfull sins become merits”, and “night illuminates like the day”.

So, according to this, it is understood that the unique quality of the work of nisyonos (tests) is not only vis a vis the person who withstands it, but also as regards the thing the nisayon (test) is with – that even though the Divine spark in this thing is like something permitted which becomes forbidden, from the fact that he withstands the nisayon (test) he refines even this spark.

This subject generates a directive for living: it is forbidden to despair from anything or any situation: when we are talking about something that is in his life or in the life of someone else—he must not despair from it, because we have a promise that “those who have been pushed away will not remain pushed away” (Shmuel II 14:14).

We have a complete promise that with the coming of Moshiach “I will remove the spirit of impurity from the earth”, but even before this – if they will bring him to the work of nisyonos (tests), then it will have much more ohr (Divine light) since he made a bright candle from a much darker situation, where “the permitted became forbidden” and “the candle of evildoers will go dark”—and not just a candle, but a “torch”, which is two lights together, which is a much greater light (as explained in Chassidus).

[…] through the work of birurim (refinement) and moreso via the work in a way of nisayon (test) – we speed up and draw down the coming of our righteous Moshiach in this physical world here below, and then will be fulfilled the promise “I will remove the spirit of impurity from the earth” and “the world will be filled with knowledge of G-d like water covers the sea” speedily and quickly.

From a sicha of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Purim 5719 (1959)

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