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The Mittler Rebbe: The Portal of Yom Kippur Part Two

2. It was explained above that the root of the concept of Yom Kippur as a whole is that it represents the revelation of the light of the essence of the Ein Sof, [G-d’s] simple oneness which is the ultimate of simplicity,


as [will be revealed] in the Ultimate Future. This is identified with the Great Shofar as explained above.

From all of the above, we can gain a general understanding of the root concept of the service performed by the High Priest on Yom Kippur while wearing the four garments, i.e., white garments, as it is written: “He shall wear a sacred linen tunic… and he shall don a linen turban.” From it, we can also understand the fundamental dimension of the sacrificial worship of Yom Kippur, the incense offering brought in the innermost chamber, the Holy of Holies, of which it is said: “I will appear in a cloud upon the cover of the Ark.” This refers to the cloud [produced by] the incense offering. “I will appear” refers to the revelation of the light of His essence in its totality, as He is singular and unified in simple oneness which will [be revealed] in the World to Come, as explained above. This is like a person who says concerning himself: “I will appear and I will be revealed.” This is sufficient for a person of understanding. (Note the explanation of the second mention of the name Ehiyeh explained above: “I will be revealed in the Future,” i.e., in the Ultimate Future, the World to Come. [This revelation was also manifest] every Yom Kippur, in the Holy of Holies, in the cloud of the incense offering.)

From the cloud of the incense offering are drawn down the seven encompassing lights of Sukkos which are the seven Clouds of Glory [that accompanied the Jews] in the desert and which are enclothed in the shade of the s’chach of the sukkah.

[To understand the above,] it is necessary to preface the explanation of the rationale why the service of the High Priest on the day of Yom Kippur was performed in white garments made from linen which is called bad in the Torah, as it is written: “He shall wear a sacred linen tunic.” And it is written:2 “And he shall don a linen turban.” “He shall gird himself with a linen sash” and “Linen breeches [shall be] on his flesh.” The Torah specifically mentions that all of the four garments must be made from linen. With regard to the tunic, it also states that it must be “sacred.” The sacred nature of these garments was mentioned previously, with regard to the fashioning of the garments, as it is written: “And you shall make sacred garments.” [It is necessary to understand:] What is the special advantage possessed by the four white garments [worn by the High Priest] on Yom Kippur? And why is all the sacrificial worship of Yom Kippur performed only by the High Priest?

It is well known that the term bad refers to aloneness, as in the verse: “G-d will lead them alone (badad).” Therefore, line is called bad, as in the expression: badei pishtan, because each one of the seed capsules of the flax plant emerge and grow individually. Hence they are called bad, because they ascend alone, without joining together or being combined with another. A parallel exists in the willow branches which are called badei aravos because they grow separately, as explained with regard to the four species of the lulav.

In truth, we see that the flax plant is unique in this, different from all other plants and grain on the face of the earth. We can see this variance in actual fact. [Its growth pattern differs from that of] the seed of all grains, e.g., wheat or barley. When one wheat or barley kernel is planted in the earth, many wheat kernels will grow from it on the same stalk. From oneness, comes a multitude. From one kernel of wheat, grow many. They are separate and distinct from each other, although they are clinging together on their stalk, as if they are a single entity. Thus they grow from separation to oneness. After a multitude [of stalks] grow from the earth, [the kernels of] wheat will grow together on the stalks. They are unified together and cling to the stalk, although in essence, each one grows separately from the earth.

With regard to the seed capsules of flax, by contrast, each flax seed grows separately in its individual seed capsule. There is no multitude at all. As such, the very growth is isolated. Therefore it is called bad, because it grows alone and its growth pattern reflects essential oneness, the opposite of separation and multiplicity.

(This is not comparable to the four species of the lulav. [In that instance,] although they also reflect the concept of unity, because they grow in “brotherhood,” [i.e., together,] the way they grow is essentially separate from each other. There is both a concept of multitude and distinction. [Their “oneness” is expressed] only in that they grew in “brotherhood,” clinging together. For example, with regard to the leaves of the lulav, there are many distinct leaves, each one growing separately. [Their oneness is expressed in that] they grow clinging to each other and pointing in the same direction, to the shedrah. Similarly, the leaves of the myrtle cling to each other, growing in “brotherhood.” And this can also be said with regard to the willows. This cannot be described as essential oneness, which is called yachid, and alluded to by the term bad. That concept applies only with regard to the flax plant whose growth pattern, from the beginning of its existence and growth, is characterized by distinction. This is sufficient for a person of understanding.)

The source of Yom Kippur is the level of ultimately simple oneness that is referred to as yachid which is above echad, which is identified with “the life of the worlds,” i.e., the worlds of Atzilus, Beriah, Yetzirah, and Assiyah. This is alluded to in the expression: “Before one, what do you count?” and [the Kabbalistic statement:] “You are one, but not in a numerical sense,” [i.e., not included in] the ten Sefiros. Accordingly, the worship of the High Priest on Yom Kippur was carried out in linen garments that are called bad, for they reflect the essential singular oneness. As explained above, [this is reflected in the difference between] the growth pattern of flax and other plants. [For these reasons, the High Priest is commanded:]2 “He shall wear a sacred linen tunic… and he shall don a linen turban.” And therefore the term bad is used with regard to each one of the four garments worn [by the High Priest] for the service of Yom Kippur.

For this reason, all of the sacrificial worship of Yom Kippur was performed by the High Priest. For the source of the High Priest [on the earthly plane] is the High Priest in the spiritual realms, [the archangel] Michael, the High Priest whose source is the attribute of abundant kindness of Atik Yomim that transcends the Chochmah of Erech Anpin {{I DON’T MIND CHANGING ERECH TO ARICH. IN FACT I PREFER IT. IT’S JUST THAT IN PREVIOUS PAMPHLETS YOU CHANGED ARICH TO ERECH} that is known as the secreted wisdom, as [is alluded to in the verse]: “Like the precious oil upon the head, that flows down the beard, the beard of Aharon.” This reflects the inner dimension of the light of Chessed from the simple pleasure that is described with the analogy of “the precious oil upon the head,” i.e., the skull of Erech Anpin. [It] “flows down the beard,” i.e., the beard of Erech Anpin that is identified with the High Priesthood and [hence] called “the beard of Aharon.” From there, [the influence] flows down “upon his garments” (midosav). [This refers to] the sublime Thirteen Attributes of Mercy, as is well known. This is sufficient for a person of understanding.

All of the above applies because Yom Kippur is actually a microcosm of the World to Come which is called the world of freedom, as explained above. Therefore it is called “a Sabbath of complete rest,” like the World to Come where “there will be no eating or drinking,” as [implied by the phrase:] “Sanctified unto G-d, honored.” This comes as a result of the ray from the essence of the Or Ein Sof that will be manifest in the Ultimate Future after the completion of the refinement of all the 288 sparks [from the World of Tohu]. In [that future era], we will be far above the refinement of these 288 [sparks], as reflected in the fact that “there will be no eating….” It is called “a Sabbath of complete of complete rest,” as in the verse: “For the plowing and the harvesting you shall rest.” For the task of refining [the 288 sparks] is similar to [work in] the field, performing the 39 labors. When the task of refinement will be completed,, and the spirit of impurity will be caused to depart entirely and “death will be swallowed up.” As it is written: “I will transform the peoples to a purer language… [so that] they will serve Him with one purpose.” Thus in that era, we will be far above the refinement [of the sparks], like on Shabbos when separation is forbidden. For [the Shabbos] is “`holy,’ a term set apart.” Certainly, this applies with regard to [Yom Kippur,] “a Shabbos of complete rest,” “rest for everlasting life,” as is well known. For then the light from the essence of the Or Ein Sof [will be manifest]. This level is referred to as yachid, “singularly one,” in simple oneness. It transcends the Ten Sefiros that are joined in the unity referred to as echad, i.e., oneness that is produced from a multitude and division. This is accomplished through the refinement of the 288 sparks which brings about an arousal from below. [This is achieved] only through Chochmah, as it is said: “They shall be refined through Chochmah.” The World to Come, by contrast, is of an entirely different level, separated entirely from [the task of] refinement achieved through the sublime Chochmah. And it is above even the sublime unity of the Ten Sefiros that are referred to as echad. For the essence of the Ein Sof is “not any of these attributes at all.”14 [For that reason,] the Ten Sefiros are called: “Ten Sefiros b’li mah,” which can be interpreted as bi mahus, “without any substance.”

(Thus Yom Kippur surpasses the four species of the lulav which “grow in brotherhood,” but do not reflect essential oneness. Instead, from the multitude, oneness is produced. Similar concepts apply with regard to the encompassing light [reflected in] the shade [produced by] the s’chach of the sukkah which [draws down] the encompassing light of the Sublime Mother. Similarly, the lulav and its other species reflect the unity among the Ten Sefiros and between Zaer Anpin and Nukvah. Yom Kippur, by contrast, reflects essential oneness. Accordingly, its mitzvos were performed by the High Priest while wearing linen garments. From this [rung], the sublime unity is drawn down [as manifest in] the lulav and its other species and the s’chach of the sukkah. For all of the encompassing and internal lights [that shine during] the seven days of Sukkos come from Yom Kippur.)

This represents the general concept of the service of Yom Kippur that was performed in sacred linen garments. [The priestly garments] were referred to as “holy” throughout the other days of the year as well, as it is written:7 “And you shall make sacred garments for Aharon.” “But “sacred linen garments” which are identified with the sublime holiness, the source for the holiness of Chochmah [are associated solely with Yom Kippur], as it is written: “He shall wear a sacred linen tunic.” This is identified with the Holy of Holies, the inner dimension of Kesser. (This is equated to the abundant kindness of Atik Yomim, which is the [spiritual] source for the High Priest. Hence all of the service of Yom Kippur was performed by the High Priest.)

For this reason, it was also necessary that for [each phase within] the service of the day, [the High Priest] was required to sanctify his hands and feet from [the water of] the basin, which was “living water.” For “living water” is the source of Chochmah which is above [the task of] refining the 288 sparks, as explained above.

(The golden garments also [are identified with a related theme]. They reflect the sublime Gevuros which will be revealed in the Ultimate Future, at which time, the advantage gold has over silver will be revealed. Accordingly, [at that time,] the Levites will be [elevated to the level of] priests, as explained in other sources. This refers to the Gevuros of Atik Yomim which are enclothed in the hidden Chochmah which is the source for “the thirteen strands of the beard.” Accordingly, the service of Yom Kippur is performed both with golden and white garments. This is sufficient for a person of understanding.)

In truth, however, it is necessary to understand the rationale for wearing white garments on Yom Kippur. After all, garments are a discrete and external entity, separate from the body of the person himself. They are made from a plant, flax. How is it possible that the fundamental dimension of the service of the High Priest on Yom Kippur should be dependent on them and the fact that they are made from linen which reflects the concept of singular oneness when they are merely an external garment that is made from a material entity, plant [fibers]?

Nevertheless, [the concept can be explained as follows]: As is well known, this indeed is the determining factor. Although garments are merely external, separate from the person himself, they represent an encompassing [light] surrounding the person’s body. The garment because a protective agent, safeguarding the person’s body from cold and heat. Although it is merely external protection, its source is from the external light of the soul which is much higher than the inner light and life-energy [enclothed] in the blood, i.e., the soul as manifest in the limbs of the body that is referred to as an inner light. As is well known, the encompassing lights of the form of the soul that cannot be contained within the vessels of the brain and the heart and cannot undergo enclothement must be revealed as encompassing lights, in a hidden manner. Their influence rests on the garments, for they are also encompassing, protecting the person from outside. (Support for this idea [is reflected by the law, stating that] removing two garments at the same time leads to forgetfulness, for memory is dependent on the encompassing light of Chochmah, as stated in another source. This is sufficient for a person of understanding.)

. The High Priests had eights garments that he wore when performing sacrificial worship in the Courtyard of the Beis HaMikdash. When bringing the incense offering and sprinkling the blood in the Sanctuary and the Holy of Holies, he wore four linen garments: a turban, a tunic, a sash, and pants.

. Vayikra 16:4-5.

. Ibid. 16:2.

. The Portal of Yom Kippur, sec. I, quoting Zohar, Vol. III, p. 11a.

. Our Sages (Sukkos 11b ) interpret the rationale for the command to dwell in sukkos (Vayikra 23:43): “Because I caused the children of Israel to dwell in sukkos” as referring to the Clouds of Glory.

. Significantly, the Mitteler Rebbe is not quoting these phrases in the order they appear in the Torah.

. Shmos 28:2.

. Devarim 32:12.

. See Yoma 71b.

. Zohar, Vol. II, p. 98b, et al.

. Cf. Shabbos 20a; see Siddur Im Dach, p. 264d.

. Yachid means “one” as in singular, while echad means “one” in a numerical sense, one that could be followed by two. See Torah Or, Shmos, p. 52b, et al.

. Sefer Yetzirah 1:7.

. Pasach Eliyahu, Tikkunei Zohar, Introduction II.

. Tehillim 133:3.

. Berachos 17a.

. I.e., the spiritual purpose of eating and drinking is to refine the sparks of Tohu that are invested in the physical food by eating it for a spiritual purpose and fulfilling that intent.

. Shmos 34:21.

. I.e., the 39 labors forbidden on the Shabbos. The performance of these labors during the week should be with the intent of refining the world and making it G-d’s dwelling.

. Tzephania 3:9.

. Borair, separation, is one of the 39 labors forbidden on Shabbos. In lashon hakodesh, it shares a connection to the term birur which means refinement.

. Zohar, Vol. III, p. 94b.

. And Chochmah is identified with oneness. Thus Chochmah is the medium which leads to the refinement of the sparks that in turn creates an environment of oneness.

. See Zohar, Vol. II, p. 254b; Tanya, Iggeres HaKodesh, Epistle 28.

. Sefer Yetzirah 1:2.

. I.e., G-d’s essence is true being, the only entity of substance. The Sefiros are mere rays of His light and hence when compared to His essence are considered as without substance.

. See Zevachim 22b; Or HaTorah, Ki Sissa, p. 1934.

. These refer to the four additional garments worn by the High Priest when carrying out the sacrificial worship in the courtyard of the Beis HaMikdash. They are called golden garments because either they themselves or the threads from which they are made include gold.

. See Tanya, chs. 44 and 50; Torah Or, Shmos, p. 83c, et al.

. See Likkutei Torah, Bamidbar, p. 54b; Devarim, p. 96c, et al.

. I.e., the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy.

. Minchas Aharon, Klal 22:12; see also the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, Mahadura Basra 2:3, based on the AriZal (in Shaar HaKavanos, towards the end of Inyan Birkas HaShachar).

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