The mystical perception of cosmic unity bridges the gap between universalism and individualism, between the universe as a whole and each person as a unique individual. There are accusations that mysticism is intrinsically antinomian. The allegation is that mystical monism erodes the reality of life, and in particular of normative Judaism with the apparent Halachic multiplicity of commandments and prohibitions categorized in terms of issur and hetter (forbidden and permitted), kasher and passul (fit and unfit), tameh and tahor (pure and impure). In truth, however, these Halachic categories can hardly emerge more clearly delineated than they do in the Kabbalah and Chassidism.

All entities are divided into the three principal groups of chiyuv (obligatory), issur (forbidden), and reshut (optional). In the terminology of the mystics these are: a) Kedushah, the realm of holiness, which embraces all that is enjoined by the Torah (mitzvot) and everything related thereto. b)Sitra achara - the `other side,' the realm of impurity and evil, also referred to as the realm of the kelipot (shells; husks), which comprises all that is prohibited by the Torah and all that is related thereto. c)Kelipat nogah - the `irradiated shell,' a realm relates to sitra achara yet standing somewhere between it and kedushah; it includes all that is not per se subject to either a commandment enjoining its use or a prohibition forbidding its use.

Man's relationship to kedushah and to sitra achara is self- evident: there must be active pursuit and involvement with all in the realm of kedushah, and conscious passivity and abstention with regards to all in the realm of the sitra achara. When thus relating to them, in their Divinely intended context, they both serve their purpose and achieve their ends: holiness is strengthened, absorbed and diffused, and evil is subdued and nullified, in the world as a whole and in the individual involved in particular.

The real test of life relates to the vast realm of kelipat nogah, which is both profane and neutral. It is profane because of its present status as, and association with, kelipah. It is neutral, because its nogah - its irradiation from the side of kedushah - partly neutralizes its bond with kelipah to the point of allowing it to be a realm of potentiality. It is the not-yet-hallowed even as it is the not-yet-defiled. It is potential kedushah, even as it is potential sitra achara. Whether it will be sublimated to ascend to the one, or degraded to descend to the other, depends on how it is used by man.

One and the same piece of skin may become sacred parchment of a Torah-scroll, or an evil cat-o'-nine-tails to torture and abuse; the same coin may serve to save someone in need, even as it can also be used for bribery and corruption. Thus it is with the myriads of daily activities of professional involvements, business-conduct, eating, drinking, sleeping, walking, talking, and all the (permissible) objects and tools related to these.