— 1 —

Sefer HaChinuch, Parshas Shoftim (mitzvah 497):

פַּרשַׁת שׁוֹפְטִים: (תצ"ז)

To appoint a king within Israel,

לְמַנּוֹת מֶלֶךְ מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל

as it is written (Devarim 17:15): “You shall certainly place a king upon yourselves.”

שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר שׂוֹם תָּשִׂים עָלֶיךָ מֶלֶךְ (דְּבָרִים י"ז ט"ו)

It is necessary to clarify:

הִנֵּה צָרִיךְ לְהָבִין

Why did Shmuel become angry with the Jewish people when they asked him (I Shmuel 8:6): “Grant us a king,”

מַה שֶּׁקָּצַף שְׁמוּאֵל עַל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כְּשֶׁשָּׁאֲלוּ מִמֶּנּוּ תְּנָה לָּנוּ מֶלֶךְ (שְׁמוּאֵל א' ח' ו')

Selections from Derech Mitzvosecha (SIE)

Derech Mitzvotecha dives into reasons behind mitzvot such as tzitzit, tefillin, prayer, belief in G-d, loving a fellow Jew, starting a family and many others. Five generations later, the author`s grandson and successor, the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, has often advised those seeking to begin study of Chasidic philosophy to study this fundamental work.

and why did G‑d also view their request negatively,

וְגַם הַשֵּׁם יִתְבָּרֵךְ

as He told Shmuel (ibid.:7): “It is not you they have spurned, but Me”?1

אָמַר לוֹ כִּי לֹא אוֹתְךָ מָאָסוּ כוּ'

What is the reason for this fury?

מַה הֶחֳרִי אַף הַזֶּה

After all, the appointment of a king is one of G‑d’s mitzvos.

הֲלֹא זוֹהִי מִצְוָתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ

As our Sages comment (Sanhedrin 20b): “The Jewish people were commanded to observe three mitzvos upon their entry into Eretz Yisrael.

כְּמַאֲמַר רַזַ"ל ג' מִצְוֹת נִצְטַוּוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּכְנִיסָתָם לָאָרֶץ

One of them is the appointment of a king.

וְאַחַת מֵהֶם לְמַנּוֹת לָהֶם מֶלֶךְ (סַנְהֶדְרִין כ' ב').

The purpose and the intent behind the appointment of a king is

הִנֵּה שֹׁרֶשׁ עִנְיַן הַמְכֻוָּן בְּמִנּוּי הַמֶּלֶךְ הוּא

that through him and his efforts the Jews will be batel to G‑d.

שֶׁבּוֹ וְעַל יָדוֹ יִהְיוּ הַיִּשְׂרָאֵל בְּטֵלִים לַה'

The term batel means to have one’s personal consciousness subsumed to a greater and deeper identity. For example, an individual rises above his self-concern and devotes his life to G‑d.

For the entire Jewish people must be batel to the king

כִּי כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל צְרִיכִים לִהְיוֹת בְּטֵלִים לַמֶּלֶךְ

and carry out his commands with regard to everything he decrees,

וְסָרִים לְמִשְׁמַעְתּוֹ בְּכָל אֲשֶׁר יִגְזוֹר

as Shmuel states (I Shmuel 8:11): “This will be the statute of the king….”2

כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמַר שְׁמוּאֵל וְזֶה יִהְיֶה מִשְׁפַּט הַמֶּלֶךְ וְגוֹ' (שְׁמוּאֵל א' ח' י"א)

The king himself will be batel to G‑dliness,

וְהִנֵּה הַמֶּלֶךְ בְּעַצְמוֹ בָּטֵל לֵאלֹהוּת

as King David says (Tehillim 131:2): “I stilled and silenced my soul,”

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁאָמַר דָּוִד הַמֶּלֶךְ עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם אִם לֹא שִׁוִּיתִי וְדוֹמַמְתִּי (תִּלִּים קל"א ב')

i.e., his bittul to G‑d so touched his heart

דְּהַיְנוּ שֶׁנָּגַע הַבִּטּוּל לַה' כָּל כָּךְ בִּלְבָבוֹ

that even in a physical sense, he could not raise his eyes or lift his heart to be a yesh, an independent entity.

עַד שֶׁגַּם בְּגַשְׁמִיּוּת לֹא הָיָה יָכוֹל לְהָרִים עֵינָיו וּלְהַגְבִּיהַּ לִבּוֹ בִּבְחִינַת יֵשׁ וּדְבַר מָה

Instead, he was like an inanimate object

אֶלָּא הָיָה כְּמוֹ בְּחִינַת דּוֹמֵם

דוממתי, translated as “stilled,” relates to the word דומם, which means “inanimate matter.”

that cannot move.

שֶׁאֵין לוֹ תְּנוּעָה

This bittul is of fundamental importance for a king,

וְזֶהוּ הָעִקָּר בְּמֶלֶךְ

and it is because of this he is called a king.

שֶׁמֵּחֲמַת זֶה נִקְרָא מֶלֶךְ

It enables him to be a vehicle for G‑d’s Attribute of Malchus, “sovereignty,” as it exists in the realm of Atzilus.

שֶׁהוּא מֶרְכָּבָה לְמִדַּת מַלְכוּתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ שֶׁבַּאֲצִילוּת

“Vehicle” is a translation of the Hebrew term merkavah. In Chassidus, the term is used to imply two concepts:

a) Just as a vehicle has no will of its own and is responsive to the will of its driver, so, too, a person who serves as a vehicle subsumes his personal will to a more encompassing purpose.

b) A vehicle can transport its driver to places that he could not reach on its own. Similarly, a person who serves as a vehicle to a greater purpose extends the scope of that purpose, allowing it to reach new frontiers.

The intent of the term “vehicle” is to highlight the quality of bittul,

וְיָדוּעַ דְּפֵרוּשׁ מֶרְכָּבָה הוּא בְּחִינַת הַבִּטּוּל

in the way that a vehicle is batel to the person driving it.

כְּמוֹ בִּטּוּל הַמֶּרְכָּבָה לְגַבֵּי הָרוֹכֵב

Since the king is batel to the sovereignty of Heaven

וּמֵאַחַר שֶׁהַמֶּלֶךְ הוּא בָּטֵל לְמַלְכוּת שָׁמַיִם

and the Jewish people are batel to the king,

וְיִשְׂרָאֵל בְּטֵלִים לַמֶּלֶךְ

it is through him and his efforts that the Jews will be batel to G‑d.

הֲרֵי נִמְצָא בּוֹ וְעַל יָדוֹ הַיִּשְׂרָאֵל בְּטֵלִים לֵאלֹקוּתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ

This is the mission of the king at all times:

וְזֹאת הִיא עֲבוֹדַת הַמֶּלֶךְ תָּמִיד

that through him and his efforts the created beings will be batel to G‑d.

לִהְיוֹת בּוֹ וְעַל יָדוֹ הַנִּבְרָאִים בְּטֵלִים לַה'

For he will be batel to G‑d and they will be batel to him.

עַל יְדֵי שֶׁהוּא בָּטֵל וְהֵם בְּטֵלִים אֶצְלוֹ כוּ',

There is another simple reason for the appointment of a king:

וְעוֹד יֵשׁ טַעַם פָּשׁוּט בְּמִנּוּי הַמֶּלֶךְ

that he lead the people in an appropriate manner,

שֶׁיַּנְהִיג אֶת הָעָם כָּרָאוּי

as implied by our Sages’ statement:3 “Were it not for the fear of the ruling kingdom, a person would swallow his colleague alive,” i.e., society would be faced with disorder and anarchy.

כִּי אִלְמָלֵא מוֹרָאָהּ אִישׁ אֶת רֵעֵהוּ חַיִּים בְּלָעוֹ,

Instead, “a king establishes the land with judgment,”4maintaining order within his nation

וְהַמֶּלֶךְ בְּמִשְׁפָּט יַעֲמִיד אָרֶץ

“to vindicate the righteous and find the wicked guilty.”5

לְהַצְדִּיק אֶת הַצַּדִּיק וּלְהַרְשִׁיעַ אֶת הָרָשָׁע.

These two reasons for the need to appoint a king are not relevant with regard to the Torah scholars among the Jewish people.

וְהִנֵּה שְׁנֵי כַּוָּנוֹת אֵלּוּ שֶׁבְּמִנּוּי הַמֶּלֶךְ אֵינָן שַׁיָּכִים לְצֹרֶךְ תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים שֶׁבְּיִשְׂרָאֵל,

For there are two categories of souls among the Jewish people:

כִּי הִנֵּה בְּנִשְׁמוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל יֵשׁ ב' מִינִים

a) Those who are not Torah scholars and, indeed, are empty of Torah and wisdom.

א' אוֹתָן שֶׁאֵינָן תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים וְהֵם רֵיקָנִים מִתּוֹרָה וְחָכְמָה

They are, nevertheless, “filled with mitzvos6

וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן הֵם מְלֵאִים מִצְוֹת

and are utterly meticulous in “turning away from evil and doing good,”7

וּזְהִירִים בְּתַכְלִית בְּסוּר מֵרָע וַעֲשֵׂה טוֹב

with regard to even a minor facet of a Rabbinic command.

וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּדִקְדּוּק קַל שֶׁל דִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים,

Their disposition not to study stems from their character and the propensity of their source in the spiritual realms

וְזֶהוּ מִצַּד מֶזֶג וּתְכוּנַת שָׁרְשָׁן שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה

which is not fit to accept Torah and wisdom,

שֶׁאֵינוֹ רָאוּי לְקַבֵּל בְּתוֹכוֹ בְּחִינַת תּוֹרָה וְחָכְמָה

only deed.

רַק בִּבְחִינַת מַעֲשֶׂה בִּלְבָד

As we see in actual life, there are some people who study Torah with a teacher.

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁאָנוּ רוֹאִים בַּעֲלִיל שֶׁיֵּשׁ כַּמָּה אֲנָשִׁים שֶׁלּוֹמְדִים אֵצֶל רַב

Yet, right after they depart from him, they put aside the Torah and forget it

וּמִיָּד בִּיצִיאָתָם מִמֶּנּוּ מַנִּיחִים הַתּוֹרָה וּמְשַׁכְּחִים עָלֶיהָ

as if they had never studied at all,

כְּאִלּוּ לֹא הָיָה

immediately becoming involved in worldly matters.

וְעוֹסְקִים בְּחַיֵּי עוֹלָם הַזֶּה.

The intent is not that these people will transgress, but that their energy will be devoted to worldly matters. It is not only that they do not remember the Torah they have studied; the Torah has little effect on their characters. Instead, it is in worldly matters — and not in the realm of Torah study — where they feel excited and animated. The reason for this tendency stems from their spiritual source. The makeup of their souls is more prone to feelings of yeshus, self-concern.

b) Those who possess lofty souls.

וְהַב' הֵן הַנְּשָׁמוֹת הַגְּבוֹהוֹת

This refers to Torah scholars who conceptualize G‑d’s wisdom

אוֹתָן שֶׁהֵם תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים בַּעֲלֵי תוֹרָה הַמַּשְׂכִּילִים בְּחָכְמַת ה'

and who “contemplate His Torah day and night.”8

וּבְתוֹרָתוֹ יֶהְגּוּ יוֹמָם וָלַיְלָה,

Here, the intent of the term “Torah scholars” is not merely people who devote the majority of their time to Torah study, but individuals whose souls are on a level of refinement lofty enough so that the Torah can penetrate to their core and cause them to lose all consciousness of self, as the Tzemach Tzedek continues to explain.

According to both the rationales given above for the need to appoint a king, it follows

וְהִנֵּה לְפִי ב' הַטְּעָמִים הַנִּזְכָּרִים לְעֵיל אָנוּ מוֹצְאִים

that only the souls of the common people require a king.

שֶׁהַנְּשָׁמוֹת הַפְּשׁוּטוֹת הֵן לְבָד הַצְּרִיכִים לְמֶלֶךְ

Leading the people in an appropriate manner, the second rationale, certainly applies only to the common people.

שֶׁיַּנְהִיג אוֹתָן כָּרָאוּי עַל פִּי טַעַם הַב'

For a person whose occupation is Torah and thus knows what is forbidden and permitted on his own

אֲבָל מִי שֶׁתּוֹרָתוֹ אוּמָנָתוֹ וְיוֹדֵעַ בְּעַצְמוֹ הָאָסוּר וְהַמֻּתָּר

– everything is perfectly clear for him.

וְהַכֹּל בָּרוּר לוֹ כַּשֶּׁמֶשׁ

It is unnecessary to explain that such a person is certainly righteous and will not perform an intentional sin,

וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר שֶׁבְּוַדַּאי הוּא צַדִּיק וְלֹא יַעֲשֶׂה בְּזָדוֹן

for we can assume that a Torah scholar is G‑d-fearing.

כִּי סְתָם תַּלְמִיד חָכָם הוּא יְרֵא שָׁמַיִם כוּ’

Thus he does not need a king at all,

הֲרֵי אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְמֶלֶךְ כְּלָל

merely a prophet or a judge, like Shmuel and others like him.9

רַק לְנָבִיא וְשׁוֹפֵט כִּשְׁמוּאֵל וְכַיּוֹצֵא,

For even such lofty souls require a certain measure of direction and guidance. However, they do not need a king, one who controls and commands.10

Even the first rationale – that a king inspires bittul to G‑d through his bittul

וְגַם עַל פִּי טַעַם הָרִאשׁוֹן בְּעִנְיַן הַבִּטּוּל לַה' עַל יְדֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ

is also relevant only to those who are not Torah scholars,

זֶה אֵינוֹ שַׁיָּךְ גַּם כֵּן אֶלָּא לְאוֹתָן שֶׁאֵינָן תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים

for the source of the souls of those who are not scholars and their very existence in the spiritual realms is characterized by yeshus.

שֶׁהֵם בְּחִינַת יֵשׁ מִצַּד עֶצֶם מְצִיאוּתָן לְמַעְלָה

The soul of every Jew is “an actual part of G‑d” (Tanya, ch. 2). This is his ultimate source. Nevertheless, every soul has an intermediate source in the Spiritual Cosmos. The intermediate source of most souls is from the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah, spiritual realms that are characterized by an awareness of self (yeshus). Accordingly, the souls stemming from these realms are motivated by yeshus to a certain extent.

This is why they are not Torah scholars.

שֶׁלָּכֵן אֵינָן תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים

For Chochmah is characterized by bittul.

כִּי הַחָכְמָה הִיא בְּחִינַת בִּטּוּל

Thus the word Chochmah, חכמה, can be divided into the words koach mah (כח מה), “the power of non-being,” the tendency to rise above themselves

כֹּחַ מָה

Accordingly, every proud person is a fool,11for his yeshus prevents him from appreciating the influence of Chochmah.

וְעַל כֵּן כָּל גֵּיא שׁוֹטֶה

For yeshus cannot be a derivative of Chochmah.

כִּי מִבְּחִינַת הַחָכְמָה אִי אֶפְשָׁר לִהְיוֹת הִסְתַּעֲפוּת הַיֵּשׁוּת

Instead, the outgrowths of Chochmah will be characterized by bittul.

אֶלָּא אַדְּרַבָּה בְּחִינַת בִּטּוּל דַּוְקָא,

Therefore, the common people require a king

וְלָכֵן הֵם צְרִיכִים לְמֶלֶךְ

so that their yeshus will be nullified,

כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּתְבַּטְּלוּ בִּטּוּל הַיֵּשׁ

like the bittul of a servant before a king,

כְּבִטּוּל הָעֶבֶד לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ

as implied by the verse: “You shall certainly place a king upon yourselves.”12

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב שׂוֹם תָּשִׂים עָלֶיךָ מֶלֶךְ (דְּבָרִים י"ז ט"ו)

This bittul is aroused because the king is batel to G‑d.

שֶׁהֲרֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ בָּטֵל לַה',

The awe and dread that a king inspires stems from his bittul to G‑d. As a result of that bittul, he serves as a medium for the revelation of G‑dliness which generates an aura of awe.

The lofty souls that are Torah scholars, by contrast,

אֲבָל הַנְּשָׁמוֹת הַגְּבוֹהוֹת הַנִּקְרָאוֹת תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים

are batel because of their source in the spiritual realms.

הֵם בִּבְחִינַת בִּטּוּל מִצַּד עֶצֶם שָׁרְשָׁן שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה

This is alluded to by the teaching:13 “Who is a wise man? One who sees what will be.” On a deeper level, that teaching can be explained as follows:

כִּי אֵיזֶהוּ חָכָם הָרוֹאֶה אֶת הַנּוֹלָד

Chochmah, wisdom, is identified with sight;

שֶׁהַחָכְמָה הִיא בְּחִינַת רְאִיָּה

i.e., seeing how an entity comes into being from nothingness,

שֶׁרוֹאֶה אֵיךְ שֶׁנּוֹלָד מֵאַיִן לְיֵשׁ

The Tzemach Tzedek is expanding the Talmud’s statements, explaining that a wise man’s uniqueness does not come from his prescience of what will be in the future, but from his understanding of the nature of being itself and the ongoing miracle of creation,14 that every moment all existence is being brought into being from absolute nothingness through the power of G‑d’s word, as we praise G‑d in our prayers15 for

“renewing the work of Creation each day.”

וּמְחַדֵּשׁ בְּכָל יוֹם מַעֲשֵׂה בְרֵאשִׁית

The lofty souls who possess such inherent awareness are called brothers and friends of the Omnipresent,

וְהֵם שֶׁנִּקְרָאִים אַחִים וְרֵעִים לַמָּקוֹם

or sons.

אוֹ בָּנִים

Because these souls share this perception, they are inherently batel.

They do not need a king at all to reach the level where their yeshus becomes batel

הֲרֵי אֵינָן צְרִיכִים לְמֶלֶךְ כְּלָל לִהְיוֹת מִתְבַּטְּלִים עַל יָדוֹ בִּטּוּל הַיֵּשׁ

like a servant before a king,

כְּעֶבֶד לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ

for they are inherently batel.

שֶׁהֲרֵי הֵם בְּטֵלִים מִצַּד עַצְמָן

Indeed, their bittul is on a higher level than bittul hayesh.

בִּבְחִינַת בִּטּוּל שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה מִבִּטּוּל הַיֵּשׁ,

The term bittul hayesh implies that there is an entity which ordinarily feels its own self and thus is described as a yesh; nevertheless, because it is exposed to influence which it recognizes as higher, it becomes batel. This bittul, however, runs contrary to its natural tendency, and even while it is batel, a certain dimension of self-awareness remains.

There are, by contrast, other entities that are bittul bimetzius, i.e., bittul is their inherent condition. Though they exist, they see themselves as extensions of their source and not as independent entities.

For this reason, the angels have a king over them, i.e., they relate to G‑d as King,

וְלָכֵן הַמַּלְאָכִים יֵשׁ עֲלֵיהֶם מֶלֶךְ

for they are also characterized by yeshus and possess an independent identity.

מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵם גַּם כֵּן בְּחִינַת יֵשׁ וְדָבָר

The angels exist in the spiritual realms of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah, realms that are characterized by yeshus.

For example, although the angels Michael and Gavriel stand constantly in love and fear of G‑d,

כְּמוֹ מִיכָאֵל וְגַבְרִיאֵל הֲגַם שֶׁעוֹמְדִים בְּאַהֲבָה וְיִרְאָה תָּמִיד

their individual identities – as one who loves G‑d or one who fears Him – remain.

הֲרֵי מִכָּל מָקוֹם הוּא מְצִיאוּת נִפְרָד לְעַצְמוֹ יְרֵא ה' וְאוֹהֲבוֹ

They feel all-encompassing love and fear of G‑d, but there is an entity who loves or fears.

Therefore, they relate to G‑d as King,

עַל כֵּן יֵשׁ עֲלֵיהֶם מֶלֶךְ

as implied by the verse (Tehillim 145:13): “Your Kingship is Kingship over all worlds.”

הוּא מַה שֶּׁכָּתוּב מַלְכוּתְךָ מַלְכוּת כָּל עוֹלָמִים (תִּלִּים קמ"ה י"ג)

This also applies to the souls of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah, as explained above.

וְכֵן הֵם הַנְּשָׁמוֹת דִּבְרִיאָה־יְצִירָה־עֲשִׂיָּה כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

There are, however, lofty souls,

אֲבָל הַנְּשָׁמוֹת הַגְּבוֹהוֹת

e.g., the soul of R. Shimon bar Yochai and the like,

כְּמוֹ נִשְׁמַת רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בַּר יוֹחָאִי וְכַיּוֹצֵא

who are on the level of sons,

הֵם בִּבְחִינַת בָּנִים

are above accepting a mortal king over themselves.

וְהֵם לְמַעְלָה מִבְּחִינַת גֶּדֶר קַבָּלַת הַמֶּלֶךְ בָּשָׂר וָדָם שֶׁלְּמַטָּה עֲלֵיהֶם

For that is relevant only to one who is a servant, as explained above.

שֶׁאֵינוֹ אֶלָּא לְמִי שֶׁהוּא עֶבֶד דַּיְקָא

i.e., a separate entity.

דְּהַיְנוּ שֶׁהוּא דָּבָר נִפְרָד כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

For a father will not be called a king even over 1,000 sons.

שֶׁהֲרֵי אֲפִלּוּ עַל אֶלֶף בָּנִים לֹא יִקָּרֵא הָאָב מֶלֶךְ

(The souls that are described as “sons” are on the level of Atzilus, which is actual G‑dliness. Hence, they have no perception of self.

(כִּי הֵם מִבְּחִינַת אֲצִילוּת שֶׁהוּא אֱלֹהוּת מַמָּשׁ

See the explanation of these two types of souls in Mitzvah 42, sec. 2.)16

עַיֵּן בֵּאוּר ב' מִינֵי נְשָׁמוֹת אֵלּוּ מִצְוָה מ"ב פֶּרֶק ב')

For this reason, Shmuel did not want to appoint a king over the Jewish people.

וְלָכֵן לֹא רָצָה שְׁמוּאֵל לְהַמְלִיךְ עֲלֵיהֶם מֶלֶךְ

For he wanted them all to be on this superior level,

כִּי רָצָה שֶׁיִּהְיוּ כֻלָּם בְּמַדְרֵגָה זוֹ

and then they would not need a mortal king.

וְאָז לֹא יִצְטָרְכוּ לְמֶלֶךְ בָּשָׂר וָדָם

This is also implied by the expression “our Father, our King,”

וְזֶהוּ שֶׁאוֹמְרִים אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ

which refers to these two levels.

ב' הַבְּחִינוֹת

With regard to “our Father,” we say “we sinned;”

וּבְאָבִינוּ אוֹמְרִים חָטָאנוּ

that Hebrew term implies an inadvertent transgression, for at this level, sin is against our nature.

וְחֵטְא הַיְנוּ בִּשְׁגָגָה

With regard to “our King,” however, we say “we transgressed;”

וּבְמַלְכֵּנוּ אוֹמְרִים פָּשָׁעְנוּ

that Hebrew term implies an intentional violation of G‑d’s will.

וּפְשִׁיעָה הַיְנוּ בְּזָדוֹן:

— 2 —

G‑d, nevertheless, commanded Shmuel to anoint a king for the Jewish people,

וְהִנֵּה אַחַר שֶׁאַף עַל פִּי כֵן צִוָּה ה' לִשְׁמוּאֵל שֶׁיִּמְשַׁח לָהֶם מֶלֶךְ

for their actual spiritual level required a king for their yeshus to become batel.

מֵאַחַר שֶׁהֵן עַל כָּל פָּנִים בְּמַדְרֵגָה זוֹ שֶׁצְּרִיכִים לְבִטּוּל הַיֵּשׁ,

Shmuel desired that all Jews reveal the inherent bittul of their G‑dly souls, the bittul experienced by the lofty souls described above. Therefore, he did not desire to appoint a king. G‑d, however, commanded him to appoint a king because, in practice, the level of spiritual awareness of the majority of the people was such that they could not experience bittul without the intermediary of a king. This approach to kingship was manifest by King David. Therefore,

King David acquired the crown of sovereignty forever,17reflecting a higher dimension of kingship.

הִנֵּה דָּוִד הַמֶּלֶךְ עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם זָכָה בְּכֶתֶר מְלוּכָה זוֹ לְעוֹלְמֵי עַד

Sefer HaChinuch thus interprets the mitzvah of appointing a king as compelling us to safeguard the kingship for the descendants of David.

וּפֵרוּשׁ מִצְוָה זוֹ שֶׁנִּשְׁמוֹר הַמְּלוּכָה לְזֶרַע דָּוִד עַיֵּן בְּחִנּוּךְ,

David merited this distinction because he was a vehicle for the Attribute of Malchus of Atzilus.

וּמַה שֶּׁזָּכָה לְזֶה הוּא לְפִי שֶׁהָיָה בְּחִינַת מֶרְכָּבה לְמַלְכוּת דַּאֲצִילוּת

He is called “the fourth support” of the Divine chariot.

וְנִקְרָא רֶגֶל רְבִיעִי

The three Patriarchs are referred to as the Divine chariot (Bereishis Rabbah 47:1). Thus the chariot would have only three supports, as it were. The fourth support is King David.

For that reason, we conclude the blessing after reading the Haftorah: “the Shield of David, equating him with the Patriarchs. For just as G‑d is identified with them, so too, He is identified with David.18

וְעַל כֵּן חוֹתְמִים בּוֹ מָגֵן דָּוִד.

To explain this concept:

וּבֵאוּר הָעִנְיָן

It is necessary first to preface this matter with an explanation of the level of King David with regard to his sovereignty over Israel,

יֵשׁ לְהַקְדִּים שֶׁמַּעֲלַת וּמַדְרֵגַת דָּוִד הַמֶּלֶךְ בְּעִנְיַן מַלְכוּתוֹ עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל

for he was much more elevated than all the other kings who descended from him and followed him.

הָיָה לְמַעְלָה מַּעְלָה מִן הַמַּדְרֵגָה שֶׁל שְׁאָר כָּל הַמְּלָכִים שֶׁהָיוּ אַחֲרָיו מִזַּרְעוֹ

For with regard to all the other kings who followed him, the first explanation given in sec. I applies:

כִּי בְּכָל הַמְּלָכִים שֶׁאַחֲרָיו הָיָה הַכַּוָּנָה כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל פֶּרֶק א'

Through these kings and their efforts, the Jews were batel to G‑d.

שֶׁבָּהֶם וְעַל יָדָם הַיִּשְׂרָאֵל בְּטֵלִים לַה'

This is the lowest dimension of the Attribute of Kingship.

וּבְחִינָה זוֹ הוּא הַיּוֹתֵר תַּחְתּוֹנָה שֶׁבְּמִדַּת הַמַּלְכוּת

This first and lowest level of kingship was not the only dimension of David’s kingship;

וְלֹא זֶה כָּל מַעֲלַת דָּוִד הַמֶּלֶךְ עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם

instead, it relates to the level of the kings who followed him.

אֶלָּא מַעֲלַת הַמְּלָכִים שֶׁאַחֲרָיו

David himself, by contrast, represented a much higher level within kingship.

אֲבָל בְּדָוִד מַעֲלָה יְתֵרָה וּגְדוֹלָה מִזּוֹ הַרְבֵּה הָיְתָה בּוֹ בְּעִנְיַן מַלְכוּתוֹ.

This is alluded to in the words of the woman of Tekoa to David (II Shmuel 14:20): “My lord is wise, like the wisdom of the angel of G‑d,”

אֶלָּא כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמְרָה הָאִשָּׁה הַתְּקוֹעִית לְדָוִד וַאדֹנִי חָכָם כְּחָכְמַת מַלְאַךְ אֱלֹקִים (שְׁמוּאֵל ב' י"ד כ')

i.e., David was identified with the quality of Chochmah within the Attribute of Malchus,

דְּהַיְנוּ בְּחִינַת הַחָכְמָה שֶׁבְּמִדַּת הַמַּלְכוּת

for he established his kingdom with wisdom.

שֶׁמַּעֲמִיד מַלְכוּתוֹ בְּחָכְמָה

As the Tzemach Tzedek proceeds to explain, the other kings conveyed bittul to the nation. In addition to bittul, David also conveyed Chochmah, wisdom.

As indicated by the verses (Tehillim 78:70-71): “He took him from the sheep corrals... to shepherd Yaakov His nation.”

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב וַיִּקָּחֵהוּ מִמִּכְלְאוֹת צֹאן כוּ' לִרְעוֹת בְּיַעֲקֹב עַמּוֹ (תִּלִּים ע"ח ע-ע"א)

A shepherd leads his herd and guides them,

שֶׁכְּמוֹ הָרוֹעֶה מְנַהֵל עֶדְרוֹ וּמַנְהִיגָם

paying careful individual attention to each sheep,

בְּהַשְׁגָּחָה פְּרָטִית עַל כָּל כִּבְשָׂה וְכִבְשָׂה

seeing that each be given proper pasture and not be harmed by predators.

שֶׁתִּהְיֶה רוֹעָה בְּמִרְעֶה טוֹבָה וְלֹא יַזִּיקוּהָ הַמַּזִּיקִים,

Similarly, King David would lead and watch over his people,

כָּךְ דָּוִד הַמֶּלֶךְ עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם הָיָה מַנְהִיג עַמּוֹ וּמַשְׁגִּיחַ עֲלֵיהֶם

providing every individual member of his nation with all his needs with regard to both spiritual and material matters,

לְהַשְׁפִּיעַ לָהֶם כָּל הִצְטָרְכוּתָם בְּרוּחָנִיּוּת וּבְגַשְׁמִיּוּת לְכָל נֶפֶשׁ פְּרָטִי מֵעַמּוֹ

as it is written (II Shmuel 18:13): “For no matter will be hidden from the king.”

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב וְכָל דָּבָר לֹא יִכָּחֵד מִן הַמֶּלֶךְ (שְׁמוּאֵל ב' י"ח י"ג)

He would exhort them to observe the mitzvos

שֶׁהָיָה מַזְהִירֵם עַל קִיּוּם הַמִּצְוֹת

and set up a court system to “vindicate the righteous.”5

וּמַצְדִּיק אֶת הַצַּדִּיק כוּ'

Similarly, he would tend to their material concerns.

וְכֵן בְּגַשְׁמִיּוּת

Thus our Sages relate (Berachos 3b) that the Jews came to David with a complaint: “Your nation Israel requires sustenance.”

עַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל צְרִיכִים פַּרְנָסָה

When he gave them a suggestion, they responded: “This small amount will not satisfy a lion.”

שֶׁאֵין הַקֹּמֶץ מַשְׂבִּיעַ כוּ' (בְּרָכוֹת ג' ב')

And so he told them: “Prepare to wage war.”

לְכוּ וּפִשְׁטוּ יְדֵיכֶם בִּגְדוּד.

Now the quality of Chochmah in Malchus was manifest in King David,

וְהִנֵּה בְּחִינַת חָכְמָה שֶׁבְּמִדַּת הַמַּלְכוּת הָיָה בְּדָוִד הַמֶּלֶךְ עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם

but not in the kings that followed him,

מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן בְּכָל הַמְּלָכִים שֶׁאַחֲרָיו

even though there were great tzaddikim and very wise men among them.

הֲגַם שֶׁהָיוּ צַדִּיקִים גְּדוֹלִים וַחֲכָמִים מְאֹד

For with regard to King Shlomo, it is written (I Melachim 5:11): “And Shlomo was wiser than all men.”

שֶׁהֲרֵי בִּשְׁלֹמֹה נֶאֱמַר וַיֶּחְכַּם מִכָּל הָאָדָם (מְלָכִים א' ה' י"א)

Similarly, Chizkiyahu was distinguished for his wisdom.

וְכֵן חִזְקִיָּה,

Nevertheless, the radiance of Sublime Chochmah did not shine within them in a manner that it would be projected beyond their individual selves and affect the way they conducted their kingdom

שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה הֶאָרַת חָכְמָה מִלְמַעְלָה מֵאִיר בָּהֶם לְעִנְיַן הַנְהָגַת מַלְכוּתָם

as it did in David’s instance.

עַל דֶּרֶךְ הַנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל בְּדָוִד

True, they were very wise.

וַהֲגַם שֶׁהָיוּ חֲכָמִים

Their soul’s individual spark was illuminated by the Attribute of Chochmah,

הַיְנוּ בְּנִיצוֹץ הַפְּרָטִי שֶׁלָּהֶם שֶׁבּוֹ הֵאִירָה מִבְּחִינַת חָכְמָה

(enabling them to understand and to conceive of G‑d’s Torah and worldly matters with wisdom).

(לְהָבִין וּלְהַשְׂכִּיל בְּתוֹרַת ה' וּבְכָל אֲשֶׁר בָּעוֹלָם)

This quality of Chochmah did not, however, illumine their kingship, i.e., their sovereignty over the nation, in the manner explained above.

אֲבָל בִּבְחִינַת הַמַּלְכוּת שֶׁלָּהֶם בְּמַה שֶּׁהֵם מְלָכִים עַל הָעָם בְּזֶה לֹא הֵאִירָה בְּחִינַת הַחָכְמָה עַל דֶּרֶךְ הַנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

Only King David was able to do so, for he was a collective soul.

אֶלָּא בְּדָוִד לִהְיוֹתוֹ נְשָׁמָה כְּלָלִית,

As Chassidus explains,19 there are certain souls whose relationship to the Jewish people as a whole parallels the relationship of the brain to the body. The brain contains cells associated with every organ and limb of the body and in this manner controls and directs their functioning. Similarly, the souls of the entire Jewish people are rooted in these “collective souls.”

This was not true with regard to the other kings.

מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן בִּשְׁאָר הַמְּלָכִים

Their kingship was expressed according to the first motif mentioned in sec. 1:

שֶׁעִנְיַן מַלְכוּתָם לֹא הָיָה אֶלָּא עַל אֹפֶן שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר לְעֵיל פֶּרֶק א'

that the entire nation was batel to them and they were batel to G‑dliness.

שֶׁכָּל הָעָם בְּטֵלִים אֶצְלוֹ וְהוּא בָּטֵל לֵאלֹקוּת

This reflects the quality of deed in David’s kingship.

וְהוּא בְּחִינַת עֲשִׂיָּה דְמַלְכוּת דָּוִד.

David’s kingship also reflected this quality, but this was merely one dimension – the dimension associated with Malchus, or deed – of David’s kingship. In addition, David, in contrast to the kings who succeeded him, also conveyed the attribute of Chochmah, wisdom.

To explain the concept that David’s kingship also had the Attribute of Chochmah manifest within it:

וּבֵאוּר הַדָּבָר בְּעִנְיַן מַלְכוּת דָּוִד שֶׁהָיָה בּוֹ גַּם מִבְּחִינַת הַחָכְמָה בְּמַלְכוּתוֹ

This concept can be understood by prefacing with an explanation of our Sages’ statement (Yalkut Shimoni, Bereishis, sec. 41)

הִנֵּה יוּבַן עַל פִּי הַקְדָּמָה לְהָבִין מַאֲמַר רַזַ"ל (יַלְקוּט שִׁמְעוֹנִי בְּרֵאשִׁית סִימָן מ"א)

that Adam the first man gave David seventy years of his life.

שֶׁאָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן נָתַן לְדָוִד ע' שָׁנָה מִשֶּׁלּוֹ

When the Holy One, blessed be He, showed him the future generations and their leaders,

כְּשֶׁהֶרְאָה לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא דּוֹר דּוֹר וּמַנְהִיגָיו

Adam saw that David would be stillborn.

וְרָאָה דָוִד שֶׁהָיָה בַּר נַפְלָא,

Hence, Adam gave David seventy years. Therefore, Adam was missing seventy years of life,

וְעַל כֵּן חָסְרוּ לוֹ ע' שָׁנָה מִשְּׁנֵי חַיָּיו

for he should have lived 1,000 years and instead lived 930 years.

שֶׁהָיוּ רְאוּיִם לִהְיוֹת אֶלֶף שָׁנָה,

Now, the Zohar, Parshas Vayishlach, p. 168a, states that the Patriarchs also gave David seventy years of life:

וּמְבֹאָר בַּזֹּהַר פַּרְשַׁת וַיִּשְׁלַח דַּף קס"ח עַמּוּד א' שֶׁגַּם הָאָבוֹת נָתְנוּ לוֹ ע' שָׁנָה

Avraham granted him five years,

אַבְרָהָם שְׁבַק לֵיהּ חָמֵשׁ שְׁנִין

for he should have lived 180 years,

דַּהֲוָה לֵיהּ לְאִתְקַיְּמָא מֵאָה וְתַמְנִין שְׁנִין

but instead lived 175,

וְאִתְקַיֵּם מֵאָה וְשִׁבְעִים וְחָמֵשׁ שְׁנִין

a lack of five years.

חֲסֵרִין חָמֵשׁ,

Yaakov should have lived as long as Avraham,

יַעֲקֹב הֲוָה לֵיהּ לְאִתְקַיְּמָא בְּעַלְמָא כְּיוֹמֵי דְאַבְרָהָם

but instead lived only 147 years,

וְלָא אִתְקַיֵּם אֶלָּא מֵאָה וְאַרְבְּעִין וּשְׁבַע שְׁנִין

lacking 28.

חֲסֵרִין תְּמַנְיָא וְעֶשְׂרִין

And Yosef, who lived 110 years, should have lived 147, like Yaakov.

יוֹסֵף דְּאִתְקַיֵּם מֵאָה וְעֶשֶׂר שְׁנִין הֲוָה לֵיהּ לְאִתְקַיְּמָא קמ"ז שְׁנִין כְּיַעֲקֹב

He thus lacked 37 years.

וְחָסֵר מִנְּהוֹן תְּלָתִין וְשֶׁבַע שְׁנִין

These 70 years were granted to King David to enable him to live.

הָא שַׁבְעִין דִּשְׁבָקוּ לֵיהּ לְדָוִד מַלְכָּא לְאִתְקַיְּמָא בְּהוֹן,

This matter arouses wonderment.

וְיֵשׁ לְהַפְלֵא

Why was it necessary for David to be granted seventy years twice, both by Adam and by the Patriarchs?

מָה עִנְיַן כֵּפֶל הָע' שָׁנִים שֶׁנָּתְנוּ לוֹ אָדָם וְהָאָבוֹת

Why did he live only seventy years?

וּמַדּוּעַ לֹא חַי כִּי אִם ע' שָׁנָה

Seemingly, he should have lived 140,

דְּלִכְאוֹרָה הָיָה צָרִיךְ לִהְיוֹת יְמֵי חַיָּיו ק"מ שָׁנָה

including all the years that were taken from Adam and the Patriarchs.

כְּפִי הַשָּׁנִים שֶׁנֶּחְסְרוּ מֵחַיֵּי אָדָם וְהָאָבוֹת

To explain:

וְהָעִנְיָן

Adam represented the Sublime Chochmah, the Chochmah of Atzilus,

כִּי אָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן הוּא בְּחִינַת חָכְמָה עִלָּאָה דַאֲצִילוּת

of which it is said:20 “You G‑d are wise, but not with known wisdom.”

וְהִיא בְּחִינַת חַכִּים וְלָא בְחָכְמָה יְדִיעָא

This wisdom is not on the level or of the type that would lead to known wisdom in the realms of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah,

רוֹצֶה לוֹמַר שֶׁאֵינָהּ בְּעֶרֶךְ וְסוּג לִהְיוֹת מִמֶּנָּה חָכְמָה יְדִיעָא בִּבְרִיאָה־יְצִירָה־עֲשִׂיָּה

i.e., this wisdom does not deal with the supervision of the functioning of the created beings,

אֵיךְ לִהְיוֹת הַנְהָגַת הַנִּבְרָאִים

because it is very much exalted above this level.

כִּי הִיא מְרוֹמָם לְמַעְלָה מַּעְלָה מִבְּחִינָה זוֹ

For this reason, David was to be stillborn.

וְלָזֹאת הָיָה דָוִד בַּר נַפְלָא

For David’s spiritual source is G‑d’s speech and the breath of His mouth, i.e., the Attribute of Malchus,

כִּי שֹׁרֶשׁ בְּחִינַת דָּוִד הוּא בְּחִינַת דְּבַר ה' וְרוּחַ פִּיו

which endows all the worlds with life.

הַמְחַיֶּה כָּל הָעוֹלָמוֹת,

Now, at the outset, this speech was included and subsumed within Chochmah.

וְהִנֵּה הַדִּבּוּר הָיָה כָּלוּל וּבָטֵל בְּהַחָכְמָה

To cite an example:

דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל

a person who is involved in the depth of his wisdom cannot speak and impart influence to a colleague at that time.

כְּשֶׁאָדָם טָרוּד בְּעַמְקוּת חָכְמָתוֹ אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל אָז לְדַבֵּר וּלְהַשְׁפִּיעַ לְזוּלָתוֹ,

Since the source of David’s soul was from the Sublime Speech, he was to be stillborn.

וְעַל כֵּן לְפִי שֶׁשֹּׁרֶשׁ נִשְׁמַת דָּוִד מִבְּחִינַת דִּבּוּר הָעֶלְיוֹן הָיָה בַּר נַפְלָא

For he was included within Adam the first man

לְפִי שֶׁהָיָה כָּלוּל בְּאָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן

who was the personification of the Sublime Chochmah.

חָכְמָה עִלָּאָה

Just as a person’s power to communicate can be totally absorbed within his wisdom, so too, David’s life (whose spiritual parallel is the power of communication) was absorbed within Adam’s (whose spiritual parallel is the power of wisdom).21

In order that David, i.e., the power of communication, be drawn out of its hidden state within Adam the first man, Chochmah,

וּכְדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה נִמְשָׁךְ מֵהֶעְלֵמוֹ בְּאָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן

it was necessary that a ray of Kesser shine within Chochmah.

הָיָה עַל יְדֵי הֶאָרַת הַכֶּתֶר בְּחָכְמָה

Then, due to the additional lights shining within Chochmah, Chochmahwould not be able to contain itself

שֶׁמֵּחֲמַת תּוֹסֶפֶת הֶאָרָה בְּחָכְמָה לֹא הָיָה בִּיכוֹלְתָּהּ לִסְבּוֹל

and would be compelled to enable the Sublime Speech to be drawn down from it.

וְהֻכְרַח לִהְיוֹת נִמְשָׁךְ מִמֶּנָּה הַדִּבּוּר עֶלְיוֹן

To cite an example:

דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל

a person may suddenly have many concepts arise in his mind through ruach hakodesh22 or the like.

בְּאָדָם כְּשֶׁנּוֹסָפִים לוֹ שִׂכְלִיִּים רַבִּים פִּתְאוֹם עַל יְדֵי רוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ וְכַיּוֹצֵא

In such a situation, he cannot hold back and contain everything within himself.

שֶׁאָז לֹא יוּכַל לְהִתְאַפֵּק וּלְהַעֲטִיף כָּל אֵלֶּה בְּעַצְמוּתוֹ

Instead, he is obligated to reveal at least something to his colleague.

וּמֻכְרָח לְגַלּוֹת לְזוּלָתוֹ מְעַט

This will bring him relief and calm.

שֶׁעַל יְדֵי זֶה יִרְוַח וְיָנוּחַ לוֹ,

This enables us to understand the seventy years Adam the first man granted David.

וְזֶהוּ עִנְיַן ע' שָׁנִים שֶׁנָּתַן לוֹ אָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן

They represent the seven Middos of Chochmah,

שֶׁהֵם בְּחִינַת ז' מִדּוֹת שֶׁבְּחָכְמָה

For Chochmah contains all ten Sefiros – the three intellectual attributes and the seven emotive attributes – within it. The middos as they exist in Chochmah are, however, far different from their form as they exist independently.

as they each include all Ten Sefiros.

הַכְּלוּלִים מֵעֶשֶׂר

Through these qualities, a ray of the Sublime Wisdom is drawn down into G‑d’s speech.

שֶׁבָּהֶם וְעַל יָדָם נִמְשָׁךְ הֶאָרַת חָכְמָה עִלָּאָה בְּהַדִּבּוּר,

The above is implied by King David’s statement (Tehillim 30:2): “I exalt You, O G‑d (Havayah), for You have uplifted (דליתני) me.”

וְזֶהוּ שֶׁאָמַר דָּוִד הַמֶּלֶךְ עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם (תִּלִּים ל' ב') אֲרוֹמִמְךָ ה' כִּי דִלִּיתָנִי

The intent is that because influence is drawn down from an “exalted” plane, the level of Kesser,

פֵּרוּשׁ עַל יְדֵי שֶׁנִּמְשָׁךְ מִבְּחִינַת אֲרוֹמִמְךָ שֶׁהוּא כֶּתֶר

to the name Havayah, which is identified with Chochmah,

בַּהֲוָיָ' שֶׁהוּא חָכְמָה

this leads to דליתני, my being uplifted.

עַל יְדֵי זֶה כִּי דִלִּיתָנִי

However, דלה also means “draw out,” like drawing water from a well,

uplifting led to drawing out the Sublime Speech from its hidden state in Chochmah.

רוֹצֶה לוֹמַר שֶׁדָּלֹה דָלָה אֶת הַדִּבּוּר לָבֹא אֶל הַגִּלּוּי מֵהֶעְלֵמוֹ בְּחָכְמָה.

The Tzemach Tzedek is explaining the sequence mentioned above within the context of the verse cited. Kesser energizes Chochmah and this enables Malchus to be revealed.

However, the concept of drawing down Chochmah from Adam the first man to David

אַךְ הִנֵּה עִנְיַן הַמְשָׁכַת הַחָכְמָה מֵאָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן לְדָוִד

refers to drawing down the essence of Chochmah, Chochmah in its most sublime state, a level that does not relate to the emotive qualities.

הוּא בְּחִינַת הַמְשָׁכָה מֵחָכְמָה הָעַצְמִיּוּת שֶׁאֵינוֹ נוֹגַעַת לְמִדּוֹת,

There is, however, another lower dimension of Chochmah:

וְאָמְנָם יֵשׁ עוֹד בְּחִינַת חָכְמָה

Chochmah as it is enclothed within the emotions,

הִיא הַחָכְמָה שֶׁבְּמִדּוֹת

i.e., how the kingdom should be administered according to the qualities of Chessed and Gevurah,

אֵיךְ לִהְיוֹת הַנְהָגַת הַמְּלוּכָה עַל פִּי חֲסָדִים וּגְבוּרוֹת

as implied by the verse (Mishlei 29:4): “A king establishes the land with judgment.”

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב מֶלֶךְ בְּמִשְׁפָּט יַעֲמִיד אָרֶץ (מִשְׁלֵי כ"ט ד')

For as stated above, David represented the dimension of Chochmah in the quality of Malchus

וְכַנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל בְּעִנְיַן דָּוִד שֶׁהָיָה בְּחִינַת חָכְמָה בְּמַלְכוּתוֹ

and he was identified with this attribute.

וְהוּא זֶה.

The Tzemach Tzedek is explaining why two sets of seventy years were granted to David, for there are two levels of Chochmah that are drawn down to Malchus:one that reflects transcendent Chochmah and one that reflects the Chochmah of the Middos.

Similarly, the essence of Chessed has to be drawn down to Malchus

וְגַם כֵּן צָרִיךְ לִהְיוֹת הַמְשָׁכַת עַצְמִיּוּת הַחֶסֶד בְּמִדַּת הַמַּלְכוּת

as reflected in the verses (Yeshayahu 55:3) which speak of “David’s faithful kindnesses”

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּדָוִד חַסְדֵי דָוִד הַנֶּאֱמָנִים (יְשַׁעְיָה נ"ה ג')

and: “David implemented kindness23 among his entire people.”

וַיְהִי דָוִד עוֹשֶׂה חֶסֶד לְכָל עַמּוֹ (שְׁמוּאֵל ב' ח' ט"ו)

For his sovereignty was based on the trait of kindness,

שֶׁהָיָה בְּחִינַת הַמְּלוּכָה שֶׁלּוֹ מְיֻסֶּדֶת עַל טֶבַע הַחֶסֶד

to bestow benevolence to his people.

לְהַשְׁפִּיעַ לְעַמּוֹ

This is an expression of the five years granted to him by Avraham,

וְזֶהוּ עִנְיַן ה' שָׁנִים שֶׁנָּתַן לוֹ אַבְרָהָם

which reflect the five Attributes of Chessed.

שֶׁהֵם ה' חֲסָדִים

For Avraham was a man of kindness.

כִּי אַבְרָהָם הָיָה אִישׁ הַחֶסֶד

As the Torah relates, he would show hospitality to guests, providing them with food and drink.

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בּוֹ שֶׁהָיָה מַכְנִיס אוֹרְחִים וּמַאֲכִילָן וּמַשְׁקָן.

Nevertheless, the question arises:

וְאָמְנָם לִכְאוֹרָה צָרִיךְ לְהָבִין

Since we are speaking of spiritual powers and influence,

מֵאַחַר שֶׁהַכֹּל הוּא בְּחִינַת כֹּחוֹת וְהַשְׁפָּעוֹת רוּחָנִיִּים

why was it necessary for there to be a corresponding reduction of years in the source,

לָמָּה נֶחְסְרוּ כְּמִסְפָּרָן בְּמָקוֹר שֶׁמִּשָּׁם נִמְשְׁכוּ

that Adam the first man lived seventy years less than the thousand destined for him

עַד כִּי אָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן חַי פָּחוֹת מֵאֶלֶף ע' שָׁנָה

and Avraham lived five years less?

וְכֵן בְּאַבְרָהָם כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

When one candle lights another candle,

וַהֲרֵי הַמַּדְלִיק נֵר מִנֵּר

the light of the first candle is not diminished or weakened as a result.

אֵינוֹ מַכְחִישׁ וּמְחַסֵּר עַל יְדֵי זֶה אוֹר הָרִאשׁוֹן,

Similarly, since we are speaking of a gift of spiritual powers, why should their gifts to David cause Adam and the Patriarchs to suffer a loss?

The concept can be explained as follows:

אַךְ הָעִנְיָן

Drawing down influence from Adam and the Patriarchs to David was a drastic descent in level,

כִּי הַמְשָׁכַת הַחַיּוּת זוֹ מֵאָדָם וְהָאָבוֹת בְּדָוִד הוּא בְּחִינַת הַשְׁפָּלָה עֲצוּמָה

not a measured, step-by-step downward progression.

שֶׁלֹּא כְּפִי הַהַדְרָגָה

For, as explained above, David is identified with Malchus of Atzilus.

כִּי הִנֵּה נִתְבָּאֵר לְעֵיל שֶׁדָּוִד הוּא בְּחִינַת מַלְכוּת דַּאֲצִילוּת

Malchus represents a radical descent from the levels above it. To explain:

It is written: “For no matter will be hidden from the king” (II Shmuel 18:13).

וּכְתִיב בֵּיהּ וְכָל דָּבָר לֹא יִכָּחֵד מִן הַמֶּלֶךְ (שְׁמוּאֵל ב' י"ח י"ג)

For the king’s supervision encompasses all the particular deeds performed by the people in his nation.

שֶׁהַשְׁגָּחַת הַמֶּלֶךְ הִיא עַל כָּל פְּרָטֵי מַעֲשֵׂה אֱנוֹשׁ מֵעַמּוֹ

Nothing is concealed from him.

לֹא נֶעְלַם מִמֶּנּוּ דָּבָר

There is a parallel in the spiritual realms.

וּלְמַעְלָה

Malchus of Atzilus descends to the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah

הַיְנוּ גַּם כֵּן יְרִידַת הַמַּלְכוּת דַּאֲצִילוּת בָּעוֹלָמוֹת בְּרִיאָה־יְצִירָה־עֲשִׂיָּה

to grant life to and to maintain all the particular elements that exist within these worlds. These comprise a vast multitude,

לְהַחֲיוֹת וּלְקַיֵּם כָּל פְּרָטֵי הָעוֹלָמוֹת שֶׁבִּבְרִיאָה־יְצִירָה־עֲשִׂיָּה

as it is written (Daniel 7:10): “A thousand thousands of angels were serving Him.”

אֶלֶף אֲלָפִים יְשַׁמְּשׁוּנֵּיהּ כוּ' (דָּנִיֵּאל ז' י')

Malchus provides each one with influence according to its character and nature

וּלְהַשְׁפִּיעַ לְכָל אֶחָד כְּפִי מִזְגוֹ וּתְכוּנָתוֹ

and supervises all their deeds, thoughts, and designs with individual providence.

וְכֵן לְהַשְׁגִּיחַ בְּהַשְׁגָּחָה פְּרָטִיּוּת עַל כָּל מַעֲשֵׂיהֶם וּמַחְשְׁבוֹתֵיהֶם וְתַחְבּוּלוֹתֵיהֶם

This is a great and radical descent in relation to the lights of Atzilus.

וַהֲרֵי זֶה בְּחִינַת הַשְׁפָּלָה בְּעֶרֶךְ שֶׁלֹּא כְּפִי הַהַדְרָגָה כְּלָל לְגַבֵּי אוֹרוֹת דַּאֲצִילוּת עַצְמָן

For as these lights exist within Atzilus, they are actually infinite.

כְּמוֹ שֶׁהֵם בַּאֲצִילוּת שֶׁהֵם בִּבְחִינַת אֵין סוֹף מַמָּשׁ.

Atzilus is a unique realm. In contrast to the undefined levels of G‑dliness above Atzilus, in Atzilus, all of G‑d’s attributes have taken on a specific definition, each one characterized by its own manner of functioning. Nevertheless, these qualities are unified with G‑d in His infinity and hence, they are also unlimited in nature.

Therefore, for influence to be drawn down from Atzilus,

וְלָזֹאת כַּאֲשֶׁר צָרִיךְ לִהְיוֹת הַמְשָׁכָה מִבְּחִינַת הָאֲצִילוּת,

e.g., from Chochmah to the Attribute of Malchus so that the kingship will be conducted with Chochmah

כְּמוֹ לִהְיוֹת הַמְשָׁכָה מֵחָכְמָה עִלָּאָה בְּמִדַּת הַמְּלוּכָה שֶׁתִּהְיֶה הַהַנְהָגָה בְּחָכְמָה

– and similarly, for the Sublime Emotive Attributes to be drawn down into Malchus,

וְכֵן מֵהַמִּדּוֹת עֶלְיוֹנוֹת

as explained above with regard to Avraham –

כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל בְּאַבְרָהָם,

it is impossible for the radiance to reach this level from its position and essence in Atzilus,

אִי אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁתִּהְיֶה הַהֶאָרָה מִמְּקוֹמָהּ וּמֵעַצְמוּתָהּ שֶׁבַּאֲצִילוּת מַגַּעַת עַד שָׁם

for the qualitative difference between them is very great.

כִּי רָחוֹק מְאֹד הֶבְדֵּל הָעֶרֶךְ שֶׁבֵּינֵיהֶם,

Instead, were radiance and influence to be drawn down from Atzilus to shine within the Attribute of Malchus

אֶלָּא אִם נִמְשְׁכָה אֵיזוֹ הֶאָרָה וְהַשְׁפָּעָה מֵאֲצִילוּת לְהָאִיר בִּבְחִינָה זוֹ דְּמַלְכוּת

to direct the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah,

לְהַנְהָגַת הָעוֹלָמוֹת בְּרִיאָה־יְצִירָה־עֲשִׂיָּה

it would be necessary that it be removed from Atzilus

אֲזַי בְּהֶכְרֵחַ שֶׁהִיא מִסְתַּלֶּקֶת

and that it depart from its natural place and level entirely

וְיוֹצֵאת מִמְּקוֹמָהּ וּמִמַּעֲמָדָהּ לְגַמְרֵי

to the extent that it will no longer be found at all in its original place and level,

עַד שֶׁלֹּא הִמָּצֵא תִמָּצֵא עוֹד בִּמְקוֹמָהּ וּבְמַעֲמָדָהּ הָרִאשׁוֹן

because it has already departed

מִפְּנֵי שֶׁכְּבָר יָצְאָה

been drawn down and made the radical descent mentioned above.

וְנִמְשְׁכָה בְּמָקוֹם הָרָחוֹק בְּדִלּוּג הָעֶרֶךְ מְאֹד כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל,

Thus, it is not appropriate to use the analogy of the light of a candle –

וְאֵינוֹ כִּמְשַׁל אוֹר הַנֵּר

i.e., although a candle stays in one fixed place,

שֶׁהֲגַם שֶׁעוֹמֵד עַל מָקוֹם אֶחָד קָבוּעַ

its light shines forth and reaches the entire building.

מִכָּל מָקוֹם אוֹרוֹ מֵאִיר וּמַגִּיעַ גַּם בְּכָל הַבַּיִת

This analogy, however, is applicable only when the place its light reaches is in close proximity to the candle.

כִּי זֶה אֵינוֹ אֶלָּא כְּשֶׁהַמָּקוֹם קָרוֹב בְּעֶרֶךְ

In the spiritual realms, this applies within the world of Atzilus itself,

וּלְמַעְלָה גַם כֵּן הַיְנוּ בַּאֲצִילוּת עַצְמוֹ

extending the light from one level to another level within Atzilus.

מִבְּחִינָה זוֹ לִבְחִינָה זוֹ

In such a case, even though the light remains in its own level,

שֶׁגַּם כְּשֶׁהִיא בִּמְקוֹמָהּ עוֹמֶדֶת

it can still shine to a lower level within that world.

תּוּכַל לְהָאִיר וּלְהַשְׁפִּיעַ בַּחֲבֶרְתָּהּ כוּ'

When, by contrast, the rungs are distant from each other, with a radical difference in level as the lights of Atzilus are radically different from Malchus as it shines within the lower realms,

אֲבָל כְּשֶׁהֵם רְחוֹקִים מְאֹד בְּדִלּוּג הָעֶרֶךְ

a direct ray that shines forth from the place of the entity

לֹא תַגִּיעַ הַהֶאָרָה הַמְּאִירָה מִמְּקוֹמוֹ

(i.e., from its essence)

(פֵּרוּשׁ מֵעַצְמוּתוֹ וּמַהוּתוֹ)

on the higher level will not reach the lower level. It is impossible for the essence of the higher level to reach the lower level,

שֶׁל הָעֶלְיוֹן אֶל הַתַּחְתּוֹן כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

unless the essence itself moves from its own place to the lower level as above.

כִּי אִם כַּאֲשֶׁר יָזִיז וְיַעֲבוֹר עַצְמוֹ הָעֶלְיוֹן מִמְּקוֹמוֹ אֶל הַתַּחְתּוֹן כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל.

To what can this be compared?

הָא לְמָה זֶה דוֹמֶה

To a candle whose light shines outward from its place for only ten cubits.

לְאוֹר הַנֵּר שֶׁמִּמְּקוֹמוֹ מֵאִיר עַד עֶשֶׂר אַמּוֹת

If one desires that its light reach a distance of twenty cubits,

וּכְשֶׁרוֹצִים שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ אוֹרוֹ בְּמָקוֹם הָרָחוֹק עֶשְׂרִים אַמָּה

he must move it ten cubits from its present position.

אֲזַי בְּהֶכְרֵחַ לְקָרְבוֹ עֶשֶׂר אַמּוֹת לְהָלְאָה מִמְּקוֹם מַצָּבוֹ וּמַעֲמָדוֹ,

Similar concepts apply in the spiritual realms.

כָּכָה מַמָּשׁ לְמַעְלָה

Within Atzilus itself, it is possible that the revelation of the ray from even the highest place and attribute

דְּבַאֲצִילוּת עַצְמוֹ יוּכַל לִהְיוֹת גִּלּוּי הַהֶאָרָה הַמְּאִירָה מִמָּקוֹם וּבְחִינָה הַיּוֹתֵר עֶלְיוֹנָה

be drawn down to the lowest rung within that realm,

נִמְשֶׁכֶת עַד בְּחִינָה הַיּוֹתֵר תַּחְתּוֹנָה

even though it is ten Sefiros removed, i.e., the ten levels from Chochmah to Malchus.

הֲגַם שֶׁהוּא בְּרִחוּק עֶשֶׂר סְפִירוֹת

Nevertheless, these Sefiros are all of the same level and type,

מִכָּל מָקוֹם הֲרֵי כֻּלָּם בְּסוּג וְעֶרֶךְ אֶחָד

for “He and His keilim are one”;24

דְּאִיהוּ וְגַרְמוֹהִי חַד

He is perfectly one with all of them.

שֶׁמְּיֻחָד בָּהֶן בְּתַכְלִית

For “He is the Subject of Knowledge, He is the Knower….”25

שֶׁהוּא הַמַּדָּע כוּ'

In mortal knowledge, there exists a gap between the knower, the object of knowledge, and the knowledge. This is not true with regard to G‑d’s knowledge. In the realm of Atzilus, G‑d is identified with the Sefiros to the extent that He is one with them and they are not separate entities. Thus, His knowledge is utterly one with Him. The same concepts apply with the other Divine attributes that exist in Atzilus.

Therefore, since all of His attributes are one with Him,

וְלָכֵן

the luminary does not suffer any loss through the process of shining to another lower level

לֹא נַעֲשָׂה חִסָּרוֹן בְּהַמָּאוֹר בְּמַה שֶּׁמֵּאִיר מֵאוֹרוֹ לִבְחִינוֹת זוּלָתוֹ

for this does not constitute a departure from His essence.

כִּי אֵין בְּזֶה הֲלִיכָה וִיצִיאָה מֵעַצְמוּתוֹ,

When a person communicates to someone outside himself, he must adapt his words and even his thinking pattern to relate to the other person’s way of understanding. Otherwise, that other person will not grasp the meaning of his words. This involves a departure from his own natural thought pattern. Within his own thinking process itself, however, a person need not undergo such a process of adaptation. He thinks freely and spontaneously.

Since the attributes of Atzilus are “within Himself,” as it were, there is no need for G‑d to adapt His light when shining to them.26

When, by contrast, the radiance of Divine light is drawn down until it reaches the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah, a different pattern of transmission is necessary.

אֲבָל לִהְיוֹת הַהֶאָרָה נִמְשֶׁכֶת וּמַגַּעַת גַּם בִּבְרִיאָה־יְצִירָה־עֲשִׂיָּה

For the transition from Atzilus to Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah is impossible

אִי אֶפְשָׁר לִהְיוֹת

when the light is shining from its essential place in the world of Atzilus as it shines there in its natural pattern,

אִם הִיא מְאִירָה מִמְּקוֹמָהּ וּמַהוּתָהּ וְעַצְמוּתָהּ שֶׁבַּאֲצִילוּת

since these realms are very distant from one another and a radical transition is necessary, as mentioned above.

כִּי רְחוֹקִים מְאֹד זֶה מִזֶּה בְּדִלּוּג הָעֶרֶךְ כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

Transmission to such lower levels is possible only when the light descends ten levels lower from its place,

אִם לֹא עַל יְדֵי שֶׁתֵּרֵד מִמְּקוֹמָהּ עֶשֶׂר מַעֲלוֹת אֲחוֹרַנִּית

i.e., through all the Ten Sefiros of Atzilus,

הֵם י' סְפִירוֹת דַּאֲצִילוּת

and then enclothes itself in the beginning of the world of Beriah.

וְתִתְלַבֵּשׁ בְּרֹאשׁ הַבְּרִיאָה

Then its light can diffuse and be extended throughout that realm.

שֶׁאָז תִּתְפַּשֵּׁט וְתַגִּיעַ אוֹרָהּ בְּכָל אוֹתוֹ הָעוֹלָם,