Chanukah: The biggest light is in the darkest places – Part II
Rebbe Nachman says: Despite the fact that the root of all creation is one – to do the will of Hashem – despite this, there are still a lot of different parts to this. One of the ways of understanding this matter is by looking at the material world, at the globe. There are many countries in the world, and many places, but in every place around the globe a single spiritual light shines, that helps us to come closer to God.
There’s a very big difference between the spiritual illumination that can be found in the USA, and the spiritual illumination that can be found in Morocco or Russia. One of the most obvious differences is that the whole world is fundamentally different from Eretz Yisrael. The spiritual illumination that shines in Eretz Yisrael is intrinsically completely different from every other place in the whole world.
The whole world is full of His glory
Every Jew in his own location needs to search for that place’s appropriate way to come closer to God. This will change from person to person, from day to day, and from place to place, but in each place there is a spiritual illumination that is able to draw people closer to Hashem by its light, as the verse says: “The whole world is full of His glory” – i.e. it’s possible to draw closer to Hashem from every place.
In the continuation of that lesson, Rebbe Nachman asks: “There’s a verse that says: “His glory he won’t give to acher (another)” and the explanation of this is that there is a place called acher which God is not willing to light up with His glory, which is to say that there is no revelation of Hashem’s glory there.
Rebbe Nachman refers to this place by the name: ‘impure places and houses of idol worship’. Rav Natan explains that Rebbe Nachman is talking about the two aspects of this place.
‘Impure places’ is referring to the place of the deepest lusts. Every person has lusts and trials, but it can happen that a person falls so far down into his lusts that it’s said of him that he fell into ‘nukva detehuma raba’ – the ‘delight of the great abyss’, which means in practice that this person has already been driven mad by his lusts. It’s said of a person that falls into this place that he fell into an ‘impure place’.
“Houses of idol worship” refers to all the different types of foreign wisdoms, ideas and philosophies that distances a person from emuna, and from Hashem. These places are so full of heresy, a person can no longer return from there to having emuna and believing in Hashem.
The hidden light sustains these dark places
Rebbe Nachman asks: How do these places exist, if Hashem’s life-giving force is not to be found there? What spiritual aspect is keeping these ‘impure places’ and house of idol worship going? He answers: These places are illuminated by ‘Bereishit mamar sitom’ (the hidden 10th statement of creation) – ‘ the light of keter (the crown)’, which is the hidden light that was created during the six days of creation, hidden away, and that will shine for Am Yisrael in the future at the time of redemption.
Today, our reality is that this light still hasn’t been revealed except in a very hidden, concealed way in these ‘impure places’ and houses of idol worship – i.e. in the darkest places that are the furthest away from Hashem! And this is a great wonder, that the biggest light of all should be found in the lowest of places.
Translated from the ‘Ka’ayal Ta’arog’ Newsletter #24, Kislev 5778