From and including: Friday, November 22, 1963
To, but not including Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Result: 20,081 days
Or 54 years, 11 months, 23 days excluding the end date.
Or 659 months, 23 days excluding the end date.
6th day of Kislev
"6th day of Kislev" = 64 (Full Reduction)
"sixth day of Kislev" = 74 (Full Reduction)
"sixth day" = 38 (Full Reduction)
In the beginning, as the Midrash teaches,1 G‑d “created worlds and destroyed them.” The Kabbalah explains that this refers to spiritual worlds, Supernal Sefirot (“emanations”), that first existed in one state of being and then in another. The Sefirot in the former state of being — called the World of Tohu (lit., “Chaos”) — underwent a “breaking of the vessels.” The World of Tikkun (lit., “Order”) was then built.
The Sefirot comprise orot (“lights”) and kelim (“vessels”) that contain these lights. The crisis in the World of Tohu occurred because the orot were so intense that the kelim were incapable of containing them. As a result of this breakage, sparks of holiness descended within the kelipot. These sparks are to be found in the Worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah in general, but particularly within the physicality of our world. It is the task of the Jew to sift this materiality by using it properly, in order to extract and refine these sparks, thereby elevating them to their original source in the World of Tohu. This elevation in turn elicits a mighty downflow of Divine energy from Tohu, and from even higher than that level.
(Certain Divine Names, whose respective Kabbalistic meanings are signified by Hebrew letter-combinations, are related to this process of beirurim, the extraction and refinement of the sparks of holiness. Thus the Name known as Ba’n (ב״ן) is the source of the fallen holy sparks; the Name Ma’h (מ״ה) is the power that extracts and elevates them; while the Name Sa’g (ס״ג) is the original source of the World of Tohu. When the extraction and elevation of the sparks deriving from the Name Ba’n is accomplished through the Name Ma’h, a lofty degree of Divine illumination is drawn down from the Name Sa’g, and is vested within the “capacious vessels” of the World of Tikkun.)
This extraction is for the most part accomplished through the performance of action-oriented mitzvot involving physical objects which derive their life-force from kelipat nogah, and which house the sparks of Tohu. Performing a mitzvah with such objects disencumbers the hidden sparks of their corporeal husk and elevates them.
The seeking out of sparks, however, can also be accomplished through the study of Torah, as well as through prayer
In the present essay the Alter Rebbe will explain the statement of Pri Etz Chayim that nowadays this “extraction” is mainly effected through prayer. For prayer is uniquely able to draw down an infinite degree of G‑dliness; prayer alone can bring about changes within the world, healing the sick and causing rain to fall. In order for such a degree of G‑dliness to be called down, there must first be an arousal initiated from below, an expression of man’s ardent desire to be the recipient of Divine benefactions. And if these benefactions are to flow from an infinitely high source, the plea that requests them must surge from a correspondingly deep source — “with all one’s might,” from the infinite depths of one’s soul.
להבין מה שכתוב בפרי עץ חיים, דבזמן הזה עיקר הבירור על ידי התפלה דוקא
To understand the statement in Pri Etz Chayim, that in the contemporary period the refinement [of the sparks of Tohu] is primarily effected by prayer,
As explained above, the task of sifting the materiality of this world and salvaging its hidden holy sparks is the ongoing mission of Jews living as souls within bodies in this physical world.
This is accomplished either (a) through the performance of the action-oriented mitzvot which entail the use of physical objects whose life-force derives from kelipat nogah; (b) through the audibly-articulated study of Torah subjects that deal with physical matters; (c) through prayer, a form of spiritual service through which the Divine soul influences and refines the animal soul (whose life-force derives from kelipat nogah) to the point that it can attain a love of G‑d.
As stated above, Pri Etz Chayim teaches that in these latter generations the extraction and elevation of sparks is effected primarily through prayer.
אף שתלמוד תורה למעלה מהתפלה
even though Torah study is superior to prayer:
Torah study is “equivalent to them all,” to all the mitzvot, and higher even than“concentration in prayer.” Why, then, is the extraction of the sparks of Tohu mainly accomplished in the present era through prayer?