A report on Ein Sof and Atzmus

The sefirot consist of lights invested in vessels, similar to water poured into a glass. While taking on the shape of the glass, the water is essentially unchanged.
The Zohar states "Israel, the Torah and the Holy One Blessed Be He are One". God: At Sinai, in Rabbinic commentary, all the People heard the revelation "I-Anochi am the Lord-Tetragrammaton your God-Elokecha.." The "Lord spoke to Moses.." is God's essential infinite name. "Your God" is the concealed Divinity within finite Creation. "I" is the Atzmus narrator of the Torah, revealed at Sinai, uniting the opposites of Spiritual and Physical in Mitzvot and the ultimate future
Israel: The Besht, founder of Hasidism, related transcendent Kabbalah to internal correspondence in Jewish spiritual experience. The elite could learn scholarly lessons from the common folk, as the "simple faith of the simple Jew reflects" the soul's innate essence in "the simple unity of God's Atzmus"
Torah: Habad discourse from 2nd generation. Habad differed from emotional emphasis of Mainstream Hasidism, seeking philosophical investigation of Hasidic thought. The interconnection of previous Habad thought with other aspects of Torah, relation to Messianism, and ultimate Atzmus, emerges in the discourses and talks of the 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe Heaven On Earth: Reflections on the Theology of Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Faitel Levin, Kehot pub. The book compares the Atzmus-Dirah BeTachtonim theology of the 7th Rebbe with the previous views of Habad Hasidic thought. It sees the sources for this new edifice in the preceding 6 generations of Habad teaching.
In The Lubavitcher Rebbes Holiday Maamarim 2 Vol Set, translated by David Rothschild, published by Collel Tzemach Tzedek Tzfat, distributed through Kehot, introduction to Vol 1, Yitzchak Ginsburgh also reviews the generational development of Habad thought. He sees Kabbalistic significance in the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th leaders' teaching, representing new outward development of Being, while the 2nd, 4th and 6th leaders clarified inward Non-Being. Based on the advancing progression of a seminal idea from "point to line to area", he summarises the cumulative generational advance in teaching, according to the Habad conception that in each generation the teachings of Jewish mysticism ascend in depth, progressively drawing down from a higher source in Divinity to prepare for the Messianic era. In general: Cordoverian Kabbalah-Evolution, Lurianic Kabbalah-Enclothement, Hasidic thought-Omnipresence. In particular, in the subsequent 7 generations of Habad leaders' teaching:
The discourses of the 7th Rebbe involve Kabbalistic exegesis, while the more informal analytical talks, the main vehicle of the 7th Rebbe's teaching, tend to avoid esoteric Kabbalistic terminology. The main development of the theme of Atzmus is found in the discourses, such as the translated volumes on the eschatological eras of the Messiah and World-to-Come: Anticipating The Redemption: Maamarim of the Lubavitcher Rebbe Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson Concerning the Era of Redemption Vol 1 and 2, Kehot publications

Classical Kabbalah predominantly refers to the Godhead in Judaism with its designated term "Ein Sof" ("No end"-Infinite), as this distinguishes between the divine being beyond description and manifestation, and divine emanations within creation, which become the descriptive concern of systemised Kabbalistic categorisation.

- Atzmus

Consequently, Hasidism focuses on the Atzmus divine essence, rooted higher within the Godhead than the Ein Sof, which is limited to infinitude, and reflected in the essence (etzem) of the Torah and the soul.

- Ein Sof
The sefirot consist of lights invested in vessels, similar to water poured into a glass. While taking on the shape of the glass, the water is essentially unchanged.

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Joseph Karo synagogue in Safed. The 1538 Safed attempt by Jacob Berab to restore traditional Semikhah (Rabbinic organisation), reelected the community's Messianic focus. Karo, author of the normative Shulkhan Arukh (Code of Law) was one appointed

Lurianic Kabbalah

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School of kabbalah named after Isaac Luria , the Jewish rabbi who developed it.

School of kabbalah named after Isaac Luria , the Jewish rabbi who developed it.

Joseph Karo synagogue in Safed. The 1538 Safed attempt by Jacob Berab to restore traditional Semikhah (Rabbinic organisation), reelected the community's Messianic focus. Karo, author of the normative Shulkhan Arukh (Code of Law) was one appointed
The old cemetery in Safed where its pre-eminent 16th century mystical and legal figures are buried, including Yosef Karo, Shlomo Alkabetz, Moshe Alshich, Moshe Cordovero and the Ari. After the Expulsion from Spain the Safed circle held a national Messianic responsibility, mirrored in Lurianic scheme
Scheme of the Five Worlds forming within the Khalal Vacuum (Outer Circle) through the illumination of the Kav Ray (Vertical Line). Concepts are non-spatial. Sephirot shown in the scheme of Iggulim ("Circles")
The sephirot in the scheme of Yosher ("Upright"), from which the partzufim develop
The soul of Adam included all future human souls, while the 613 Mitzvot relate to 613 spiritual "limbs" in the configuration of the soul
Kabbalistic chart of Divine names in Ari synagogue. Traditional Lurianic prayer method involved esoteric kavanot meditations on specific Divine letter permutations related to each prayer
Mikveh of Isaac Luria on the hillside below Safed in the Galilee, fed by a cold spring

The Medieval-Cordoverian scheme describes in detail a linear, hierarchical process where finite Creation evolves ("Hishtalshelut") sequentially from God's Infinite Being.

Rather, to Hasidic thought, especially in its Chabad systemisation, the Atzmus ultimate Divine essence is expressed only in finitude, emphasising Hasidic Immanence.

Jewish Kabbalists portrayed in 1641; woodcut on paper. Saxon University Library, Dresden.

Kabbalah

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Esoteric method, discipline and school of thought in Jewish mysticism.

Esoteric method, discipline and school of thought in Jewish mysticism.

Jewish Kabbalists portrayed in 1641; woodcut on paper. Saxon University Library, Dresden.
Kabbalistic prayer book from Italy, 1803. Jewish Museum of Switzerland, Basel.
Latin translation of Gikatilla's Shaarei Ora
The Ark of the Covenant in Solomon's Temple was the seat for God's presence. Ezekiel and Isaiah had prophetic visions of the angelic heavenly Chariot and Divine Throne
Grave of Rabbi Akiva in Tiberias. He features in Hekhalot mystical literature, and as one of the four who entered the Pardes
The grave of Shimon bar Yochai in Meron before 1899. A Talmudic Tanna, he is the mystical teacher in the central Kabbalistic work, the Zohar
The 13th-century eminence of Nachmanides, a classic rabbinic figure, gave Kabbalah mainstream acceptance through his Torah commentary
The leading scholars of Safed in 16th-century invigorated mainstream Judaism through new legal, liturgical, exegetical and Lurianic-mythological developments.
Synagogue Beit El Jerusalem. Oriental Judaism has its own chain of Kabbalah
The 16th-century Maharal of Prague articulated a mystical exegesis in philosophical language
Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, a leading Italian kabbalist, also wrote secular works, which the Haskalah see as the start of modern Hebrew literature
The Vilna Gaon, 18th-century leader of rabbinic opposition to Hasidism—a Kabbalist who opposed Hasidic doctrinal and practical innovations
Synagogue of the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism, in Medzhybizh (Ukraine). It gave a new phase to Jewish mysticism, seeking its popularisation through internal correspondence.
The Kabbalist (c. 1910–1920), portrait of an Hasidic man in Jewish religious clothing performed by the Austro-Hungarian Jewish painter Isidor Kaufmann (Jewish Museum, New York)
Metaphorical scheme of emanated spiritual worlds within the Ein Sof
Scheme of descending Sephirot in three columns, as a tree with roots above and branches below
In the 16–17th centuries Kabbalah was popularised through a new genre of ethical literature, related to Kabbalistic meditation
Amulet from the 15th century. Theosophical kabbalists, especially Luria, censored contemporary Practical Kabbalah, but allowed amulets by Sages
Joseph Karo's role as both legalist and mystic underscores Kabbalah's spiritualisation of normative Jewish observance
Building on Kabbalah's conception of the soul, Abraham Abulafia's meditations included the "inner illumination of" the human form
16th-century graves of Safed, Galilee. The messianic focus of its mystical renaissance culminated in Lurianic thought.
Title page of first printed edition of the Zohar, main sourcebook of Kabbalah, from Mantua, Italy in 1558
Golden age of Spanish Judaism on the Knesset Menorah, Maimonides holding Aristotle's work
Kabbalah mysticism on the Knesset Menorah, which shared some similarities of theory with Jewish Neoplatonists
Tikkun for reading through the night of Shavuot, a popular Jewish custom from the Safed Kabbalists
A version of Lekhah Dodi song to welcome the Shabbat, a cross denomination Jewish custom from Kabbalah

Jewish Kabbalah is a set of esoteric teachings meant to explain the relationship between the unchanging, eternal God—the mysterious Ein Sof (, "The Infinite") —and the mortal, finite universe (God's creation).

However, the Torah does narrate God speaking in the first person, most memorably the first word of the Ten Commandments, a reference without any description or name to the simple Divine essence (termed also Atzmus Ein Sof – Essence of the Infinite) beyond even the duality of Infinitude/Finitude.

Metaphorical representation of the Five Worlds with the 10 Sephirot in each, as successively smaller concentric circles, derived from the light of the Kav after the Tzimtzum

Ohr

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Central Kabbalistic term in the Jewish mystical tradition.

Central Kabbalistic term in the Jewish mystical tradition.

Metaphorical representation of the Five Worlds with the 10 Sephirot in each, as successively smaller concentric circles, derived from the light of the Kav after the Tzimtzum
Jacob's vision in Genesis 28:12 of a ladder between Heaven and Earth. Kabbalah relates this to the chain of Worlds. Angels embody spiritual levels of enclothed ohr-light. They "ascend and descend" in ratzu-run nullification desire, and shuv-return purpose of Creation
The Kabbalistic duality of transcendent and immanent emanations in Heaven, becomes a paradigm in Hasidic Panentheism to describe paradoxical Divine Omnipresence in this world, expressed in worship and the Tzadik
The Maharal
Synagogue of the Baal Shem Tov
Schneur Zalman of Liadi
Latin translation of Shaare Orah שערי אורה "The Gates of Light", one of the most influential presentations of the Kabbalistic system, by Joseph Gikatilla in the 13th century<ref>Caption to this illustration on p.2 of Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction, Joseph Dan, Oxford University Press</ref>
Galilean Meron. "Nature" HaTeva is the numerical value of Elohim, the name of immanent light. The Tetragrammaton transcendence creates through it. Kabbalistically, in Israel the concealment is less severe

The distinction between the Divine light (beginning with the Ohr Ein Sof - the primordial "Infinite Light", and subsequently the 10 Sephirot emanations) and the Divine Source (the Ein Sof "Infinite") appears only relative to Creation.

Only a higher source rooted in the Divine essence, beyond infinite-finite duality, could unite the infinite encompassing light of Sovev within the limited invested light of Mimalei.

Metaphorical diagram of the Kav thin line of light descending from the Ohr Ein Sof into the Khalal vacuum to emanate the concealed 10 sephirot in Adam Kadmon

Seder hishtalshelus

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In Kabbalistic and Hasidic philosophy, seder hishtalshelut or hishtalshelut (סדר השתלשלות) refers to the chain-like descent of spiritual worlds (Olam/Olamot) between God and Creation.

In Kabbalistic and Hasidic philosophy, seder hishtalshelut or hishtalshelut (סדר השתלשלות) refers to the chain-like descent of spiritual worlds (Olam/Olamot) between God and Creation.

Metaphorical diagram of the Kav thin line of light descending from the Ohr Ein Sof into the Khalal vacuum to emanate the concealed 10 sephirot in Adam Kadmon
Diagram of the Partzufim countenances, Reishin heads, and Dikna beard Divine aspects configurations in Atziluth
Hebrew prophets envisioned the Throne of God of Beriah with angelic retinue. In Kabbalah Isaiah 6 saw from Beriah, Ezekiel 1 saw from Yetzirah
Contemplation of Divine emanations in Theosophical Kabbalah enables the advantage of the esoteric scholar over the prophet's visions in cognitive understanding of higher levels of Divinity

Chabad intellectual Hasidic thought explores Atzmut (divine essence) in the purpose of Creation.

Ein Sof ("No End" - classic term for the Unknowable God in Kabbalah, God as Infinite lifesource continuously sustaining all Creation into Existence, above Being/Non-Being, reciprocally Becoming through the totality of Creation by the divine souls of Man )

Rebuilt synagogue of the Baal Shem Tov in Medzhybizh, Ukraine

Hasidic philosophy

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Hasidic philosophy or Hasidism (חסידות), alternatively transliterated as Hasidut or Chassidus, consists of the teachings of the Hasidic movement, which are the teachings of the Hasidic rebbes, often in the form of commentary on the Torah (the Five books of Moses) and Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism).

Hasidic philosophy or Hasidism (חסידות), alternatively transliterated as Hasidut or Chassidus, consists of the teachings of the Hasidic movement, which are the teachings of the Hasidic rebbes, often in the form of commentary on the Torah (the Five books of Moses) and Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism).

Rebuilt synagogue of the Baal Shem Tov in Medzhybizh, Ukraine
Grave of Elimelech of Lizhensk, leading disseminator of Hasidism in Poland-Galicia
Simcha Bunim of Peshischa, successor to The Holy Jew, who continued the Peshischa School of Hasidism
Shneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad, the intellectual school in Hasidism
Pilgrimage gathering at Nachman of Breslov's burial place in Uman, Ukraine
Plaque on the mausoleum of Mordechai Yosef Leiner of Ishbitz, author of the antinomian Mei Hashiloach
Title page of Toldot Yaakov Yosef, 1867 edition. This work was the first published Hasidic text.
Title page of Maggid Devarav L'Yaakov (Koretz, 1781 edition).

In the theology of Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the ultimate Divine essence, expressed through Hasidism's soul essence, is revealed in practical action and Jewish outreach that makes a messianic dwelling for God.

In the beginning, God had to contract (Tzimtzum) His omnipresence or infinity, the Ein Sof.