Tag Archives: yedid nefesh

My Beloved Profound Mystery

And that is what the Zohar says on the verse: “My soul, I desire You at night.” “One should love G-d with a love of the soul and the spirit, as they are attached to the body and the body loves them….” This is the interpretation of the verse: “My soul, I desire You,” which means, “Since you, G-d, are my true soul and life, therefore do I desire You.” That is to say, “I long and yearn for You like a man who craves the life of his soul, and when he is weak and exhausted he longs and yearns for his soul to revive in him (lit., ‘to return to him’).

“Likewise when he goes to sleep, he longs and yearns for his soul to be restored to him when he awakens from his sleep. So do I long and yearn to draw within me the infinite light of the blessed Ein Sof, the Life of true life, through engaging in the [study of the] Torah when I awaken during the night from my sleep”; for the Torah and the Holy One, blessed be He, are one and the same.

Today’s Tanya Lesson (Listen online)
Likutei Amarim, beginning of Chapter 44
By Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812)
founder of Chabad Chassidism
Elucidated by Rabbi Yosef Wineberg
Translated from Yiddish by Rabbi Levy Wineberg and Rabbi Sholom B. Wineberg
Edited by Uri Kaploun

Beloved of the soul, source of compassion,
Shape your servant to your will.
Then your servant will run like a deer to bow before you.
Your love will be sweeter than the honeycomb.
Majestic, beautiful, light of the universe,
My soul is lovesick for you;
I implore you, God, heal her
Be revealing to her your pleasant radiance;
Then she will be strengthened and healed
And will have eternal joy.
Timeless One, be compassionate
And have mercy on the one you love,
For this is my deepest desire:
To see your magnificent splendor.
This is what my heart longs for;
Have mercy and do not conceal yourself.
Reveal yourself, my Beloved,
And spread the shelter of your peace over me;
Light up the world with your glory;
We will celebrate you in joy.
Hurry, Beloved, the time has come,
And grant us grace, as in days of old.

“Yedid Nefesh”
-by Eleazer Ben Moses Azikri
A sixteenth-century Kabbalist
Quoted from easwaran.org

I think it’s safe to say that God loves you more than you love God. I don’t say that to be mean or to minimize your capacity to love God, only that God is infinite and His love is infinite. We are finite and mortal and frail. And yet in reading the excerpt I quoted from the Zohar and the beautiful and classic words of Yedid Nefesh, I can see that at our best, when we are able to touch the hem of the garment of God, our ability to love exceeds mere flesh and bone and blood and the soul of God becomes one with the soul of man.

I wonder if Paul’s commentary in his letter to the church at Ephesius is a “midrash” of such a love between humanity and the Divine?

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. –Ephesians 5:25-32 (ESV)

It is a profound mystery indeed.

You are altogether beautiful, my love;
there is no flaw in you. –Song of Solomon 4:7 (ESV)

Is this the soul of God speaking to man or the soul of man speaking to God?

Or both, intertwined in a graceful yet ephemeral dance?

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