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Shabbat Parashat Rosh Hashana 5781

Ein Ayah: Results that Relate Back to the Origin

(based on Ein Ayah, Shabbat 12:53-54)

Gemara: [We continue with derivations from notrikon:] Rav Yochanan personally said: “Anochi” (I, the first word of the Ten Commandments) is connected to “Ana nafshi katvit yahavit” (I Hashem, My spirit, I wrote and gave). Rabbanan said that is stands for: “Amira ne’ima ketiva yahavit (I, Hashem, have given a saying that is pleasant and written).


Ein Ayah: The previous opinion [which we saw last week, regarding the importance of Avraham Avinu to the nations of the world] explained the value of notrikon in the Torah as relating to the element of the thoughts that are activated by the light found explicitly in the Torah. According to that approach, there are two levels of evaluation: one relates to the essence, and is represented by that which is in the letter that is found explicitly in the word; the other relates to the expansion, the philosophical light that the written letter causes to be discernable. This is represented by the persona of Avraham, who intrinsically, with his great level, was the foundation of the essential life of Israel.

The second means of evaluation focuses on that which expands from the origin. Specifically, it relates to the elements in which the nations are nurtured by the light of Avraham. To this, Rav Yochanan adds that that which expands as a result of the power of the written letter is also included in the spiritual essence of the letter itself.

Let us see how this plays out in the notrikon of the word “anochi.” One can look at Hashem speaking about Himself from the perspective of the level of the giver, who influences those around Him. Then we can evaluate it on the highest level even before that which is given makes it to the recipient. The second way is focused on the ability to influence the recipients, which depends on the latter’s capabilities as well. It must be viewed only after the gift of sanctification has already been given. While it appears as if there are real distinctions between the various levels, at their root there is only one source of sanctity, and there is no intrinsic difference between that which is included in the letter that is written explicitly and the light of that which is expanded based on the words arrived at through notrikon.

Anochi therefore starts with ana, I: Hashem Himself and no other. Nafshi, My spirit, is the intrinsic attribute of the light of life, which gives life to all, just as the spirit gives life to the body. Katvit ­– I have written – that which Hashem has influenced those who received the Torah by that which is written explicitly is similar to: yahavit – I have given – that which Hashem has allowed to expand based on the abilities of the recipients of the holy present. All of this is unified in the secret of lofty unity, which is the light that glows forth from the beginning of the Ten Commandments, which represents the moment of the most powerful unity of sanctity.

Rabbanan say that it is not enough that the upper root is wonderful, so that there is no real difference between the light of that which is written and that which is understood from it. Rather, even from the side of the recipients, it has to be similar. This found expression in the pleasantness of the sayings. The pleasantness is in what was written and in what was received, and it is glowing with completeness and the good feeling that it gives off.


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