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7 years ago  ::  Oct 23, 2007 - 4:12AM #1
cherryofcupcake
Posts: 29
Hi! Still navigating my way thorugh the new discussion boards and I'm not sure if this is the right place...but anyway!

I've started studying at the Florence Melton mini-school and am loving it. Last night, in both sessions, the subject of tzimtum came up.

It was explained as God stepping back from the world, or God's veiling. Then, in the second session, the teacher said that in some circles, tzimtum was considered necessary in order for the creation to find space to happen (she explained it much better, believe me!)

Last night we didn't really have time to discuss the concept at length. Where does the concept come from? Are there differences in interpretation?

Thanks!
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 25, 2007 - 5:25PM #2
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617
Tzimtzum is a concept from the Jewish mystical tradition, Kabbalah.

Simplistically, if God is infinite how can anything else exist? If God is the One to which there can be no Other, how is it that we exist? If God is omnipotent, how can we finite beings have any free will?

Tzimtzum (Hebrew for "contraction") is how the Kabbalists answered this.

Before time and creation existed, there was -- as there is now and ever shall be -- God, Eyn Sof (the Infinite), pure undifferentiated Being with no end or limit.

Creation can only take place through duality, through contradiction, through separation and organization -- but God is One and there is nothing else other than God. Therefore, God "contracted" God's own infinite essence and created a space, a bubble within Eyn Sof -- or, rather, a womb. Within this womb (which really cannot be conceived as being a space or place because "space" did not yet exist) everything that we consider "creation" took place.

The self-contraction of God's essence -- the self-limiting of God -- was necessary if creation was to take place, if individual beings were to exist. Tzimtzum and the divine womb it created resulted in the first sefirah or creative emanation of God's essence. Called "Keter" or "Crown," this first stage of creation is pure potentiality. It required the "seeding" of the "womb" by a single point of Divine wisdom (the second sefirah, "Chokhmah") -- which also emanated out from God's pure true essence -- for creation to take place.

I admit that is rather esoteric and difficult to grasp at first shot. But the doctrine of tzimtzum explains why we have individual consciousness -- why we perceive our ourselves as individual beings when in reality we are all just emanations of the One. It is also an explanation given for why God does not intervene directly in the world -- God has limited God's self to allow creation to take its own course.
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 25, 2007 - 5:47PM #3
clyde5001
Posts: 3,501
I love Florence Melton! I'm taking the classes now and they're amazing.
Shema Y'Israel Adnai Eloheinu, Adonei Echad.

Am Y'Israel Chai!

23,298 posts as of 2/27/2009

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A 20,090 difference.
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 25, 2007 - 5:51PM #4
cherryofcupcake
Posts: 29
Yeah, Clyde! *Melton high-five*

It's fantastic, isn't it? Already so many questions and so much to think about. I guess your curriculum is the same, even over the ole pond? Year one: Rhythms  and Purposes?
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 26, 2007 - 12:46PM #5
Pam34
Posts: 2,660
Does anybody know if those Melton courses are available in online versions? For those of us who DON'T live in a major metropolitan area? They sound interesting - but far away.
Blessed are You, HaShem, Who blesses the years.
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 26, 2007 - 8:00PM #6
clyde5001
Posts: 3,501
Rhythms and Purposes yeah!

Pam, I think they're only given in person.
Shema Y'Israel Adnai Eloheinu, Adonei Echad.

Am Y'Israel Chai!

23,298 posts as of 2/27/2009

3,208 after the transition.

A 20,090 difference.
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 26, 2007 - 8:07PM #7
Pam34
Posts: 2,660
well phooey. Tell them there's a whole online world out there!
Blessed are You, HaShem, Who blesses the years.
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 30, 2007 - 2:05PM #8
lauramushkat
Posts: 625
Went to their website-Yes they do have one plus there is a lot of info about it-on the web.

What an interest person she seems to be.

Laura
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 01, 2007 - 7:10PM #9
Bunsinspace
Posts: 5,929
BS"D

FM is great, but you can learn the subject in greater detail and more accurately through a direct reading of the Tanya (which is also available in English) and online with chabad.org - but FM appeals to multi-denominational audiences whereas chabad is focussed upon Jews.
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 29, 2008 - 10:04AM #10
Sblzrd65
Posts: 19
A good way to look at it would be the sun and sun-rays. When you look outside in the morning you can see rays of sun [or when it's a bit cloudy]. They only exist because the sun in continuing to give them energy and life. There is no way to separate the rays from the sun and have the rays still exist.
But if you follow the rays to the into the sun ... there's no more ray. What rays? It's just sun. This is similar to what you are learning. Without G-d's constant energy bringing us into being, we would no longer exist. For us to exist as we are, we have to see everything as sun rays. In the higher worlds beings know and feel G-d's presence. Angels do not have independent existence, they only do G-d's will. Since we have a 'filter', we can live our lives.


I would suggest a work by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Chabad. Tanya deals with Jewish spirituality and psychology through Hasidic and Kabbalah philosophy. There are five parts to it. The second part is called Sha'ar ha-Yichud ve'ha'Emunah ( or The Gateway of Unity and Belief). This part describes how although creation is different from the Creator, they are very much united. It talks about how although on the surface it may seem that the Creator uses multiple forces to create the world, in their origin within the Creator, these forces come from the same source.
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