By Rabbi Ytshak Ginsburg
The Endless Cycle
The circular form of the samech symbolizes the fundamental truth reflected at all levels of Torah and reality: "their end is enwedged in their beginning and their beginning in their end." This realization and awareness of inherent unity between beginning and end, which, when comprehended in depth, implies equanimity at all stages of "the endless cycle," is in fact the manifestation of God's Transcendent Light (sovev kol almin), which encompasses equally every point of reality. This ever-present Transcendent Light is referred to as "He is equal and equalizes small and large." In our service of God, this implies that in relation to worldly phenomena, all things should be related to and accepted equally. This is the attribute of equanimity as taught by the Ba'al Shem Tov, in interpretation of the verse: "I place [shiviti, from the root shaveh, 'equal'] God before me always."
While at outer levels of consciousness one should remain unaffected by the transient events of this world, at deeper inner levels of consciousness, relating to Souls and Divinity, one should continuously be in a state of aspiration to achieve higher and higher levels of clinging to God and realizing His Will in Creation through Torah and mitzvot.
In Chassidut we are taught that the saying of the Sages: "Who is wealthy? He who is happy with his portion" pertains only to worldly possessions, whereas with regard to spiritual matters we should never be satisfied with our present acquisitions but ever strive to obtain more. Nonetheless, as our inner striving takes place within the general context of external equanimity, it also proceeds as a circle, a spiral, in dynamic, ever-ascending motion. Thus an inner, dynamic circle exists within an outer, static circle. This is the secret of the phrase in the vision of Ezekiel: "the wheel within the wheel."
As mentioned in our discussion of the letter nun, the samech, which means "to support," is the Divine power to support and lift up "the fallen one." One verse reads: "she has fallen and shall not rise, the virgin of Israel." A second verse reads: "as I have fallen, so surely shall I rise." The first verse can be understood as referring to the service of the outer, static circle, the attribute of true equanimity in relation to all worldly phenomena. One can fall to the very "lowest energy level" of physical reality, unable to raise himself, and be totally reliant on the lovingkindness of Divine Providence to sustain him. The second verse, implying inner, active, motivation to rise, though surely dependent upon Divine support and aid, can be understood as referring to the service of the inner, dynamic circle of spiritual aspiration.
As is the case for any two concentric circles, the bottom of the outer circle descends below that of the inner circle, yet its upper portion is higher in origin than that of the inner circle. This in itself is the ultimate manifestation of "the end" being enwedged in "the beginning." "The end" here refers to the service of the outer circle itself. "The beginning" refers to the ultimate objective of the inner circle, the revelation below, in Worlds, of God's very Essence, latently present in the simple faith inherent in the worldly service of equanimity.
By Rabbi Ythsak Gynsbourg
Rabbi Moshe Perets is the Founder and Executive Director of NoahideAcademy.org, the world’s largest Noahide informational website. He accomplished his Rabbinical Studies at the Chabad Yeshiva and his medical studies at the University of Louvain in Brussels, Belgium.
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