Ithapcha Itkafia


Kabbalah and Political Science: Messianic Consciousness After Gimel Tamuz – Part 2 – “Concealed” Consciousness

The Torah assures us that if someone says “I have toiled and I have found, he may be believed.” The inner effort required of every Jew is to uncover his personal spark of Mashiach, his own power to boldly and powerfully act messianically. Of course, a chassiddraws his inspiration to do this from the Rebbe, but in such a way that he “internalizes” the Rebbe within him, so that the Rebbe‘s spirit–which is the spirit of Mashiach–will appear in him. Our sages said that Mashiach, like any true “find,” comes unexpectedly, which means that the individual must first direct his attention away from seeking the collective Mashiach outside himself, and try to uncover the personal Mashiach within him. And further, in seeking his personal spark of Mashiach, he must direct his attention away from the attempt to identify this spark within himself, but rather focus entirely on doing Mashiach‘s work and spreading his teachings faithfully. The unanticipated “find” that results from this effort is the collective Mashiach, the redeemer of Israel, outside of the individual.

The two concepts of Mashiach‘s work and Mashiach‘s identity as they were before Gimel Tamuz (the 3rd of Tamuz), must now take on a new dimension. The Torah tells us that “the concealed things are the province of God, but the revealed things are ours and our childrens’….” Before Gimel Tamuz, Mashiach‘s work and identity were “revealed things”; the Rebbe gave explicit instructions and directions, producing in his followers a relative state of itkafia, in which he was simply obeyed. (Complete mental clarity about an issue also implies itkafia, since “the mind rules the heart”; if the mind is clear and strong, it forces the heart to submit to it.) In the terminology of Kabbalah and Chassidut, this level of “Mashiach‘s work” corresponds to the final hei of God’s essential Name Havayah, and this level of “Mashiach‘s identity” corresponds to the letter vav of God’s Name.

After Gimel Tamuz, however, these two concepts must manifest the level of the “concealed things.” This is the level of ithapcha, where the soul in its deepest state of consciousness identifies naturally with Mashiach. (At this level the inner dimension of the heart rules the mind.) In the terminology of Kabbalah and Chassidut, this, higher level of “Mashiach‘s work” corresponds to the firsthei of God’s Name, and the higher level of “Mashiach‘s identity” corresponds to the yud of His Name.


yud Mashiach‘s identity the hidden things;

hei Mashiach‘s work


vav Mashiach‘s identity the revealed things;

hei Mashiach‘s work

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In the Faith and Confidence class taught by Rabbi Moshe Genuth, he teaches us about a place called the seething waters:

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Rabbi Genuth teaches that darkness is higher than light. Our mind is illuminated at all times, but often by fictitious needs. Any thought that is not purely Hashem is in need of refinement, we have to free ourselves from pre-conceptions of what Hashem is. Hashem is infinite so there is no one conception of what He is. It is up to us to recreate vessels all the time! Hashem is everything, His Goodness is everywhere. We want to connect with Hashem as He is, in Infinity. Our mind causes Hashem to be finite.

Rabbi Nir Menussi in his shiurim on Anatomy of the Soul draws a picture for us to help us understand keter, which is composed of will, pleasure and emunah. He draws a diagram of a man, the head is emunah and the body is pleasure, and the man is in a cylindar/tub from the shoulders down called will/ratzon. Thus, pleasure and faith are really the same thing. What this means is that when we strengthen ourselves in emunah, we are realizing that doing so brings us to Hashem's goodness and that this is the pleasure for which we are created, to delight in Hashem and for Hashem to delight in us. What blocks us is that the line of emunah and pleasure is embedded into the will so that we become more complex in our personalities.

For this reason, we may find ourselves in the seething waters!

It is important to remember at these times that Hashem has not left us here alone! Our mind has merely made Hashem finite and given us the false belief that we are in control and our judgment, which is geared toward promoting our natural will, is in need of implementation. And of course, these messages carry with them all our natural emotions of taking revenge, bearing a grudge, speaking disrespectfully, making fun and the like.

In the glossary of the Tanya there is a description of ratzo vshov - run and return -that gives us a glimpse to the challenge we face when we find ourselves in the seething waters:

Ratzo v'shov run and return: ...

Our spiritual service is comprised of the two dynamics of ratzo and shov. Ratzo refers to a person yearning to run from the constraints of the body animal soul, and the limitations of the physical world, so that he may be completely subsumbed within G-dliness. Shov refers to a person's efforts to elicit G-dliness from on High, so that he (together with his body and animal soul) and the entire world be permeated with G-dly light.

For a deeper analytical look at how ratzo vshov, run and return, accomplishes the task of bringing us to a place where love for Hashem becomes integrated in our hearts, the glossary also gives a definition for itkafia and ithapcha:


itkafia/ithapcha - two parts of the "refining system: used to purify the animal soul and direct it toward the service of Hashem. Itkafia: In this element, the animal soul still has the urge to indulge in selfish and evil things. Man subdues, i.e. controls and disciplines the selfish impulses of the animal soul. Ithapcha: As a result of itkafia, man is subsequently able to master the impulses of the animal soul and not succumb todoing or even thinking evil. He redfirects these impulses to the selfless and the holy, so that the animal soul itself loves Hashem. They need no longer be subdued for they have been transformed to the service of Hashem.

What do all of these clips translate for us?

The pleasure that is the inner drive of our will is a singular part of our nefesh elokis that extends above our will to a simple pleasure of delighting in Hashem, despite the fact that we are not in touch with this experience. While intellectually we are taught this, because our drive to implement what we know is confronted by our will that is confused by the messages of self-consciousness, our drive to implement caters to our self-consciousness. This is because our natural intellect is an outgrowth of our natural will, its parent so to speak.

Only when we learn Torah are we capable of comprehending that the bond between our natural intellect and our drive to implement it is something that we are sent to dissolve in favor of Hashem's Torah and doing His Will. Yet even so, how do we do that when we are in seething waters, experiencing that drive to implement according to our best natural judgment?

Here are two stories from the biography of Rabbi Asher Freund:

Nullifying one's own pain to take care of someone else

The mitzvah of lowliness even to here and what aveira Hashem brought to visibility through that mesiras nefesh to protect many

May these examples of applying what we know help us all to see that at times of seething, our primary work is to dissolve the handshake of our external vessel's connection to the messages of the forces of nature. How? When we comprehend deeply that the force of that bond is full of potential pleasure to be internalized in our heart that will bring true happiness and simcha into the world - through Torah and mitzvahs, which are one with Hashem - we strengthen our emunah and use real free will to cry out to Hashem that we wish for all of the energy filling the matter to only be given to us so that we may enfold it into a mitzvah, into learning, into chesed so that He may be revealed in this world.

And as our animal soul comes to love Hashem more and more as a result, may we see the eradication of the forces of darkness and a new light come into this world.

shulikleinman | July 5, 2019 at 6:02 pm | URL: