When the Alter Rebbe wrote about Atzilut, the highest state of consciousness, he was so moved he could only manage "Atzi--" * On the Hayom Yom entry for 10 Marcheshvan.
Imagine struggling to write a single word—not because you can't spell it, but because the very concept it represents overwhelms you with awe and reverence. This is the emotional intensity that the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, experienced.
In the Hayom Yom for 10 Marcheshvan, it is told that the Alter Rebbe referred to the realm of Atzilut as "Above." He was so overtaken by emotion that when trying to write the word Atzilut, he could only pen "Atzi-." Atzilut is a term from Kabbalah, representing a high spiritual world close to the divine source. In simpler terms, think of Atzilut as a spiritual realm so elevated that it's almost touching the Divine.
The fascination here lies in the emotional struggle to articulate something so profound. It's as if the Alter Rebbe was reminding us that some spiritual truths are so overwhelming, they escape human language. They can only be felt, not fully expressed. This should make us consider: how deep is our emotional engagement with spirituality? Are we just going through the motions, or are we emotionally invested in our relationship with the Divine?
These are troubling times for the Jewish community around the world. Acts of terror and anti-Semitism challenge our sense of security and faith. But herein lies a potent lesson: the Alter Rebbe's emotional engagement with divine concepts was not just intellectual—it was visceral, permeating his very being. Perhaps this is the emotional fortitude we need in these testing times. A connection to something "Above" can give us the strength to withstand the challenges "below."
And as we strengthen our emotional bonds with the Divine, we mustn't forget that we are in the era closest to the Redemption. Our sages teach us that the final Redemption is akin to the birth of a new world, a new reality where pain, suffering, and terror are eradicated. The Alter Rebbe's deep emotional connection serves as a model for us to emulate, a spiritual mindset that can prepare us for that imminent transformation.
So as we navigate these difficult times, let us strive for a spiritual connection that's not just intellectual but deeply emotional, touching the ineffable, drawing us closer to a reality where fear and terror are but distant memories. This emotional richness could well be a cornerstone for the world we are yearning to welcome.