The third stage (encompasses the period of time in which) we serve God by (observing His) Torah and mitzvot with the intent to bestow rather than be rewarded. Doing that purifies our selfish ratzon l’kabel and transforms it into a ratzon l’hashpia — a willingness to bestow. And in fact, the more we purify our ratzon l’kabel, the more worthy and ready will we be to receive the five parts of the soul termed N. R. N. C. Y.
N. R. N. C. Y. stands for Nephesh, Ruach, Neshama, Chaya, and Yechidah, the five parts of the soul in ascending order.
Though Ashlag often explains them in other contexts, in general terms the Nephesh is that part of the soul that’s most proximate to the body and is what keeps it alive at bottom. The Ruach is where our sense of self lies and it’s associated most especially with the emotions. The Neshama is the root of the above and their source, and it’s tied-in most especially with the mind. The Chaya is the root and source of the Neshama and is out of our experience; it binds “heaven” to “earth” in that it’s the intermediary between Nephesh-Ruach-Neshama and the utterly Godly Yechidah. The Yechidah itself is the point at which all the elements of the soul and God’s presence join together (“b’yachad“).
The point is that while we’ve all been granted a Nephesh and Ruach from the first, not everyone has a Neshama, Chaya, and/or Yechidah. And besides, we’d need to merit an “inner” Nephesh and Ruach aside from the “outer” ones we’re all born with if we’re to succeed. And all that depends on how we fulfill the mitzvah-system in this life and to what degree we’re selfless about it.
For those five levels are only applicable to the willingness to bestow; they can’t be attired in us as long as our ratzon l’kabel holds sway. For it’s different from it, and is in fact its opposite. For the notions of being attired (in something) and having affinities with it go hand in hand.
When some one thing is “attired” in another one, the two are intimate with each other as a consequence and thus share an affinity. If you recall, we spoke of affinities above (see Ch. 8). In short it comes to this: when two entities are so identical that each loves what the other loves and hates what the other hates, they in fact love and are “attached” to one another and thus share an affinity. Ashlag’s point is that once we earn a willingness to bestow, our conjoined body and soul come to love and hate the same things and are in synch, and we’re able to earn a full N. R. N. C. Y. as a consequence.
So, when you achieve a complete willingness to bestow without the need for anything for yourself (in return), you’ll have attained an affinity with your sublime N. R. N. C. Y., which extend from their roots in the Infinite in the first era, then extend through the Holy A.B.Y.A. to then become attired in your being by degrees.
See Ch’s 10, 12, 14, and 15 most especially for an explanation of this.
The fourth stage (entails) your Divine service after the resurrection, when the ratzon l’kabel, which had been completely undone by death and burial, is brought back to life in its lowliest form — as a comprehensive ratzon l’kabel. As our sages put it (that will be when) “The dead will be resurrected with (all) their defects” (see Ch. 26). It will then be transformed into a ratzon l’kabel al m’nat l’hashpia — a willingness to take in, in order to bestow.
There are rare individuals, though, who have been granted this (form of) Divine service while still living in this world.
See our comments to 11:3 for insight into the dynamics involved.
Know, too, that when Ashlag speaks of only “rare individuals” achieving this level, he isn’t downplaying our own efforts to be selfless; he’s only stating the obvious. For only a very small handful of people in a generation succeed at this. Because it entails transcending one’s God-given mold and burgeoning forth anew.
Nevertheless, we‘re all charged to aspire to it. How?
As Ashlag puts it elsewhere, by first praying to God Almighty Himself for help in this above all else; and second, by wanting any reward that one would earn for his pious acts to be a full blossoming of this phenomenon, and it alone, which id to say, a perfect, altruistic willingness to bestow.
(c) 2011 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
Feel free to contact me at email@example.com
AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman’s translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here at a discount.
You can still purchase a copy of Rabbi Feldman’s translation of “The Gates of Repentance” here at a discount as well.
Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).
Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes on www.torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal”