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A running summary of the 9 discourses that comprise Hemshech Tzaddik Dalet:
Hemshech Tzaddik-Dalet dissects the very nature of existence, indeed, the very nature of reality itself. It’s central and most remarkable theme is that existence as we see and experience it is not real at all.
What is real? is the big question posed in this series. Is something real because you can touch and see it? Or is that simply a circumstantial reality, which has no validity outside of the world of our senses. If something were to be truly real, wouldn’t that dictate that it be real even if and when we don’t see or touch it? In other words its reality is based on it being fundamentally and essentially necessary, not because it just happens to exist.
Think of it this way: What is reality – the sub-atomic forces that energize and define all of matter, or the matter itself; the DNA that shapes your entire being, or your being; the electricity that runs through our appliances, or the appliances.
What is more real: The cause or the effect? The peel or the fruit? Your body or your soul?
Is existence energy or matter? And if you were to find out that matter was just a form of energy, and should that energy cease to flow all of matter would simply vanish – how real is that matter even while it looks so formidable?
Is power defined by its immediate or by its enduring strength? How much credence do we give to something that is powerful today but will disappear tomorrow?
How would you look at yourself and your vanities if you were to know that it is all based on a state of blindness: Our inability to see behind the curtain? What would feel like if you were to discover that the things we worship and control our lives are nothing more than a shell concealing a fruit within?
Hemshech Tzaddik-Dalet explains that material existence and even – which is more astonishing – spiritual existence has no true validity of its own. Nothing dictates that matter or spirit must exist. And even when they do exist, their entire being has no self-contained power; it is driven entirely by Divine energy. The only true Reality is the Divine Essence of all, which exists because it must exist. In the words of the Tanya: Everything has a cause. But G-d has no cause other than Himself; nothing preceded Him; His being derives from His own self. G-d’s existence must exist, for it is true reality. G-d is an existence that is unlike any existence, “a non-existential existence.” It is real because it is real; a reality that exists because it exists.