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Pirkei Avot 4:3 Unity of Time and Space

He would also say: Do not scorn any man, and do not discount any thing. For there is no man who has not his hour, and no thing that has not its place.  (Pirkei Avot 4:3)

Every person has a special hour, a unique time, and everything has a place. Time and space are the two dimensions of reality (known in scientific terms as 'spacetime'), and their relationship is like that of male and female: Time is considered masculine (the person), and space is considered feminine (the object), like a house ("His house, that is his wife" [Yoma 2a]). In the inner dimension: time corresponds to zeir anpin (the ‘small faceת’ the male profile, the six ends corresponding to the six days of creation, the dimension of time). Space corresponds to the sefirah of malchut (the female profile). Time extends into the space's void (like the line of the infinite light extending into the limited void; the line is the secret of time). Thus, time and space represent the union of the letters yud-hei with vav-hei in God’s Name Havayah.

The Soul of the Torah

There are two pairs of concepts here: person-hour and object-place. The dimension of time is more associated with the person; souls live in the dimension of time (a conscious person experiences the passage of time), and therefore, the souls of Israel sanctify the times, being the root and source of time. The dimension of space is associated with the "object," the physical entities in the world.

In the inner dimension, "object" alludes to the Torah (as it is said, "and you shall speak of them" [Deuteronomy 6:7]). By connecting to the Torah and contemplating that the life force in every object comes from the letters of the Torah, the word of God that constitutes and animates it ("Forever, Havayah, Your word stands in the heavens" [Psalms 119:89]), one naturally fulfills the adage "do not discount any thing" (Pirkei Avot 4:3). For in every object in the world, there is Divine life force.

To our eyes, the world appears scattered and fragmented, both in the dimensions of time and space. However, the ultimate purpose is to reveal the Divine unity, as expressed in the Shema: "Hear, O Israel, Havayah is our God, Havayah is One" (Deuteronomy 6:4). The phrase "Havayah is One" implies the unity of God across all time—past, present, and future simultaneously ("was, is, and will be as one"). This reflects unity in the dimension of time. Additionally, "One" (אחד) signifies unity across all spatial dimensions—through the seven heavens and the earth (represented by the letter ח, which equal 8, of אחד ) and the four cardinal directions (represented by the letter  ד, which equals 4,  of אחד), indicating unity in the dimension of space.

The unity in the dimension of time primarily relates to the souls, as hinted at by "Havayah is our God" preceding "Havayah is One."

The unity in the dimension of space is achieved through the Torah, which is inherently one, especially as it will be fully revealed in the "new Torah" of the righteous Messiah in the near future.

The unity of souls and time (person-hour) parallels the unity of Torah and space (object-place). This is because the 600,000 souls of Israel correspond to the 600,000 letters of the Torah. By connecting and binding the souls of Israel to the Torah and its commandments, the inner unity of the world is revealed, in both time and space, leading to everything being nullified to the Divine unity, "Havayah is One."

 

 

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