Powers of the Soul

Basics in Kabbalah: Rachamim

The Powers of the Soul to Experience God


Rachamim is the spiritual state associated with the sefirah of tiferetRachamim follows the attributes of ahavah and yirah as the power to synthesize their two apparently opposing forces, the desire to give and the will to withhold.

Ahavah sees all as potential recipients of its benevolence.

Yirah proceeds to judge each potential recipient, likely finding him unworthy of receiving.

Rachamim is the sense of true empathy with the other's soul in his present life situation; and although objectively he may appear unworthy, rachamim penetrates beneath and beyond this relatively superficial objectivity and judges him worthy in essence. Thus we find the idiom of our sages that God in His judgment of Creation, stands up from the throne of severe judgment and sits on the throne of mercy.

Though the gift of ahavah and chesed may be quantitatively greater than that of rachamim, the gift of rachamim is qualitatively greater. From rachamim, one gives of his very self to the other–for his empathy with him is so great that he feels that the other is an essential extension of himself. To serve God with the attribute of rachamim means to ever recognize God as our "merciful Father" and constantly arouse in our consciousness His mercy for us, His children, to redeem us from our state of exile.

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