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I want to ask an open ended question that I'm not quite sure how to phrase. I'm interested in the Jewish concept of Tzedekah. Specifically, I'd like to explore, if anyone is interested, how righteous living (not just charity) relates to the biblical concept of taking dominion of the earth. I'm thinking of the process by which, eventually, the Kingdom is manifested, and how group participation makes the process work. Any thoughts on that?


Well the whole concept of the kingdom is more Christian than Jewish. I am not entirely clear on the concept, so I'm not sure I could offer a Jewish analogue. If you can clarify I could probably present a Jewish concept that has some parallels. If I do understand correctly I have one in mind that might do the trick.

If I can clarify, your question is essentially about the relationship between righteous action and what it's got to do with the whole genesis thing about having dominion, and the way in which the combined actions of Judaism or humanity as collective sorta add up and fit into the whole framework of things, eschatologically speaking? So is the focus of your query then on whether or how right action effects the world-to-come(messianic age)?

I'm trying to get at the idea of tzimtzum, "raising sparks." How to help God put himself back together so that the original natural order can prevail. I'm wondering if the effect of righteous action is maginified with group participation kinda similar to prayer in minyon. I'm not trying to relate this to Christian concepts, but I thought there was a Jewish concept about bringing about the "Kingdom" through righteous action as sorta the reason behind observance. Sorry, I'm kinda flogging about and trying not to make it appear that I know something I don't.

Hi All--

While we are on the subject of Tzedekah, I am curious. I am thinking that it has to do with so-called "negative theology" wherein G!D more or less (pardon pun please) contracts Himself to make room for our progress? (As usual, I am probably sounding awkward.:eek:) If I am derailing the discussion, then I'll ask somewhere else, but I thought perhaps there is a connection here?


tzimtzum isn't the idea of raising sparks. Tzimtzum is the concept of God's contraction, in order to create a space for the universe. It is the beginning of the answer to the question, "If God is infinite, how can we exist?"

I think I understand what you're getting at though and yes, there is a Jewish concept like that, although even though the Hebrew word is malchut which translates as kingship the concept conveyed has more to do with the other name shechinah, the Divine feminine, the indwelling presence, which is related to mishkan which is the tabernacle, God's dwelling place.

I'm not sure whether or not it matter if there are more involved at a particular time or not, except when proscribed, but there is a great amount of, I forget the word. Basically, if you do something the way it's supposed to be done, and you do it with the right kavannah, the right intention, then you're able to have a positive effect that reverberates through the upper worlds. And for each individual there are certain sparks that are meant for that person to raise. For example, if I'm buying into this system, I couldn't put on tefillin each day for somebody else. THey're the only ones who can accomplish that. In that sense it is a group thing because no individual can do it alone.

The concept of tikkun olam, repairing or healing the world, gets a little confused because Reform reclaimed it outside of its kabbalistic framework, as something referring purely to social action. And there are thus people who use the term who have no idea what it originally meant. This is a definition of binyan hamalkhut, which I think is what you may be thinking of, from

the ten sefirot exist not only as individual manifestations of divine attributes, but are also arranged in various distinct configurations, called partzufim ("visages" or "profiles" -- singular: partzuf), each with ten sefirot of their own. The sefirot are able to interact with each other only as partzufim. Chochma (the partzuf called Abba) and bina (the partzuf called Imma) are emanated from the outset as partzufim, whereas Zeir Anpin (Z'A) is emanated in its initial form only as comprising the six sefirot from chesed to yesod. It receives its mochin (chochma and bina) only at a later stage, as an addition. Similarly, malchut is emanated from the outset as a single point only, called keter malchut, and it too receives the other nine sefirot only at a later stage. This development of malchut into a full-blown partzuf is called binyan hamalchut, and it is dependent upon the arousal from below (itaruta d'letata) initiated by the Jewish people in this world. The itaruta d'letata reaches to the very root of malchut in keter (Sefer HaLikutim s.v. malchut, p. 572-4).

Dictionary of Terms


That's tzimtzum, which is a separate topic from negative theology that I mention earlier in this post. Negative theology is what comes from Maimonides, who said that we cannot say what God is, but only what God is not, and even when we are saying God is something, we are really saying He is not the opposite. For example when we say God is love we odn't really mean God is love, but rather that God is not hate, because if God truly were love, that would be limiting Him to a thing. That is the specific approach that negative theology refers to.

Tzedakah is the feminine form of the word tzedek, which means justice or righteousness, and refers to charity. Thus in Hebrew, charity is not something from the heart, but instead a form of justice, righting a wrong.

Thank you dauer--I see I had my terminology confused. I've been doing lots of reading from sources in CR--many of which you have provided. I do appreciate it!