Yitzchak Ginsburgh
Head of Gal Einai Institutes, authority on Kabbalah and Chassidut

Part 4: Conscious Determination and the Secret of Chashmal

Conscious Determination

Conscious determination is the essential power of the Jewish soul to change reality in general, and to hasten the coming of Mashiach, in particular. The four stages of conscious determination exactly parallel the four stages of progress toward Messianic reality brought about by studying about the redemption:

  1. True faith in the objective
  2. Strong will to achieve goal
  3. Using intelligence motivated by strong will to determine plan of action
  4. Identifying changes and living in desired reality

There are two dimensions to the fourth stage of living in the Messianic reality:

The outer dimension, in which one opens his eyes to see that what he has learned already exists in reality.

The inner dimension (parallel to Stage 5 in the previous chapter), in which one sees that although not everything that he learned has already been realized, the study itself is the study of the Torah of Mashiach, and he himself is already living in the Messianic reality.

The Secret of Chashmal

The Ba’al Shem Tov taught that every rectified process follows three stages, as hinted at in the mystical word chashmal from the Workings of the Chariot in the first chapter of Ezekiel.

The first stage, chash (“silence”), is submission and inner silence when faced with a given reality.

The second stage, mal (“circumcision”) is separation of the good from the bad (as when the foreskin is circumcised from the holy Jewish body).

The third stage, mal (“speaking”) is sweetening, when the Divine essence is revealed in reality. This leads to “speaking” to all about the revelation of the Divine reality.

The process of creating Messianic reality also parallels the Ba’al Shem Tov’s model:

Submission: Faith in the coming redemption and will to make it happen are both characterized by silence – the inability at this stage to act upon one’s faith and desire. In the first stage of submission, one’s faith is very strong, but he does not believe that he can act to change his reality. In the second stage of submission, although one strongly desires to act to bring the redemption, he does not know how to proceed. This form of submission may lead one to frustration at his lack of action, resulting in heartfelt prayer to God to show him how to advance his goals.

Separation: When one studies about the redemption, he can distinguish between the factors that help to advance Messianic reality and those that hamper his goal. He separates between the good and bad, removing the foreskin that is concealing the redemption.

Sweetening: Sweetening also has two stages. First, external reality is sweetened. This is the illumination of the positive, sought-after reality – world peace, which is the essential transformation from unrectified reality to Messianic reality. The following stage is the sweetening of internal reality through the learning of the secrets of the Torah. This study will lead us to realize that the laws of nature and the laws of the Torah are identical. Learning and internalization of the Torah of Mashiach is an eternal process of sweetening, in which we ascend from one level of understanding to the next “until 50,000 Jubilees.”

To summarize:

The Process of Chashmal in Creating Messianic Reality

Hebrew Term State of Soul First Stage Second Stage



Submission Faith in the redemption without confidence to act Will to bring redemption with no idea how to proceed


Separation Distinguishing between factors that advance or hamper goal


Sweetening External sweetening of reality – world peace Internal sweetening of reality – the Torah of Mashiach


Photo by Eryk on Unsplash

About the Author
Rabbi Ginsburgh was born in S. Louis, Missouri in 1944. He initially pursued an academic career in mathematics and philosophy, later studying Torah under the guidance of several great sages–most notably, the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Rabbi Ginsburgh made Aliyah to Israel in 1965. His familiarity with mathematics, science, philosophy, psychology and music has enabled him to lecture throughout Israel, relating the ancient wisdom of Torah to many currents trends in academic thought and art.
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