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Sefer Mishnat Haim 

Petal 2    Sefer Ha-Hhok ha-Hhadash - the Law of    the Final Redemption

30 PASSES    These are 30 Tablets of 30 Gnomen each

representing the Heart of the Law of the Final Redemption



contents - the revelation of the HOLY PRESENCE, derech eretz





Gnomen 1    The revelation of the Divine Presence, in Hebrew, is referred to as ‘gilui shechinah’. The Holy Shechinah falls only on a person who is in state of perfection before God, the heart must be in a state of true happiness in its service to God. As it states in the Talmud ‘There are 36 Just in the world who receive the Divine Shechinah every day’. This refers to the 36 Hidden Tzadikim of every generation, the Sons of the Ascent, who are perfect in their service to God and who in the great elevation of their level live in the immense felicity of their purpose.

Gnomen 2 -     It is, of course, not simple, to understand what is meant by Shechinah, for only those upon whom it has been revealed can truly know it. There are some examples from tradition which help to conceive of its substance. It is said, for example, that only in the last 17 years of Jacob’s life, in the land of Goshen, the Shechinah was with him. In all the many years preceding this, because of the many difficulties that afflicted him, the conflict with Esau, 20 years of Laban’s imbroglios, the fleeing from Aram Naharaim, Dina’s being taken by Shechem ben Hhamor, Shimon and Levi’s revenge, Rahhel’s death, the plight of Joseph and the famine of Eretz Canaan, Jacob was not in a state of completeness and felicity necessary for the Shechinah to reside.

Gnomen 3                 There are hundreds of expressions in Tradition which speak about the Holy Shechinah. It is said, for example, that above the bed-head of a sick person hovers the Holy Shechinah. In all the expressions used, one will still have quite a difficult time to define what the Shechinah is because, indeed, it cannot be properly ‘defined’. It is a manifestation of God’s closeness, of God’s light. It is higher than the world and when it resides in the world, the material world becomes totally secondary to it. After Shimon and Levi’s destruction of the inhabitants of Shechem, all the 31 kings of the small nations in the land of Canaan gathered together to make war against Jacob and his household. Jacob, our father, was afraid; it was just this that he had feared and the reason of his wrath for the wrath of Shimon and Levi. If not that the Holy Shechinah came down upon the marching warriors and it showed them myriad armies ready to go against them. Great fear fell on them and they returned on their path.

Gnomen 4         Sometimes, in the talmudic and midrashic tradition,the term ‘Ha-Kadosh Baruch Hu’ - The Holy One, Blessed is He - is used instead of the term Shechinah. When it says, for example, that on the shore at Yam Suf (the Red Sea) they saw Him (Ha-Kadosh Baruch Hu) dressed as a Shaliah Tzibur, ‘one who prays before the congregation’,  one is, in truth, speaking about a manifestation of the Shechinah, certainly not of God Himself. To Whom might He pray???? But He may make His Holy Presence felt in any way that He so desires. So is it possible for those who merit to feel His Presence and to walk together with the Holy Shechinah.

Gnomen 5     This is a very vast and deep subject about which volumes might be written but it is not a subject of these Tablets. And even if volumes be written about it, all those words written will help no one in understanding what the Shechinah is or in ‘finding’ it , unless he has known the experience and is already living a very elevated and interior life. The Shechinah, however, does not always exert its potency in manifest forms. When the Jews went into captivity in Babylon, the Tradition, based on Prophets, explains that the Shechinah descended with them. It is not always seen. One who walks upright before God in his thoughts and speech and actions walks with the Shechinah, even though it is not seen manifestly and perhaps not even felt. It is there, nonetheless, protecting that person while guiding his thoughts and all that he does. A true Hidden Tzadik, however, who happens to see that person, will see, in silence, that the Shechinah is upon him.

Gnomen 6        In Tradition, where it is assumed that the Jew who conducts his life according to the sanctification of the laws of the Torah walks with the Shechinah, there is a category of negative qualities or actions which are said to be sinful because ‘they push away the feet of the Shechinah’. Anger, for example, is such. Using foul language is such. Lightheadedness or foolish chatter at the table while eating is such. The Shechinah resides where there is happiness; it is pushed away by sadness. The Shechinah resides in cleanliness; it is pushed away by dust or dirtiness or impurity of any sort. In general, the laws of derech eretz, of respect and just comportment with other people , as well as the derech eretz for that which is sacred, are those laws which protect those values that are most loved by the Holy Shechinah. And on the contrary, the lack of said derech eretz is that which most of all ‘pushes away the feet of the Divine Presence’.

Gnomen 7       In the FNP, in which we are being given the study of the White Marble Steps of the Virtues of the KOH, the fifth virtue is referred to generally as that of the Divine Presence and is correlated with the fifth commandment of honoring one’s father and mother so that one prolong his days on earth. There is a direct connection between the 5th comm., the Divine Presence (we soften the term ‘Shechinah’ to ‘hashra’ah’ - a residing of the spirit, or, in English, we say simply Presence) and derech eretz. It is essential to see the nexus. The 5th comm. is that of derech eretz par excellence which begins with the respect for one’s parents. It is by way of the laws of derech eretz that the Presence is brought upon the person and into the world. We also call the 5th Virtue that of derech eretz.

Gnomen 8     Derech eretz holds the Keys to bringing upon oneself the closeness of EL SHADDAI. One must be respectful towards all people. One must know how to greet people, how to converse with people, how to sit at a table for eating, how to be dressed before others and how to be dressed for prayer etc. One must know how to speak with the proper derech eretz. Also the Sages, of blessed memory, declare that derech eretz precedes the Torah and without derech eretz there is no Torah. For derech eretz holds the Keys to understanding that which is loved before Him and without derech his Torah will not reside in him, even if he has studied Torah for 80 years.

Gnomen 9         The Tzadik ha-Kadosh, ha-Moreh Haim, used to explain: " What does it mean that a person who fulfills the commandment of honor your father and your mother will have his days lengthened? Does this mean that one will live longer? In truth, it has little sense to think that one will live more years than the number of years allotted him by the star under which he was born, as the Sages, of blessed memory explain,   'hhayei, banei u-mezonei be-mazala talya milta', one’s life span, one’s children and one’s sustenance depend on one’s star. What, then, does it mean that one’s days will be prolonged? This is speaking about the days themselves. The days themselves allotted him will be lengthened with good health, with inner serenity and with pleasure in life. He will live the fullness of his days. "

Gnomen 10       No small gift from the Lord, our God. Such is the true richness of life, not the number of his days. The Sages, of blessed memory, explain that when Jacob, our father, asked God in his prayer for ‘bread to eat and clothing to wear’, he did not ask for something small. The Tzadik Haim explained: " When he asks for bread to eat, he is asking for the proper health to be able to eat as it pleases him, and when he asks for clothing to wear, he is asking for good health to be able to walk and to move and to go as he pleases. See then the magnificence of the recompense for being respectful towards one’s parents and for honoring them in every way possible and for fulfilling their will (unless their will does not coincide with the will of God) and for bringing them pleasure in every way possible. One will be blessed by God who will have His Holy Presence reside with that person to lengthen his days upon the earth. "

Gnomen 11 -       Honoring one’s father and mother is the fount and source of derech eretz. As said, the 5th Virtue is derech eretz; we speak of ‘hashra’a’, the residing of the Presence because the revelation of God’s closeness is the ultimate and desired result of the just behavior in the light of respect. Derech eretz is the mode; hashra’a is the desired result. Derech eretz, of course, does not stop with parents; it becomes extended to the parents of one’s wife and the parents of one’s husband. It is commanded in the Torah to respect all elderly people , as well as all those who are ‘older’ than you whether in years or in wisdom.

Gnomen 12 -       Do you know what Methuselah did to be so rewarded with the greatest number of years recorded in the Torah, quite close to a thousand? It was an act of derech eretz for the respect of Heaven. He saw that the people of that time, after eating as beasts, left their excrement wherever they happened to be,  without covering them. Methuselah was anguished for the lack of respect towards the heavens above, the dwelling place of the Almighty King of the universe. So he would continually go around with a shovel in his hands, covering over the excrement where he found them. For this act of respect, he was given respect from God Almighty and all the elements of creation blessed him with perfect health and longevity. One might abandon all other writings and books and teachings to contemplate that sentiment of derech eretz of Methuselah and one would come to understand all that which is loved by God.

Gnomen 13 -        That sensibility, to feel the respect and to disdain any lack of respect for God, for the heavens, for the earth, for all nature, for the animal world and for all other people, is the life of derech eretz. One must be humble to obtain to it. One must put himself aside so as to feel the importance of the other. It is the opposite of Teutonic arrogance, of Viking coldness and of the American cowboy. Asiatics are more prone to it but they have given away their respect to pagan gods and to the abominable practices of pagan religions. Many Arabs of Islamic faith are closest to it, if it is not ruined by hatred towards the children of Isaac and Jacob.

Gnomen 14           Among Jews, I speak until our times, it is greatly lacking in the Ashkenazic Jews, encouraged in the opposite direction by the American machine of pocket-respect. Derech eretz is still to be found among Sefardic Jews, influenced positively by Arab culture. Today, however, that derech eretz, especially among Sefardic Jews in Israel, has become sweet caramel covering stones of the earth and nicely confectioned and sold as Candy Delight. You can fool people with it only as long as they don’t try to eat the ‘candy’. I had the privilege of studying the derech of the Yemenite Jews for 13 years with Tzadik Haim. But who now, in this generation, understands the derech eretz of Teiman? It is a strand of ancient but unadulterated tradition from Sinai. Might that the world merit to find it.

Gnomen 15             It is difficult for me to speak of it because I am just not a writer to describe it,  but also because it is not simply oral tradition. It is oral visible tradition. You must see it to understand it. It is a sensibility in the Yemenite blood which derives from Moses’ humility. It is deeply felt in the heart while yet sanctified in the love of Torah and perfected in the knowledge of nature and exalted in the hidden wisdom that each action contains and that each word creates. It is the highest form of derech eretz which opens life onto life on all levels. It awakens the plants to feel their own beauty and it calls down the stars to participate in the banquet of human sensibility one to another. It is the pride of the Lord, our God, to see His children practicing the beloved respect to all creation.

Gnomen 16       I was born in the United States. Perhaps good manners were spoken about sometimes, but I saw very little of it. That was until 30 years ago. Its importance seems to gaining ground, however, in many sectors of the American society of the last 15 years. There is, however, too little and often no respect for parents and without this basis it is hard for people to learn to respect anyone. Most Americans seem ill at ease with all forms of formal respect. They know almost nothing of respectful language as do the Asiatics or as the true Arabs whose language is extremely rich with expressions of derech eretz and honorable phrases both to God and to man. Americans are rich in other ways but they are very poor in the great wisdom of derech eretz.

Gnomen 17       The English are known for the people of good manners, of the Queen’s language and gentlemanly speech and behavior. They have a strong and precious tradition in this sense which has been the backbone of English civility especially for the way it is inculcated in children from the very beginning. Unfortunately, the ‘tradition’ of honoring one’s parents breaks down in the Fourth Generation as the jumping levels of world technology and new worlds of computer age dynamics increases the generation gap into unspeakable terms. The ‘crazy’ part of the young, new society in England has become even worse than the parallel ‘crazy’ part in America. But the parallel crazy part of almost the whole world, but more so in Europe, North America and South America, has become closely comparable. One cannot speak of respect or derech eretz or good manners to any of them.

Gnomen 18      One must greet every person, as if one were greeting the Divine Presence, as Jacob, our father, said to Esau, his brother, ‘ for therefore I have seen your face, as though I had seen the face of God, and you were pleased with me’. In truth, every person who walks in the fear and love of God is worthy of being accompanied by the Divine Presence. For the Creator, Blessed is He, said to the universe that He had created ‘Let us make a man in our image’ etc. In this way the entire world, the macrocosm, participated in the creation of man, each great element giving of itself so that man contain in himself all the elements of the universe, the microcosm. Therefore when a person walks upright with God and his or her actions, thoughts and words are measured for compliance to the will of EL SHADDAI, the entire universe rejoices in him or in her. So will he or she be loved by the Creator of all and the Divine Presence will shine upon that person.

Gnomen 19       Knowing how to greet a another person, in a gracious and respectful manner, is thus an act of recognizing the Creator’s love to mankind. At the same time, all creation itself delights in such respect shown to every person because in each person is reflected the universe. When you show respect for another human being you are at the same time demonstrating your respect for the entire universe created by God Almighty. This respect shown is particularly important when it comes to greeting someone, as the Sages, of blessed memory, taught ‘hevei mekabeil col adam be-seiver panim yafot’ - Receive every person with an open and pleasant face -

Gnomen 20         Note that it says ‘every person’, without distinction. Derech eretz is universal, for all people, for all nations and all races. The term derech eretz itself means ‘the way of the land’ - these are the pleasant and proper ways appreciated by all mankind. The Tzadik, Haim, would teach again and again ‘derech eretz kadma min ha-Torah’ - derech eretz came before the Torah. Before the Torah was revealed, there existed, nevertheless, certain good practices, such as respect for parents and for the elderly and also others. It was in merit of those good practices that the world existed. For the world cannot exist without forms of justice practiced in it by people and those good practices were considered ‘justice’ before Heaven.

Gnomen 21      The Tzadik Haim, however, would expand on this concept, trying always to have me reach new depths in its understanding. It is true that the world stood on the merits of derech eretz before the Torah and that after the Revelation of the Torah at Sinai, the world stood on the merit of the Torah. The Torah is the Revelation of God’s law in the world and all obedience to the laws established in it are in perfect harmony with nature and with all creation. With the revelation of the Holy Torah, the true parameters of justice were established in the world forever. All this is true,  but the world at large, until our time,  is extremely removed from the Torah as such. It is recognized but ‘untouched’ by Moslems. It is recognized but totally distorted in the hands of Christianity. What then can be said of all other nations yet far removed from the true history of God’s Redemption, how much more from the knowledge of the true Divine parameters of the laws of justice of the Torah?

Gnomen 22         Or put in another way: The children of Israel are commanded in all the laws of Torah. Islam follows the Koran which is separated from the Torah, but essentially based on the belief in the Revelation at Sinai and on the true faith. All the Christianized nations, however, and certainly the nations further removed from the true tradition than Christianity, are not even within the boundaries of the pure monotheistic faith. What merits can they have? The true answer to this is derech eretz. Those nations are not formed on the laws of the Torah but on the ‘laws’ of derech eretz and where those ways are proper, respectful, good-hearted, compassionate, generous etc. those actions become the merits before the Higher Tribunal of Justice, both on an individual level as well as on the general level of each nation.

Gnomen 23          The Tzadik, Haim, in all that he taught me, was never teaching me in the normal, ‘academic’ way of interpreting the Mishnah. He was the Head of the 36 Hidden Tzadikim in this past generation. He lived in the constant knowledge of the decrees decreed in the Higher Tribunal. This enormous question of the merits that lay in the derech eretz of the nations was essential to the holy work of the Hidden Tzadikim in general, especially those found in Christian nations. The Christian nations had no merits in going to church on Sunday or even every day, nor for all the prayers invoking the Trinity and proclaiming the deification of the poor Ram of history, nor for pagan cults to madonnas and saints, nor even for charity destined to the church and not destined to feed and cloth the needy and to help the elderly and the sick.

Gnomen 24         In a word, Christianity itself was outside of the realm of true merits. Nevertheless, not the theological doctrines but rather the high ‘Torah’ morality of Jesus’ teachings and the concepts of love for one another and of charity for helping the poor etc. and the compassionate Christian sense of receiving each person as a son of God, and the fear of falling into sinful acts of immorality, helped create among Christian peoples a high standard of derech eretz. Entire societies could be and were established on the principles of Christian morality. The laws or better the practices of derech eretz and of love for other people and generous giving to truly charitable causes stand up in merit for the nations as defense lawyers against the harsh decrees that might otherwise destroy the pillars of each nation’s existence. And so too, each individual takes merit in those actions for his soul and he will find solace and pleasure in this world as all good actions bring to the heart of those who practice good.

Gnomen 25              It is necessary in today’s world to understand that derech eretz is not a code of set rules concerning the formalities to follow. We do not wish to give the impression of establishing the ‘rules of etichette’. The ‘laws’ of derech eretz are the ‘ways’, among people, that are loved by the Lord, our God. They are modes of behavior which, when practiced with a sincere heart, are ‘precious jewels and diamonds of light’ before Heaven and before people. They are the ways that create the true pleasures and the pleasantries among people within the societies where they are found. They are ways of humble actions and humble attitudes which contain in themselves the ‘heavenly’ power to bind the heart of mankind in a bond of peace and to consolidate the human appreciation that " we are all of the same flesh".

Gnomen 26         They are the ways that contain the framework in which all the virtues may be enhanced from inside while brought to the world of deeds in positive and love-filled manners. We gave the example of greeting others in the pleasant manner required of derech eretz and we explained how it contained the honor and respect for the Creator and for all creation. That action therefore enhances one’s faith inside and it creates good faith in the receiver. As Abraham, our father, whose beloved ways with the nomads and his immense generosity and loving-kindness in the name of his faith in the One True Living God became founts of faith in the heart of those strangers. They said ‘If Abraham, the servant to his God, is so kind and generous, how much greatly more so must be the goodness and the love of his God!’

Gnomen 27            So have we explained that the Divine Presence itself resides in the actions of derech eretz. This is the greatest of all blessings for the person is blessed inwardly, while the receiver is blessed in his blessing. Derech eretz stimulates the Virtues of the heart into needing their realization in the immediacy of positive external actions. Derech eretz itself represents the correction of mankind. In the Tables we shall clarify the derech eretz in relation to prayer, in relation to teachers, in relation to study, in relation to the sanctification of one’s table, in relation to the renewal of the spirit, in relation to the tastes of life. In this Tablet and in the Tables, we are trying to give over something of the wisdom involved in the concept of derech eretz.

Gnomen 28            Often derech eretz comes forth in very simple actions. Those simple actions, however, contain a higher and hidden wisdom which derives from the Divine Wisdom of the Creator, Blessed is He and Blessed is His name forever. They are precisions in which reside the splendor of the celestial harmony. So now in the Final Redemption do the acts of derech eretz bind the New Kingdom of Heaven to the earth and create harmonious love below and above. It is our great fortune that the chosen Teacher of Life, Haim, was born into the heart of Yemenite derech eretz.

Gnomen 29       The generations to follow will have enormous benefit from the fact the Final Goel is our Teacher. He is showing us the way. He is teaching us and he will yet teach and guide the coming generations in the beloved ways of derech eretz. Mine is only to open the Tablets through which the Teacher of Life, Haim, will come into the lives of all people who merit, to teach them and to guide them in how to be pleasant before God and before people.

Gnomen 30         The nations of the world do not understand the term mitzvah and, indeed, they are not commanded in the mitzvot of the Torah,  as is Israel. The Teacher, Haim, will teach them how to gain merits and how to understand the value of their actions before EL SHADDAI. He will teach them the value of the love that they already possess in their heart and he will instruct them into turning that love into positive merits which will lengthen their days earth and will prolong the great pleasures of the soul when they merit to reside in the Kingdom of Heaven. Amen.




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