Tzimtzum is a concept that is easy to understand in principle, but may take a lifetime of experiences to comprehend in practice.
The term means ‘constriction,’ specifically the idea of G-d initiating different types of circumstances and events in our lives, that cause things both external and internal to us, to be “pushed aside.”
Once this occurs we’re ready for what we need from Him.
All major spiritual advancement is preceded by some form of tzimtzum.
It is also possible for us to do this ourselves for a holy purpose, such as the act of fasting or meditation.
Another way to express it, is that tzimtzum is for the intent of providing us a more clear focus of our own path (tikkun middot) toward the “Image of G-d” we were created in.
Tzimtzum can come in many forms, often ‘hidden,’ and at times confusing and stressful.
The challenge is to maintain understanding that it is for tikkun middot, the path back of Teshuvah, and keeping Faith in G-d. He is in control of everything. (See Hashgaha Pratit.)
To summarize the four Torah concepts we’ve mentioned:
- Hashgaha Pratit = Everything that happens is from G-d. This is our #1 guide at all times. Remember, “Ein Od Milvado” – there is no power but Him.
- Teshuvah = We are made in the “Image of G-d.” This is our ‘goal.’
- Tikkun Middot = We are here to repair our selves – our souls. These are the category headers.
- Tzimtzum = To understand and focus on what we need to do, we sometimes need superfluous things pushed out of the way.