Weekly Tanya lecture: Chapter 37, Class # 6

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HaRav Shneur Zalman Miliadi,

Rav Shneur Zalman Miliady
Rav Shneur Zalman Miliady
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Why is it that suffusing the vital soul with Ein Sof-light and banishing the impurekelipot from the vital soul produces a parallel effect on the entire world?

כי כללות ישראל, שהם ששים רבוא נשמות פרטיות, הם כללות החיות של כללות העולם, כי בשבילם נברא

For the community of Israel, comprising 600,000 particular souls, is the general source of vitality for the world as a whole, since the world was created for the sake of these souls.

וכל פרט מהם הוא כולל ושייך לו החיות של חלק אחד מששים רבוא מכללות העולם

Each specific one of them contains and to each is related the vitality of one six-hundred-thousandth-part of the entire world.

התלוי בנפשו החיונית להעלותו לה׳ בעלייתה

This [part of the world] depends on his vital soul for its elevation to G‑d through [the vital soul’s] own elevation.

דהיינו במה שמשתמש מעולם הזה לצורך גופו ונפשו החיונית לעבודת ה׳

This means that one elevates “his” portion of the world by his partaking of this world for the requirements of his body and vital soul in the service of G‑d. By using the objects of this world that one’s body and vital soul need for the sake of serving G‑d, one elevates his portion of the world.

כגון אכילה ושתיה ודומיהם, ודירה וכל כלי תשמישיו

For example: eating, drinking, and the like; one’s dwelling and all his utensils.

But surely there are more than 600,000 souls; besides, it is quite impossible for one person to use a six-hundred-thousandth of the entire world.

אלא שששים רבוא נשמות פרטיות אלו הן שרשים, וכל שרש מתחלק לששים רבוא ניצוצות, שכל ניצוץ הוא נשמה אחת

These 600,000 particular souls, however, are “roots”; and, like a root from which grow numerous branches, each root-soul subdivides into 600,000 sparks, each spark being one Neshamah.

וכן בנפש ורוח, בכל עולם מארבע עולמות: אצילות, בריאה, יצירה, עשיה

Similarly with the Nefesh and Ruach, in each of the four Worlds —Atzilut, Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah. In each of these four Worlds are found all three soul-levels — Nefesh, Ruach and Neshamah.

וכל ניצוץ לא ירד לעולם הזה

Each spark did not descend into this world to perfect itself but to perfect the body and vital soul — as the Alter Rebbe will soon conclude.

Having touched upon the subject of the soul’s descent, however, he adds a parenthetical comment emphasizing the magnitude of this descent. On entering this world, a soul may perhaps attain the loftiest heights of love and fear of G‑d that are experienced by a perfect tzaddik — but even this cannot compare to the love and fear that it experienced while in the spiritual worlds, before its descent.

אף שהיא ירידה גדולה, ובחינת גלות ממש

Though it is indeed a great descent, a veritable exile for the soul;

כי גם שיהיה צדיק גמור, עובד ה׳ ביראה ואהבה רבה בתענוגים

for even if it become, in this world, a perfect tzaddik, serving G‑d with fear and abundant love of delights,

לא יגיע למעלות דביקותו בה׳ בדחילו ורחימו בטרם ירידתו לעולם הזה החומרי, לא מינה ולא מקצתה

it will not attain to the quality of its attachment to G‑d with fear and lovethat the soul experienced prior to its descent into this corporeal world, nor even [to] a fraction of [its earlier fear and love].

ואין ערך ודמיון ביניהם כלל, כנודע לכל משכיל, שהגוף אינו יכול לסבול כו׳

In fact, there is no comparison or similarity whatever between them — between the love and fear of G‑d experienced by a soul on earth, and that of the soul above; [for] as is obvious to every intelligent man, the body could not bear etc. a love and fear of such intensity as the soul experienced above, in the spiritual realms.

Having concluded his comment on the formidable nature of the soul’s descent, the Alter Rebbe returns to his original point: The descent of the soul is thus undertaken not for its own sake —

אלא ירידתו לעולם הזה, להתלבש בגוף ונפש החיונית, הוא כדי לתקנם בלבד

but its descent into this world, to be clothed in a body and vital soul, is for the sole purpose of perfecting them;

ולהפרידם מהרע של שלש קליפות הטמאות על ידי שמירת שס״ה לא תעשה וענפיהן

to separate them from the evil of the three impure kelipot, by observing the 365 prohibitions and their “offshoots” i.e., by observing the Biblical and Rabbinic prohibitions,

ולהעלות נפשו החיונית, עם חלקה השייך לה מכללות עולם הזה

and to elevate his vital soul, together with the portion of the world at large that belongs to it,

ולקשרם ולייחדם באור אין סוף ברוך הוא אשר ימשיך בהם על ידי קיומו כל רמ״ח מצות עשה בנפשו החיונית

binding and uniting them with the Ein Sof-light which he draws into them by performing all the 248 positive mitzvot through the agency of the vital soul,

שהיא היא המקיימת כל מצות מעשיות כנ״ל

since [the vital soul] is the one that performs all mitzvot involving action, as explained above, in ch. 36 — that the divine soul can activate the body in performance of the mitzvot only by way of the vital soul.

וכמו שכתוב בעץ חיים, שער כ״ו כי הנשמה עצמה אינה צריכה תיקון כלל כו׳

It is likewise written (in Etz Chayim, Portal 26) that the [divine] soul itself does not need perfecting at all...;

ולא הוצרכה להתלבש בעולם הזה וכו׳ רק להמשיך אור לתקנם כו׳

and there is no need for it to be embodied in this world, in a body and vital soul... except to draw down light to perfect them — the vital soul and the body...

והוא ממש דוגמת סוד גלות השכינה לברר ניצוצין וכו׳

and this parallels exactly7 the mystery of “the exile of the Shechinah,”whose purpose is to refine the sparks of holiness which fell into the kelipot;so too does the divine soul enter into exile within the body and vital soul in order to perfect them, and to extract from them the sparks of holiness which they contain.

The foregoing discussion enables us to understand the particular virtue of mitzvotperformed through action:

Creation, and the soul’s descent into the body, were both intended for the purpose of elevating the body and vital soul, and thereby the entire world; moreover, this objective is reached primarily through the mitzvot involving action, inasmuch as these mitzvot are performed by the body and vital soul; these mitzvot are therefore of primary importance.

FOOTNOTES    

7.  The Rebbe explains how “the mystery of ‘the exile of the Shechinah’” relates to the subject at hand.

On the surface, the soul’s descent into this world, and its concomitant suffering, is truly inexplicable. The soul is an entity which is truly a part of G‑d Above, emanating, as it does, from Supernal Wisdom which is wholly at one with G‑d Himself.

That such a holy being should descend into this world merely to rectify the vitalizing soul and the body whose source is in kelipat nogah, strains the bonds of credulity. For even after the divine soul completely rectifies them — as in the divine service of a consummate tzaddik — the body is still unable to harbor the same love of G‑d which the soul felt prior to its descent. Why, then, did the soul descend into this world

The Alter Rebbe addresses this question, writes the Rebbe, by stating that the soul’s descent parallels exactly the mystery of the exile of theShechinah, whose purpose is to refine the sparks of holiness which fell into the kelipot. We shall soon learn that theShechinah is the source of the divine soul. Furthermore, all things found within this world were created from the sparks of holiness, including the body and the vitalizing soul. Hence the parallel. The soul, whose source is theShechinah, descends into this world to refine the body and vitalizing soul, whose source is the holy sparks. And just as the exile of the Shechinah is deemed a mystery, for its descent defies logic, so, too, is the soul’s descent into the body and vitalizing soul a mystery: it defies mortal reason.








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