Tanya, your road to spiritual health

Continuation of Chapter 49. Previous lectures can be reached by clicking the link below.

HaRav Shneur Zalman Miliadi

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The Alter Rebbe will now conclude that meditating on the concepts appearing in the blessings of the Shema leads a Jew to the proper realization of the Shema — attaining an ardent love for G‑d.

והנה כאשר ישים המשכיל אלה הדברים אל עומקא דלבא ומוחא, אזי ממילא כמים הפנים לפנים

When the thinking person will reflect on these matters in the depths of his heart and brain, then as surely as water mirrors the image of a face,

When the love likened to “water mirroring the image of a face” takes effect in a person, so that G‑d’s manifest love for His people arouses in him a corresponding love towards Him, then:

תתלהט נפשו ותתלבש ברוח נדיבה, להתנדב להניח ולעזוב כל אשר לו מנגד, ורק לדבקה בו יתברך, וליכלל באורו בדביקה חשיקה וכו׳, בבחינת נשיקין ואתדבקות רוחא ברוחא כנ״ל

his soul will spontaneously be kindled with love for G‑d, and it will clothe itself in a spirit of benevolence, willingly to lay down and resolutely to abandon all he possesses, for it will no longer be of major importance to him, in order only to cleave unto Him, and to be absorbed into His light with an attachment and longing, and so forth, in a manner of “kissing”, and with an attachment of spirit to Spirit, as has been explained earlier.

Just as kissing involves not only the cleaving of mouths but also a communion of breaths, so too does spiritual unity involve the union of man’s spirit with G‑d’s: man’s spirit becomes one with G‑d’s.

אך איך היא בחינת אתדבקות רוחא ברוחא

But how does the attachment of spirit to Spirit take place? I.e., what measures are to be taken if one seeks to desire to “only cleave to Him”?

לזה אמר: והיו הדברים האלה גו׳ על לבבך, ודברת בם גו׳

To this end it is stated, soon after the phrase, “with all your heart,” and so on:14 “And these words shall be... upon your heart.... And you shall speak of them....” As will soon be explained, this refers to immersing oneself in the study of Torah and speaking words of Torah.

וכמו שכתוב בעץ חיים, שיחוד הנשיקין עיקרו הוא יחוד חב״ד בחב״ד, והוא עיון התורה

As is explained in Etz Chayim, the union of “kissing” which incorporates the union of the “attachment of spirit to Spirit” is essentially the union of ChaBaD with ChaBaD — the union of man’s Chochmah, Binah and Daat with G‑d’s; that is, concentration in the Torah, which unites man’s ChaBaD with the intellect of above, i.e., Torah,

והפה הוא מוצא הרוח וגילויו בבחינת גילוי, והיינו בחינת הדבור בדברי תורה

while the mouth, as the outlet of the breath and its emergence into a revealed state, represents the category of speech engaged in words of the Torah,

By speaking words of Torah — as it is written, “And you shall speak of them” — the spirit emerges into a revealed state. Thus, the union of “spirit with Spirit” is mainly brought about by one’s immersion in Torah study. The reason for this follows:

כי על מוצא פי ה׳ יחיה האדם

for,15 “By every word that proceeds from G‑d’s mouth does man live.”

The mouth is thus the outlet of the breath. However, since what is crucial is understanding Torah, for through this the union of “spirit with Spirit” is effected, why must one utter the words in order to arrive at this love?

The Alter Rebbe now addresses himself to this question and says, that while it is true that for “man” himself — i.e., the divine soul — cleaving to G‑d is attained chiefly through understanding Torah, yet this only suffices for the divine soul. In order for the divine plan to be realized, i.e., that G‑dliness be drawn down upon the animal soul as well and into the world as a whole, one must speak words of Torah. This is because physical words are uttered by the animal soul, which in turn is affected by them.

Since a person has the strength to speak because he receives physical nourishment, it follows that when he utters words of Torah, G‑d’s ultimate intent of drawing down holiness into this physical world is realized, and the “whole world is filled with His glory.”

(Understandably, this selfsame reason applies not only to speaking words of Torah, but also explains why mitzvot are to be performed with the physical body and utilizing objects of the material world, for it is through them that G‑dliness is manifest in the animal soul and in the material world as a whole. Here, however, the matter under discussion is Torah knowledge. In this instance, although nothing can unite the divine soul with its Source more completely than the contemplation of Torah, it is nevertheless necessary for one to utter the words of Torah as well, in order to draw down G‑dliness into one’s animal soul and, indeed, into the whole material world.)

ומכל מקום לא יצא ידי חובתו בהרהור ועיון לבדו

However, one does not fulfill one’s obligation by meditation and deliberation alone,

I.e., one’s obligation is not fulfilled thereby, even though such deliberation leads to the lofty union of his soul with G‑d in a manner of the cleaving of “spirit with Spirit.”

עד שיוציא בשפתיו, כדי להמשיך אור אין סוף ברוך הוא למטה עד נפש החיונית השוכנת בדם האדם, המתהוה מדומם צומח חי

unless one expresses the words with his lips, in order to draw the [infinite] light of the blessed Ein Sof downwards even unto the vivifying soul which dwells in the blood of man, which in turn is produced by the intake of food from the mineral, vegetable and animal [worlds].

That is to say: Eating and drinking produce the blood in which the vivifying soul is clothed, and G‑dliness is drawn down into all the above-mentioned worlds when one speaks words of Torah.

כדי להעלות כולן לה׳ עם כל העולם כולו, ולכללן ביחודו ואורו יתברך, אשר יאיר לארץ ולדרים עליה בבחינת גילוי, ונגלה כבוד ה׳ וראו כל בשר וגו׳

One thereby elevates them all — the vivifying soul, and the mineral, vegetable and animal worlds — to G‑d, together with the entire universe, and causes them to be absorbed in His blessed Unity and light, which will illumine the world and its inhabitants in a revealed manner, in the spirit of the verse that says:16 “And the glory of G‑d shall be revealed” — so much so, indeed, that “all flesh shall see it....”

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FOOTNOTES

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14.  Devarim 6:6-7.

15.  Devarim 8:3.

16.  Yeshayahu 40:5.



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