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Tanya for Shabbos, 21 Elul, 5779 - September 21, 2019

Tanya
As Divided for a Leap Year

Tanya for 21 Elul

20 Elul, 5779 - September 20, 201922 Elul, 5779 - September 22, 2019


Epistle Seventeen

It is well known [1] that in response to an arousal from below, when a man arouses in his heart the attribute of lovingkindness and compassion for all those in need of compassion, there comes an arousal from above, that arouses great compassion upon him from the Source of Compassion,

[As taught in ch. 45 of Part I, this does not refer to Av Ha-Rachaman, the limited level of compassion that derives from the measured evolvement of the worlds, but to the level of Divine compassion (Av HaRachamim) that transcends all limitations.] that endows him with the fruits [of his deeds] in this world, while the principal [remains intact] for the World to Come. [2]

[The Alter Rebbe goes on to explain that "fruits in this world" refers not only to physical blessings, but also to the insights and spiritual delights of Gan Eden (lit., "the Garden of Eden"), for even Gan Eden is termed "this world" in relation to the World to Come at the time of the Revival of the Dead.

It is true that in relation to our present physical world Gan Eden is called the World to Come, because it follows and rewards the good deeds performed in this world. [3] Nevertheless, when compared to the actual World to Come, all worlds - including the spiritual worlds, of which Gan Eden is one - are termed - "this world."

This is because all worlds can aspire (even now) to a revealed level of comprehension ("this" being a word denoting revelation); by contrast, as the Alter Rebbe will soon explain , [4] the perceptions of Divinity in the World to Come at the time of the Revival of the Dead will transcend all revealed levels of comprehension.]

This means that "the fruits" refers to the flow of benevolence which is bestowed by the Source of Compassion and the Fountainhead of Life, blessed be He.

It issues ever netherwards, following the pattern of the evolution of the worlds from above downwards, and so on, until it vests itself in this physical world, in [the form of the blessings of] children, life and livelihood, and the like.

[All these gifts, both spiritual and material, are deemed to be mere "fruits", for just as fruits are not of the essence of a tree, but fall and are replaced, so, too, does this flow of benevolence undergo a transformation from world to world.]

The "principal" relates to the verse, [5] "Your commandment [mitzvat'cha] is very wide." Now it should have said "Your commandments" (mitzvotecha), in the plural. [This would be the case, if the verse simply meant to say that the commandments in general are without end.]

( [6] The term "wide" is also puzzling.) [A more commonly expected term might have been "great", "immense", "lofty", or the like.

However, the choice of the singular form of "Your commandment" alludes to the mitzvah of tzedakah, which is truly G-d's mitzvah, [the mitzvah He performs Himself], which the Holy One Himself, blessed be He, in all His majesty, performs at all times by animating the worlds, and will do so in the future with exceeding magnitude and intensity.

It is likewise written, [7] "And they shall observe the path of G-d, to do tzedakah..."; [i.e., tzedakah is here described as G-d's path. Metaphorically speaking, like a road on which one travels from one town to another, so, too, charity is a manifestation and radiation of the [infinite] Ein Sof-light which encompasses all worlds, that will radiate and become manifest in the future, at the time of the Resurrection of the Dead, even to this world - in response to the arousal [initiated by mortals] from below, as expressed in charity and gratuitous kindness - with a magnitude and force infinitely exceeding the state in which the radiation [8] is manifested in the Lower and Higher levels of Gan Eden.

The proof for this is: For the souls of all the tzaddikim, [9] and of the tannaim [10] who preceded them, and of the prophets [11] who predate the tannaim, that are now in the Higher Gan Eden, at the peak of all levels, will become vested in their bodies in the time to come, and will arise at the time of the Resurrection, [12] to derive pleasure from the splendor of the Shechinah, [which will then radiate in this world to the souls as they are vested within their bodies.

It is thus clear that this revelation will transcend by far the degree of revelation that can be attained in the Higher Gan Eden, so that it is worthwhile for souls which are so loftily situated to descend and enclothe themselves in physical bodies, in order to be able to receive it.

This revelation is purely an act of tzedakah and gratuitous kindness on G-d's part, for man's arousal from below is in no way intense enough to draw down such an immense degree of revelation; his spiritual service serves only as a vessel which enables him to receive it.

The Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain what exactly it is about the revelation attainable in the World to Come that makes the revelation attainable even in the Higher Gan Eden pale in comparison.]

For the manifestation and the radiation in Gan Eden are of the level called Memaleh Kol Almin [13] - [the light which "permeates all worlds"; i.e., the muted Divine life-force that contracts, descends and diminishes according to the receptive capacity of the particular created being which it is to permeate.]

This [diminishment of the Divine life-force] is an evolving progression from one rung to another by means of immense contractions.

As was taught by our Sages, of blessed memory, [14] "The World to Come - [which here means Gan Eden] - was created by the letter yud," [a letter limited and contracted to a single point.]

This [letter] signifies the level of Supernal Chochmah [the first of the ten Sefirot of the World of Atzilut], which is referred to as the Higher Eden, [that surpasses the level of Gan Eden, inasmuch as gan implies only a garden derived from Eden, and not Eden itself], and which evolves and becomes vested in all the worlds, [I.e., Chochmah descends and vests itself in all the worlds in order to continuously create and animate them,] as it is written, [15] " You have made them all with Chochmah..."; ['i.e., all created beings derive from the Sefirah of Chochmah.]

[It is likewise written], [16] "And Chochmah animates...," [again indicating that the Sefirah of Chochmah animates all the worlds.]

In Gan Eden it is manifestly comprehensible to each according to his measure. [While the life-force that emanates from Chochmah is concealed from all other worlds, it is manifest in Gan Eden, so that the souls there are able to apprehend the Essence of Divinity.]

For, as is known, the delight of the souls in Gan Eden derives from [their] apprehension of the secrets of the Torah in whose revealed dimensions [they were] engaged in this world, [so that what was secret in this world is revealed in Gan Eden,]as is discussed in the sacred Zohar, Parshat Shlach, [17] [The Zohar speaks there about the various heavenly "academies" such as "Moses' Academy" and the "Heavenly Academy," and so too an academy in which Miriam teaches righteous women.] and in the Gemara, [18] with reference to the incident involving Rabbah bar Nachmeni.

[The Gemara describes a legal debate between G-d and the Heavenly Academy regarding ritual purity in a situation where it is doubtful whether "the baheret preceded the appearance of a white hair, or whether the white hair preceded the baheret." It was agreed that Rabbah bar Nachmeni would render the decisive opinion because of his singular knowledge in the field of Nega-im and Ohalot. In Likkutei Torah, Parshat Tazria, [19] the Alter Rebbe explains this specific dispute, as well as the concept of the Heavenly Academy in general. At any rate, the revelation attainable in Gan Eden is that of Memaleh Kol Almin, in which only a limited degree of light filters through.]

The radiation of light at the time of the Resurrection, however, will become manifest from the level of Sovev Kol Almin, which is not in a state of contraction, measure and limit, but is limitless and endless.

The concept of Sovev Kol Almin, as has been explained in Likkutei Amarim, ch. 48, is not to be understood literally, as resembling a sphere, heaven forfend; [i.e., this superior order of light does not "encompass all worlds" spatially, so that it surrounds creation and remains exterior to it.]

Rather, [it means that] it is not invested [implying adaptation within it]; instead of contracting itself to match the receptive capacity of the particular created being that it animates, it affects it - even from within - while remaining on its own level. Note there carefully.

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) Zohar I, 88a.

  2. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: Mishnah at the beginning of Peah; Pei-rush HaMishnayot there; see also the maamar entitled Kol HaMeracheim 5709 (Sefer HaMaamarim 5709, on p. 7 of the second pagination).

  3. (Back to text) Rambam, Hilchot Teshuvah 8:8.

  4. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: See also ch. 48 [of Part I].

  5. (Back to text) Tehillim 119:96.

  6. (Back to text) Parentheses are in the original text.

  7. (Back to text) Bereishit 18:19.

  8. (Back to text) Parentheses and brackets are in the original text.

  9. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: Mitzvot.

  10. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: Torah.

  11. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: Revelation of G-dliness.

  12. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: It will be noted that the Alter Rebbe distinguishes between two periods (which implies that they are of distinct content): the time to come, and the Resurrection. This requires further examination.

  13. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: See ch. 48 [of Part I].

  14. (Back to text) Menachot 29b.

  15. (Back to text) Tehillim 104:24.

  16. (Back to text) Kohelet 7:12.

  17. (Back to text) P. 163a.

  18. (Back to text) Bava Metzia 86a.

  19. (Back to text) See the maamar that begins, Ka Mifligei biMetivta deRakia.



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