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Tanya for Monday, 12 Shevat, 5781 - January 25, 2021

Tanya
As Divided for a Regular Year

Tanya for 12 Shevat

11 Shevat, 5781 - January 24, 202113 Shevat, 5781 - January 26, 2021


The Alter Rebbe has thus far discussed two levels of union with the Divine Will, one analogous to the chariot and its rider, and the second, to the unity of body and soul. Both these levels of unity are achieved by performing the mitzvot. He now goes on to describe a third and higher level of unity, that is achieved through the study of the Torah].

But the thought and meditation on the words of Torah, which is accomplished in the brain, and the power of speech engaged in the words of Torah, which is in the mouth - these being the innermost garments of the divine soul, [and thus closer to the soul itself than the faculty of action, the "external" garment], and surely the divine soul itself which is clothed in them [i.e., in the thought and speech engaged in Torah study, all of them are fused in perfect unity with the Divine Will, and are not merely a vehicle, a "chariot" for it, [4] [as are the mouth and brain in which the thought and speech of Torah study take place.

The term "perfect unity" indicates that the two become one and the same; unlike, for example, the unity of body and soul, which retain their separate identities even when they are joined together and form one unit.

An example of a "perfect" unity can be found in the unity of the soul with its faculties, which are a part of it, and are thus completely united with it. In the same way the divine soul and its faculties of speech and thought are united with the Divine Will, when one thinks or speaks of matters of Torah.

The Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain how Torah study is able to effect this level of unity].

For the Divine Will is identical with the halachic subject of which one thinks and speaks, inasmuch as all the laws of the Halachah are particular expressions of the innermost Divine Will itself; for G-d willed it thus - that a particular thing be deemed permissible or kosher, or that this person be found exempt and another innocent, or the reverse.

[Since every halachah expresses the Divine Will, the unity which the study of the Halachah effects between the soul and the Divine Will surpasses even the unity of body and soul].

Similarly, all the letter combinations of the Pentateuch, Prophets and the Holy Writings (Ketuvim), are also expressions of G-d's Will and wisdom which are united with the blessed Ein Sof in a perfect unity - since He is the Knower, the Knowledge, and the [subject] Known.

[Thus, when one studies the Torah, Prophets, and the Writings, he becomes united with the Divine Will and wisdom, which are absolutely one with G-d Himself.

The difference between the two levels of unity with G-d achieved through Torah and mitzvot respectively, may be clarified by the following analogy:

A king orders his servants to build a palace for him, and draws up a detailed blueprint for it. When they carry out his wishes, they are united with his desire as expressed in the palace. However, the palace walls themselves do not represent the king's will and wisdom. But the blueprint does, and the architects who study it are actually involved in the study of the king's will and wisdom.

So too in our case. The actual performance of the mitzvot, although dictated by G-d's Will, does not actually constitute this Will. Not so the wisdom of Torah, which is itself G-d's wisdom, and the halachic rulings are actually expressions of His Will; and thus, when one speaks or thinks words of Torah, he attains the greatest possible level of union with G-d, Who is one with His Will and wisdom].

This is what is meant by the statement that "The Torah and G-d are absolutely one" - they are not merely "organs" of the King, as are the mitzvot.

[For, as explained above, the unity of the mitzvot with G-d is like that of body and soul, where two separate entities are joined, whereas Torah is entirely one with G-d].

Now, since the Divine Will, which is in perfect unity with G-d Himself, stands completely revealed in the divine soul and in its inner garments - i.e., its thought and speech - while a person occupies himself with words of Torah, and there is nothing obscuring the Divine Will at that time, [for when one studies Torah, the Divine Will and wisdom contained in it come into full expression in one's soul and its faculties of thought and speech], it follows that at that time, the soul and these garments [of thought and speech] are also truly united with G-d, with a unity comparable to that of G-d's speech and thought with His essence and being as explained above. [5]

For nothing is separate from G-d, except insofar as His Countenance is concealed.

[Only then can created beings perceive themselves as distinct entities (as explained in chapter 22). Since there is no such concealment when one studies the Torah, one attains thereby a perfect unity with G-d - a unity comparable to that of G-d's speech and thought with Himself prior to their revelation as "speech" and "thought", but as they are contained within Himself].

Moreover, their unity [i.e., the unity of the divine soul and its faculties with G-d, that is attained through Torah study] is even more exalted and more powerful than the unity of G-d's infinite light with the upper [spiritual] worlds.

For the Divine Will is actually manifest in the soul and its garments that are engaged in Torah study, since it is identical with the Torah [being studied].

All the worlds receive their vitality by way of the light and life derived from the Torah which is G-d's Will and wisdom; as it is written, [6] "Through wisdom You have made them all." [G-d's wisdom is thus the source of vitality for all the worlds].

Thus it follows that G-d's wisdom, i.e., the Torah, transcends them all. [It must be above all the worlds, since it is their source].

In fact the Torah, G-d's Will, is described as "encompassing" all the worlds, meaning that it is at a level that cannot become clothed within the worlds, but rather animates and illuminates them [as if from a distance, from above], in a transcending and "encompassing" manner, [7] and it is this level [which transcends all the worlds] that is clothed in a truly revealed form in one's soul and his soul-garments, when he studies Torah, even although he does not see it. [8]

[I.e., when one studies Torah he is unable to consciously experience the unity of his soul with G-d which is attained thereby, yet his soul feels it].

([9] In fact, this is precisely why he can endure [such a unity with G-d], precisely because he cannot feel it - unlike the supernal worlds [where G-dliness is not obscured as it is in this world, and they cannot therefore endure such a unity with G-d without becoming completely nullified and losing their identities entirely.)

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) In saying "and not merely ....a `chariot' for it," the Alter Rebbe contrasts the thought and the power of speech engaged in Torah with the brain and mouth which do the thinking and speaking.

    The latter become (merely) a "chariot" for G-d's Will, while the former are "fused in perfect unity" with it. If we were to contrast the faculty of speech engaged in Torah study with that same faculty as it engages in observing a mitzvah (reciting the grace after meals, for example), we would say that in the act of Torah study the faculty of speech is fused in perfect unity with the Divine Will; it is not merely as an organ of the body is to the soul in relation to this Will, as the Alter Rebbe indeed states shortly.

    ( - Based on a comment by the Rebbe Shlita.)

  2. (Back to text) Ch. 21.

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

  4. (Back to text) See below, chs. 41, 46, 48 and 51.

  5. (Back to text) Cf. Megillah 3a.

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



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