Sunday, October 16, 2005

LESSONS IN TANYA: Monday, October 17, 2005


Tishrei 14, 5766 * October 17, 2005


Today's Lesson:

Iggeret HaKodesh
(Middle of Epistle Twenty-Two)

However, I shall relate the truth (16) to those who listen to me: (17)

"Love upsets the natural order of conduct," for it is a covering of the eyes that prevents people from seeing the truth.

[The Alter Rebbe is quick to insist that his listeners' love for the "life of the body" is no doubt motivated by a spiritual purpose.

Nevertheless, they become so enmeshed in this love that they soon come to love the "life of the body" for its own sake as well.

This latter love upsets the natural order to the point that it drives people to seek advice on material matters.]

Because of their great love for the life of the body - [though this love is indeed experienced] for the sake of heaven, so that with [the body] they can serve G-d with flashes of fiery fervor and an ardent flame, (18) this love being even greater than their soul's love for G-d they are extremely irate when their body undergoes suffering. (Heaven forfend; may G-d show compassion!)

Thus they are not able to bear [it] at all, to the point that it drives them out of their mind, causing them to tramp about from city to city to seek advice from afar.

[But why indeed does G-d cause suffering?

Moreover, how are we respond to life's difficulties, if it is not proper to seek advice on them from Torah sages and tzaddikim?

The Alter Rebbe goes on to explain:

Those who seek merely to be rid of their physical afflictions are not following the proper path of the Torah, for in doing so], they do not turn to G-d by [penitently] returning to Him with humble spirit and submission of the body to accept His chastisement with love, (19) "for it is him whom G-d loves [that He chastises]."

[For misfortunes are in fact a call from G-d that one should repent.

Indeed, they should be a source of satisfaction: out of G-d's particular love for him, he has been chosen to be roused to repentance.]


16. Cf. Daniel 11:2.
17. Bereishit Rabbah 55:8.
18. Cf. Shir HaShirim 8:6.
19. Mishlei 3:12. As in many other instances, the Alter Rebbe ended
his quotation with "etc.", choosing not to spell out the painful
final words of the verse.


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