Wednesday, October 12, 2005

LESSONS IN TANYA: Thursday, October 13, 2005


Due to holiday observance, the Yom Kippur edition of Lessons In Tanya is sent on Wedsenday.

Tishrei 10, 5766 * October 13, 2005


Today's Lesson:

Iggeret HaKodesh
(Conclusion of Epistle Twenty)

And from this we will be able to understand [the concept of] the elicitation of the Supernal orot, the Divine illuminations, [that are drawn down] in the Worlds of Atzilut, Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah;

[The lights that are drawn down to this world in response to man's divine service surpass by far the lights that are granted through "an arousal from above" as an unearned gift.]

(56) (which is the ultimate purpose for the creation of man), as is explained elsewhere.

And from this, [from the earlier explanation of the paradox of Or Chozer, whereby it is specifically in the lowest levels of Asiyah that the light of Sovev Kol Almin and the light of the Kav rebound most intensely], we can clearly understand the subject of the order of the levels [of created beings] - the inorganic, the vegetative, the animal, and the articulate being [i.e., man], which correspond to and are expressed within the composition of all created beings as the Elements of Earth, Water, Fire and Air.

For though the animal [level] is higher than the vegetative [level], (61) and the articulate being is higher than the animal, nevertheless, the animal is nourished and lives by the vegetative, and the articulate being receives his vitality from them both, and even wisdom and knowledge. For, [as the Gemara states, (62) " A childdoes not know how to call `father' and `mother' until it has tasted grain."

[It is likewise written,] (63) "I had not yet eaten the meat of oxen...." [This was the explanation which R. Nachman gave to Rava, as to why the previous evening he had been unable to give the better answer to his query that he had now given. Thus we see that the meat of a mere animal is able to stimulate the mind of man. The key to this paradox, whereby the animal kingdom is nourished by the inferior vegetative kingdom, and man needs both of these inferior orders of creation, has been explained above:]

For this is an instance of Or Chozer, the light that is reflected from the lower levels to the higher, from the lowest level of Asiyah, where there is an exceedingly strong manifestation of the radiation of the radiation, and so on, [of the glimmer of a glimmer of a glimmer that is found within the physical earth,] from the [infinite] Ein Sof- light that encircles all worlds, [i.e., from the degree of Sovev Kol Almin that transcends all worlds equally], and from the Kav from the Ein Sof-light at the culmination of the "feet" of the Yosher of Adam Kadmon - [the final level of the internalized illumination that is found in all worlds.

This illumination shines there]: in a mode of Or Chozer, as stated above.

This will enable one to gain a reasoned understanding how it is that the Supernal angels of the Merkavah, [the "Celestial Chariot]," namely, the "Face of the Oxen" and the "Face of the Eagle," derive great enjoyment, and are nourished and content, from the spirit of the cattle and fowl that ascends to them from the sacrifices on the altar.

[The phrase, (64) ("My sacrifice, the bread of My burnt offerings...") may be understood on a non-literal level to mean that the sacrifices provide sustenance for G-d's "fires", i.e., for the angels.]

As the holy Zohar expresses it precisely, (65) "They derive enjoyment from their element and essence": [the spiritual root (as opposed to the animal component) of the sacrifices is reflected back to its angelic source in a mode of Or Chozer.]

Now, after these words and this truth, knowledge comes easily to the discerning, to understand through all the above the sublime worth of the practical commandments, [those performed with physical objects and with man's physicality.] For [these commandments] are the ultimate purpose for the descent of souls to this physical world, as it is written, (66) "Today [is the time] to do them."

[I.e., specifically "today", in this world of action, are we provided with the opportunity to perform mitzvot with physical objects whose creation came about from G-d's very essence, and which contain the concealed power of His very being. By perfor ming mitzvot with these objects we release this concealed power.]

[It is likewise written,] (67) "Better one hour of repentance and good deeds in this world, than all the life of the World to Come."

[At this point the first publishers of Iggeret HaKodesh wrote: Until here we found of his holy writing.]


61. Note of the Rebbe: [It is superior] also with regard to its
creation; `nevertheless [it] is nourished...[by the vegetative].'
(This enables us to understand why the Element of Earth is not
mentioned here, for everything comes from the Earth. It may
likewise be said that for this reason, even after having been
created, [everything] depends on it and is nourished by it.)
62. Berachot 40a.
63. Bava Kama 71a.
64. Bamidbar 28:2.
65. III, 341a.
66. Devarim 7:11; Eruvin 22a.
67. Avot 4:17.


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