Tuesday, November 15, 2005

LESSONS IN TANYA: Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Cheshvan 14, 5766 * November 16, 2005


Today's Lesson:

Iggeret HaKodesh
(Middle of Epistle Twenty-Seven)

Now, while the tzaddik was alive on earth, these three attributes were contained in their vessel and garment on the plane of physical space, this being the aspect of the Nefesh which is bound to his body.

During his lifetime his disciples all receive only a reflection of these attributes, and a ray from them that radiates beyond this vessel [i.e., the tzaddik's body] by means of his holy utterances and thoughts.

[The tzaddik's utterances and thoughts are able to reveal no more than a minor ray of his attributes.]

That is why our Sages, of blessed memory, said [31] that "one cannot plumb the depth of his master's teachings [until the passage of forty years]."

But after [the tzaddik's] passing, since the Nefesh - which remains in the grave - is separated from the Ruach, which comprises these three attributes and [after his passing] is in the Garden of Eden.

[The three attributes, now unbounded by the body, are in the Garden of Eden, a spiritual space whose atmosphere surrounds every individual in this world, as the Alter Rebbe will presently explain.]

Whoever is close to him can receive a part of his Ruach which is in the Garden of Eden, [i.e., an actual part of the very essence of these attributes, as opposed to a mere reflection of them], because [the Ruach of the tzaddik] is [now] not within a vessel, nor on the plane of physical space, but in the Garden of Eden, which as will now be explained, is to be found within this world as well.]

For, as is known, our Sages, [32] of blessed memory, said of our father Jacob, peace be to him, that "the Garden of Eden entered with him" [when he came to be blessed by his father Isaac.]

Likewise it is stated in Asarah Maamarot [33] that the atmosphere of the Garden of Eden envelops every individual, and in this atmosphere are recorded all his good thoughts and utterances of Torah and divine worship; [34] (and likewise to the contrary, heaven forfend: [negative thoughts and utterances] are recorded in the atmosphere from Gehenna which envelops every individual [when he engages in them).

To summarize:

After the tzaddik's passing, his power and his faith, his awe and his love, are not limited by his bodily vessel and by the physical world in general, but are in the Garden of Eden, which is to be found in this world as well].

It is therefore very easy for his disciples to receive their part of the essential aspects of their master's Ruach, i.e., his faith, his awe and his love with which he served G-d, and not merely a glimmer thereof which radiates be-yond the vessel, [and which reached them through his thoughts and words when the tzaddik was still alive].

For the essential aspect of his Ruach - [his essential faith, awe and love that relate to himself and not to his disciples] - is raised, elevation beyond elevation, to become absorbed in his Neshamah which is in the Higher Garden of Eden, in the supreme worlds.

Now it is known [35] that no holy entity is ever totally and utterly uprooted from its original place and level, even after it has reached the highest point.

[Rather, some trace of it always remains in its original lowly location. Moreover, as noted above, the Lower Garden of Eden is to be found even in the lowly World of Asiyah.]

Thus it is this original aspect [deriving from the Ruach of the tzaddik], remaining below in the Lower Garden of Eden in its original place and level, which extends itself among his disciples.

[For, this aspect has detached itself from the essential aspect of the Ruach of the tzaddik; its entire purpose is to be vested within his disciples], each one according to the level of his bond and closeness to [the tzaddik], during his lifetime and after his passing, out of an abounding love.

For anything spiritual is elicited only by means of an abounding love.

[And when this degree of love is present, the three attributes of faith, fear and love are then drawn down.]

Thus it is stated in the sacred Zohar [36] that the spirit (Ruach) of the inner heart's desire, elicits a spirit from above -

[So, too, the disciple's heartfelt love for his master draws down these three attributes] - but only if he will prepare himself towards his G-d [37] with a great preparation and intense effort.

[As explained by an unnamed elder chassid quoted in Likkutei Haggahot, "great preparation" refers to the preparation of the soul; "intense effort" refers to the toil of the body.]

So that he will receive these attributes in the way that his master taught him.

[To paraphrase] the words of our Sages, of blessed memory, [38] "If you have labored and [claim to have] found, believe it."

[As explained by the Rebbe Rayatz, [39] "Only if he will prepare himself towards his G-d with a great preparation and intense effort," means that every man's task is to vest this faith, awe and love within his physical everyday life in his observance of Torah and mitzvot.

It would also seem from the continuation of his explanation, that the meaning of "If you have labored..., believe it," is that the individual then gains a great deal more than what he actually labored for, very much like an unexpected find.

Through his toil, "successive generations of offshoots" are bound up with their source within the "essential aspect of [the master's] Ruach (i.e., his essential faith, awe and love that relate to himself and not to his disciples) [which] is raised, elevation beyond elevation, to become absorbed in his Neshamah which is in the Higher Garden of Eden, in the supreme worlds."

The disciples of the tzaddik thus benefit not only from his Ruach insofar as it remained in the Lower Garden of Eden, but also from his essential Ruach that was incorporated within his Neshamah that is found in the Higher Garden of Eden. Surely, this is a gain that far outstrips the individual's effort.

This level of energy, as the Rebbe Rayatz concludes, is not integrated internally within his disciples, but merely encompasses them in a transcendent manner.

Nevertheless, it is so powerful that it enables even their "successive generations of offshoots" to produce unending generations of further offshoots.

The Rebbe Rayatz also states there that by toiling in the path that was handed down by their master, disciples cause his spiritual life of faith, awe and love to descend into the practicalities of their own divine service, Torah study and observance of the mitzvot.

Through these labors, moreover, even the further disciples who are his "successive generations of offshoots" become connected with their source in the constantly ascending Ruach and Neshamah of the tzaddik who is in the Higher Garden of Eden.]


31. Avodah Zarah 5b; Rashi on Devarim 29:6.
32. Bereishit Rabbah 65:22; Zohar III, 84a.
33. Maamar Chikur Din 2:12.
34. Parentheses are in the original text.
35. Pardes, Shaar 14, sec. 1; Etz Chayim, Shaar 34, sec. 3; et al.
36. Cf. Zohar II, 162b, et al.
37. Cf. Amos 4:12.
38. Cf. Megillah 6b.
39. The maamar entitled Pizar Natan LaEvyonim 5692.


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