Friday, December 16, 2005

LESSONS IN TANYA: Friday, December 16, 2005


Kislev 15, 5766 * December 16, 2005


Today's Lesson:

Kuntres Acharon
(Conclusion of Essay Six)

However, for extolling the Torah with this quality, saying, (4) "[Your statutes] were songs for me," he was punished.

G-d reproved him: (3) "You call them songs?!"

For indeed, this quality [of the Torah], that all the worlds are nothingness compared to one detail of it, is [but] of the hinderpart, [the externality], of the profound Supernal Thought.

This is explained elsewhere (11) in the name of the AriZal, on the teaching of our Sages, (12) "Torah is [merely] a shade of Supernal Wisdom".

However, the innermost core of the depth [of Supernal Thought], which is the innermost core of the Torah, is utterly fused with the [infinite] Ein Sof-light that is vested within the Torah in a perfect unity.

Relative to the Infinite One, all the worlds are as absolute naught, sheer nothingness, nonexistent.

For (13) "You were [the same] before the world was created, [You are the same since the world has been created]."

[Being of absolutely no account relative to G-d, all the worlds effect no change in Him.]

Hence, the internal aspect of the Torah too [which is wholly united with G-d] is not at all to be lauded as being the animating force of all the worlds, for [relative to the internal aspect of the Torah] they are reckoned as nothingness itself.

In this inward aspect of the Torah there can be no mortal heartfelt joy and delight, but rather, in a manner of speaking, the heartfelt joy and pleasure of the King, the Holy One, blessed be He, Who delights in it.

For [only] (14) "G-d understands its way, and knows its station" and quality through His self-knowledge, 915) as it were; [knowing Himself, he also knows the Torah that is entirely one with Him].

This, however, is (16) "concealed from all mortal eyes."

As it is written, (17) "My Face" - [i.e., the innermost dimension of the Torah, its pnimiyut, as implied by the word panim] - shall not be seen, "as is explained there (11) in the name of the AriZal.

Hence the verse, (18) [in which the Torah itself is the speaker], "I was... a delight unto Him," specifically "unto Him."

[The order of the words in the original makes it clear that the Torah is G-d's delight alone.]

[Likewise, in the following phrase which describes the Torah as causing G-d delight by] "playing before Him," the verse specifies the term "before Him" - [lefanav, deriving from panim ("face"), which is related to pnimiyut ("inwardness") - for this refers to the inwardness [of the Torah that cavorts before the inwardness of the Infinite One.

The Alter Rebbe will now explain that this sublime level of Torah in which G-d alone delights, descends to nurture the souls of the Jewish people.

For this reason the Midrash calls the Torah uman (lit. "a craftsman"), one who skillfully nurtures a young child.]

Concerning this [innermost level of the Torah] it is written, (18) "I was by Him amon ["one who is nurtured"], [and the Midrash comments], (19) "Do not read amon, but uman [`one who nurtures']."

[This sublime and innermost level of the Torah descends to nurture Jewish souls, inasmuch as they transcend the world.

The world, however, is vitalized not by this level of the Torah but by its externality.]

It is with reference to the hinderpart [the external aspect of the Torah] that it is written, (20) [and in this verse the Torah describes itself as] "Playing in the world, His land; and my delights are with mortal men."

[It is the external aspect of the Torah that brings delight to the world and to man.]

For the Torah was given in states of both inwardness and externality; as it is written concerning the "flying scroll" of Zechariah, (21) "and it was written front and back."

[Panim ("face" or "front") is the root of pnimiyut ("inwardness"); achor ("back") is the root of achorayim ("hinderpart", i.e., externality.]

Since David seized upon [and praised] the hinderpart [of the Torah], he was punished with forgetfulness, which derives from an attitude of externality.

[A term such as "songs" relates to the merely external aspect of the Torah that relates to the world and animates it.

A person does not forget things that are truly internalized within him, but only things which remain external to him.]

He thus became momentarily oblivious to the verse [concerning the Ark], "The sacred service is their duty; on the shoulder shall they carry it" - in order to combine and unite the "shoulders", which are akin to the hinderpart, with the sacred service, viz., the Supernal Wisdom, [which is also called "sacred"], in a manner that reflects inwardness.

For this state [of inwardness] is the source of the Tablets in the Ark, of which the verse states, (22) "Written on both their sides..."

And as explained in the Yerushalmi, Tractate Shekalim, (23) [the Tablets] did not have any front [panim] and back [achor] - [they were entirely panim, signifying pnimiyut - "inwardness".

The purpose of carrying the Ark on the shoulders was thus to connect the external aspect of man with the inwardness of the Torah.]

Study that reference [in the Yerushalmi] well.


11. Note of the Rebbe: "See Iggeret HaKodesh, Epistle XIX."
12. Note of the Rebbe (in Likkutei Biurim, Vol. I, p. 485):
"Bereishit Rabbah 17:5 and 44:17; explained in Etz Chayim, Shaar
HaKlalim, end of ch. 1, et al."
13. Text of the morning prayers, cf. Tanna Dvei Eliyahu Rabbah,
section. 21.
14. Cf. Iyov 28:23.
15. Rambam, Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah 2:10.
16. Iyov 28:21.
17. Shmot 30:23.
18. Mishlei 8:30.
19. Beginning of Bereishit Rabbah.
20. Mishlei 8:31.
21. The scroll referred to in Zechariah 5:1-2 is the same (see Rashi
there) as that referred to - earlier in the Tanach - in Yechezkel
2:9-10, from which the above quotation is drawn.
The Rebbe notes that an explanation is needed as to why the
later reference is quoted.
22. Shmot 32:15.
23. 6:1.


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