Wednesday, December 21, 2005

LESSONS IN TANYA: Thursday, December 22, 2005


Kislev 21, 5766 * December 22, 2005


Today's Lesson:

Likutei Amarim
(Conclusion of Compiler's Foreword)

I speak, however, of those who know me well, each and every one of Anash of our country and those countries nearby, with whom affectionate words were often exchanged [in private audience], and who revealed to me all the hidden recesses of their heart and mind in matters related to the service of G-d which is dependent on the heart.

To them shall my words seep through, and (16) my tongue shall take the form of a scribe's pen, in these pamphlets entitled Likutei Amarim ("A Compilation of Teachings"), being compiled from books and teachers, heavenly saints, who are well known to us.

[The "books and teachers" alluded to have been explained above, in the comments on the title page.]

Some of these teachings, the wise [for whom "a hint is sufficient"] will find alluded to in the sacred letters of our teachers in the Holy Land.

[As mentioned above, the Alter Rebbe considered certain senior disciples of the Maggid of Mezritch as his mentors, especially Rabbi Mendel of Vitebsk, who then resided in Eretz Yisrael.]

Some of them I heard from their saintly mouth when they were here with us [before they moved to Eretz Yisrael]. All of them are answers to many questions posed continually by Anash of our country seeking advice, each according to his stature [in the service of G-d], so as to receive guidance for themselves in the service of G-d, because time no longer permits [me] to reply to everyone individually on his particular query, and also because forgetfulness is common.

I have therefore recorded all the replies to all the questions, to be preserved as a sign, and to serve as a reminder in everyone's mind. (17) No longer will one need to press for a private audience, for in these Likutei Amarim one will find tranquillity for his soul, and true counsel on everything that he finds difficult in the service of G-d.

Thus his heart will be firmly secure in G-d who completes and perfects everything for us.

He whose mind is too limited to understand how to derive advice from these pamphlets, let him discuss his problem with the foremost scholars of his town and they will enlighten him.

Of [these scholars] I request that they not lay their hand upon their mouth, [i.e., not to keep silent when asked for advice, for fear of appearing to be proud in their knowledge], to conduct themselves with false modesty and humility - [for misplaced modesty is falsehood].

It is well known how bitter is the punishment of him who (18) "withholds food," [i.e., who withholds Torah knowledge from him who seeks it], and also how great is the reward [granted to one who provides such knowledge. This is well known] from the comment of our Sages (19) on the verse,(20) "G-d enlightens the eyes of them both."

[The verse reads, "The pauper and the wealthy man meet; G-d enlightens the eyes of them both." The Gemara applies this to a pauper in Torah knowledge and to one who is wealthy in Torah. When they meet, and the wealthy one teaches the pauper, G-d enlightens the eyes of both of them - with a light that transcends them both.]

Thus G-d will cause His face to shine upon them, with the light of the countenance of the King [which provides] life.

May He who provides life to the living grant us the privilege of living to see the days when (21) "no longer will one man teach another...[to know Me], for they will all know Me, [... from the smallest to the greatest]," (22) "for the knowledge of G-d will fill the earth as the waters fill the sea."

Amen. May this be His Will.

As the aforementioned pamphlets have been distributed among all the Anash mentioned above, by means of numerous transcriptions at the hands of sundry and diverse copyists, the multitude of transcriptions has given rise to an exceedingly great number of textual errors.

[As mentioned above, the words "sundry and diverse (copyists)" may well allude to two kinds of errors - the intentional as well as the innocent.]

Therefore the spirit of the noble men mentioned on the previous page (23) has generously moved them to make a personal and financial effort to have these pamphlets published, cleared of all dross and copyists' errors [- another possible allusion to the two types of errors mentioned above, with "dross" representing the forgeries], and thoroughly checked. I congratulate them on this worthy deed.

Inasmuch as the verse states explicitly, (24) "Cursed be he who encroaches on his fellow's border," and where the expression "cursed" is used, it implies both damnation and excommunication, (25) G-d preserve us, [it is actually superfluous to add any further prohibition on violating the copyright of the publishers].

I come therefore only [to reinforce the words of Scripture] as [the Talmud cites] a mere practice in Judah in order to reinforce an explicit Scriptural statement, (26) invoking a strict prohibition on all publishers against printing these pamphlets, either themselves or through their agents, without the permission of the above-named, for a period of five years from the day that this printing is completed. (27)

May it be pleasant for those who comply, and may they be blessed with good.

These are the words of the compiler of the aforementioned Likutei Amarim.


14. Mishlei 31:23.
15. Torat Shalom p. 56.
16. Tehillim 45:2.
17. As in the expression concerning the tefillin (Shmot 13:9): "They
shall be for you as a reminder between your eyes."
18. See Sanhedrin 91b on Mishlei 11:26.
19. See Temurah 16a on Mishlei 29:13.
20. Mishlei 29:13.
21. Yirmeyahu 31:33.
22. Yeshayahu 11:9.
23. Referring to the partners R. Shalom Shachna and R. Mordechai; see
approbation of Rabbi Zusya of Anipoli and footnote 11 there.
24. Devarim 27:17.
25. Shevuot 36a (in inverted order); and Rambam, Yad, Hilchot
Sanhedrin 26:3.
26. Kiddushin 6a.
27. As above, in the approbations: Tuesday, Parshat KiTavo, 5556.


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