Wednesday, December 07, 2005

LESSONS IN TANYA: Thursday, December 8, 2005


Kislev 7, 5766 * December 8, 2005


Today's Lesson:

Kuntres Acharon
(Middle of Essay Four)

For the direction of the latter form of divine service is merely elevation (ha'alaah), which causes a corresponding "elevation of the lights" above.

The ultimate intent of creation is fulfilled not by this, but by the practical commandments, for their function is the drawing down (hamshachah) of Divinity to a state of revelation in this world below.]

Besides all the above, (46) [i.e., all the above-mentioned ways in which the action-related mitzvot are superior to intellectually- aroused love and fear, there is yet another superior quality to the practical mitzvot]:

Even in the case of a soul of Atzilut, though it derives from the vessels of Atzilut, and equally in the case of Nefesh-Ruach which derive from the vessels of Yetzirah-Asiyah, (47) their intellectual love (24) [this should possibly read: "fear and love"], which themselves are a mode of elevation, also arouse in the vessels of Yetzirah-Asiyah a state of upward elevation, through an arousal initiated from below.

However, this is a state of departure alone, G-d forbid.

[The effect on the vessels is that they depart upwards and do not fulfill their purpose, just as love and fear that do not descend into expression in mitzvot are also in a state of elevation and departure.

When love and fear do descend into mitzvot, they enhance the effect of the mitzvot in drawing down Divine light.]

But eliciting from above downward is effected only by means of the practical mitzvot, which draw light into the vessels, and specifically into the external aspect of the vessels, so that the external aspect of the superior level de-scends, while the internal aspect of the inferior level rises.

[As created beings thus experience an upward-directed longing for the Divine, Divinity descends into this world].

This is the intent of the above-quoted Zohar in Parshat Pekudei, (48) that "there is an order [of elevation and an order of descent]."

Both are needed for the Divine purpose, [i.e., for man's spiritual service], the elevation and the elicitation, by the elevation of mayin nukvin from the Divine Name Sa'g that is accomplished [by the elevation of the sparks] by deed and speech.

This is the ultimate purpose of the downward progression of all the various worlds - that the supernal light be revealed below, and not that the inferior level be elevated, for this [elevation] can only be momentary, [until a further descent].

And even so, [when an elevation is necessary, this involves - not the ascent of the light, for that would be a move toward departure, but] - specifically an elevation of the vessels toward the supernal lights.

This is the specific quality of Shabbat and Yom Kippur, [at which time there is an "elevation of the worlds" (aliyat haola-mot), where the vessels are in a state of elevation towards the supernal lights], but not the elevation and departure of the lights, G-d forbid, as is written in Pri Etz Chayim. (49)

The Nefesh-Ruach-Neshamah of man relative to his physical body in This World are considered as lights relative to vessels.

So too are intellectual fear and love, relative to mitzvot of action; [they, too, are considered as lights relative to vessels].

This is why Moses offered [515] prayers equivalent in number to [the Hebrew word] Vaetchanan, (50) asking that he be privileged to enter the Holy Land, specifically so that he could fulfill the practical mitzvot.

[Only in the Holy Land can the practical mitzvot be fulfilled in their entirety - and the fulfillment of the practical mitzvot is the ultimate purpose of the entire Hishtalshelut, for through them Divinity is drawn down to this nether world].

So too as regards the physical utterance of their laws.

[For by uttering and studying the laws of the mitzvot with physical speech one also draws down the light below].


46. Note of the Rebbe: "On the forthcoming text see Or HaTorah,
Parshat Acharei, p. 549ff."
47. Note of the Rebbe: "Inspection of the manuscripts of
Kuntres Acharon is required, for it appears that the text is
incomplete and should read as follows: `...and equally in the case
of Nefesh-Ruach-Neshamah and the vessels of Beriah, Yetzirah and the vessels of Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah, in the
state of....' However, Or HaTorah gives the text as above."
48. P. 249a.
49. Shaar HaShabbat, ch. 7 of the Introduction, et al.
50. Devarim 3:23; Devarim Rabbah 11:9.


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