Friday, November 18, 2005

LESSONS IN TANYA: Shabbat, November 19, 2005


Due to Shabbat observance, the Shabbat edition of Lessons In Tanya is sent on Friday. Shabbat Shalom!

Cheshvan 17, 5766 * November 19, 2005


Today's Lesson:

Iggeret HaKodesh
(Conclusion of Epistle Twenty-Eight)

The Alter Rebbe will now explain how this relates to the passing of a tzaddik, for this likewise draws down a degree of illumination that utterly transcends the world, transforming its darkness into light and bringing about atonement for the sins of the generation.

Now, it is known [22] that Abba (lit., "father", a Kabbalistic name for the Sefirah of Chochmah) draws its sustenance from the eighth mazal.

[I.e., the eighth in the Torah's enumeration of the Thirteen Attributes of Divine Mercy, [23] which correspond to the thirteen "tufts" of the celestial "beard", the individual hairs of which are conduits for the emanation of a tenuous flow of life-force.]

This is the tuft of Notzer Chesed [that appears in the above listing: Notzer Chesed la'alafim ("He guards Chesed for thousands [of generations]).

[The Hebrew word] Notzer ["guards"] is composed of the same letters as [the Hebrew word] Ratzon ["Divine favor"].

This is the et ratzon "[the time of Divine favor," i.e., "the auspicious time]" that becomes revealed and radiates in a manifest way, from above downwards, at the time of the passing of tzaddikim of stature, who serve G-d out of love, surrendering their soul to G-d during their lifetime every evening and morning when reading the Shema.

For thereby they would elevate mayin nukvin [lit., "feminine waters"; i.e., they would initiate a spiritual arousal expressing their desire to receive a flow of Divine energy] to Abba and Imma [i.e., to Chochmah and Binah] during the Reading of Shema, as is known.

[24] (The same applies to their study of the Torah, which derives from Chochmah; [this, too, results in an elevation of mayin nukvin toward Chochmah].)

Thereby, the mayin duchrin [lit., the "masculine waters" which thereupon flow from above] were elicited and drawn down from the tuft of Notzer Chesed, [since it is from this Divine attribute that Chochmah draws its sustenance, as stated above].

And, indeed, it is these [illuminations] that radiate in a manifest way at the time of the passing [of tzaddikim.

The illuminations that are drawn down through the self-sacrifice of tzaddikim during their lifelong recitation of the Shema and their Torah study, become revealed at the time of their passing].

For as is known, all the effort of man, in which his soul toiled during his lifetime, [and which remains] above, in a hidden and obscured state, is revealed and radiates in a manifest way, from above downwards, at the time of his passing.

[Thus all the unseen spiritual effects of the tzaddik's Reading of Shema and of his Torah study, are revealed in the world below at the time of his passing].

Now, by the illumination from the tuft of Notzer Chesed that is revealed at the time of the passing [of tzaddikim], the Chesed of G-d radiates from world to world - [from the World of Concealment down to the World of Revelation] - over those who fear Him, [25] and effects salvations in the midst of the earth, [26] to atone for the sin of the generation, even for the deliberate sins which are of the three impure kelipot which are inferior to nogah, [for kelipat nogah can give rise only to unwitting sins, whose atonement is secured through sacrificial offerings].

For the mazal of Notzer Chesed is of the Mochin Setimin of Arich Anpin, [i.e., the Chochmah of Keter], which is the source of the task of beirurim, [the refinement of the material world by extracting and uplifting the Divine sparks within it].

The darkness incurred by the Breaking of the Vessels is thereby converted into the light of the World of Tikkun.

[This light is therefore able to atone even for the deliberate sins that derive from the three impure kelipot - the lowest level that resulted from the Breaking of the Vessels].

This is not the case, though, with the sacrifices that are [offered] upon the altar.

They atone only for inadvertent sins which come about because of the strengthening of the animal soul [whose life-force derives] from nogah, as is stated in Likkutei Torah of the AriZal, Parshat Vayikra.

This, then, is why [the passage concerning Miriam] was adjoined expressly to the passage concerning the Red Heifer: - [To teach you that] just as the Heifer [effects atone-ment, so, too, does the passing of the righteous]."

The Yalkut, Parshat Shemini, [for "the Heifer"] reads "the waters of purification...."

[This is more in keeping with the explanation provided above, for the Red Heifer's atonement and its impact on the three impure kelipot is not a result of burning the Heifer, which is spiritually symbolic of elevation, but a result of the "sanctification of the purifying waters," an act which draws down benefactions from above, just as water flows downward from above - from Supernal Holiness and Chochmah of Keter, the source of refinement and purification.]


22. Etz Chayim, Shaar 16, ch. 6; et al.
23. Shmot 34:6-7.
24. Text and parentheses here follow a gloss of the Rebbe in
Luach HaTikkun.
25. Cf. Tehillim 103:17.
26. Cf. op. cit. 74:12.


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