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Tanya for Monday, 9 Elul, 5778 - August 20, 2018

Tanya
As Divided for a Regular Year

Tanya for 9 Elul

8 Elul, 5778 - August 19, 201810 Elul, 5778 - August 21, 2018


Now, the arousal from above, that elicits a manifestation of this great illumination and immense diffusion from the [infinite] Ein Sof-light in order to bring about the above-mentioned peace, is effected by an arousal from below - by the act of charity, and by the benevolent bestowal by one man to another of "life, graciousness, kindness and compassion" [5] to him who has nothing of his own, thereby "to revive the spirit of the lowly, [and to revive the heart of the downcast]." [6]

[When one gives tzedakah to a pauper [7] "while raising his spirits" with a few warm and supportive words, so that he is given not only "life" but "graciousness, kindness and compassion" as well, then this arousal from below results in an arousal from above. This releases an intense illumination of the infinite Ein Sof-light into the Supernal Attributes, thereby making peace between them, and tempering and sweetening the Gevurot in the Chassadim.

The Alter Rebbe will now go on to explain the effect of the "act" of tzedakah upon the individual benefactor himself, in terms of his battle with the evil of his animal soul.

The animal soul may be refined, and the good within it separated and elevated from its evil, in one of two ways:

One possible direction of attack is "from below to above" (milmatah lemaalah), whereby each attribute of the divine soul does battle with its counterpart in the animal soul, seeking to refine and elevate it. For example: the divine soul's love for G-d seeks to purify the animal soul's attribute of Chesed with its fleshly desires; the divine soul's fear of G-d seeks to refine the animal soul's evil kinds of fear; and so on.

Then there is a manner of purification that proceeds "from above to below" (milmaalah lematah), whereby one draws down a Divine light upon oneself so that the attributes of the animal soul spontaneously become purified and elevated within this light. This approach anticipates the Time to Come, when the world as a whole will become purified of all evil through the G-dliness that will then be manifest, until ultimately, [8] "I shall remove the spirit of impurity from the earth."

A similar manner of refining the animal soul exists today. It is accomplished through studying Torah lishmah, "for its own sake." By studying in this way - altruistically, without thought of even spiritual gain - the individual draws down a G-dly illumination that enables him not only to overwhelm the evil within him, but also to sift out the good within his animal soul from the evil in which it had been encumbered.

In the same way, when a Jew practices the "act" of tzedakah he draws down upon himself a G-dly enlightenment that becomes revealed within him during prayer, and this enables him to extract the good within his animal soul from the surrounding evil and to elevate it.]

It is well-known that our Sages, of blessed memory, said [9] of a person who engages in the study of Torah for its own sake, that "he makes peace within the heavenly retinue and within the terrestial retinue."

The "heavenly retinue" comprises the above-mentioned "princes" and attributes, for these are the supernal heichalot [lit., "chambers"] in the World of Beriah, as stated in the sacred Zohar.

[Peace there consists of the harmonious relationship that is established when Gevurah merges into Chesed and becomes sweetened and tempered by it.]

The "terrestial retinue" comprises the lower heichalot, and especially this lowly world which, since the sin of Adam, is mingled of good and evil, [As a result of Adam's sin, there is no good in this world without evil and no evil without good.] and the evil rules over the good, as it is written, [10] "While man rules over man...." [I.e., the "man of wickedness," representing the forces of kelipah, rules over the "man of holiness" - and harms him, too, as the verse concludes.]

[It is also written], [11] "And nation will overpower nation," [as the balance of power fluctuates between the forces of good and the forces of evil.]

This is empirically evident with terrestrial man, who is called a microcosm, [12] for sometimes the good [within him] prevails, and sometimes the reverse, heaven forfend.

Therefore there will be no peace in the world until the ultimate time [lit., "the time of the End"], when evil will cease to exist, when the good shall be refined from the evil in order to cleave to its root and source, the Divine Source of Life.

At that time [13] "all evildoers shall be scattered," and [8] the spirit of impurity shall pass from the earth, when the element of the good which sustains it will be extracted from its midst. [Evil will then cease to exist as a matter of course, for its entire existence is dependent on the good found within it.]

This refinement itself, [of the good from the evil,] will also take place through a manifestation of Divinity below, [For just as the refinement as a whole is accomplished through our actions and efforts throughout the time of exile, [14] so, too, the actual refinement will result from the revelation of G-dliness in this world.] with a great illumination and immense effulgence, as it is written, [15] "For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of G-d," and [16] "The glory of G-d shall be revealed...."

Now, this is as regards the future of the world, in general. [In the Time to Come the good will be refined and elevated from the evil through the revelation of G-dliness that will then be manifest.]

But as regards terrestrial man, at every "time of finding," [every propitious time for finding G-d,] [17] meaning prayer, [18] or at other times designated for secluding oneself with one's Maker, every individual, in proportion to his deeds, is granted a foretaste of this refinement by engaging in the study of Torah for its own sake. [The Divine revelation that permeates his soul enables him to refine and elevate the good from the evil.]

The same is accomplished by means of charity, as it is related, [19] "R. Eliezer would give a coin to a poor man, and then pray, for it is written, [20] "`Through tzedek will I behold Your Countenance.'"

[The Hebrew Tzedek literally means "righteousness", but shares a common root with tzedakah ("charity"). By prefacing prayer with tzedek, one is granted during prayer a spiritual perception that penetrates to the innermost aspect of G-dliness - "Your Countenance" (for the Hebrew-Panim - conntes both "face" and "interior".]

This [revelation during prayer] is a manifest illumina-tion and effusion of knowledge and understanding, [enabling one] to meditate on the greatness of G-d, in order to beget thereby an intellectually-generated awe and love, as is known.

And through this the good is extracted for G-d [and elevated to Him], and the evil is separated, as it is written, [21] "The crucible is for [refining] silver and the melting-pot is for gold, and man [is refined] according to his praise."

This means, "according to his praise of G-d" during prayer with profound knowledge in order to beget awe and love. [22] In this way the good is extracted and the evil is separated, just as dross is separated from silver and gold in a crucible or melting-pot.

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: Significantly, [these are the very blessings requested in the final benediction of Shemoneh Esreh,] the one beginning with the words, Sim Shalom (Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 60).

  2. (Back to text) Yeshayahu 57:15.

  3. (Back to text) Bava Batra 9b.

  4. (Back to text) Cf. Zechariah 13:2.

  5. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: Sanhedrin 99b. See Likkutei Torah, Mattot, s.v. Heichaltzu.

  6. (Back to text) Kohelet 8:9. See also Epistle 25 below, et al.

  7. (Back to text) Bereishit 25:23.

  8. (Back to text) Tanchuma, Pekudei 3; Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 69 (pp. 100b-101a).

  9. (Back to text) Tehillim 92:10.

  10. (Back to text) See above, Tanya, Part I, beginning of ch. 37.

  11. (Back to text) Yeshayahu 11:9.

  12. (Back to text) Ibid. 40:5.

  13. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: Commentaries on Tehillim 32:6.

  14. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: Iggeret HaKodesh, Epistle 25, at length.

  15. (Back to text) Bava Batra 10a.

  16. (Back to text) Tehillim 17:15.

  17. (Back to text) Mishlei 17:3.

  18. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: For these are spiritual gold and silver (Torah Or, beginning of Parshat Vayeishev, et al.).



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