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Tanya for Wednesday, 23 Nisan, 5774 - April 23, 2014

Tanya
As Divided for a Leap Year

Tanya for 23 Nisan

22 Nisan, 5774 - April 22, 201424 Nisan, 5774 - April 24, 2014


Now, [therefore], each individual Jew, whoever he may be, [i.e., whatever his spiritual state], when he ponders upon this for a considerable time each day - how G-d is truly omnipresent in the higher and lower [worlds], and the actual heaven and earth [i.e., not only the spiritual heaven and earth, the Supernal Sefirot, but the actual heaven and earth itself] is truly filled with His glory, and that He looks, seeks and searches his "kidneys and heart" [i.e., his inner thoughts and emotions] and all his actions and words, and counts his every step - then fear will be implanted in his heart throughout the day, [even when he is occupied with other matters and cannot contemplate the above], when he will again meditate on this, even with a superficial reflection [that does not demand a particular effort and a set time];

At any time [21] or moment, he will [thus] turn away from evil and do good, [i.e., he will refrain from transgressing negative commands and perform positive commands] in thought, speech and deed, so as not to rebel, G-d forbid, in the sight of His glory whereof the whole world is filled.

This is in accord with the statement [22] of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai to his disciples, quoted above, [viz., "May it be G-d's Will that the fear of heaven be upon you (and keep you from sinning) like the fear of a human being [who by observing your actions keeps you from sinning]."

This, then, is the meaning of the verse: [23] "[G-d demands of you] only to fear the L-rd your G-d, to walk in all His ways."

[The question arises: Is attaining the fear of G-d such an easy thing that the verse says, "only to fear Him"?

The answer which is given ("For Moses it is a simple matter") is difficult to comprehend, for the verse speaks of what "G-d demands of you" - of every Jew.

The explanation is as follows: the verse is referring here to a level of fear which is indeed simple for every Jew to reach, that level being fear that leads one to "walk in all His ways]."

For this is the fear that leads to the fulfillment of G-d's commandments, [which involve] turning away from evil and doing good. This is the "lower-level fear" which has been discussed earlier.

[Accordingly, the Gemara's answer ("For Moses it is a simple matter") is now understandable. It means]:

As it applies to "Moses", that is to say, in relation to the quality of Daat that is in the divine soul of every Jew, [this quality being the quality of Moses found within "you", within each Jewish soul], this is [indeed] a minor thing, as has been stated above - [that when a Jew reflects with his Daat upon matters that arouse fear of G-d, he will surely succeed in attaining it].

([11] For Daat is [the faculty] which connects the hidden understanding of the heart with revelation in actual thought, as is known to those who are familiar with the Esoteric Discipline).

[As mentioned earlier, all Jews possess a "hidden treasure of fear of heaven" in their hearts. Through the faculty of Daat, this fear of heaven is revealed and felt in one's thought, and also affects his speech and actions].

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) Parentheses are in the original text.

  2. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: At first glance it would seem that there is no compelling evidence as to whether "at any time or moment" is connected to the earlier clause ("when he will again meditate... even with a superficial reflection at any time or moment"), or whether it is connected to the following clause ("at any time or moment, he will turn away from evil and do good...").

    However, since "any time or moment" is mentioned in ch. 14 with regard to a person's ability to become a Beinoni, and the Alter Rebbe explains there that this phrase refers to his thought, speech and deed, it follows that here, too, "at any time or moment" relates to the following clause - "he will turn away from evil and do good, in thought, speech and deed."

  3. (Back to text) Berachot 28b.

  4. (Back to text) Devarim 10:12.



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