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Tanya for Tuesday, 28 Elul, 5777 - September 19, 2017

As Divided for a Regular Year

Tanya for 28 Elul

27 Elul, 5777 - September 18, 201729 Elul, 5777 - September 20, 2017

The second [category] is a love and desire in which the soul desires, loves and wishes to cleave to G-d, "to be bound up in the bond of life." [18]

The proximity to G-d is very dear to her, and that is what she desires. It is most grievous unto her to become, heaven forfend, distanced from Him, blessed be He, by having an iron partition of the chitzonim, [the forces of kelipah and unholiness], separate her [from Him], heaven forfend.

[Thus, inherent in the soul's love for G-d is its anxious fear of being alienated from Him by a partition resulting from those things that are opposite His will.

Likkutei Levi Yitzchak, authored by the father of the Rebbe Shlita, explains that the four terms used above - "desires", "loves", "wishes" and "cleaves" - refer respectively to the soul-levels within the Four Worlds: "desires" relates to the World of Asiyah, "loves" relates to the World of Yetzirah, and so on.]

This love is latent in the heart of all Jews, even in the wicked, as explained at length in Part I, chs. 18 and 19, and from this [latent love] derives their remorse, [as in the phrase, [19] "The wicked are full of remorse."

The Alter Rebbe now answers the following implied question: If they indeed possess this love, why then are they wicked?]

However, because it is latent and concealed, in a state of exile in the body, it is possible for the kelipah to dominate it; and this is the "spirit of folly" which causes a man to sin. [20]

[The "spirit of folly" cloaks this hidden love (ahavah mesuteret), so that one loses the sensitivity to realize that through sinning he is jeopardizing his attachment to G-d.]

Therefore a man's service to his Maker consists of strengthening himself and prevailing over the kelipah in all its manifestations. That is, first to expel it completely from the body, [so that it has absolutely no dominion over him - expelling it] from the [faculties of] thought, speech and action that are in the brain, the tongue, and the 248 organs.

[Expelling the kelipah means ensuring that one's brain will harbor no thoughts that are contrary to G-d's will; that one's tongue will speak no evil words; that one's 248 organs will commit no evil acts.]

After that he will also be able to [21] "bring out the captive from prison" with a strong hand.

[Once one has vanquished the kelipah by steadfastly [22] "turning away from evil" - not thinking, speaking or doing those things that are contrary to G-d's will - he is then able to uncover the love that is latent within him, so that it will permeate his positive thoughts, words and deeds. His mind will thus ponder upon G-d's greatness, and his heart will then actively feel a love for G-d. In turn, this love will result in his enhanced fulfillment of the Torah and its mitzvot.]

That is, he will be strong, [23] "and his heart courageous among the valiant," so that the hidden love will become abundantly revealed in all the powers of the soul's components in his body; i.e., mainly in the mind and in the [faculty of] thought in the brain, [The mind serves to reveal this love, which then manifests throughout the rest of the person's organs.] so that corresponding to its intellect and understanding, the mind will constantly think and contemplate on the blessed Creator - how He is the Fountainhead of life in general, and of the life of his own soul in particular.

Consequently, he will yearn and desire to be attached to Him, and near to Him, with an innate yearning, like that of a child who yearns to be constantly near his father, and like fire which by its very nature always rises upwards to its source, as explained in Part I, ch. 19.

And the more he continues to set his mind on this yearning, the more will this yearning become correspondingly stronger, and will also extend to his mouth and to all his organs, so that he will occupy himself with the Torah and the commandments in order to really cleave thereby to G-d, for [24] "The Torah and the Holy One, blessed be He, are entirely One."

[This love will thus affect his brain, mouth and other bodily organs, motivating them to study Torah and perform the commandments with a greater degree of love.]

Of this greatly manifest yearning, i.e., of this love, it is written, [25] "My soul thirsts [for G-d]," like a person who thirsts for water and does not yet have any pleasure [from it].

[This level of love for G-d is likened to a state of thirst. At this stage the individual seeking to cleave to G-d does not experience any delight, for he has yet to cleave to Him: all he feels is the pangs of thirst. In the previously described level of love, ahavah betaanugim, the individual has already quenched his thirst, so to speak: his love for G-d has been realized and he is now actively cleaving to Him.]

Also [26] concerning this yearning and this love concealed within us we pray to G-d, to help us bring it out from imprisonment, [It is indeed true that this lesser degree of love is attainable by man and need not be granted as a gift from Above; it is already possessed by every Jew, and he need but reveal it through his spiritual service. Nevertheless we beseech G-d that He help us reveal this love and liberate it from its concealment.] so that the heart be filled with it alone, so that its "rival-wife," i.e., mundane desires, will not enter its house, [i.e., our hearts.]

Rather, this [yearning and love] should be the sole mistress of the house, to rule over her "rival-wife" and to expel her at least from one's thought, speech and action.

Though one cannot expel her altogether from one's heart, [so that it should harbor no foreign desires at all, For we are speaking here of the love possessed by the Beinoni, an individual who is unable to banish foreign desires from his heart; he is only able to ensure that they find no expression in his thought, his speech or his actions, as explained in Tanya, Part I, ch. 12.] she should at least be hidden, in a state of exile and servitude to the mistress of the house, [i.e., to the love for G-d,] who will make use of her for her own essentials only, such as eating and drinking,

[If the G-dly soul is to remain within the body and thereby be able to fulfill the requirements of the Torah and its mitzvot, the individual must eat and drink. He should therefore use the animal soul's natural desire for physical things expressly for the spiritual purposes of the G-dly soul. Thus, for example, his food and drink are intended to provide him with strength so that he will be able to study the Torah, engage in divine service, and the like.] as it is written, [27] "Know Him in all your ways."

["Your ways" clearly speaks of man's corporeal activities. Yet even in these we are commanded to "know Him" - to bind oneself to G-d through these physical actions, by utilizing them for the purposes designated by Him, in order thereby to "know Him." [28]



  1. (Back to text) I Shmuel 25:29.

  2. (Back to text) Shevet Mussar, sec. 25.

  3. (Back to text) Sotah 3a.

  4. (Back to text) Yeshayahu 42:7.

  5. (Back to text) Cf. Tehillim 34:15.

  6. (Back to text) Amos 2:16.

  7. (Back to text) See Zohar I, 24a; II, 60a.

  8. (Back to text) Tehillim 42:3.

  9. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: This [passage on the need for prayer in arousing the second level of love] had to be added here, [to the above passage on the role of meditation], in view of the statement in Epistle 4 that this [level of love] is revealed not by meditation but [only] by prayer and tzedakah. [The fact that both prayer and metitation are mentioned here makes it clear that the two epistles are not divergent but complementary.] In addition, it is thus apparent that tzedakah also plays a role in this manner of service.

  10. (Back to text) Mishlei 3:6. Note of the Rebbe Shlita: Cf. the ruling in Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim, sec. 231, at length.

  11. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: It still remains to be understood what, exactly, is the connection [of the foregoing] with the opening verse, `How beautiful and how pleasant....' This could be clarified in the light of the discussion in Torat Chayim, which explains why there is wonderment at [this kind of] beauty and pleasantness. (This wonderment is expressed in the exclamation, `How beautiful and how pleasant...!') Accordingly it is understood that ahavah betaanugim is as defined in the above letter. (The same is true of the latent love, for which reason its beauty and pleasantness do not arouse wonderment.)

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