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Tuesday, 11 Cheshvan 5778 / October 31, 2017

Daily Tanya

Daily Tanya

Iggeret HaKodesh, end of Epistle 26

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Iggeret HaKodesh, end of Epistle 26

The above applies nowadays, when the Shechinah is exiled in kelipat nogah; hence the main function of Torah study is to seek out and elevate the sparks of holiness from the kelipot. Hence, too, the current concentration on the laws of issur and hetter, kasher and passul, and the like.

אבל בצאת השכינה מקליפת נוגה [נ"א מהקליפות]

But when the Shechinah will emerge from kelipat nogah [1or: from the kelipot],

אחר שיושלם בירור הניצוצות, ויופרד הרע מהטוב, ויתפרדו כל פועלי און

after the extraction of the sparks will be completed, and the evil of the kelipot will be separated from the good of holiness,2 “and all the workers of evil will be dispersed,”

ולא שלטא אילנא דטוב ורע, בצאת הטוב ממנה

and the Tree of [Knowledge of] Good and Evil (which is of kelipat nogah and which prevails during the time of exile) will no longer be dominant, because the good will have departed from it,

Kelipat nogah is influential only by virtue of its minimal component of good; as soon as this is extracted, kelipat nogah will have no dominion whatever.

אזי לא יהיה עסק התורה והמצות לברר בירורין

then people will engage in the study of Torah and in the observance of the commandments not in order to extract the sparks, as in the present,

כי אם ליחד יחודים עליונים יותר, להמשיך אורות עליונים יותר, שלמעלה מהאצילות

but in order to bring about the consummation of yichudim (“unions” or “marriages” of Sefirot) more sublime than those which are effected through our present Torah study — in order to call forth more sublime lights, transcending3 Atzilut.

כמו שכתב האריז״ל

This is explained in the writings of R. Isaac Luria, of blessed memory.

והכל על ידי פנימיות התורה, לקיים המצות בכוונות עליונות, שמכונות לאורות עליונים

Everything [will be accomplished] by means of the pnimiyut of the Torah, the esoteric dimension of the Torah, by the performance of the commandments with lofty mystical devotions directed to [drawing down] sublime “lights” [from the Divine Luminary].

כי שרש המצות הוא למעלה מעלה, באין סוף ברוך הוא

For the root of the commandments is exceedingly high, in the blessed Ein Sof, at a level loftier than Atzilut.

(ומה שאמרו רז״ל, דמצות בטילות לעתיד לבא

(4As for the statement of our Sages, of blessed memory, that5 “the commandments will be abrogated in the future,”

היינו בתחיית המתים

this refers to the era of the Resurrection of the Dead.

אבל לימות המשיח, קודם תחיית המתים, אין בטלים)

In the days of the Messiah, however, before the Resurrection of the Dead, they will not be abrogated.)6

At that time, the observance of mitzvot will draw down to this world even higher levels of G‑dliness than those drawn down by the current observance of mitzvot.

ולכן יהיה גם עיקר עסק התורה גם כן בפנימיות המצות, וטעמיהם הנסתרים

This is why Torah study will then be mainly directed to the pnimiyut (the innermost, mystical depths) of the commandments, and their hidden reasons.

Specifically: Gaining insights into the dynamics of the above-mentioned yichudim, and thereby understanding why the scrupulous performance of the commandments brings about these Supernal “unions” which give birth to renewed diffusions of the Divine light that animates this world.

אבל הנגלות יהיו גלוים וידועים לכל איש ישראל, בידיעה בתחלה, בלי שכחה

The revealed aspects of the Torah, however, will be manifest and known to every Jew, by an innate and unforgotten knowledge.

Review will thus be unnecessary.

ואין צריך לעסוק בהם, אלא לערב רב

Only the mixed multitude (and not the Jews) will have to toil in these [aspects of the Torah],

שלא יזכו למטעם מאילנא דחיי, שהוא פנימיות התורה והמצוה

because they will not have merited to taste from the Tree of Life, i.e., the pnimiyut of the Torah and of the commandments.

וצריכים לעסוק [בתורה] במשנה, להתיש כח הסטרא אחרא הדבוק בהם (על ידי עסק התורה)

They will [therefore] need to engage [7in Torah] in Mishnah, in order to weaken (8by their occupation with Torah) the power of the sitra achra that cleaves to them,

שלא תשלוט בהם, להחטיאם

so that it will not dominate them and cause them to sin.

כדכתיב: והחוטא בן מאה שנה יקולל, שיהיו חוטאים מערב רב

Thus it is written,9 “And the sinner at the age of a hundred will be cursed.” This refers to the sinners of the mixed multitude.

Thus, even with the arrival of the Messiah there will be sinners among the mixed multitude, since the sitra achra cleaves to them. They will therefore require means by which to weaken it, so that they will not sin.

Nor will they need only the revealed aspects of the Torah in order to repel the sitra achra.

וגם למעשה יהיו צריכים לפרטי הלכות אסור וטומאה יותר מישראל

In addition, on the practical level, they will need the detailed rulings of prohibition and impurity more than the Jews.

שלא יארע להם פסול וטומאה ואסור

For the latter, nothing will occur that is ritually unfit, impure, or forbidden,

כי לא יאונה כו׳

since10 “there shall not befall [any sin to the righteous]”11and in the era of Mashiach, all Jews will be at the level of the “righteous”.

וגם אפשר, וקרוב הדבר, שידעו מפנימיות התורה, כל גופי התורה הנגלית

It is also possible, and indeed probable, that [the Jewish people] will know all the fundamentals of the revealed plane of the Torah from the pnimiyut of the Torah,

כמו אברהם אבינו, עליו השלום

as was the case with our father Abraham, peace be to him.

The Gemara relates12 that Abraham fulfilled the entire Torah even before it was given at Sinai. Now there are passages and commandments to which he could not possibly have related on a physical level.

Inscribed on the tiny parchment scrolls within tefillin, for example, are Biblical passages which record the Exodus from Egypt — a land to which his descendants had not yet been exiled. The mode of Abraham’s performance of the commandments was thus spiritual and esoteric, as the Alter Rebbe explains in Torah Or13 and Likkutei Torah.14

Abraham thus knew all the revealed aspects of Torah from its esoteric core. In Time to Come all Jews will know the Torah in a similar manner.

ולכן אין צריך לעסוק בהם כלל

They will therefore not need to occupy themselves with them — with the laws defining what is permitted or prohibited, pure or impure — at all.

מה שאין כן בזמן בית שני, היו צריכים לעסוק

At the time of the Second Temple, by contrast, although the scholars did not derive their sustenance from the illiterate, for they had their own fields and vineyards, they needed to be involved in these [laws],

גם כי לא בשביל הלכה למעשה בלבד, אלא שזהו עיקר העבודה

and not only for their practical application, but because this is the main purpose of divine service —

להתיש כח הסטרא אחרא, ולהעלות ניצוצי הקדושה, על ידי התורה והעבודה, כמו שכתוב במקום אחר

to weaken the power of the sitra achra and to elevate the sparks of holiness by means of Torah study and worship, as is explained elsewhere.15

* * *

ואחר הדברים והאמת האלו, יובן היטב בתוספת ביאור הרעיא מהימנא דלעיל

After the above words of truth it will be possible to clearly understand the earlier-quoted passage from Ra’aya Mehemna,

במה שאמר: אילנא דטוב ורע כו׳

which spoke of “the Tree of Good and Evil, [i.e., prohibition and permission],”

רצונו לומר: קליפת נוגה, שהוא עיקר עולם הזה

meaning kelipat nogah, which is the mainstay of this world,16

כמו שכתוב בעץ חיים

as is written in Etz Chayim.

At the moment, until Mashiach arrives, the dominant influence in this material world is kelipat nogah, the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.” After his arrival, however, this dominion will cease, and man’s divine service will be directed not to extracting the sparks of holiness hidden in the material world, but to bringing about ever higher Supernal unions, as explained above.

ודי למבין

This will suffice for the discerning.

Addendum

In the middle of the above Epistle, the Alter Rebbe stated that if “one ate [forbidden food] in order to save an endangered life,... [the food] becomes [entirely] permissible.”

The Rebbe notes17 that this concept is problematic; indeed, many editions of the Tanya omit the word “entirely”, which is evidently why it found its way into current editions as a bracketed text.

The Rebbe goes on to distinguish between prohibition (issur) and impurity (tumah). When something is prohibited, one can sense its inherent evil; for example, forbidden foods clog the mind and heart with spiritual congestion. Thus, even if a pregnant woman scented forbidden food on Yom Kippur and the Torah permitted her to eat it (if her life would otherwise be in danger),18 eating that food would still becloud her soul.

Moreover, even when the prohibition was not intrinsic to the food, but a thought or a statement invalidated it, as for example when an animal was slaughtered with idolatrous intent,19 eating this food leaves its imprint. Thus, for example, the Midrash20 traces the wayward path of Elisha ben Avuyah (known as “Acher”) to very early beginnings — before his birth his mother had tasted food that was prepared for idolatrous worship.

In light of the above, the Rebbe goes on to note, we can understand why a nursing mother who has eaten forbidden food, even when permitted to do so because her life was endangered, should refrain from nursing her child.21 For although eating this food was in fact halachically permitted, the nature of the food and the spiritual blemish which it imparts to her infant remain unchanged.

This is especially so, according to the halachic determination (with regard to one who is ill as well), that a life-threatening situation merely sets aside a prohibition; it does not make the prohibited object permissible.22

As the Rebbe concludes, the above considerations evidently explain why in current editions of Iggeret HaKodesh — regarding the food eaten in a life-threatening situation that becomes “[entirely] permissible” — the word “entirely” is bracket-ed, and in many editions never appeared.

Footnotes
1.
These brackets are in the original text.
2.
Tehillim 92:10.
3.
The word translated “transcending” does not appear in the printed Hebrew text. It has been inserted here according to the emendation of the Rebbe in Luach HaTikkun.
4.
These parentheses are in the original text.
5.
Niddah 61b.
6.

This differentiation between the performance of mitzvot before and after the Resurrection, follows the view of Tosafot in Niddah (loc. cit.). There Tosafot explains that the fact that burial shrouds may be made of kilayim, the forbidden mixture of wool and linen, proves that mitzvot will be abrogated after the Resurrection, for otherwise a Jew would arise wearing forbidden garments.

The Rashba, cited there in Chiddushei HaRan, disagrees, holding that the mitzvot are abrogated as far as the individual is concerned only while he is deceased. As the Rashba understands the Gemara, they will not be abrogated after the Resurrection.

The Rebbe uses this debate to resolve a seeming contradiction between two statements by the Alter Rebbe. In his Note to ch. 36 of Tanya (on p. 478 of Vol. II in the present series), the Alter Rebbe writes that “the [time of] receiving the reward is essentially in the seventh millennium.” Since this is after the time of the Resurrection, this is a time during which we are still intended to perform mitzvot. How, then, does the Alter Rebbe state here that mitzvot will be abrogated at the time of the Resurrection?

The distinction: In the Note to ch. 36 the Alter Rebbe follows the view of the Rashba, who maintains that at the time of the Resurrection, mitzvot will continue to be in effect. (The Alter Rebbe also follows this view in his maamar in Likkutei Torah on the phrase VeHayah BaYom Hahu Yitaka BeShofar Gadol.) Here, however, he follows the view of Tosafot.

The Rebbe goes on to say that drawing a distinction (as the Alter Rebbe does above) between the two periods, resolves most of the problematic queries posed by the MaHaratz Chayot, whose Glosses on Tractate Niddah cite those Talmudic sources which would seem to indicate that in future time the commandments will not be abrogated. For those sources speak of the era of the Messiah, before the Resurrection, while the teaching that they will be abrogated applies to the era that follows the Resurrection (according to the view of Tosafot).

For further examination of this subject, the Rebbe refers the reader to the sources listed in Sdei Chemed, Klalim 40:218 (Vol. III, p. 561c ff. in the Kehot edition) and in Divrei Chachamim, sec. 53 (p. 1962b ff.).

7.
These brackets are in the original text.
8.
This phrase, enclosed in parentheses in the printed Hebrew text, does not appear in some manuscripts.
9.
Yeshayahu 65:20.
10.
Mishlei 12:21.
11.
Note of the Rebbe: “...For only with regard to the present time does Tosafot maintain (contrary to the view of Rashi) [that the promise of this verse applies] only to edibles (Chullin 5b), [for it is particularly shameful for a righteous person to eat forbidden food, even if unwittingly]. This [restriction to the present] may be derived from the underlying reasoning, viz.: In Time to Come the entire world will attain perfection. [At that time, therefore, no kind of unwitting sin will befall any of the Jewish people, since all will then be righteous].”
12.
Yoma 28b; Kiddushin 82a.
13.
Lech Lecha 11d.
14.
Shemini 18c.
15.
See Likkutei Torah, BeHaalot’cha 32d.
16.
The last phrase in the Hebrew text has been emended according to the Table of Glosses and Emendations.
17.
This Addendum is based on selections from Likkutei Sichot, Vol. III, p. 984ff., and footnotes there.
18.
Yoma 82a; the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 617:2.
19.
Chullin 39b.
20.
Ruth Rabbah 6:6.
21.
Taz (Turei Zahav) and Shach (Siftei Cohen) in Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah, end of sec. 81.
22.
Cf. Rambam, Hilchot Shabbat, beginning of ch. 2.


Translated from Yiddish by Rabbi Levy Wineberg and Rabbi Sholom B. Wineberg. Edited by Uri Kaploun.
Published and copyright by Kehot Publication Society, all rights reserved.
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