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Sunday, 2 Cheshvan 5778 / October 22, 2017
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Daily Tanya

Iggeret HaKodesh, middle of Epistle 25

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Iggeret HaKodesh, middle of Epistle 25

ואחר הדברים והאמת האלה, הגלוים וידועים לכל, נחזור לענין ראשון בענין הכעס, שהוא כעובד עבודה זרה

After these words and this truth, which are manifest and known to all, let us return to the original subject, concerning anger — where a person [who is angry] is likened to an idolater.1

והיינו במילי דעלמא, כי הכל בידי שמים חוץ מיראת שמים

This is so only with regard to mundane matters, for2 “everything is in the hands of heaven except for the fear of heaven.”

Since everything is in G‑d’s hands there is no reason to become angry. However, with regard to matters involving the “fear of heaven,” anger does have a place.

ולכן במילי דשמיא, לאפרושי מאיסורא, לא שייך האי טעמא דאמרן

Hence with respect to heavenly matters, to3 “ward [a fellow Jew] from [transgressing] a prohibition,” the reason stated does not apply, for these matters are not in G‑d’s hands but in man’s.

וכמו שכתוב: ויקצוף משה

As it is written,4 “And Moses was angry.”

והיינו, משום כי ה׳ הקרה לפניו מצוה זו, לאפרושי מאיסורא, כדי לזכותו

This was because G‑d caused him to encounter this mitzvah of “warding [a fellow Jew] from [transgressing] a prohibition,” in order to make him meritorious.

Thus, this situation is obviously quite different from being angry at someone because of harm or offense.

* * *

אך זהו כשיש בידו למחות בקצפו וכעסו על חבירו

But this applies only when one is able to prevent [transgression] by his wrath and anger against his fellow-man; in such a case he is permitted to become angry, as did Moses.

אבל כשאין בידו למחות, כגון נכרי המדבר ומבלבלו בתפלתו

However, when he is unable to change the situation, as in the case of the gentile who talks and disturbs him while he is praying,

אם כן, מה זאת עשה ה׳ לו

[the question] then [arises]: What is this that G‑d has done to him, that a gentile should disrupt his prayers?

אין זאת כי אם שיתגבר, ויתאמץ יותר בתפלתו, בעומק הלב ובכוונה גדולה כל כך

This is so only in order that he prevail and strengthen himself ever more in his prayers, from the depths of his heart, and with such intense concentration

עד שלא ישמע דבורי הנכרי

that he will not hear the gentile’s talk.

אך שלמדרגה זו, צריך התעוררות רבה ועצומה

However, for such a level one needs a great and intense arousal.

ועצה היעוצה להתעוררות זו, היא מענין זה עצמו

And the counsel suggested to attain such an arousal, derives from this very subject.

כשישים אל לבו ויתבונן ענין ירידת השכינה כביכול, ותרד פלאים להתלבש ניצוץ מהארתה

One should consider and meditate on the concept of the descent of the Shechinah, as it were — how5 “it descended in wondrous fashion,” to have a spark of its radiance invested [within the kelipot].

אשר היא בבחינת גלות בתוך הקליפות, דרך כלל, להחיותם

It is generally in a state of exile among the kelipot, in order to animate them.

ועתה הפעם, ניצוץ הארתה מתלבש בבחינת גלות דרך פרט

And now, a spark of its radiation vests itself in a particular state of exile,

בדבור נכרי זה, המדבר דברים המבלבלים עבודת ה׳, היא כוונת התפלה

in the speech of this gentile who utters words that disturb one’s divine service, i.e., one’s devout concentration during prayer.

וכמו שכתוב לעיל, כי זה לעומת זה וכו׳

And, as explained above,6 “[G‑d created] this opposite that,” each element of the holy “side” of the universe having its unholy counterpart in the “other side,” the sitra achra.

ודבור העליון מתלבש בדבור התחתון וכו׳

Thus the Supernal speech vests itself in the nether speech, and so on.

I.e., Supernal speech vests itself in a lower degree of speech, ultimately descending through a self-screening chain of descent until it provides life-force even for the kelipot.

וזהו ממש: אשר שלט האדם באדם, לרע לו

This indeed is the meaning of the verse,7 “That man rules over man, to his detriment,” which was explained above in terms of the temporary dominion of the “evil man” (of kelipah) over the “sacred man” (the holy “side” of the universe).

When this gentile utilizes the spark which is exiled within himself to hinder a Jew who is trying to pray, the kelipot are manifestly ruling over the holy “side” of the universe. The forces of holiness, however, can thereby be invigorated and vitalized, when the worshiper reacts by upgrading his concentration.

This he will be prompted to do when he meditates on the above-described descent of the Shechinah into exile. And from this exile he will seek to liberate it.

In the words of the Alter Rebbe:

דהיינו, שעל ידי זה מתעורר האדם להתפלל יותר בכוונה, מעומקא דלבא, עד שלא ישמע דיבוריו

That is to say, that through this [meditation], the individual is aroused to pray with greater devotion, from the depth of his heart, until he will not hear [the gentile’s] words.

The above explains the statement of the Baal Shem Tov in Tzavaat HaRivash, that the Shechinah vests itself in this gentile. For everything in this world houses a spark of holiness, and within this gentile the spark is present in a state of exile, for the reason explained above.

* * *

ומה שכתב המלקט: שרתה

As for the compiler [of Tzavaat HaRivash] using the word shartah, meaning that the Shechinah “dwelt” or “abided” within this gentile,

לא ידע לכוין הלשון בדקדוק

he was unable to focus on the precise term.

כי הבעל שם טוב, זכרונו לברכה, היה אומר דברי תורה בלשון אשכנז, ולא בלשון הקודש

For the Baal Shem Tov, of blessed memory, used to deliver Torah teachings in Yiddish, not in the Holy Tongue.

The compiler, translating these discourses into Hebrew, transmitted their content, not their precise terminology. And in this case he erred.

ורצה לומר: נתלבשה

He really meant to say, nitlabshah (“became vested”), for shartah (“dwelt” or “abided”) implies that the Shechinah was revealed,

והיינו, בבחינת גלות

whereas [nitlabshah] means [that the Shechinah was vested] in a state of exile.

וזהו: ובפרט אם הוא נכרי

This [distinction] explains [the emphasis in Tzavaat HaRivash], “And especially if he is a gentile...,”

Were we to be speaking of a manifest indwelling of the Shechinah, how could it be said that the Divine Presence resides to a greater extent within this gentile who is disturbing a Jew at prayer, than within the worshiper? Rather, we are speaking of a self-obscuring investiture of the Shechinah within the gentile,

שאז היא בחינת גלות ביותר

for then it is so much more in exile.

ואין לתמוה אם ניצוץ מהארת שכינה, נקרא בשם שכינה

There is no need to wonder at a spark of the radiance of the Shechinah being referred to (in Tzavaat HaRivash) as Shechinah.

דהא אשכחן שאפילו מלאך נברא נקרא בשם ה׳, בפרשת וירא, לפירוש הרמב״ן

For we find that even a created angel, which is not a spark of the Shechinah, is referred to by G‑d’s Name in Parshat VaYeira, in the verse,8 “And he said, ‘Lord, do not pass by your servant,” according to the commentary of R. Moses Nachmanides (the Ramban);

וכמו שכתוב: ותקרא שם ה׳ הדובר אליה וכו׳, וכהאי גוונא טובא

and as it is likewise written,9 “And [Hagar] called the name of G‑d Who spoke to her...,” where we are explicitly told that we are speaking of an angel; and many more [passages] like this.

* * *

Footnotes
1.
Zohar I, 27b; III, 179a; Rambam, Hilchot De’ot 2:3 in the name of the “earliest sages” (חכמים הראשונים); et al.
2.
Berachot 33b.
3.
Shabbat 40b.
4.
Bamidbar 31:14.
5.
Cf. Eichah 1:9.
6.
Kohelet 7:14.
7.
Kohelet 8:9.
8.
Bereishit 18:3.
9.
Ibid. 16:13.


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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