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Thursday, 20 Cheshvan 5778 / November 9, 2017
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Iggeret HaKodesh, middle of Epistle 29

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Iggeret HaKodesh, middle of Epistle 29

והנה אור זה הגנוז לצדיקים לע"ל הנק' בשם נועם ה' וצחצחות להתענג על ה'

Now this light, hidden away for the righteous for the Time to Come, is termed (as above) the "pleasantness of G-d," and the "pleasurable thirst" of "delighting in G-d,

וד' מאות עלמין דכסופין דמתענגי בהון צדיקייא כו' כמ"ש ארבע מאות שקל כסף כו'

" and also1 "the 400 Worlds of Longing in which the tzaddikim delight..." as it is written,2 "400 shekalim of silver (kesef)..."

The Aramaic phrase translated "Worlds of Longing" is almin dekisufin. The root of the second word (kesef) means not only "silver" but also "longing" (as in the phrase3 nichsof nichsafta). Hence the Kabbalah relates the above reference to "400 shekalim of kesef" to the 400 Worlds of Longing whose spiritual delights are reserved for tzaddikim.

הנה יש בו מעלות ומדרגות רבות מאד גבוה מעל גבוה

This [light] comprises very many rungs and levels, one superior to the other.

אך הארה מועטת היורדת מדרגה אחר מדרגה לברוא לבוש זה היא מבחי' מדרגה האחרונה שבאור זה

But the minute radiation, which descends level after level to create this garment that garbs the soul, belongs to the lowest level of this light.

ונקראת בשם מדרגה החיצונה ואחוריים דרך משל

Metaphorically speaking, it is referred to as the external level, or achorayim,

כמ"ש בזהר דר"ח ע"ב (עיין בס' מק"מ) ור"י ע"ב ומה דאשתאר כו'

as stated in the Zohar, p. 208b (4 cf. the commentary entitled Mikdash Melech5) and 210b: "And that which is left...," meaning that the light which is the source of the garment is of the most external or hindmost level.

The Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain that the external level of this radiance, from which these garments derive, is called the Supernal Will. Will, as is soon to be explained, is the external aspect (i.e., a consequence) of pleasure, or delight.

והנה כמו שבנשמת האדם יש בה כח התענוג שמתענגת ממה שיש לה ענג ממנו כמו מהשכלת שכל חדש וכה"ג

Now, in the soul of man there is a faculty for pleasure: [the soul] takes pleasure in what it finds pleasurable,6as in the conception of a new insight, or the like.

ובחי' חיצוניות ואחוריים של כח ובחי' התענוג שבה היא בחי' כח הרצון שבה שהוא רוצה מה שהוא רוצה דהיינו דבר שאינו צער שהצער היפך התענוג

The external and hindmost aspect of [the soul's] power and state of delight is its faculty of will, willing that which it wills, i.e.,7 something that is not painful, for pain is the opposite of delight.

A person desires something because it gives him pleasure. Thus, pleasure is the "inner" (or motivating) aspect of desire, which is considered "external" (i.e., consequent) to it.

וככה עד"מ באור א"ס ב"ה ג"כ כביכול

Metaphorically speaking, it is the same with the [infinite] EinSof-light, as it were:

הרצון העליון ב"ה היא בחי' חיצוניות ואחוריים לבחי' ענג העליון ונועם ה' וצחצחות ועלמין דכסופין הנ"ל

The Supernal Will is the external and hindmost aspect [i.e.,the resultant chitzoniyut and achorayim] of the above-mentioned Supernal Delight, the "pleasantness of G-d," the "pleasurable thirst," and the "Worlds of Longing."

Thus, when we state that the garment for the soul derives from the achorayim and chitzoniyut of the Supernal Delight, this means that it derives from the Supernal Will.

הגם שהם מיוחדים בתכלית היחוד שהוא ית' ורצונו אחד

Though these - [the Supernal Delight and the Supernal Will] -are fused in absolute unity, for [G-d] and His Will are one,

ולא כרצון האדם ח"ו לא מיניה ולא מקצתיה

and not (heaven forfend) like the will of man, neither wholly nor partially,

ואין דמיון ביניהם כלל

there being no similarity whatever between them,

Man's will is not wholly one with the person himself; it is one of the soul-faculties that he possesses. By contrast, G-d and His Will are one. How, then, can we differentiate Above between Pleasure and Will,saying that G-d's Pleasure is internal and His Will is external?

אעפ"כ דברה תורה כלשון בנ"א לשכך האזן מה שיכולה לשמוע במשל ומליצה מנשמת האדם הכלולה מכח התענוג והרצון והחכמה והבינה וכו'

nevertheless,8 "the Torah speaks in human idiom" in order9 "to modulate for the ear what it is able to hear," with allegory and metaphor relating to the soul of man, which compounds the faculty of delight, will, wisdom, understanding, and so on.

just as in man pleasure is described as "internal" and will as "external", so too do we describe the corresponding attributes Above.

וכנראה בחוש שכשאדם משכיל איזה שכל חדש נפלא אזי באותה רגע עכ"פ נולד לו תענוג נפלא בשכלו

This is empirically evident, for when a person conceives some wonderful new insight, then at that moment, at least, a wondrous delight is born10 in his mind.

מכלל שהתענוג הוא למעלה מעלה מבחי' השכל והחכמה רק שמלובש בבחי' שכל וחכמה

Thus it follows that the capacity for pleasure surpasses by far the faculty of intellect and wisdom; it merely is vested in the faculty of intellect and wisdom.

וכשהאדם מרגיש השכל וחכמה דהיינו שמשיגה ומבינה היטב אזי מרגיש ג"כ בחי' התענוג המלובש בחכמה

Thus when a man feels [a subject of] intellect and wisdom, that is, he apprehends and understands it well, he then also senses the faculty of pleasure which is vested in the [subject of] wisdom.

ולכן נקראת בחי' בינה בשם עוה"ב בזוה"ק

That is why in the sacred Zohar,11 the faculty of Binah is referred to as "the World to Come."

שהיא בחי' התגלות החכמה עם התענוג המלובש בה שמשיגים הצדיקים בג"ע ומשכילים בפנימיות התורה

For it is the state of manifestation of Chochmah, together with the delight vested in it, which the righteous in the Garden of Eden apprehend, and conceive [new insights] in the pnimiyut[i.e., the innermost, mystical dimension] of the Torah.

דאורייתא מחכמה נפקא ואורייתא וקב"ה כולא חד:

For12 the Torah derives from Chochmah, and13 the Torah and the Holy One, blessed be He, are entirely one.14

Thus, through gaining a perception of pnimiyut in the manner in which the soul apprehends it in the Garden of Eden, where it apprehends the essence of G-dliness - and "this delight itself (as the Rebbe adds) is utterly inward, as explained above"- the soul gains an apprehension of G-d's infinite light. And in order for it to be able to absorb this degree of illumination, it must be equipped with the protective and receptive garments of the mitzvot, as previously explained.

* * *

Footnotes
1.
Cf. Zohar I, 123b.
2.
Bereishit 23:15.
3.
Ibid. 31:30.
4.
Parentheses are in the original text.
5.
To the Zohar, loc. cit.
6.

Note of the Rebbe: "The Alter Rebbe is not informing us of the obvious, as might appear at first glance, but is making a significant statement which must appear here, where he is explaining that will is the external aspect [i.e., the consequence] of pleasure - in order to distinguish this sequence from the alternative sequence discussed in Hemshech 5666, p 65ff., [where will is seen as the source of pleasure]

The conclusion there, on p. 73ff., is as here, [that pleasure is indeed the source of will, and not the contrary].".

7.
Note of the Rebbe: "The addition of this phrase too is explained by the previous footnote."
8.
Rambam, Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah 1:9.
9.
Cf. Rashi on Shmot 19:18, based on Mechilta and Tanchuma ad loc.
10.
Note of the Rebbe: "The feeling of pleasure, by contrast, comes (as is explained below) in the World to Come. And so long as this feeling is lacking, the individual concerned cannot be said to have `received the pleasantness.'"
11.
II, 158a.
12.
Zohar II, 85a.
13.
Op. cit. I, 24a, et al.
14.
Note of the Rebbe: "[The above-described perception enjoyed by the tzaddikim] is similar to the delight that is born and is derived when a concept is first conceived and understood - and this is the above-mentioned `pleasantness of G-d...'".


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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