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Sunday, 15 Kislev 5778 / December 3, 2017

Daily Tanya

Daily Tanya

Kuntres Acharon, end of Essay 6

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Kuntres Acharon, end of Essay 6

אך מה שהיה משתבח בתהלת התורה במעלתה זו, ואמר: זמירות היו לי כו׳, נענש על זה

However, for extolling the Torah with this quality, saying,1 “[Your statutes] were songs for me,” he was punished.

ואמר לו הקב״ה: זמירות קרית להו

G‑d reproved him:2 “You call them songs?!”

משום שבאמת, מעלתה זו, שכל העולמות בטלים לגבי דקדוק אחד ממנה

For indeed, this quality [of the Torah], that all the worlds are nothingness compared to one detail of it,

היא מבחינת אחוריים של עומק המחשבה

is [but] of the hinderpart, the externality, of the profound Supernal Thought.

כמו שכתוב במקום אחר בשם האריז״ל על מאמר רז״ל: נובלות חכמה שלמעלה, תורה

This is explained elsewhere3 in the name of the AriZal, on the teaching of our Sages,4 “Torah is [merely] a shade of Supernal Wisdom.”

אבל פנימית שבעומק, שהוא פנימית התורה, היא מיוחדת לגמרי באור אין סוף ברוך הוא, המלובש בה בתכלית היחוד

However, the innermost core of the depth [of Supernal Thought], which is the innermost core of the Torah, is utterly fused with the [infinite] Ein Sof-light that is vested within the Torah in a perfect unity.

ולגבי אין סוף ברוך הוא, כל העולמות כלא ממש, ואין ואפס ממש

Relative to the Infinite One, all the worlds are as absolute naught, sheer nothingness, nonexistent.

כי אתה הוא עד שלא נברא העולם וכו׳

For5 “You were [the same] before the world was created, [You are the same since the world has been created].”

Being of absolutely no account relative to G‑d, all the worlds effect no change in Him.

והלכך גם לפנימיות התורה אין לשבחה כלל בתהלת חיות כל העולמות, מאחר דלא ממש חשיבי

Hence, the internal aspect of the Torah too (which is wholly united with G‑d) is not at all to be lauded as being the animating force of all the worlds, for relative to the internal aspect of the Torah they are reckoned as nothingness itself.

ובבחינת פנימיותה, אינה שמחת לבב אנוש ושעשועיו

In this inward aspect of the Torah there can be no mortal heartfelt joy and delight,

אלא, כביכול, שמחת לב ושעשוע המלך, הקב״ה, שמשתעשע בה

but rather, in a manner of speaking, the heartfelt joy and pleasure of the King, the Holy One, blessed be He, Who delights in it.

כי אלקים הבין דרכה, וידע מקומה ומעלתה

For [only]6 “G‑d understands its way, and knows its station” and quality

בידיעת עצמו, כביכול

through His self-knowledge,7 as it were; knowing Himself, he also knows the Torah that is entirely one with Him.

אבל נעלמה מעיני כל חי

This, however, is8 “concealed from all mortal eyes.”

כמו שכתוב: ופני לא יראו, דהיינו בחינת פנימיותה, כמו שכתוב שם בשם האריז״ל

As it is written,9 “My Face — i.e., the innermost dimension of the Torah, its pnimiyut, as implied by the word panim shall not be seen,” as is explained there10 in the name of the AriZal.

וזהו שאמר הכתוב: ואהיה אצלו כו׳ שעשועים

Hence the verse,11 in which the Torah itself is the speaker, “I was... a delight unto Him,”

אצלו דוקא

specifically “unto Him.”

The order of the words in the original makes it clear that the Torah is G‑d’s delight alone.

משחקת לפניו

[Likewise, in the following phrase] which describes the Torah as causing G‑d delight by “playing before Him,”

לפניו דוקא, דהיינו בבחינת פנימיותה

the verse specifies the term “before Him” — lefanav, deriving from panim (“face”), which is related to pnimiyut (“inwardness”) — for this refers to the inwardness [of the Torah] that cavorts before the inwardness of the Infinite One.

* * *

The Alter Rebbe will now explain that this sublime level of Torah in which G‑d alone delights, descends to nurture the souls of the Jewish people. For this reason the Midrash calls the Torah uman (lit., “a craftsman”), one who skillfully nurtures a young child.

ועל זה אמר: ואהיה אצלו אמון, אל תקרי אמון, אלא אומן כו׳

Concerning this [innermost level of the Torah] it is written,12 “I was by Him amon (‘one who is nurtured’),” [and the Midrash comments],13 “Do not read amon, but uman (‘one who nurtures’).”

This sublime and innermost level of the Torah descends to nurture Jewish souls, inasmuch as they transcend the world. The world, however, is vitalized not by this level of the Torah but by its externality.

ועל בחינת אחוריים אמר: משחקת בתבל ארצו, ושעשועי את בני אדם

It is with reference to the hinderpart (the external aspect of the Torah) that it is written,14 (and in this verse the Torah describes itself as) “Playing in the world, His land; and my delights are with mortal men.”

It is the external aspect of the Torah that brings delight to the world and to man.

כי התורה ניתנה בבחינת פנים ואחור

For the Torah was given in states of both inwardness and externality;

כדכתיב במגילה עפה דזכריה: והיא כתובה פנים ואחור

as it is written concerning the “flying scroll” of Zechariah,15 “and it was written front and back.”

Panim (“face” or “front”) is the root of pnimiyut (“inwardness”); achor (“back”) is the root of achorayim (“hinderpart”, i.e., externality).

ולפי שתפס דוד בבחינת אחוריים

Since David seized upon [and praised] the hinderpart [of the Torah],

A term such as “songs” relates to the merely external aspect of the Torah that relates to the world and animates it.

לכך נענש בשכחה, הבאה מן בחינת אחוריים

he was punished with forgetfulness, which derives from an attitude of externality.

A person does not forget things that are truly internalized within him, but only things which remain external to him.

ונעלם ממנו לפי שעה מה שכתוב: עבודת הקדש עליהם, בכתף ישאו

He thus became momentarily oblivious to the verse concerning the Ark,16 “The sacred service is their duty; on the shoulder shall they carry it” —

לחבר וליחד את הכתפיים, שהן בחינת אחוריים

in order to combine and unite the “shoulders”, which are akin to the hinderpart,

אל עבודת הקדש, היא חכמה עילאה, בבחינת פנים

with the sacred service, viz., the Supernal Wisdom, which is also called “sacred”, in a manner that reflects inwardness.

שמשם נמשכו הלוחות שבארון

For this state [of inwardness] is the source of the Tablets in the Ark,

כמו שכתוב: כתובים משני עבריהם כו׳

of which the verse states,17 “Written on both their sides....”

וכמו שכתוב בירושלמי דשקלים, שלא היתה בהן בחינת פנים ואחור

And as explained in the Yerushalmi, Tractate Shekalim,18 [the Tablets] did not have any front (panim) and back (achor) — they were entirely panim, signifying pnimiyut (“inwardness”).

The purpose of carrying the Ark on the shoulders was thus to connect the external aspect of man with the inwardness of the Torah.

עיין שם

Study that reference (in the Yerushalmi) well.

Tehillim 119:54.
Sotah 35a.
Note of the Rebbe: “See Iggeret HaKodesh, Epistle XIX.”
Note of the Rebbe (in Likkutei Biurim, Vol. I, p. 485): “Bereishit Rabbah 17:5 and 44:17; explained in Etz Chayim, Shaar HaKlalim, end of ch. 1, et al.”
Text of the morning prayers, cf. Tanna Dvei Eliyahu Rabbah, sec. 21.
Cf. Iyov 28:23.
Rambam, Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah 2:10.
Iyov 28:21.
Shmot 30:23.
Note of the Rebbe: “See Iggeret HaKodesh, Epistle XIX.”
Mishlei 8:30.
Mishlei 8:30.
Beginning of Bereishit Rabbah.
Mishlei 8:31.
The scroll referred to in Zechariah 5:1-2 is the same (see Rashi there) as that referred to — earlier in the Tanach — in Yechezkel 2:9-10, from which the above quotation is drawn. The Rebbe notes that an explanation is needed as to why the later reference is quoted.
Bamidbar 7:9.
Shmot 32:15.

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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