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Wednesday, 7 Kislev 5777 / December 7, 2016
Chabad Chassidus is an all-embracing world outlook and way of life which sees the Jew's central purpose as a unifying link between the Creator and His world. Written by the Alter Rebbe, the founder of Chabad, Tanya is the central text of Chabad Chassidus. It shows the reader a path to realizing their purpose and developing a deeper relationship with G-d. Choose from one of the two formats available: through Lessons in Tanya - a profound and clear explanation of the Alter Rebbe's writings, or through an audio class.

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Daily Tanya

Kuntres Acharon, middle of Essay 4

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Kuntres Acharon, middle of Essay 4

The Alter Rebbe will now point out the superior quality inherent in the very service of action-related mitzvot in comparison to intellectually-generated love and awe. For the direction of the latter form of divine service is merely elevation (haalaah), which causes a corresponding “elevation of the lights” above. The ultimate intent of creation is fulfilled not by this, but by the practical commandments, for their function is the drawing down (hamshachah) of Divinity to a state of revelation in this world below.

ובר מן כל דין

Besides all the above,1 i.e., all the above-mentioned ways in which the action-related mitzvot are superior to intellectually-aroused love and fear, there is yet another superior quality to the practical mitzvot:

אפילו בנשמה דאצילות, אף שהיא מכלים דאצילות

Even in the case of a soul of Atzilut, though it derives from the vessels of Atzilut,

וכן בנפש רוח, מכלים דיצירה עשיה

and equally in the case of Nefesh-Ruach which derive from the vessels of Yetzirah-Asiyah,2

הנה רחימו אולי צריך לומר: דחילו ורחימו שכליים שלהם מעוררים גם כן בכלים דיצירה עשיה בחינת העלאה ממטה למעלה, באתערותא דלתתא

their intellectual love [3this should possibly read: “fear and love”], which themselves are a mode of elevation, also arouse in the vessels of Yetzirah-Asiyah a state of upward elevation, through an arousal initiated from below.

וזהו בחינת הסתלקות לבד, חס ושלום

However, this is a state of departure alone, G‑d forbid.

The effect on the vessels is that they depart upwards and do not fulfill their purpose, just as love and fear that do not descend into expression in mitzvot are also in a state of elevation and departure. When love and fear do descend into mitzvot, they enhance the effect of the mitzvot in drawing down Divine light.

אבל בחינת המשכה מלמעלה למטה, הוא על ידי מצות מעשיות דוקא, להמשיך אור בכלים

But eliciting from above downward is effected only by means of the practical mitzvot, which draw light into the vessels,

ובחיצוניות הכלים דוקא, שחיצוניות העליון יורד למטה, ופנימיות התחתון עולה למעלה

and specifically into the external aspect of the vessels, so that the external aspect of the superior level descends, while the internal aspect of the inferior level rises.

As created beings thus experience an upward-directed longing for the Divine, Divinity descends into this world.

וזהו שכתוב בזהר, פרשת פקודי הנ״ל, דאית סדורא כו׳

This is the intent of the above-quoted Zohar in Parshat Pekudei,4 that “there is an order [of elevation and an order of descent].”

ושתיהן צורך גבוה, העלאה והמשכה

Both are needed for the Divine purpose, i.e., for man’s spiritual service, the elevation and the elicitation,

על ידי העלאת מין נוקבין מס״ג, בבחינת עובדא ומלולא

by the elevation of mayin nukvin from the Divine Name Sa’g that is accomplished (by the elevation of the sparks) by deed and speech.

וזהו תכלית ההשתלשלות, להתגלות אור עליון למטה

This is the ultimate purpose of the downward progression of all the various worlds — that the supernal light be revealed below,

ולא לעלות התחתון למעלה, שזה אינו אלא לפי שעה

and not that the inferior level be elevated, for this [elevation] can only be momentary, until a further descent.

ואף גם זאת, דוקא עליות הכלים לאורות עליונים

And even so, when an elevation is necessary, this involves — not the ascent of the light, for that would be a move toward departure, but — specifically an elevation of the vessels toward the supernal lights.

היא מעלת השבת ויום הכפורים

This is the specific quality of Shabbat and Yom Kippur, at which time there is an “elevation of the worlds” (aliyat haolamot), where the vessels are in a state of elevation towards the supernal lights,

אבל לא עליות והסתלקות האורות, חס ושלום, כמו שכתוב בפרי עץ חיים

but not the elevation and departure of the lights, G‑d forbid, as is written in Pri Etz Chayim.5

ונפש רוח נשמה של האדם, לגבי גופו בעולם הזה, חשיבי כאורות לגבי כלים

The Nefesh-Ruach-Neshamah of man relative to his physical body in This World are considered as lights relative to vessels.

וכן דחילו ורחימו שכליים, לגבי מצות מעשיות

So too are intellectual fear and love, relative to mitzvot of action; they, too, are considered as lights relative to vessels.

ולכן התפלל משה רבנו עליו השלום תפלות כמנין ואתחנן, על קיום מצות מעשיות דוקא

This is why Moses offered [515] prayers equivalent in number to [the Hebrew word] Vaetchanan,6 asking that he be privileged to enter the Holy Land, specifically so that he could fulfill the practical mitzvot.

Only in the Holy Land can the practical mitzvot be fulfilled in their entirety — and the fulfillment of the practical mitzvot is the ultimate purpose of the entire Hishtalshelut, for through them Divinity is drawn down to this nether world.

והוא הדין לדבור גשמי של הלכותיהן

So too as regards the physical utterance of their laws.

For by uttering and studying the laws of the mitzvot with physical speech one also draws down the light below.

Footnotes
1.
Note of the Rebbe: “On the forthcoming text see Or HaTorah, Parshat Acharei, p. 549ff.”
2.
Note of the Rebbe: “Inspection of the manuscripts of Kuntres Acharon is required, for it appears that the text is incomplete and should read as follows: ‘...and equally in the case of Nefesh-Ruach-Neshamah and the vessels of Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah...in the vessels of Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah, in the state of....’ However, Or HaTorah gives the text as above.”
3.
The brackets are in the original text.
4.
P. 249a.
5.
Shaar HaShabbat, ch. 7 of the Introduction, et al.
6.
Devarim 3:23; Devarim Rabbah 11:9.


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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