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Women’s Tanya Class

This women's Tanya class is an interactive spiritual journey where we study, discuss and apply the revolutionary ideas presented in the Tanya, a foremost work of Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism by the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi.

Tanya
Tanya Navigator
Tanya: Chapter 18, Part 1
It's closer than you think: your inborn relationship to the Divine
Tanya: Chapter 18, Part 3
Completely beyond the mind
Tanya: Chapter 19, Part 1
Nature is irrational
Tanya: Chapter 19, Part 2
The general principle of holiness
Tanya: Chapter 19, Part 3
Everyone has their critical point
Tanya: Chapter 20, Part 1
It all is distilled in the first two commandments
Tanya: Chapter 20, Part 2
The true definition of reality
Tanya: Chapter 21, Part 1
The Divine act of revelation
Tanya: Chapter 21, Part 2
Totally subsumed within the Divine
Tanya: Chapter 22, Part 1
The powerful contractions that allow klipah to come into being
Tanya: Chapter 22, Part 2
The source of nurture for the klipah and sitra achra
Tanya: Chapter 22, Part 3
Arrogance is idol worship
Tanya: Chapter 23, Part 1
What would classify Torah? How can you classify a mitzvah?
Tanya: Chapter 23, Part 2
Becoming the embodiment of the Divine will
Tanya: Chapter 23, Part 3
The incredible fusion with the Divine created through Torah study
Tanya: Chapter 23, Part 4
Would you really rather be numb?
Tanya: Chapter 24, Part 1
Align your everyday awareness with your core self
Tanya: Chapter 24, Part 2
Seriously! What could be worse?
Tanya: Chapter 24, Part 3
Would you really rather be numb?
Tanya: Chapter 24, Part 4
At this deciding moment, there is but one question
Tanya: Chapter 24, Part 5
Humiliation is unbearable, even for a moment
Tanya: Chapter 25, Part 1
Clarity is just a thought away
We now look at our everyday choices in a new light; it is not just in extreme situations that our decisions are fundamental. From our greatest choices to those that seem inconsequential, we essentially face the same question every time. And we can connect to our deepest core, our truest desire, in every situation – in just a moment's time.
Tanya: Chapter 25, Part 2
From this space within ourselves, a moment is forever.
Our core self yearns to stay attached to the Divine even at the price of life, and this gives us a new way to see through the haze. The haze of insanity can bring us to draw a distinction between temporary and eternal separation. Don't be fooled. Our core self, our Divine self, transcends time – it rules and dominates time. From this space within ourselves, a moment is forever.
Tanya: Chapter 25, Part 3
You are terrified to lose your relationship. Will you go the extra mile to intensify it?
When your attachment to the Divine is jeopardized, you would give up life itself. All you want is to stay attached, terrified to lose that bond that you already have. But this is purely about loss! What about gain? Are you willing to go the extra mile to intensify and immortalize the bond that you already have? Reach into that space where everything is eternal to inform and drive your everyday conscious.
Tanya: Chapter 25, Part 4
Hashem is forever, His Will is forever. Any contact with the Eternal lasts forever. The act of Torah study, the performance of a mitzvah, are contact with the Divine - creating a fusion that lasts forever. As long as the soul's sensation within the confines of time and space has not been interrupted, this fusion can be sensed within the soul below. And if there has been an interruption, asking for forgiveness restores the awareness and attachment.
Tanya: Chapter 25, Part 5
To live a life truest to yourself, remember what you would give up life for. The generation of Jews entering the Land of Israel was commanded to say the Shema for this very reason. Although no one would stand up against them from without, there is always the battle within. And to win this battle, there is something that must be engraved in your mind always. In this class, we summarize and culminate the unit of chapters 18-25.
Tanya: Chapter 26, Part 1
Being stronger won't help, unless you're happy
Your Divine soul is the stronger of the two souls. But being stronger is not enough! If you want to be victorious in the inner struggle of light over darkness, happiness is key. Sadness is dangerous, and although it has its place, it must be employed only under very specific conditions
Tanya: Chapter 26, Part 2
Pain can come from incredible closeness
Joy is required! To free the heart of any trace of worry or sadness, the Alter Rebbe first explores sadness originating from worldly matters. Examining the advice of our Sages, we come to an incredible realization -- that a person can actually experience joy even in the midst of challenges.
Tanya: Chapter 26, Part 3
Your mood is yours to choose
A person who rejoices in sufferings is called a lover of G-d and is rewarded measure for measure. Now, we move to understanding sadness that comes from spiritual disconnection. While truly, separation from the Divine is a reason to be sad, you still have to be happy. For this kind of sadness, you need will to make the time and have a calm mind. Once you have paid attention to your sadness caused by spiritual disconnection, the subsequent joy is powerful!
Tanya: Chapter 27, Part 1
Having a dark side has some benefits
Working through different causes for depression, we now visit the problem of having involuntary sinful thoughts. This can bring a person down, feeling that they have not made any spiritual progress. The Alter Rebbe turns this scenario around, and brings us to realize that this in fact is a reason for joy! A new way to be close to Hashem!
Tanya: Chapter 27, Part 2
Rethink the way you define success
Each and every time we resist our dark side, we cause a corresponding effect above. The unique flavor of the beinoni's struggles has the power to bring down the root of the evil above. His service is similar to the naturally unpleasant substance that has been seasoned and tempered to become a delicacy that comes to surpass the quality of naturally sweet and delicious foods. The pleasure that this brings Above is the greatest of all.
Tanya: Chapter 27, Part 3
You can make miracles
This class, we finish the chapter. We explore how the practice of self-restraint, of "self-made holiness" creates immense Divine repercussion. The very holiness that we unleash above is drawn down to us, granting us great Divine assistance in our unique mission.
Tanya: Chapter 28, Part 1
Don't try this at home
How are we supposed to handle extraneous thoughts that come our way while seriously engaged in Torah study or prayer? Should we try to sublimate the driving emotion? Or should we perhaps feel dejected and despicable? Here's the rule: certain exercises are only meant for the Tzadik who eradicated his evil. But for everyone else –– refocus your concentration, intensify your joy and ignore the distraction.
Tanya: Chapter 28, Part 2
Are you a hypocrite?
There is a common error that if you are suddenly distracted in middle of your devotions, you weren't doing a good job. That would be true if you had but one soul –– but you don't. You have two. Just ignore that distracting voice as though it were a stranger outside of you. And if the going gets rough, don't forget to ask Hashem for help.
Tanya: Chapter 29, Part 1
Your mind understands, but your heart won't respond. Now what?
We now begin to examine the spiritual sickness of a "dull heart." You are doing everything right as far as your meditation goes, but your heart won't respond. It is numb. It won't produce a corresponding emotion. This has serious repercussions as far as prayer is concerned, and as far as exercising restraint. To heal this sickness, we take advice from the Holy Zohar –– this requires a crushing of the animal soul. We are going to have to talk about this!
Tanya: Chapter 29, Part 2
The distance is painful!
Why is the animal soul considered "the very person"? It's all a matter of the energy source with which you identify. The fact that most people identify with their animal soul, means that "this is me." And if that is who you are ... just this very thought is utterly humbling.
Tanya: Chapter 29, Part 3
Your heart has many depths
To relieve the heart of numbness, the shell of the Sitra Achra -- the dark side -- must be shattered. In this exercise, a person is called upon to look at the misdeeds of their youth from their current standing. True, you've moved on. But there is a place deeper still that must be reached. And from this deeper space, you can bring yourself to a state of true humility, thereby allowing the light of the Divine soul to shine within your body and move your heart.
Tanya: Chapter 29, Part 4
What do your dreams say about you?
Walking down the path to humility, we are enjoined to examine our thoughts, utterances and deeds. Were all of them an expression of holiness, allowing us to be a vehicle of the holy chambers? Or did some of our behaviors cause us to act as a chariot for the chambers of impurity? This is a most humbling thought. And further, let us consider our dreams: Did we experience mundane dreams, or even tormenting ones? This would point to the fact that those originating from the evil side come and attach themselves to the person. These humbling thoughts shatter the darkness that numbs our heart and obscures the Divine light from affecting our heart.
Tanya: Chapter 29, Part 5
It's so real, you can see it
To access our deepest, truest space, the superficial self must be broken. That was position one -- the place from where we identify with our external self. Now, moving further into the chapter, we go into second person position. Now is the time to take the standpoint of the Divine soul and from that place, to rage against the animal soul. How dare it obscure the truth of Hashem's oneness! This is something that is plainly visible to the eye, and yet the evil inclination dares to cover the eyes of the Divine soul, brazenly hiding this truth!
Tanya: Chapter 29, Part 6
A great talker with bad ideas
Breaking out of the illusion created by our dark side is simply about crushing it. Amazing! Is humility all it takes to fight this complex illusion? Yes. After all, the Sitra Achra, the "other side," is essentially substanceless -- like darkness, which is simply the absence of light. Light appears, and darkness vanishes. This idea is played out in the Biblical story of the spies. The Jewish people made a leap from no faith to total faith, without any sign or wonder. This was accomplished by humbling their hearts and allowing their essence to shine. Essentially, every Jew is a believer.
Tanya: Chapter 30, Part 1
Our Sages instruct us to be truly humble before every other human being. That means having humility even towards someone who is on the lowest spiritual level. Can a great person be truly humble before an evildoer? Yes. By taking the Sages' advice not to judge another until you have come to his place…
Tanya: Chapter 30, Part 2
How hard are you willing to fight?
It's easy to feel smug when you measure yourself up against someone who seems to fail miserably. But let's look at things beyond the superficial level, by a deeper set of criteria. The person who sins repeatedly doesn't fight to overcome his burning desires. To do so would require a valiant struggle. We may not face his formidable tests just to "turn away from evil." But we face our own tests in the realm of "doing good." Do we fight as fiercely as we expect him to fight? At the core of it, it all boils down to the one issue: the will of the King.
Tanya: Chapter 30, Part 3
Wiser, but not as innocent
In this exercise of humility, the thinking person considers his own struggles and compares them to those of the sinful person. The struggle that we expect of the impassioned man is the struggle that we must demand of ourselves. Unfortunately, we fall short. This is true not only in the realm of "do good," but even in the realm of "turn away from evil". Hence, not only is the morally upright person equal to the sinful person in his level of devotion to Hashem, but he is in fact more culpable. Because the sinful person has no understanding of the gravity of his actions, whilst the wise and knowing person who falls short -- his is a grave offense indeed.
Tanya: Chapter 31, Part 1
Deal with darkness on its own terms
Taking the ideas presented in the previous chapters to heart seems to put us in a very compromised position: sadness! Isn't sadness to be avoided at all costs? After all, every sadness, even that which is induced by spiritual concerns, belongs to the realm of the kelipah. The Alter Rebbe tells us: don't worry! This is the method to subdue the darkness with its very own kind. Furthermore, the main feeling that follows these humbling meditations is a holy one, that of bitterness, which comes from the energy of the holy Gevurot (severity).
Tanya: Chapter 31, Part 2
Harness your dark moment to experience joy
The best time to stir up holy bitterness is when you are anyway sad because of mundane problems or for no apparent reason. Grab that moment of sadness and redirect it to become the holy emotion of bitterness. This will alleviate your worldly sadness, and unbelievably enough, transition into joy! It is not about brushing the issues under the rug. It is about honestly recognizing the dark space of our animal soul, and yet bringing something else into the picture – that infinite reality that we hold within us: our Divine soul. Can you sit with that thought? The pity of this most precious soul within a dark exile? This will motivate you to do something about it and, bring you to great joy.
Tanya: Chapter 31, Part 3
Sometimes, the best way to deal with a tough situation is by escape
Once we truly realize the enormity of the Divine soul's exile, we are prompted to action. Our agenda now becomes to free the soul from captivity and restore her to being totally united and absorbed within the Divine reality. This is achieved through an incredible space where no darkness exists, where the Divine is totally manifest, where the truth of reality is completely exposed. Torah and Mitzvot. This type of mindset, the focused intention to free the soul from captivity, is one of "teshuva" -- return and restoration. It is not a single act of repentance, but rather a lifestyle of constant escape to the Divine, and one who lives in this way is in a place of constant joy.
Tanya: Chapter 31, Part 4
Why would G-d send a soul down here?
Dedicating life to reuniting the soul with Hashem is a source of incredible happiness. And the joy grows greater still! Aside from the soul being restored to its former unity with Hashem through Torah and Mitzvos, there is something original in this life's journey that the soul didn't experience before. It is the unique opportunity to satisfy the Divine purpose in creation. When we realize what we accomplish in bringing our body and animal soul along in our holy pursuits, our lifelong Teshuva gains even greater depth and intensified joy.
Tanya: Chapter 32, Part 1
Love––the two-fold spiritual dynamic that is the essence of the Torah
As we consider our soul of primary importance and our body of secondary importance, we effectively re-focus the center of our being. We escape the grasp of our ego and instead center ourselves within the essence of our soul. From this space, we have an entirely different system in the way we value others and a unique advantage in coming to love our fellow as we love our own self, which is seemingly impossible. It now becomes all about the soul. And if love is all about the soul, it is impossible to truly know the greatness of another's soul. Know this: Each soul is uniquely great. Furthermore, all souls are equal. And at the root of roots, we are truly all one.
Tanya: Chapter 32, Part 2
Experience the actual closeness of G-d
Hillel meant it quite literally—love for our fellow really is the entirety of the Torah. Let’s examine the two-fold spiritual dynamic of the Torah. One aspect is about transcending the body and identifying with the soul. Another aspect is about drawing down the infinite light of the Divine, bringing it to be manifest within the world. Looking at the mitzvah of love, we can see that these two dynamics are most perfectly expressed in this mitzvah. In order to truly love another, we need to transcend our ego and identify with the soul. And by actually loving and bonding with another, we draw down the infinite light of the Divine into all of the worlds. This is the entire Torah.
Tanya: Chapter 32, Part 3
Can you love and hate at the same time?
The mitzvah of love applies to each and every Jewish person -- from great to small. But is this so? Isn't there a Talmudic statement urging us to hate certain fellow Jews? Examining the statement, we come to realize that there is a specific set of very narrow criteria to be met in which one would be qualified to be hated. But everyone else -- no matter how small, no matter how low, must be loved. And what about the person who must be hated? He too, must be loved.
Tanya: Chapter 32, Part 4
When you can’t access love, try compassion
It sounds good to love and hate the same person. But how to act towards this individual, practically speaking? This is the time to employ compassion, which banishes hatred and arouses love. But what about King David's “consummate hatred” towards certain sinners, to those who are aware of the Creator and choose to deny Him? Don’t they have a soul too? Goodness to be loved, no matter their sins? Yes, but their Divine spark is hidden into obscurity, so that not even a glimmer of soul is revealed. With a lost signal, love might be quite elusive.
Tanya: Chapter 33, Part 1
When you're feeling worn down, try this method for joy
If you are feeling weary and need extra joy, think about this: the idea of Hashem's true unity. Hashem fills all worlds, spiritual and physical. Indeed, this entire world is filled with His glory, and everything has no value at all relative to Him. Let us picture how letters have no existence of their own within the essence of the soul, and how light has no existence at all while still within the sun. With this, we can understand how the world and everything in it, being contained with the Infinite One, has no existence of its own, and all there is Hashem.
Tanya: Chapter 33, Part 2
Experience the actual closeness of G-d
When we bring the idea of Hashem’s true unity home until it pervades our mind and heart, the joy is enormous! This actually constitutes an experience of the closeness of Hashem. Our realization brings us greater joy than that of the commoner with whom the king shows extra closeness, and in whose home he even comes to dwell. This immense fortune is not something that we worked to acquire, it is an inheritance. It is our secret and our treasure, to directly experience the Divine most deeply and genuinely, and to know that there is nothing else besides Him.
Tanya: Chapter 33, Part 3
To think that we bring joy to the Creator!
When we attain awareness of the Divine unity, aside from the joy that we feel in the intimate closeness to Hashem, we become an abode for Him. And that is actually our purpose! This faith in G-d's unity is so transformational that it breathes new reviving life into us, taking us high above all obstacles. The joy is doubled when we consider that our awareness of the Divine intimate presence brings joy to the Creator Himself! So we rejoice together with Him, as He rejoices in the abode we’ve created for Him down below.
Tanya: Chapter 34, Part 1
The Patriarchs were the Divine chariot, never breaking focus from the Divine unity. This was also true to varying degrees about each of the prophets, most notably Moses. As a whole, the Jewish people experienced something of this Divine revelation at the giving of the Torah, but they did not have the capacity to bear it; their souls left them. Instead, Hashem told them to build a physical space in this world where the Divine would be totally manifest––the Sanctuary. Ever since the Temple was destroyed, the Divine will and wisdom is revealed within the four cubits of Halacha. So when we establish fixed times for Torah study, each of us becomes a Sanctuary, a host for the Al-mighty Himself.
Tanya: Chapter 34, Part 2
We are privileged to host the Al-mighty whenever we study His will and wisdom—the Torah. But much of the time we cannot study Torah, being occupied with worldly matters. Here we explore different ways to bring the experience of manifesting the Divine unity into the rest of our day. We can do this by resolving to study more if we will have more time, and by emulating the Divine attribute of kindness, and by using the energy and health we gain through our material resources to serve Hashem. In culmination, we learn the great paradox: that our tremendous joy does not prevent us from feeling of a humble spirit. Because these two contrasting emotions stem from two very different causes.
Tanya: Chapter 35, Part 1
Why such an emphasis on practical fulfillment of the mitzvahs? Isn’t spirituality more important? Isn’t our life’s journey about refining ourselves spiritually, so that we reach ever higher in our relationship with the Divine? Consider this: The Beinoni – the average person – can never transform their animal soul, being unable to banish the evil from within it. So then why did their soul come down to be clothed within an animal soul that it can never completely vanquish? The Alter Rebbe offers comfort to the ever-struggling person.
Tanya: Chapter 35, Part 2
King Solomon taught, “a wise man’s eyes are in his head.” But isn’t that where every person’s eyes are? The wise man stands out in that his eyes are focused on the Shechina that rests upon his head—mindful to supply oil for the light. Just as physically there needs to be oil to fuel a wick and sustain a fire, so too spiritually: The body is only the wick, and to fuel the light of the Shechina, there needs to be oil, which are mitzvahs. Why can’t the Divine soul serve as the oil for the Shechina? Because even the soul of the Tzadik has a separate consciousness, an identity of its own, lacking the utter nullification necessary to be totally absorbed within the light of the Shechina.
Tanya: Chapter 35, Part 3
A mitzvah is different from everything else in our experience. In a world of concealment, the mitzvah represents the total manifestation of the Divine will. In contrast to rapturous feelings of love, or deep feelings of awe for Hashem, a mitzvah is not an outgrowth of the human experience. Rather, it is pure revelation of the Divine will. The only thing that can manifest the Divine presence is something that is completely dissolved in the Divine light. So anything with an identity and consciousness of its own, even if it be a holy soul burning with passion for Hashem, cannot manifest the Shechina––except through the act of the mitzvah which has no identity other than being the Divine will.
Tanya: Chapter 35, Part 4
Even in the highest of all worlds, fusion with the Divine is only by first enmeshing within Chochmah––the power of nothingness. This underscores the idea that only something that is utterly surrendered to the Divine has the power to manifest the Divine. What has no identity other than being pure expression of the Divine will? These are the Torah and the mitzvot. And between the two of them, the effect of the practical mitzvah, in which even the power of the animal soul is subsumed within the Divine, is farthest reaching––bringing Divine manifestation even upon the lowest elements of the worlds and ourselves.
Tanya: Chapter 35, Part 5
Yes, the animal soul at its core remains the same even during a mitzvah. But its power is subjugated to holiness during a mitzvah. It even powers the mitzvah, and its essential self is rendered voiceless although unchanged; it does not prevent the Divine presence from manifesting upon the totality of the animal soul and upon the entire body. The act of a mitzvah manifests the Divine presence to varying degrees. The Divine soul and its garments, along with the power of the animal soul that impels the mitzvah, are totally absorbed within the Divine light. And as a result, a ray of light is drawn over the totality of the animal soul and above the entire body in an encompassing way.
Tanya: Chapter 36, Part 1
Is this world just a medium to achieve something greater?
Hashem has a desire to dwell in these lowest realms. In order to understand the scope of this desire, we must first define "lower" and "higher" from a new frame of reference. With our new realization, we can come to the astounding realization that Hashem is equally present in all of the worlds, from the most lofty and spiritual to this most physical.
Tanya: Chapter 36, Part 2
Darkness is original
In understanding the Divine desire, we come to examine the Kabbalistic idea of the chain-like order of worlds. And in so doing, we come to realize something utterly striking: that in our world of darkness lies the ultimate purpose of creation.
Tanya: Chapter 36, Part 3
The strength to bear the Divine revelation
It should be utterly impossible to remain in existence when G-d is totally and essentially manifest. And it is. No being, earthly or heavenly, can withstand total Divine exposure. Yet, there is one way to remain vested in the body and yet bear that profound revelation that is coming at the End of Days. That is the "technology" of the Torah -- the Torah is "strength."
Tanya: Chapter 36, Part 4
We've experienced this before, but now we're working towards the permanent version
The Revelation at Mount Sinai broke all barriers, and we beheld the Divine. That condition was only temporary -- the sin of the golden calf brought denseness back to the world. Still, with the profound revelation of the Torah, we received the strength to transform the darkness into light, and this time for good. A time is coming when the fleshly eye will perceive the Divine and every creature on this earth will perceive and know G-d.
Tanya: Chapter 37, Part 1
Creating the future right now
The coming future will see “a home for Hashem” in this physical world –– total Divine revelation. This destiny is not detached from our present reality, a sudden transformation imposed from above. In fact, it is a direct product of our present reality, because the mitzvot we perform today actually generate Divine revelation. Each time we engage the physical world in the act of a mitzvah, we draw down Infinite Divine energy into the physicality of this world and elevate it to holiness.
Tanya: Chapter 37, Part 2
It takes a world to power a mitzvah
The more energy we invest in a speech-mitzvah, the more of the animal soul ascends to holiness. When the animal soul is absorbed in holiness, forgetfulness is alleviated and our Torah study is preserved. In our ambitions to elevate the entirety of this world, our mitzvah makes a huge impact. Because it is not just the things we use or the powers we invest, but everything that supports the process all the way back. Indeed, it takes the world –– and thus elevates the world.
Tanya: Chapter 37, Part 3
The spiritual mechanics of total elevation
The totality of this world’s life energy is elevated to holiness when we keep all of the mitzvot. The prohibitive commands serve to prevent our animal soul’s blood vessels from attaching and drawing nurture from the totally impure kelipot. And the positive commands serve to elevate our animal soul to Hashem, uniting the life-energy of each of our limbs with the light of the Ein Sof BH. Indeed, our limbs become a chariot to the Divine in this way.
Tanya: Chapter 37, Part 4
You are the soul of the universe
When the vital soul of all of Israel is elevated to holiness, it will become a chariot for Hashem. This in turn causes the Kelipat Noga life energy of the whole world to become elevated. Once this intermediate Kelipah ascends to holiness, all impurity and negativity will be obliterated, no longer having access to life energy. How does our refinement bring elevation to the whole world? Because the Jewish soul is the source of vitality of the world, and each part of the world is connected to and dependent upon a particular soul. In fulfilling our mission in Torah and mitzvos, we elevate that part of the world, which was created to support our Divine mission.
Tanya: Chapter 37, Part 5
Why did your soul come down here?
The soul is perfect, requiring no rectification. What the soul had above in terms of love and fear of Hashem was way beyond anything it could achieve in this world. Even if the soul will reach the highest levels humanly possible –– that of a complete tzadik who loves Hashem with pleasurable love –– it will not experience anything remotely similar to what it experienced while above. The whole purpose of its descent is only to elevate the vital soul, the body, the world. We cannot understand this –– it is a mystery paralleling the mystery of the exile of the Shechina. It too is exiled, coming down to elevate holy sparks.
Tanya: Chapter 37, Part 6
Hugely impactful in elevating the world
So much of your vital soul, and often its totality, is invested in earning a livelihood. Thus, when hard-earned money is given to charity, this one act brings the entire vital soul up to Hashem. That is why the Sages of the Land of Israel called charity simply “the mitzvah.” Because it embodies what a mitzvah is all about and is outstanding in this respect –– elevating the vital soul to holiness. So why did the Sages say that “Torah study outweighs them all?” Because there is something unique to Torah study, influencing and transforming the vital soul in a way that no other mitzvah can.
Tanya: Chapter 37, Part 7
The shattering of the vessels
Tanya: Chapter 37, Part 8
Do you call G-d by His Name?
Torah study is called “calling through the Torah.” To study Torah is to call G-d by His Name, turning to His very essence, asking Him to stay with us and not to leave us alone. This deep call from our inner space pulls down the very essence of Hashem over the source of our souls. Being cognizant that we draw down Hashem's essence when we study Torah allows us to experience great awe when doing so.
Tanya: Chapter 38, Part 1
Why would speech carry more weight than intention?
Drawing upon what we’ve learned until now, we can now understand the halacha –– that meditation is not valid in lieu of verbal articulation. Because the soul itself requires no perfecting; it came down here only to draw light upon the vital soul as well as the body. This is accomplished by actual articulation or action via the body. On the other hand, our Sages said that prayer or any other blessing said without kavanah is like a body without a soul. Let’s understand what this means: Both body and soul have Divine life force, and both experience equal, utter concealment of that life force. But when it comes to the amount of life force in each of them, there is a vast difference between them.
Tanya: Chapter 38, Part 2
Body and soul of a mitzvah
While everything of this world is equal in that all are subject to total Divine concealment, yet the difference between things becomes vast when we consider the contraction or expansion of the Divine light that flows into each. We can apply this idea to the speech or act of a mitzvah and its intent. The speech or the act of a mitzvah is its body, the intent is its soul. Being the exposure of Hashem’s will, they each represent total revelation of the Divine and are equal in this respect. However, when it comes to the level at which this exposure is manifest, this is where they become different.
Tanya: Chapter 38, Part 3
Profuse Divine illumination
The intention of attaching to Hashem while performing a mitzvah is like the soul of the mitzvah. It is not that the attachment forged by intention is greater than the attachment forged by the action. Both action and intention are equal in this regard, since they are both the will of Hashem. The difference between them lies in how manifestly this connection is sensed. In just a dry act of the mitzvah, there is minimal radiance of the Divine will. In the intention of the mitzvah, the radiance is profuse. It is like the superiority of the radiance of the soul above that of the body.
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