Cn. 37, Class # 8


Continuation of Chapter of 37

We see [of the past lesson], at any rate, that charity is superior to all other mitzvot, including Torah study. But here one may object:

ומה שאמרו רז״ל שתלמוד תורה כנגד כולם

As for the statement of our Rabbis10 that Torah study outweighs all other mitzvot — including charity; how can this be reconciled with what was said above?

היינו מפני שתלמוד תורה היא בדבור ומחשבה, שהם לבושים הפנימיים של נפש החיונית

This is because the study of Torah employs speech and thought, which are the inner garments of the vital soul — unlike action, which is external. Thus, only Torah study, and not other mitzvot, can suffuse the inner garments of the soul with the light of Torah.

וגם מהותן ועצמותן של בחינות חב״ד מקליפת נוגה שבנפש החיונית נכללות בקדושה ממש, כשעוסק בתורה בעיון ושכל

Furthermore, the very substance and essence of the intellectual faculties ofChaBaD (Chochmah, Binah, Daat) of the kelipat nogah in the vital soul are actually absorbed into holiness when one studies Torah with concentration and intelligence.

The intellectual faculties applied to Torah study are absorbed in the holiness of the mitzvah of Torah study, and thereby ascend from the realm of kelipat nogah (to which they previously belonged, being a part of the vital soul) to the realm of holiness.

Although it was explained in ch. 12 that the Beinoni is capable of transforming to holiness only the garments of the animal soul, not the soul faculties themselves, there is no contradiction here: the latter statement applies only to the middot (the emotional attributes) of the animal soul. The Beinoni is indeed incapable of transforming the middot to holiness; ChaBaD, however, can be transformed even by the Beinoni. The Alter Rebbe now explains the difference between them.

ואף שמהותן ועצמותן של המדות חג״ת כו׳ לא יכלו להם הבינונים להפכם לקדושה

Although Beinonim are incapable of mastering the substance and essence of the middot — Chesed, Gevurah, Tiferet, and so on — so as to transform them into holiness,

היינו משום שהרע חזק יותר במדות מבחב״ד, מפני יניקתן שם מהקדושה יותר, כידוע ליודעי ח״ן

this is because the evil of kelipah is stronger in the middot than in [ChaBaD:] the intellectual faculties, since on that level (of middot) they [the kelipot] draw more vitality than they do on the level of ChaBaD, as is known to students of the Kabbalah.

The “shattering of the vessels,” which gave rise to the existence of kelipah,occurred primarily in the middot, and it is therefore more difficult to elevate the evil of middot. The evil of ChaBaD, however, can be transformed to good through intensive Torah study.

Thus we have two reasons for the superiority of the mitzvah of Torah study: (a) it is practiced with the innermost soul garment — thought; (b) it transforms the actual soul faculties of ChaBaD themselves to holiness.

Footnotes

10.  Peah 1:1.

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