Ch. 41, Class # 2

Continuation of Chapter 41

The Rebbe points out that the Alter Rebbe will now go on to say that the above meditation — aimed at awakening innate awe in one’s mind — does not suffice: an individual must also realize that G‑d not only bestows His Kingship upon him in a general manner, but that He also does so in a (so-to-speak) personal manner. In the Alter Rebbe’s words:

והנה ה׳ ניצב עליו, ומלא כל הארץ כבודו, ומביט עליו

“And, behold, G‑d [Himself] stands over him,”3 and “The whole world is full only with His Glory,” and not only being omnipresent does He see everything, but moreover He scrutinizes him in particular,

ובוחן כליות ולב אם עובדו כראוי

and searches his reins and heart i.e., his innermost thoughts and emotions [to see] if he is serving Him as is fitting.

ועל כן צריך לעבוד לפניו באימה וביראה כעומד לפני המלך

Therefore, he must serve in His Presence with awe and fear (i.e., notes the Rebbe, not merely like one who is located in the King’s domain, but moreover)like one standing before the King.

ויעמיק במחשבה זו, ויאריך בה כפי יכולת השגת מוחו ומחשבתו, וכפי הפנאי שלו

One must meditate profoundly and at length on this concept, according to the capacity of apprehension of his brain and thought, and the time available to devote to this contemplation; this time being:

לפני עסק התורה או המצוה, כמו לפני לבישת טלית ותפילין

before he engages in [the study of] Torah or [the performance of] a commandment, such as before putting on his tallit or tefillin.

This meditation will enable him to then serve G‑d with awe.

The Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain another form of meditation. Unlike the above thoughts which should preface divine service in general, this meditation relates to the particular mitzvah that the individual is about to perform — to the content of thismitzvah, its distinctive effect, and its influence on his soul.

וגם יתבונן איך שאור אין סוף ברוך הוא, הסובב כל עלמין וממלא כל עלמין, הוא רצון העליון

He should also reflect how the light of the blessed Ein Sof, which encompasses all worlds and pervades all worlds, and which is identical with the Higher Will,

Previous chapters have stated that G‑d’s Will is the source of the life-force that animates all worlds in both a transcendental and an indwelling mode.

הוא מלובש באותיות וחכמת התורה

is clothed in the letters and wisdom of the Torah,

In the very letters of Torah that the person utters and in the Torah wisdom that he comprehends, G‑d’s Will is to be found. As explained in ch. 4, the Divine Will clothed itself in the ink and parchment of the Torah scroll, and similarly clothed itself in the wisdom of Torah. Thus, when the wisdom of the Torah determines that a certain object is either kosher or invalid, it is expressing the Divine Will.

Accordingly, before a person commences his Torah study, he should ponder on how the Ein Sof-light — the Divine Will — is vested in the letters and wisdom of the Torah he is now about to study,

או בציצית ותפילין אלו

or, if his meditation takes place before he puts on his tallit and tefillin, he should contemplate how the Divine Will is clothed in these tzitzit and tefillin,it being G‑d’s Will that a Jew wear them,

ובקריאתו או בלבישתו

and through his recitation or study of the Torah, or by his wearing tzitzit andtefillin,

-הוא ממשיך אורו יתברך עליו, דהיינו על חלק אלוה ממעל שבתוך גופו

he draws upon himself His blessed light, that is, over the “part of G‑d above” — his soul — which abides in his body, and animates it.

ליכלל וליבטל באורו יתברך

This he does with the intent that it may be absorbed and nullified in His blessed light.

The individual’s intent, then, is that the aforementioned study and performance have an effect on his soul. In particular, as will soon be explained, the intellectual and emotional faculties of the soul are affected by tefillin.

ודרך פרט בתפילין, ליבטל וליכלל בחינת חכמתו ובינתו שבנפשו האלקית בבחינת חכמתו ובינתו של אין סוף ברוך הוא, המלובשות דרך פרט בפרשת קדש, והיה כי יביאך

Specifically, through tefillin, [he should intend that] the attributes of wisdom and understanding which are in his divine soul should be nullified and absorbed into the attributes of wisdom and understanding of the blessed Ein Sof, these being clothed, in particular, in the passages ofKadesh and Vehayah ki yeviacha.4

In these passages, both of which are found in the tefillin, G‑d’s wisdom(Chochmah) and understanding (Binah) are enclothed, wisdom in the former and understanding in the latter. By putting on tefillin, the individual’s wisdom and understanding are absorbed in G‑d’s. How does this find expression?

דהיינו שלא להשתמש בחכמתו ובינתו שבנפשו בלתי לה׳ לבדו

That is to say, that he should use the wisdom and understanding that are in his soul, for G‑d alone — only in pursuit of Torah and mitzvot, and for understanding G‑dliness.

וכן ליבטל וליכלל בחינת הדעת שבנפשו, הכולל חסד וגבורה שהן יראה ואהבה שבלבו

Similarly, [he should intend that] the attribute of Daat (the third of the three components of seichel) in his soul, which includes both the Chesed(kindness) and Gevurah (severity), i.e., fear and love, in his heart,

The attribute of Daat comprises kindness and severity insofar as these attributes exist on an intellectual level. Moreover, as is explained at the end of ch. 3, the profound and involved meditation that characterizes the level of Daat actually creates love and fear, insofar as they exist independently on an emotional level. This faculty of Daat, then, should —

בבחינת דעת העליון, הכולל חסד וגבורה, המלובש בפרשת שמע, והיה אם שמוע

be nullified and absorbed into the attribute of the Higher Knowledge (Daat HaElyon), which comprises kindness and severity, and which is clothed in the passage of Shema and Vehayah im shamoa.

והיינו כמו שכתוב בשולחן ערוך: לשעבד הלב והמוח כו׳

This accords with the statement of the Shulchan Aruch,5 [that while putting on the tefillin one should intend] “to make one’s heart and brain subservient to G‑d.”

In this way, then, the divine soul as a whole, and its intellective and emotive faculties in particular, are affected by one’s wearing tefillin.

ובעטיפת ציצית יכוין כמו שכתוב בזהר, להמשיך עליו מלכותו יתברך

And while putting on the tzitzit one should bear in mind what is written in the Zohar, namely, that he should draw upon himself His blessed Kingdom,

אשר היא מלכות כל עולמים וכו׳ ,לייחדה עלינו על ידי מצוה זו

which is the Kingdom over all worlds; nevertheless,6 we should intend and endeavor to focus [G‑d’s Kingdom] specifically over ourselves, through this mitzvah — for the commandment of tzitzit is particularly effective in enhancing one’s acceptance of the yoke of heaven.

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Footnotes

3.  Bereishit 28:13.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           4.  “As explained at length in the discourses on tefillin in Pri Etz Chayim; Siddur (edition with chassidic discourses); Imrei Binah; etc.” (— Comment by the Rebbe.)                                                                                                                                                                                                                         5.  Orach Chayim 25:5.

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