Likutei Amarim Chapter 12, Class # 2

Likutei Amarim, middle of Chapter 12

אך מהות ועצמות נפש האלקית, שהן עשר בחינותיה

However, the essence and being of the divine soul, which are its ten faculties,

(The three soul-powers of intellect and the seven emotional faculties are referred to as the “essence” of the divine soul, in contrast with the soul’s “garments” (thought, speech and action), which serve merely as outlets and means of expression for the soul’s essential faculties.)

לא להן לבדן המלוכה והממשלה בעיר קטנה

do not hold undisputed sovereignty and sway over the “small city” — the body.

For, as shall be explained later, the faculties of the animal soul, too, exercise some degree of control over the body, through awakening in one’s heart desires for worldly pleasures, which in turn cause forbidden thoughts to enter his mind.

כי אם בעתים מזומנים כמו בשעת קריאת שמע ותפלה

Only at specific times do the faculties of the divine soul hold undisputed sovereignty over the Beinoni with the animal soul having no effect whatever on him, such as during the recital of the Shema or the Amidah.

שהיא שעת מוחין דגדלות למעלה

At this time [of prayer], the Supernal Intellect above is in a sublime state — it is a time of great spiritual illumination in the higher spiritual worlds;

וגם למטה היא שעת הכושר לכל אדם

likewise below — in this physical world — the time [of prayer] is propitious for every man to ascend to a higher spiritual level.

שאז מקשר חב״ד שלו לה׳

Then, during the recital of Shema or during prayer, [the Beinoni] binds his CHaBaD — his intellectual faculties, consisting of Chochmah, Binah andDaat — to G‑d,

להעמיק דעתו בגדולת אין סוף ברוך הוא

meditating deeply on the greatness of the blessed Ein Sof,

ולעורר את האהבה כרשפי אש בחלל הימני שבלבו

and arousing through this meditation a burning love [of G‑d] in the right part of his heart; for, as explained in previous chapters, meditation on G‑d’s greatness arouses the love of Him within one’s heart.

לדבקה בו בקיום התורה ומצותיה מאהבה

This love, in turn, leads the Beinoni to desire to cleave to Him by means of fulfilling the Torah and its commandments out of love.

The realization that only the fulfillment of Torah and mitzvot will fulfill his desire to become one with G‑d channels the Beinoni’s love into a desire to observe Torah and mitzvot.

שזהו ענין המבואר בקריאת שמע דאורייתא

This arousal of love for G‑d, and its accompanying resolve to adhere to Torah and mitzvot and thereby to cleave to Him, is the essential subject of theShema, which Biblical (deoraysa) commandment enjoins us to recite;

וברכותיה שלפניה ולאחריה שהן מדרבנן הן הכנה לקיום הקריאת שמע, כמו שכתוב במקום אחר

likewise, the Rabbinically ordained (derabbanan) blessings preceding and following [the Shema] are a preparation enabling us to fulfill [that which we recite in] the Shema, as explained elsewhere.1

ואז הרע שבחלל השמאלי כפוף ובטל לטוב המתפשט בחלל הימני מחב״ד שבמוח המקושרים בגדולת אין סוף ברוך הוא

At such time, during the Shema or prayer, when the love of G‑d burns in the heart of the Beinoni, the evil in the left part of his heart (the animal soul’s principal area of manifestation) is subjected to and is nullified before the goodness (i.e.,the love of G‑d) that spreads into the right part of the heart, where the divine soul is manifest, from the CHaBaDfaculties in the brain which are bound [in meditation] to the greatness of the blessed Ein Sof.

Contemplating G‑d’s greatness with the three intellectual faculties — Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge (CHaBaD) — arouses and diffuses a love of G‑d in (the right part of) the heart. This arousal of love causes the evil of the animal soul to be nullified in the good of the divine soul now pervading the heart. During the time of prayer, therefore, when the Beinoni arouses his love of G‑d through meditation, his animal soul is inactive, and he feels no inclination for physical pleasures. Thus, during prayer the Beinoni’s divine soul is his “undisputed sovereign,” as the Alter Rebbe stated above.

1. Generally speaking, the blessings recited over the performance of a mitzvah are a Rabbinic contribution to the Biblical mitzvah. This contribution may be understood as follows.Every mitzvah is a channel drawing down holiness upon the soul of the Jew performing it. In order that one be a fitting vessel for this sanctity, the Sages ordained that he recite a blessing before performing the mitzvah. The connection between the blessing and the mitzvah is always clear: The blessing actually mentions the particular commandment to be performed and thanks G‑d for sanctifying us by commanding us to perform it. For example, the blessing over the tefillin concludes with the words, “…and He commanded us to don the tefillin.” In the case of the blessings said before reciting the Shema, however, it is not clear what the blessings accomplish. They do not mention the mitzvah of reciting these passages, nor have they any apparent connection with their contents. Why were they ordained to be said at this particular juncture?In ch. 49, the Alter Rebbe gives the following explanation.The intention behind the reading of the Shema is that one should come to “love G‑d your L‑rd with all your heart, soul and might” (as the Alter Rebbe states in our text). To achieve this, one must prepare himself by contemplating those matters which evoke the love of G‑d.To this end, the Sages instituted two blessings. The first describes aspects of the greatness of G‑d — how the loftiest angels are utterly nullified before Him, how He is far removed from them, and so forth. The second berachah speaks of His great love for the Jewish People, how He draws them close to Him, and so on. After meditating on the ideas expressed in these blessings one is indeed ready to fulfill the precept ofShema — to fill his heart with the love of G‑d.


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