Ch. 16, Class # 2

Middle of chapter 16

ואי לזאת יאתה להן לחבקו בכל לב ונפש ומאד

All the above thoughts pass through his mind and heart, and lead him to resolve that: It is therefore fitting and proper for them — for his Nefesh and Ruach — to embrace G‑d with all their heart, soul and might.

דהיינו קיום התרי״ג מצות במעשה ובדבור ובמחשבה, שהיא השגת וידיעת התורה כנזכר לעיל

This means, in a practical sense, to fulfill the 613 commandments in act, speech and thought, the thought being the comprehension and knowledge of the Torah, as explained above in the previous chapters, that through Torah and the commandments one grasps G‑d Himself, so to speak.

Thus we see that what motivates this person’s actual observance of the commandments is meditation on G‑d’s greatness; this brings about the realization that one ought to strive to bind himself to G‑d — a bond which can be achieved only through the commandments.

הנה כשמעמיק בענין זה בתעלומת תבונות לבו ומוחו

Consequently, when the Beinoni ponders this subject in the recesses of his heart’s and mind’s understanding,

ופיו ולבו שוין

and his mouth and heart are in accord, i.e., what his heart feels, finds full expression in his speech,

שמקיים כן בפיו כפי אשר נגמר בתבונת לבו ומוחו

in that he fulfills with his mouth, in his speech, the resolve of his mind’s and heart’s understanding —

דהיינו להיות בתורת ה׳ חפצו, ויהגה בה יומם ולילה בפיו

namely, to direct his desire towards G‑d’s Torah, meditating on it day and night in oral study,

וכן הידים ושאר אברים מקיימים המצות כפי מה שנגמר בתבונת לבו ומוחו

and when his hands and other bodily organs, too, carry out the commandments, as was resolved in his mind’s and heart’s understanding;

הרי תבונה זו מתלבשת במעשה דבור ומחשבת התורה ומצותיה להיות להם בחינת מוחין וחיות וגדפין לפרחא לעילא

then when he implements his resolution this tevunah — the “intellectual emotion,” which cannot properly be called love or fear, but tevunah, literally, “understanding” — is clothed in the act, speech and thought of the Torah and its commandments, providing them with intellectual power, and vitality, and “wings” that enable them to soar on high,

for so it is written in the Zohar:6 “Torah without love and fear (of G‑d) does not soar aloft.”

כאלו עסק בהם בדחילו ורחימו ממש אשר בהתגלות לבו

The love and fear referred to as tevunah, although not heartfelt emotions, nevertheless serve as “wings” for one’s Torah and mitzvot in the same way as if he practiced them with real fear and love as revealed in the heart,

בחפיצה וחשיקה ותשוקה מורגשת בלבו ונפשו הצמאה לה׳, מפני רשפי אש אהבתו שבלבו כנ״ל

(7in which case he would have performed them with a desire, fervor and passion that are felt in the heart and soul thirsting for G‑d, due to the flaming love of G‑d in his heart, as explained above — that a revealed love of G‑d elevates one’s Torah andmitzvot, by lending warmth and vitality to one’s actions).

However, the statement that the tevunah-love too possesses this power requires further elucidation. When does the tevunah-love add to the quality of one’s observance, that would enable it to elevate his actions? This the Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain.

הואיל ותבונה זו שבמוחו ותעלומות לבו היא המביאתו לעסוק בהם

For it is this tevunah in his mind and in the recesses of his heart that leads him to engage in the Torah and mitzvot, as explained above.

ולולי שהיה מתבונן בתבונה זו לא היה עוסק בהם כלל, אלא בצרכי גופו לבד

Had he not meditated on this tevunah, he would not have occupied himself with them at all, but with his physical needs alone.

וגם אם הוא מתמיד בלמודו בטבעו, אף על פי כן אוהב את גופו יותר בטבעו

(8Even if he is an assiduous student by nature, nevertheless he naturally loves his body more.)

What is it, then, that diverts one from his natural inclination to engage in his bodily wants, and that enables his diligence to overcome his physical self-love? It is the love of G‑d — in this case, the hidden tevunah-love. For this reason, thetevunah provides his Torah and mitzvot with “wings”, enabling them to rise heavenward, as though motivated by a revealed and conscious love of G‑d.

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FOOTNOTES

6. Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 10.
7. Parentheses are in the original text.
8. Parentheses are in the original text.

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