Likutei Amarim Chapter 16, Class # 3

Middle of Chapter 16

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.

וזה רמזו רבותינו ז״ל

Our Sages, of blessed memory, hinted at this principle stated here, that the tevunah-love, too, has the power of elevating one’s Torah and mitzvot

באמרם: מחשבה טובה הקב״ה מצרפה למעשה

when they said:9 “The Holy One, blessed be He, joins a good thought to the deed.”

והוה ליה למימר: מעלה עליו הכתוב כאלו עשאה

The simple meaning of the phrase, that when one intends to do a mitzvah, but is prevented from doing so, G‑d ascribes it to him as though he had actually performed it,warrants the expression: “Torah considers him as though he had actually done it.”

Why the oblique expression, “G‑d joins the thought to the deed,” which seems to indicate that the thought was indeed implemented, but that the action is somehow detached from it, and requires that G‑d join the two together?

אלא הענין

The explanation, however, lies in the previously-mentioned principle:

כי דחילו ורחימו שבהתגלות לבו הם המתלבשים במעשה המצות, להחיותם לפרחא לעילא

It is the revealed fear and love of G‑d in the heart that vest themselves in one’s performance of the commandments, giving them vitality to soar on high.

כי הלב הוא גם כן חומרי, כשאר אברים שהם כלי המעשה

For the heart is also corporeal, like the other organs of the body which are the instruments of action.

Therefore, when one feels a palpable love in his heart — which indicates that the revelation in the soul has become “materialized” to the point where it can be experienced as a feeling of love in the corporeal heart — then this soul-revelation, this love, can also be received by and expressed in the other corporeal organs of the body. When it is so received, and when the organs act in accordance with the love in the heart, then this love lends vitality to these actions, for the heart is the source of vitality for all the organs, as the Alter Rebbe goes on to say.

אלא שהוא פנימי וחיות להם

The heart is, however, internal and is the organs‘ source of vitality.

ולכן יכול להתלבש בהם להיות להם גדפין להעלותם

Therefore, because the heart, in its corporeality, is close to the other organs, and also provides their vitality, it can clothe itself in their actions, to be their “wings”, elevating them.

As we see in practice: When one acts out of love, his hands suddenly become animated; for, as stated, when the soul’s revelation reaches the point where it is felt in a revealed love, it has become so materialized that it can be experienced in the other organs of the body, and can therefore animate their actions.

אך הדחילו ורחימו שבתבונות מוחו ותעלומות לבו הנ״ל

However, the above-mentioned fear and love that are in the intelligence of the brain and the recesses of the heart

גבהו דרכיהם למעלה מעלה מבחינת המעשה

are of a far higher order than the level of “action”.

ואי אפשר להם להתלבש בבחינת מעשה המצות, להיות להם בחינת מוחין וחיות, להעלותן לפרחא לעילא

Therefore, they cannot clothe themselves in the performance of the commandments, to become their intellectual power and vitality, to elevate them, so that they may soar on high;

The inability of the love to find expression beyond the mind — which is far more spiritual than the other organs — indicates that the revelation of soul present in the tevunah-love has not become materialized enough to affect the other, more corporeal organs. As we see, when one’s actions are motivated, not by the desire of his heart, but solely by his understanding that he ought to act in a particular manner, then his actions lack vitality. So it is too of the tevunah-love, and tevunah-fear; they are so far removed from the organs, that they are incapable of lending vitality to the actual performance of the mitzvot, and to elevate them thereby.

אם לא שהקב״ה מצרפן ומחברן לבחינת המעשה

if not for the fact that G‑d joins and unites them together with the action, so that they may serve as its “wings”.

והן נקראות בשם מחשבה טובה, כי אינן דחילו ורחימו ממש בהתגלות לבו

They — the tevunah-fear and love — are called “good thought,” for they are not actual fear and love in a revealed state in the heart,

כי אם בתבונת מוחו ותעלומות לבו כנ״ל

but only in the intelligence of the brain and the recesses of the heart, as mentioned above;* since they express themselves in the mind, they are called “good thought.”

This, then, is the allusion contained in the statement, “G‑d joins the good thought to the deed”: G‑d joins the “good thought” — the tevunah-love and fear — to the good deed (that one has actually performed), so that the deed is not separate from the thought, but instead is elevated by it.

In the following note, the Alter Rebbe states that this idea is expressed in the Kabbalah in terms of the Sefirot (the Divine attributes), and from this we may understand its parallel in the human faculties.

8. Parentheses are in the original text.
9. Cf. Kiddushin 40a.

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