Ch. 41, Class 6


Continuation of Chapter 41                                                                                              ______

וזהו פירוש לשם יחוד קודשא בריך הוא ושכינתיה בשם כל ישראל

This, then, is the meaning of the words we recite before performing various commandments: “For the sake of the union of Kudsha Brich Hu with his Shechinah…in the name of all Israel.”*

That is to say, one’s observance of the commandments unites Kudsha Brich Hu (the source of Torah and mitzvot) with the Shechinah — in the name of all the Jewish people, for the Shechinah is the source of the souls of them all.

הגהה

*NOTE

The Alter Rebbe now notes that much more than the union of divine souls and G‑d is accomplished by the study of Torah and the performance of mitzvot. These activities also bring about hamtakat hadinim, the tempering (lit., “sweetening”) of harsh judgment and Gevurot, and their transformation into kindness and Chassadim.

This is effected through the coalescing of the supernal Sefirot of Chesed and Gevurah (kindness and severity). These Sefirot, which by nature are opposites, are fused into one through the revelation and diffusion of a divine light which is spiritually superior to them both.

This light is the Supernal Will drawn down upon these two attributes through the performance of Torah and mitzvot, for inasmuch as Torah and mitzvot are expressions of the Divine Will, their spirituality far surpasses the spirituality of the Sefirot of Chesed and Gevurah.

When the Divine Will — the source of Supernal kindness — is revealed through the study of Torah and the performance of mitzvot, the attributes of kindness and severity are united, and severity is transformed into kindness.

In the Alter Rebbe’s words:

וגם על ידי זה יתמתקו גם כן הגבורות בחסדים ממילא

Thereby, i.e., through the performance of Torah and mitzvot, the Gevurot will, of themselves, also be sweetened by the Chassadim through the coalescence of the middot and their union,

על ידי גילוי רצון העליון ברוך הוא, המתגלה למעלה באתערותא דלתתא

by means of the revelation of the Supernal Will, which is revealed on high through the stimulus from below,

הוא גילוי למטה בעסק התורה והמצוה, שהן רצונו יתברך

namely, its revelation here below in one’s occupation in the Torah and commandments, for they are His blessed Will.

Thus, when a Jew reveals and draws down G‑d’s Will into this world as a result of his spiritual activities, the Divine Will will also be revealed in the Supernal Sefirot, resulting in the unification and coalescing of the middot, so that the Gevurot are sweetened by and transformed into Chassadim.

וכמו שכתוב באדרא רבא ובמשנת חסידים מסכת אריך אנפין פרק ד׳

Thus it is written in Idra Rabba and in Mishnat Chassidim, Tractate Arich Anpin, ch. 4,

שתרי”ג מצות התורה נמשכות מחיורתא דאריך אנפין, שהוא רצון העליון מקור החסדים

that the 613 commandments of the Torah are derived from the “whiteness” — the Chassadim — of Arich Anpin, which is the Supernal Will, the source of the Chassadim.

Although this is stated in Kabbalistic terms, the intent is clear: Kindness and benevolence are drawn down into the world through the study of Torah and the performance of mitzvot.

END OF NOTE

It has been previously noted that it is not enough to intend to unify one’s own soul with G‑d through the performance of Torah and mitzvot; one must also seek to unite the source of all the souls of Israel with the infinite Ein Sof-light.

In point of fact, there is quite a difference between these two intentions. A Jew’s personal desire to cleave to G‑d because of his love for Him is surely an utterly truthful intention: since his love of G‑d is sincere, his desire to cleave to Him is likewise sincere.

However, for a Jew to sincerely desire that his performance of Torah and mitzvot connect the source of all the souls of Israel with the infinite Ein Sof-light (i.e., that it effect the union of Kudsha Brich Hu and His Shechinah, as explained above), — this presupposes a far greater love of G‑d: a love so fierce that his only desire is to cause G‑d pleasure through his actions, thinking of himself not at all. It is thus entirely possible that this general intention is not completely genuine.

Now we are constantly taught that one should be wary of spiritual intentions which outstrip one’s current spiritual pace: spirituality must be earned in an environment of honesty. How, then, are we to expect that every Jew study Torah and perform mitzvot for the sake of uniting all of Israel with G‑d, when he himself knows that he does not mean it wholeheartedly?

The Alter Rebbe therefore goes on to explain that although an individual may not be entirely sincere in this intention, his integrity is not compromised thereby. For every Jew desires to fulfill G‑d’s Will — and uniting Jews with G‑d is surely His Will.

One should therefore not be apprehensive about his own sincerity to the point that he refrains from this comprehensive intention of unity, for to a certain degree his intention is consciously sincere. Moreover, there is no self-delusion here, for this unity is what his soul desires.

ואף שלהיות כוונה זו אמיתית בלבו, שיהיה לבו חפץ באמת יחוד העליון הזה, צריך להיות בלבו אהבה רבה לה׳ לבדו

And although in order that this intent should be sincere in his heart, so that his heart should truly desire this Higher Union, uniting all Jewish souls with their source in G‑dliness, his heart must harbor a great love (ahavah rabbah) for G‑d alone,

Often, loving another is ultimately a result of self-love: a person loves that which is good for him. The same is true with regard to loving G‑d and desiring to cleave to Him through the study of Torah and the performance of mitzvot: the individual desires his own welfare, and that which will benefit his own soul — and there can be no better way of achieving this than by cleaving to G‑d.

If, however, he is to truly desire the unification of all Jewish souls with their source in G‑d, a much deeper love is required: a love untainted by the faintest vestige of self-interest, a love wholly and exclusively directed toward G‑d,

לעשות נחת רוח לפניו לבד ולא לרוות נפשו הצמאה לה׳

to do what is gratifying to Him alone, and not for the purpose of quenching his soul’s thirst for G‑d,

אלא כברא דאשתדל בתר אבוי ואמיה, דרחים לון יתיר מגרמיה ונפשיה כו׳ כמו שנתבאר לעיל בשם רעיא מהימנא

but he must be “like a son who strives for the sake of his father and mother, whom he loves more than his own body and soul,…” (as explained above in ch. 10, citing Ra‘aya Mehemna),

As explained above, this degree of love was experienced by Moses, who sacrificed himself utterly in order to secure the unification of the Jewish people with G‑d. His love was similar to that of a child who is ready to give his very life for his parents‘ sake. How, then, can every Jew be expected to summon up this lofty level of love, which is a prerequisite for the desire to unite all Jewish souls with their G‑dly source?

מכל מקום יש לכל אדם להרגיל עצמו בכוונה זו

nevertheless, every person should habituate himself to this intent.

כי אף שאינה באמת לאמיתו לגמרי בלבו שיחפוץ בזה בכל לבו

For though it may not be in his heart in perfect and complete truth, so that he should long for it with all his heart, for in order to truly do so one must have attained a totally selfless love for G‑d,

מכל מקום מעט מזעיר חפץ לבו בזה באמת, מפני אהבה הטבעית שבלב כל ישראל לעשות כל מה שהוא רצון העליון ב״ה

nevertheless, to some small extent, his heart genuinely desires it, because of the inborn love in every Jewish heart to do whatever is the Supernal Will of G‑d.

ויחוד זה הוא רצונו האמיתי

And this union — the union of the source of all Jewish souls with the infinite Ein Sof-light — is His true desire,