Tanya Chapter 17: Using and accessing intellectual love to make service of G-d easy and attainable

Chapter 17: Using and accessing intellectual love to make service of G-d easy and attainable

27th Teves/(LY)4th Shevat

1. With the intellectual love, the Torah is very close to the heart and to do:

  • After clarifying all the above information in the previous chapters, we can now probably understand the verse which states that the observance of Torah and mitzvot in one’s heart and mouth and action is very near to the person.

2. Is love and fear of G-d versus the physical pleasures truly very easily attainable?

  • As seemingly, stating that it is very easily attainable for a person to arouse a love for G-d instead of love for the physical pleasures contradicts our experience and reality, and since the Torah is eternal it is not possible to explain that this only applied at a certain time or era. It is indeed not very easily attainable for one to transform the lusts of his heart for the physical pleasures into a true love of G-d.
  • The Talmud concords that it is not easy to achieve: In fact, the Talmud itself asserts that fear of G-d is not a small matter to achieve and attain, hence questions the fact that Scripture seems to say that it is a very easily attained matter. Now, if this is the case regarding fear then certainly it applies regarding love, that it is not easily attainable. In addition, our sages state that it is only the tzaddik who controls his heart and has the ability to erase his lust for the physical pleasures and maintain only a lust for G-d.

3. It is easily attainable for one to observe the commands due to his conclusion that he should love G-d:

  • In truth, the above verse which states that it is easily attainable to serve G-d in the heart does not mean that it is easily attainable for one to transform his lusts of the physical into lust for G-d. Rather, it’s intent is to say that it is easily attainable for a person to arouse an intellectual love, which is a conclusion of the heart and mind that one should love G-d even if he doesn’t actually feel it, and it is this conclusion which then brings a person to the performance of the commands. Thus, the love of the heart intended by the verse is not the passionate love of the tzaddik but rather the hidden love that is found in the recesses of the heart.
  • One’s mind is in his control to do as he pleases: Now, achieving this intellectual love which is a conclusion that one should love G-d, through activating the hidden love found in the inner recess of the heart, is indeed very easily attainable for every person who has a mind in his head, as every person’s mind is within his control to contemplate whatever he wishes, and hence it is within his power to contemplate those things that bring him to this conclusion of intellectual love. When one contemplates the greatness of the infinite G-d this consequently creates at least in his mind a love for G-d and a desire to attach to Him through fulfilling his Torah and mitzvahs.

(LY)5th Shevat

4. The purpose of love in the heart is to bring to fulfillment of mitzvahs:

  • Now, one should not think that this intellectual love which is merely a conclusion to love G-d but not an actual feeling of love for G-d, does not truly meet the standards and intent of the verse which requires one to serve G-d with his heart, as in truth, the entire purpose of loving G-d in one’s heart is simply for the sake of then serving G-d with observing Torah and mitzvahs as this is the entire purpose of man.
  • Today do action, tomorrow reap rewards: We were put in this world in order to perform the action of the mitzvahs, as the verse states, “today is for you to do” and the Talmud states that only “tomorrow you will reap the reward.” Meaning, that our main purpose in this world is not to enjoy feelings of love for G-d, which is something that is reserved and will be experienced in the future era. Rather, our main purpose now in this world is to serve G-d through action, and to do that it is necessary to arouse at least a conclusion of love for G-d in the heart.
  • The mind controls all limbs of the body: Now, from birth, the mind naturally controls the left part of the heart, as well as one’s mouth and all the other limbs necessary to perform physical action. Accordingly, once the mind concludes that it should love G-d, it is then very easily attainable for it to control all of its limbs to actually do so.

28th Teves

5. Reshaim do not have control over their hearts until they do Teshuvah:

  • The above ability to control the actions of one’s body through use of the mind applies to everyone’s exception to those who are truly wicked [i.e. truly addicted to their bad ways], as our sages state that Reshaim are controlled by their hearts and do not have control over their hearts at all.
  • Is a punishment: This inability in Reshaim to control the heart is a punishment that results due to their great and powerful sins.
  • The intent of Scripture is not towards them: Now, although the Torah speaks to all the Jewish people at all times, this specific verse in Scripture which describes the service of G-d as very easily attainable is not intended for those people who are true Reshaim, as Reshaim are considered like dead even when they are alive, and the Torah does not speak to the spiritually dead individual.
  • Must repent in order to begin serving G-d: In truth, it is not possible for a Rasha to begin serving G-d without him first repenting for his past ways of behavior.
  • A division of iron between man and G-d: The repentance is necessary in order to break the iron divider of Kelipos that has been created as a result of his sins, which divides between him and his father in heaven.
  • How to break the division of iron Kelipos: This division of iron can only be broken through one breaking his heart in bitterness of the soul over his past sins. On this the Zohar states that a sacrifice for G-d is a broken spirit and broken heart, as through breaking one’s heart, the spirit of the side of evil also becomes broken.

(LY)6th Shevat

6. Teshuvah is to return the Hei back to Hashem’s name

  • Lower Teshuvah-returning the “Hei”: This breaking of the heart in bitterness for past sins is considered the lower level of repentance and accomplishes the return of the lower letter “Hei” back to its place in the name of G-d.
  • The exile of the divine presence which results from sin: Lower Teshuvah raises the “Hei” from its fall into the impure and unclean forces, which is the mystical state of exile for the divine presence, as the sages state that when the Jewish people were exiled to Edom the divine presence became exiled with them.
  • Exile of the G-dly soul and spark of G-d during sin: This is true because when a person performs a sin, which is an act of Edom, he demotes into this spiritual desert a spark of G-dliness which enlivens his soul and causes it to become invested within his animal soul which comes from Kelipa and is found in the left part of this heart. During the time of the sin, this animal soul of Kelipa is what rules over the person and controls his small city, which include also his G-dly soul which ends up being in exile and captivity within the animal soul and Kelipa.
  • Breaking the heart redeems the spark: When one’s heart breaks from within him, and he consequently breaks the spirit of the side of evil and causes it to disperse, it allows the G-dly spark to escape and reestablish itself from its state of exile.

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