Tanya Chapter 45: Arousing love through compassion

Chapter 45: Arousing love through compassion

7th Iyar/(LY) 3rd Iyar

  1. Arousing love through mercy:
  • The attribute of Yaakov Avinu: Another conventional path for a person to achieve studying Torah and performing Mitzvos Lishma is through attaining the attribute of Yaakov Avinu, peace unto him. What is the attribute of Yaakov? Mercy.
  • This is accomplished as follows: Prior [to learning Torah and performing Mitzvos] one arouses in his mind a great mercy and pity before G-d on the spark of G-dliness which enlivens one’s soul which descended from its source in the life of life, the Infinite Ein Sof, as explained next.


  1. The distance of the spark of G-dliness from its source:
  • From the infinite G-d: The Ein Sof fills all worlds, and encompasses all worlds, and everything is like naught before Him. This is where the spark of G-dliness descended from and entered into a serpent’s skin [i.e. the body] which is very distanced from the king’s countenance to the uttermost distance.
  • To the lowest of evil: This physical world is the utmost lowest point filled with the coarse Kelipos, and it is to here that the spark of G-dliness descended.

  1. The meditation that arouses the mercy:
  • The distance caused due to sin: Aside for the general contemplation of the descent and distance which the G-dly spark has had to endure, one can especially arouse Divine mercy after contemplating the added distance and descent that is caused through sin.
  • Contemplating one’s sins: When one reminds himself of all of his bad actions, speech and thoughts from the day he was [born until now, he is able to arouse a much greater pity for the spark of G-dliness, as he has added salt to the injury].
  • Binding the Divine presence like a captive: On this it states that the king is bound in cord, in the cords of one’s mind. [Meaning, that one’s bad actions, speech and thoughts literally tie and bind the spark of the Shechinah in the impurity of those thoughts and actions.]
  • A rope of inheritance: The reason that one’s bad actions, speech and thoughts have this effect on G-dliness is because Yaakov is considered the rope of our inheritance, [meaning that every Jew’s soul is likened to the end of a rope whose top part is in heaven] and like the parable of one pulling a rope [in which when one pulls the bottom of the rope the upper part likewise is pulled down with it, so too when a Jew sins he pulls down the G-dliness with him into impurity].
  • Arousing mercy on the exile of the Divine presence: This is the mystical meaning behind the exile of the Shechinah. On this the verse[1] states “Return to Hashem and have mercy upon Him”, that one is to arouse a great mercy towards the name of Hashem Who dwells within us, as the verse[2] states “Who dwells with them amongst their impurity.”

8th Iyar

  1. Yaakov kissing Rachel-Arousing Divine mercy for the Shechinah:
  • Based on all the above one can understand the verse[3] which states that Yaakov Avinu kissed Rachel and raised his voice in weeping.
  • Rachel corresponds to the souls of Israel: Rachel represents Kneses Yisrael, the general souls of Israel, and the source of all the Jewish souls.
  • Yaakov crying represents the arousing of mercy: Now, Yaakov in his supernal attribute, which is the attribute of mercy [of Atzilus known as Av Harachaman], aroused great compassion upon her. He then raised his voice which represents raising his voice [i.e. his lower level of mercy of Atzilus] towards the source of the supernal mercy which is called Av Harachamim [and is the source of the 13 attributes of mercy].
  • The mercy raises the Divine presence from exile: He cried in order to arouse and draw down from there great mercy upon all the souls, and upon the source of the Jewish souls and to then raise them from their exile and unite them with the supernal unity of the light of the Ein Sof, to the level of unity defined as kisses.
  • The attachment represented in the act of kissing: Kissing represents an attachment of the soul of one with the soul of another and is a very deep level of attachment. This is the level that Yaakov desired to achieve, as the verse[4] states “Let Him kiss me with the kisses of the mouth.”

  1. How to achieve the level of “kissing” G-d:
  • The study of Jewish law: The level of kissing is accomplished through learning Halacha. The union affected between one’s speech and the speech of G-d when one studies the word of G-d which is Halacha is similar to the attachment of a kiss where the breaths attach.
  • Thoughts of Torah and Mitzvah performance: Likewise, thinking words of Torah attach one’s thought to Hashem’s thought, and performing actions of Mitzvahs attaches one’s actions to Hashem’s actions.
  • Charity: This especially applies towards performing Tzedakah and acts of kindness, as Chesed is the right arm of Hashem and by one practicing it, he is literally entering an embrace with Him, as it states[5] “And His right arm embraces me” Likewise, when one learns Torah in speech and in deep thought it is the actual level of kissing.

  1. Arousing love through mercy:
  • Through one practicing the above meditation in arousing mercy for the G-dliness in one’s soul, one can reach a state of great love, Ahava Raba, which is conscious within his heart, as the verse[6] states “To Yaakov who redeemed Avraham.” [Meaning, that the attribute of Yaakov, which is mercy, redeems the attribute of Avraham which is love.]


[1] Yeshayahu 55:7

[2] Vayikra 16:16

[3] Bereishis 29:11

[4] Shir Hashirim 1:2

[5] Shir Hashirim 2:6

[6] Yeshayahu 29:22

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