Daily Tanya 20th Adar 2: Chapter 37-The greatest of the Mitzvahs which elevates the entire animal soul

(LY) 20th Adar 2

  1. Charity-The greatest of the Mitzvahs which elevates the entire animal soul:
  • Charity is equal to all the other Mitzvahs: Based on the above, we can now understand why the sages praised and extolled the virtue of charity to such a great extent even stating that it is equal in weight to all the other Mitzvahs. In fact, throughout the entire Jerusalem Talmud the word Mitzvah refers to this Mitzvah of charity.
  • Charity is the main Mitzvah of the Mitzvah’s: The reason for this great virtue of charity is because it is considered the main Mitzvah of the practical Mitzvahs and surpasses them all.
  • Charity elevates the entire animal soul: The purpose of all the Mitzvah’s is simply to elevate the animal soul which fulfills them and is invested in them, and have it be incorporated within the infinite light of G-d which is invested within them. Now, there is no greater Mitzvah than the Mitzvah of charity in which the animal soul is so invested, and hence the elevation of the animal soul affected by charity is much greater than any other Mitzvah. By all other Mitzvah’s, there’s only one soul power of the animal soul that is invested within the fulfillment of that Mitzvah, and thereby elevated, and even then, it is only elevated during the actual fulfillment of the Mitzvah itself. However, by the Mitzvah of charity a person invests all of his energy, as all of his energy was invested in earning the income which he now has donated to charity. Hence, when he now donates his hard-earned money to charity, all of the energy of his animal soul becomes elevated to G-d.
  • One who earns money effortlessly: Even one who earns money effortlessly is considered to be investing and elevating his entire animal soul with his donation, being that he could have used this money to purchase necessary bodily needs. It is thus found that he is donating the life of his soul to G-d.
  • Hastens the redemption: It is due to this reason that the sages state that charity hastens the redemption, as when one donates to charity one elevates a great amount of energy of his animal soul. This energy would not have been able to be elevated in any other way, even in the fulfillment of many other Mitzvahs.
  1. The greatness of Talmud Torah:
  • The sages state that the study of Torah is greater than all the other commands [which seems to contradict the above statement that the Mitzvah of charity is the greatest Mitzvah of all].
  • Elevates the inner garments of thought and speech: The reason that Torah learning is the greatest of all Mitzvahs is due to the great elevation effected through learning Torah. When one performs a Mitzvah, he only elevates the external garments of his animal soul, which is the garment of action. However, when one learns Torah, he elevates his inner soul garments, which are speech and thoughts.
  • Elevating the essence of the intellect of the animal soul: Furthermore, when learning Torah with intellectual depth one elevates not only his soul garments, but the essence of his Chabad/intellect which derive from the forces of Kelipas Noga of one’s animal soul. Through learning Torah in-depth, this intellect of the animal soul is now literally incorporated within holiness.
  • Why the intellect can be elevated, but not the emotions: Although it has already been explained that it is not possible for a Beinoni to transform the essence of his character traits and emotions of Chesed, Gevura, Tiferes etc. into holiness, nonetheless, one is able to transform the essence of one’s intellect into holiness. The reason for this is because evil is more intense within one’s emotions than it is within intellect. This itself, that the evil is more intense in one’s emotions, is because it nurtures more from holiness.
  • The study of Torah draws down greater G-dly revelation than Mitzvos: An additional reason, which is the most important of reasons, for why the study of Torah is greater than all the other commands is because one cannot compare the revelation of G-dliness that is drawn below through the fulfillment of a Mitzvah to the revelation of G-dliness drawn below through the study of Torah. Just as one cannot compare the amount of energy and vitality of the soul that is found in the 248 limbs to the amount of energy and vitality of the soul that is found in the intellect which is split to three aspects, Chochma Bina Daas, all the more so with a most infinite difference, one cannot compare the amount of revelation of the infinite light of G-d that is invested in the Mitzvahs, which are the 248 limbs of G-d, to the amount of G-dly revelation found in Torah which is His wisdom, the Chochma, Bina and Daas of Torah.
  • The revelation is within each person according to his understanding: The illumination of G-dliness found within the study of Torah is in each person commensurate with his level of understanding [and hence the deeper and wider the level of understanding the more revelation he has in his Torah learning].
  • The Torah is like water-In understanding the physical one grasps the spiritual: Although in the study of Torah below in our world one does not actually understand the wisdom of G-d above in the spiritual world, and his understanding is limited to its physical counterpart, nonetheless, the Torah is compared to water which travels from above to below [and hence even the Torah study of this physical world contains the same G-dly revelation].
  1. The main purpose are the practical Mitzvos:
  • Despite the above advantage of Torah study over the Mitzvos, the Sages state that learning Torah is not the main purpose but rather the action of Mitzvos, as the verse states “Vehayom La’asosom.”
  • Stopping Torah learning to fulfill a Mitzvah: For this reason, we stop our Torah learning for the sake of fulfilling the physical Mitzvos, if the Mitzvah is unable to be fulfilled by others.
  • Only Mitzvah’s make for G-d a dwelling place below: The physical Mitzvos is the entire essence of man, and the main purpose of his creation and descent to the physical world. The entire purpose of man is to make Hashem a dwelling place below in this world and turn darkness into light, filling the entire physical world with the glory of G-d, and making it tangible to the human eye.

  1. Torah learning has infinitely greater revelation-Continue learning if the action can be done by others:
  • Whenever a Mitzvah is able to be fulfilled by others, then one is not to stop learning Torah for the sake of fulfilling the physical Mitzvos. This is despite the fact that the entire Torah is only an explanation of the physical Mitzvahs.
  • The reason for this is because the Torah contains the level of Chabad of Or Ein Sof, and through learning it one draws upon himself an infinitely greater level of Or Ein Sof than is drawn through the Mitzvos, which are the limbs of the King. [Hence, Torah learning has the advantage that it draws down an infinitely greater Divine light onto the person, while the fulfillment of practical Mitzvahs has the advantage that it draws Divine light into the physical creations and makes for G-d a dwelling place below. Hence, whenever a Mitzvah cannot be fulfilled by another, even a Torah learner must stop and fulfill it in order to fulfill the purpose of the world in making G-d a dwelling place below. However, whenever A Mitzvah can be fulfilled by others, then he should continue engaging in Torah learning which draws down a greater Divine light.]
  • It is due to this advantage of Torah study over the Mitzvahs that Rav Sheishes stated that “rejoice my soul, for you do I study Torah,” as explained in length elsewhere.

  1. Only the study of Torah has ability to draw G-d below to be with the person:
  • Torah draws infinite divinity to the souls of all the Jewish people: As stated above, study of Torah draws below a great revelation of the infinite light of G-d. This revelation is drawn onto one’s soul as well as onto the souls of all the Jewish people which is also the Divine presence and is referred to as Kneses Yisrael, as will be explained in chapter 40.
  • Keriah-calling G-d like calling a friend: This capability to draw G-d below through Torah learning is referred to as “Keriah,” as through the study of Torah one so to say calls G-d to come to him similar to a person who calls his friend to come to him, and like a small child who calls his father to come to him, to be together with him and not leave him alone, heaven forbid.
  • Calling G-d with the truth of Torah: On this the verse states that “G-d is close to whoever calls to Him with truth.” This calling can only take place through Torah study, and this is the truthful calling that is referenced to in the verse. This comes to exclude one who does not study Torah and simply screams to G-d, “father, father, come to me” as this is not the way of how to get G-d’s attention to come be with Him below. This is only accomplished through the study of Torah. It is regarding this matter that the prophet complained that there is no one who is calling the name of G-d, as explained elsewhere.
  • Drawing fear when learning Torah: Based on this, every individual should contemplate this great power that is found within Torah learning, while he is learning Torah, and thus draw upon himself a great awe and fear of G-d during his study, as explained in chapter 23.

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