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Tanya In Simple English – Part Two

This part is called “The Child’s Education.”

It is compiled from holy books (referring to the Shala”h  Hakadoish, and the Mahara’l) and from Holy Teachers (referring to the Baal Shem Tov and the Maagid-) it is based on the first Portion of the Shema, “Hear O Israel, the Lord Is Our God the Lord is One.” “Blessed be the name of God’s glorious Kingdom, forever and ever.”

King Solomon taught, “Educate a child based on his mechanism, and he will not depart from the education forever.”

As he writes “based on his mechanism” – in other words, not based on absolute truth, so what would be the benefit of somebody learning something that is not absolutely true, and they retain it forever?!

The answer is based on the fact that it is known that the reason and source for fulfilling all of God’s Commandments is both love and reverence ( fear) of God.

Love causes us to fulfill the “Do Commandments” and reverence / fear causes us to not violate the “Don’t Do Commandments.”

And the Mitzvah of educating a child is also one of the Do Commandments (as stated in the code of Jewish law, Oirech Chayim Chapter 343.)

Now regarding the commandment to love God, it states in the end of Parshas Eikev that “I am commanding you to do it….to love God etc.”

We have to understand how is it possible to use the terminology “doing” when we’re referring to a heartfelt feeling?

Explanation is, that there are two types of love for God.

The first is where the soul seeks to naturally leave the body and return to her Creator.

This naturally occurs when a person manages to overpower their lusts and arrogance and crush it under the weight of their intelligence – than the Soul by nature will like a flame seek to go upwards.

It will take great pleasure in God, and rejoice in her creator.

Those who merit this great love are called Tzaddikim.

As it states “The Tzaddikim should rejoice in God.”

However not every person merits this great love.

For to achieve this, one has to overpower the coarseness / Grobkeit of the body, till they are very spiritually refined and in addition they need to have much Torah and good deeds “under their belt” in order to merit a very high soul.

Now the second level is the love that every person can achieve, when he thinks deeply, in the depth of his soul about things that inspire love to God, in the heart of all Jews.

This is both in a general love contemplation, that God is our life force, and therefore a person loves God just as one loves their own soul and life, for God is your true soul, and literally your life as stated in the Zohar on the verse “My soul yearns for you.”

This is also in a specific way when a person contemplates and understands the greatness of God to extent that their mind can understand, and even that God is infinitely beyond the mind’s understanding.

And then the person should contemplate  how great is God’s love for us – that he went down to Egypt, which was the most debased of countries, to take our souls from the iron crucible which is the Sitra Achara, the dark side God-forbid, and to bring us close to Him, and to attach us to His name and He and His name are one.

In other words He elevated us out of the depths of lowness and impurity to the heights of holiness and the greatness of God which has no limit or end.

Now the idea of this love which creates a reciprocal emotion to love God back, to attach oneself with all his heart and soul – we’ll explain in the correct place at length – This was the type of love that Moses our Master wanted to implant in the hearts of all the Jewish people in Parshas Veatah Yisroel in the verse “God owns the heavens…” “and it is only your forefathers that He desired…. “and you should circumcise your heart… (your arrogance and self-centeredness) With 70 souls you came into Egypt and now you are a great nation… and you should love your Lord.”

Therefore Moses concluded his words regarding this love with the statement, “That I am commanding you today to do it” for this is a love which you implant in Your heart by contemplating – as mentioned, emotions that create a reflection of love and therefore it is an action that you can do.

This is the commandment, “And these words which I command you today should be upon your heart” in other words that when you contemplate these ideas/meditations of love, it will create a love for God.

Now regarding this second type of love one can say that it is a commandment – in other words to contemplate things that inspire love; however regarding the first love which is a flame that ascends on its own, one cannot say that it is a commandment + furthermore, it is actually a reward for Tzaddikim so that they can taste the future world now, as will be explained in its place.

Now it is known the explanation of the verse that says, “A Tzaddik falls seven times and he rises” this particularly refers to a human being, for a human is called an “ascender/growing” and not stationary.

A person must continuously progress from spiritual rung to spiritual rung – and never stand on one plane.

Now between each Rung/level, before one achieves the higher level, there is a sense of falling off the previous level – just as one cannot step to a higher step, without temporarily removing one’s foot.

However it doesn’t actually say that the person loses his previous level, rather “he falls” – now this falling is only relative to his previous level, but relative to others he still is much higher in his service of God – for he always maintains at least the basics of his previous level.

However the main love that we have for God, even though we will always ascend in our love for God, is actually the love that we were educated in and we became accustomed to in our young days before one reaches the level of Tzaddik, and this is the meaning that even when you are older you will forever maintain the education.

Now the source of what inspires the love and a fear of God is the complete and pure faith and conviction that God is everything, and everything is within God, as will be explained.

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