The Basis of Tanya
The Tanya is based on the verse It is very easy to do Torah and Mitzvos [“this thing”] in your mouth and your heart to do it.
As mentioned in chapter 17, the Talmud states Is fear / reverence [of G-d] really so easy for people to generate?
Thus the Tanya explains – in a long short way, and a short long way, how to generate both the love and fear / reverence for G-d that will lead one to keep all of Torah and Mitzvos.
The first eighteen chapters are dedicated to the meditation of the long short way [this of course is based on the story of a traveler who at the fork in the road to Jerusalem asked one of the Jerusalemite children for the shortest route to Jerusalem, to which the child responded “there is a short long way, and a long short way.” The long short way is more lengthily however easier to achieve [the road was longer but paved] the short long way is shorter but harder to achieve [as there were potholes etc.]]
From chapter 18 to chapter 25 the Alter Rebbe – the author of the Tanya – describes the short long way – [for those incapable of the longer way which takes greater meditational abilities].
From chapter 26 onwards a fascinating display of deep psychological insight into the human condition which may impede the Benoinie is suggested and dealt with. [The Benoinie is the ideal which the Tanya encourages people to reach].
From chapter 38 onward a new understanding of the effects of love and awe / fear of G-d on the performance of the Mitzvos is revealed.
From chapter 41 new meditations fundamental to a Jew and his relationship with G-d and humanity emerge.
In conclusion the author helps us see how every good deed on earth has the ability to unite man and G-d in an infinitely unified embrace.
Tanya is basically a book of meditations. The entire point is to give us the meditations of love and fear / awe of G-d that will motivate us to desire to a) unify with G-d through doing his Mitzvos [which as mentioned in chapter four only through the unity achieved via the fulfillment of G-d’s will can man truly unite with infinite G-d] and B) the healthy reverence to not sin [or at least a fear of separation of him that causes one to not sin].
As the Alter Rebbe mentions in the fourth volume of Tanya – Iggeres Hakodesh – every human thought, speech, or action is based on a preexisting [or shall we say subconscious] fear or love. In order for us to truly unite with G-d and not separate from him, the fundamental Mitzvos of love, fear, and reverence for G-d [as the Rambam describes them in the six constant Mitzvos] must be present at all times within G-d’s beloved children the Jewish people.
- Be righteous [good] and don’t be wicked [bad.]
Your soul took this pledge prior to entering into a body and thus you are a Shaliach / messenger from G-d to affect this world positively. [See Sefer Hasichos Chayeh Sara 5252]
- Work for G-d happily.
- You should not be so loose as to lose your fear / shame of sin.
- You have two souls, one comes from kelipah – forces of evil – to give you life, and within it are instincts for anger and arrogance, desire for pleasure, pleasure from frivolity and scoffing, pleasure from boasting and idle talk, pleasure from sloth and sadness.
- Included in this soul are also instincts for compassion, goodness and kindness, for in the Jewish soul – or in a good gentile’s soul – it contains good in it as well.
- Your second soul is G-d.
- Know that on earth your soul is soul-bound to the Rebbe of the generation. [And you will receive joy through studying his teachings and fulfilling his directives. Go to www.ichossid.com for the most recent directives.]
- You need to give pleasure during marital intimacy.
- G-d is everything we see [this is explained in greater length in the second part of the Tanya, as well as in Chapter 33;] G-d is the Creator of everything we see, and everything we see is absolutely nothing relative to him.
- Now a concept that is not meditated on continuously does not create a lasting reverence and love rather a fleeting [temporary] one. So in order to create from the above meditation a lasting reverence for / and love towards G-d, one needs to think deeply and continually about it.
This meditation is the one most often quoted in the Tanya in order to arouse love and reverence for G-d.
When to have the meditation:
Whenever you have a chance you should think the above meditation. Additionally whenever you have a chance, thank G-d for the creation of the entire world that happens continually.
- The “garments / expression” of the G-dly soul are thought – i.e. study of Torah, speech – i.e. the verbal speech of Torah study, and actions – the practical fulfillment of the Mitzvos.
- Although they are ‘merely’ garments / expressions of the soul but since G-d is his Torah [as the Zohar states G-d and his Torah are one] therefore they are in fact superior to the G-dly soul [and thus are the method that the G-dly soul unites with G-d on earth.]
Know that when you study Torah, G-d and you become manifestly one.
Although not necessarily a meditation, the following points from chapter 9 help synthesizes the schizophrenia we are under due to two souls vying for supremacy within us.
- The location of the soul of Kelipah in man is in the heart which is filled with blood. [As mentioned, this soul gives life and the life is found in the blood] and the emotions which begin in the heart, like anger, rise to the brain to contemplate their fulfillment etc.
- The location of the G-dly soul is in the brain which gives rise to the emotion of love for G-d based on the understanding of G-d’s greatness and from there it travels down to the heart to feel an attraction / burning love towards G-d etc. Similarly the other emotions of the G-dly soul such as delight in G-d’s grandeur all begin as meditations and wisdom, and then travel into emotions within the heart.
- Now the body is like a city that two kings are fighting over in order to control its inhabitants. The G-dly soul desires that “everyone” should adhere to its desires, namely that the person should contemplate G-d’s greatness thus creating a love for G-d or even higher, a delight in G-d, and from there this love should enter the heart and even convert the Yetzer Hara [the desire from Kelipah] into goodness [and as explained in the Zohar that the Yezter Hara will be converted into goodness when its desire for physical pleasures and indulgences cease,] and that man’s thoughts, speech, and actions should be the study of Torah and performance of Mitzvos.
- Now the soul from Kelipah desires the exact opposite but this is only to challenge man, so man can be rewarded for suppressing these negative desires, as the parable of the harlot from the Zohar.
In other words our negative instincts coming from the animal soul are only given to us by G-d so he can reward us for not following them.
- The ideal state a person should strive for is what is called the Benoini; now the Benoini arouses a great love for G-d and reverence for G-d during daily prayer, and at that time the soul from Kelipah is completely suppressed, [i.e. its negative desires;] however after prayer when he is immersed in worldly affairs it then continues to pump normally i.e. sexual fantasies etc.
- Now everyone has an inherent ability to control what they think about, say, or do. So using the light of the G-dly soul the Benoini rejects the negative ideas that enter into his mind in favor of Torah and Mitzvos, goodness and kindness.
Summary with additional information:
- During prayer is the time to arouse one’s emotions of love and reverence for G-d in order to influence their subsequent actions throughout the day.
- A person needs to have self-control. [The Friedikeh Rebbe explains that when one orders oneself around they activate their innate ability to self control – as opposed to simply following your instinctual desires of what to think about, say, or do.]
- If someone harms you, instead of getting aggressive you should be even nicer to them, as our sages state, one should learn from Yosef’s love and goodness to his brothers [despite what they did to him.]
[The story is told of a person who spent all his savings on a nice Esrog and his incensed wife [feeling he should have spent the money on the family] rendered it useless / non-Kosher and he said “it’s enough that I don’t have an Esrog, should I also sin by getting angry.” In other words a person with self control can control their temper, speech, and actions.
- As soon as a person becomes aware of a conscious thought that is evil [negativity], they need to cease thinking about it and replace it with a positive thought; [for as thoughts are continues, the only way to get rid of a bad one is to replace it with a good one, this also applies to sexual fantasies.]
The Benoini ideal
- The level of a Benoini i.e. whereby ones thoughts speech and actions are always good, is what everyone should strive for.
Although what goes on in ones instincts [subconscious desires] is not under ones control, however as mentioned, what one actively thinks about, does and says, is.
You need to be aware of your thoughts, speech, and actions; and try to actively only think, say, or do good.
- Meditation to overcome negative desires that enter the consciousness [i.e. overcoming the urge to continue thinking / saying or fulfilling them]:
“I do not want to be separate from G-d; even the weakest Jew is ready to give their life for G-d, as they do not want to be separated from G-d; the reason they are victim to sin is because they do not realize that every sin separates man and G-d. I certainly do not want to be as silly as s/he is [in thinking that a sin does not cause a separation] and thus I will refrain from sinning in order to not separate myself from G-d, and I will attach myself to G-d through using my thoughts speech and actions for Torah and Mitzvos.”
When to have the meditation:
When you feel challenged, you should have the above meditation that will arouse your innate love or reverence for G-d and will enable you to do the right thing.
- Try to be a Tzaddik
Once in a while a person needs to try to meditate on the repulsiveness and disgust of evil, [i.e. if they lust after women, try to picture a woman filled with excrement as this will change the lust into repulsion.] Similarly all pleasures e.g. food ends up as excrement etc., and all the pleasures of this world through thinking their end [the Lexus in the junkyard] one can develop the said disgust. Conversely one should try to attain true joy in G-d through understanding his greatness.
When to have the meditation:
Perhaps once a week you should set aside an hour or so for the above meditations that will get you closer to the level of a Tzaddik.
- Know that your love and reverence for G-d are dependent on developing meditations and realizations of G-d’s greatness:
A great principle for the Benoini [the average person] is to know that through thinking about the greatness of G-d they develop the desire to attach themselves to G-d. [This serves as the basis for adhering to the Torah and Mitzvos for the only way we build a bridge between mortal man and immortal G-d is through fulfilling his requests. The example for this is between a wise professor and an unintelligent child. The only way for the two to connect is through the child helping the professor e.g. getting a glass of water etc. for the professor. Similarly by fulfilling what G-d wants we give him pleasure – as it states It gives me pleasure when you fulfill my requests – and thus a great emotional loving connection is shared.]
Another great principle for the Benoinim is that even if they cannot develop the said love [if their souls come from a level that does not have this capacity] as long as the meditation in G-d’s greatness leads them through self-control to do the Torah and Mitzvos this is adequate.
It is very easy for you to do Torah and Mitzvos
G-d wants you to meditate to the point of developing a reverence and love for him [which becomes the catalyst to performing all the Mitzvos.] In other words two of the fundamental Mitzvos of the Torah are to have the meditations found in this book.
- Now we can understand the verse [which Tanya is based on] “it is very easy for you to do Torah and Mitzvos in your heart and mouth, to do it.” It would seem that to generate a fear / reverence for G-d in ones heart [which is one of the Mitzvos] is not so easy, as the Talmud mentions; Rather the emphasis is not on the emotion of fear and love rather the meditation that brings about – even an intellectual – fear and love that will generate the impetus to actually do the Mitzvos. And as everyone can use their mind for whatever they want [unless they are truly wicked and as a punishment their mind is not under their control and they need to do Teshuvah / repent first] thus a person can think about the greatness of G-d to the point that they are attracted to G-d and thus desire to attach to him through the Mitzvos. Now as they also have the innate ability to have self control thus they can now use their self control to actually do the Mitzvos [they decided or inspired themselves to do] and this is the word to “do,” for this is the world of action, and all G-d desires is that we should have a meditation that leads to practical performance of good deeds, the Mitzvos of the Torah.
- If a person has sinned they cannot develop the said loves for G-d – for then their heart is under the influence of evil. Thus they need to break the hold of evil over their G-dly soul by truly regretting – becoming truly broken-hearted / filled with remorse – over their past sins. [Remorse humbles; thus breaking evils hold over man.]
When to have the meditation:
At night reflect over all of the bad things you have ever done.
How every Jew can maintain and increase their Mitzvoh performance
From chapter 18 till chapter 25 is the explanation of how a person whom for whatever reason cannot seem to arouse an appreciation of G-d’s greatness can nonetheless easily keep all of Torah and Mitzvos as the verse states “it is very easy”.
- Every Jew is willing to give their life for G-d [as mentioned briefly before,] now the reason for this is, because the highest part of a person’s soul is never fooled regarding the absolute unity of G-d within earth and has an absolute unity with G-d himself and the moment that one thinks about worshiping idols, then as a person knows that this sin will sever their relationship with G-d they are thus willing to even suffer torture – and all of those passions they desired previously become meaningless – for this high level of soul permeates their entire being and they withstand the challenge as many – perhaps tens of millions of Jews throughout the centuries did – by dying proudly for the sake of G-d.
Now many of them were very simple people, in fact many of them were sinners [like Yankaleh the thief who was offered clemency “if only” he would convert to Christianity and he told them “I am a thief, but I am certainly a Jew” and he died for G-d’s name;] so the reason they gave up their lives is because deep down a Jew would never do anything to sever their bond with G-d, it is only because the Kelipos are allowed to conceal this truth thus they get a person to think that certain sins don’t sever their connection, [and it is only for this reason that any Jew ever sins].
However when a person realizes that every sin is like idol worship – for both are going against G-d’s expressed desire – then through the following simple meditation they will never do anything wrong:
“I certainly would give up my life for G-d, thus to withstand some temptation [say a non kosher food or other pleasure,] I certainly can do this to maintain my connection to G-d.”
Additionally this works for the positive / “Do” Mitzvos with the following meditation: “Now, as I would certainly give my life for G-d, therefore to spend a bit more money for charity, or to pray harder [i.e. with more intent] which is far easier than say getting tortured to death – and furthermore the reason I would give my life away is because I wouldn’t want to separate from G-d, as I desire unity with G-d – so through a positive deed I am ever more unified with G-d, as G-d is one with those who fulfill his will [for more on this one needs to read chapters 20 – 24] and thus I will spend the extra money or put in the extra effort in order for G-d to be increasingly more unified with me.”
When to have these meditations:
Whenever you feel that you need to motivate yourself to do something extra good or refrain from doing something wrong then have either of the above meditations [i.e. the do good or refrain from evil one,] and this will enable you to beat your Yetzer Hara.
Now the Alter Rebbe [having concluded the basic idea of what a Benoini is and some of the meditations and methods to achieve this lofty yet eminently reachable status] continues with overcoming what can act as an impediment.
Firstly he states that if a person does not have joy due to sadness, thus he will lack the energy [Zrizus] in his fight against the Yetzer Hara, and just like the more energetic wrestler wins [not the stronger one] thus a lethargic and sad person is very easily beaten by his Yetzer Hara. [For if the person is lethargic / sad and the Yetzer Hara naturally is energetic then the odds are stacked.]
To get rid of sadness one must be aware of its causes.
- If the cause is from health, financial worries, or [problems with] children, then the way to beat the sadness is to do what our sages say to accept it with joy.
The reason for this joy is because nothing bad comes from G-d, however there are two types of emanations from G-d, those things that benefit us in this world [coming from what is called the “revealed world” in Heaven] and those things that benefit us in the next world, coming from the hidden world [i.e. we cannot see the benefit in this world] and thus one can realize that in fact this is a greater love [as the verse states those whom G-d loves he chastises] and he will receive an infinite and infinitely greater benefit because of this in the future; [as we know that a tiny bit of difficulties in this world creates the opportunity for a lifetime of bliss in the next.]
In other words seeing the positive result of the difficulty – as one would view an operation that has long term benefits – then the person will be grateful and happy about it.
[Obviously this takes a firm trust that everything that G-d does is good and without a trust that even the good things come from G-d, it’s impossible to realize that the even bad is good as well; I suggest you read “The Gateway To Trust” from the Chovos Halivovos which the Rebbe would often tell people to read to gain trust and confidence in G-d; (Additionally it was very inspiring in my personal trust-journey of G-d.) There really are no words to emphasize the importance of the above meditation, as well as reading “The Gateway To Trust”, for this is fundamental to Judaism, as well as having a serene and happy life. Suffice it to say that the only real method to beat anxiety that robs one of joy in life is knowing that reality is in fact good. Even Freud who claimed atheism writes that people who trust in G-d have serenity.
Only through trusting that G-d is good, and is only doing good to us, can we be both happy, and Judaicly successful [i.e. in beating our Yetzer Hara that is trying to psyche us out. If you gain nothing else but this meditation, you are on your way to a happy and productive life.]
You need to understand that everything comes as a result of G-d’s individual Divine destiny for you. As G-d is only good everything that ever has, is, and will ever happen to you is good. This doesn’t mean that everything feels good, however just as you would trust perhaps a parent or someone you trust who says “close your eyes,” and if you fall you understand it is only to lead you to a pot of gold, similarly with G-d.
When to have this meditation:
Whenever you feel stressed from matters of this world i.e. financial, health, children etc.
Getting rid of a second source of anxiety
- Now if the anxiety is from guilt [i.e. feeling bad over misdeeds], one should realize that this is in fact the tacit of the Yetzer Hara that is trying to make the person feel sad and thus lethargic and then easily get them to sin more and worse; [in fact the Baal Shem Tov states, “more than the Yetzer Hara wants a person to sin, he wants us to feel guilty that we sinned” for then he can easily conquer us.]
The best way to deal with it, whether it comes during the workaday or during prayer or Torah study is to say to oneself “Now is not the time to think of any sins or bad things I did, there is a proper time [explained elsewhere] to think about how bad it is to do something wrong in G-d’s eyes.”
When to have this meditation:
Whenever feelings of guilt over misdeeds come into your mind say to yourself “now is not the time to think about it, there is a proper time to think about how bad it is to do something wrong in G-d’s eyes.”
- When one does take the time to think about one’s sins, feel remorse, and repent [this should be done before going to sleep] – specifically set aside to do so – then after asking – and hence receiving – G-d’s pardon, then one must feel great happiness that they have been reaccepted by G-d, back in the good books so to say; [unless it was a sin to fellow man for then one needs to make amends or ask for forgiveness from them as a perquisite to asking forgiveness from G-d].
After one takes the time to repent one must feel great joy that G-d in his kindness has forgiven them and they have reattached themselves to G-d.
What to do when you get sad due to negative urges.
- Now if a person is getting down from negative thoughts that are coming into his mind [i.e. sexual thoughts during prayer or even just mundane thoughts; So it’s not that he sinned, but as a Benoini cannot control his instinctual urges – only what he actively thinks about, says, and does; i.e. the desire comes into his head and then he reverts to something good but he gets upset that he has such urges…] Then a Benoini needs to realize that it is only arrogance that is causing him to get upset about this, for this is the job of the Benoini and perhaps why he was created, namely to reduce the Kelipos and sitra achra [that provoke these instincts and urges;] for there are two kinds of delights to G-d, one when one changes bitterness into sweetness [similar to pleasure from sweet food, which is the service of the Tzaddikim;] and the second is when you take a sharp food but you pickle it in a manner that it retrieves the soul [e.g. pickles or tangy foods] which is the service of the Benoini;
In other words every time the Benoini reduces the sitra achra by doing the good thing, this gives G-d great joy; and perhaps with time G-d will eliminate the evil from within him completely; [thus he should not be so depressed over its existence, and he should be happy that he is doing such a good deed through not giving into these thoughts and changing the subject.]
If you are feeling sad that you have sexual or other bad urges say to yourself “By not actively thinking about these things I give G-d great joy, similar to what a Tzaddik gives G-d in his service.”
What to do when you get sad due to negative urges. Part 2
- Now even if the Benoini gets these thoughts during prayer and Torah study he should not feel down; for one must be exceptionally happy during prayer and Torah study [for one is united in a complete and infinite union with G-d then, which is a very exhilarating thing;] Rather just as if there were a gentile who was an anti-Semite and he was trying to disturb his prayers through speaking to him; then the obvious method would be to simply ignore him; for this is in fact what is happening, for as he is doing good therefore the Yetzer Hara is getting worried and trying to distract him through implanting foolish thoughts and desires; [and this is seen empirically for as soon as someone begins to Daven / pray, all of the sudden ideas about everything – usually completely nonsensical ones – flood a person’s mind – for the Yetzer Hara is just trying to distract us, not trying to help us;]
If you get distracting thoughts during prayer the advice is to ignore them – by realizing it is simply the Yetzer Hara trying to get you to think them, to detract you from your prayers.
- And thus the advice is to realize that one is succeeding in one’s battle against the evil in the world, and to strengthen oneself and try hard to concentrate and Daven.
Additionally you should realize that the only reason the Yetzer Hara is distracting you is due to your success in doing good and thus strengthen yourself for it is really a sign of the good that you are doing.
- However if it comes to a point that it just is impossible due to the intrusions of thoughts overpowering ones concentration ability then one should beseech G-d – for they are part of G-d [like a child is to a father] for their soul is a part of G-d – to have mercy on them just as a father has to his own child and G-d in his mercy will alleviate the intrusion of the Yetzer Hara’s thoughts.
If the intrusions of thoughts are so severe that they are drowning you and your ability to concentrate and pray, ask G-d in his mercy – for you are part of G-d – to remove these thoughts and he will.
What to do when one cannot seem to get passionate about G-d and their G-dly mission in life?
The following meditation is to help the Benoini as he often finds it difficult to concentrate and feel passion in prayer and this is due to the sitra achra and Kelipos that are hiding the truth from him [i.e. of G-d’s absolute unity within the world];
Additionally sometime he finds it difficult to Likadesh Atzmo Bmutter Lo [to withhold temptations for the sake of doing the right thing or just for the sake of making G-d happy;] And again this is due to the sitra achrah that is hiding the truth of the absolute unity of G-d in this world [which if a person would be conscious of this then obviously his desire towards G-d would be strong and s/he would be able to withstand temptations.]
So the meditation is in order to remove the power of the sitra achrah. Now the sitra achra is like darkness and with light darkness automatically gets eliminated. The purpose of this meditation is to break the darkness which as the Zohar states, “if a log doesn’t light, one chops it up into little pieces” [so the fire can take hold;] so by chopping the sitra achras ego down, the natural light of G-d, and of the previous meditations in G-d’s greatness will take hold in ones soul and heart, and allow the person passion in their service of G-d.
- A person should account for all of their actions in the past. They should see all of their sins; by doing this they will realize how great is the amount of evil they have attached themselves to; for when one does good they bring G-d into the world however when one sins they bring evil into the world and attach themselves to it, and thus they are worse than the lowest animal which is only following its instincts for they have through freedom of choice brought evil into this world and onto themselves.
In other words, if one realizes that they are indifferent to G-d and holiness then they should take time to realize how much evil they have brought into the world and attached themselves to, making them worse than an insect which is only fulfilling its G-d given mission but through freedom of choice you have brought negativity into this world.
- Furthermore one should shout [internally] at one’s Yetzer Hara as this reduces its ego / arrogance and it ceases to conceal the truth [as its entire purpose is that the Jew should humble it through this shouting;]
So one should shout at the Yetzer Hara “you are evil, despicable, repulsive, – as all the true names the sages describe it – how long will you conceal the obvious truth that G-d is the only reality; even here within this physical world, he is absolutely here, just as he filled this entire space before the world was created.” [I.e. the truth is that although our perception sees a world etc. nonetheless from G-d’s perspective there is no change for it is all within him.]
In other words if one realizes that they are indifferent to G-d and holiness then they should take time to shout at the Yetzer Hara calling it low names for this will break its hold [for that time over the individual].
A meditation to induce humility
Short Introduction To This Idea:
The sin of thinking one is better than another is perhaps the worst possible. Nothing impedes G-d’s unity within man more than arrogance as the Talmud in Sotah says G-d says regarding an arrogant person “I and he cannot be together.” In fact even Torah study – which as you have seen is so very great – becomes poison [as quoted in the Talmud in Kiddushin] if it induces arrogance. Unfortunately someone who tries to do good, and succeeds, is often prey to the Yetzer Hara’s trap to then think they are better than others. The following meditations and advice will help allow a person to keep G-d within them.
We should preface this meditation with the story that once a person came for a private meeting [Yechidus] with the Alter Rebbe – the author of the Tanya and he asked a fairly simple question – and the Alter Rebbe seemed to concentrate deeply – for five minutes – before he replied. Later his son, the Mitteleh Rebbe, asked him how come he took so long to answer this simple question. He replied, “I decided to take this opportunity to fulfill what the sages state, that one should be humble before everyone, so I looked into his soul and saw nine things in which he was superior to me.”
In this next chapter, the Alter Rebbe continues regarding what is necessary for the Benoini, and that is to be humble before every man; [it should be noted, man here refers even to gentiles. On a personal note I once had to drop garbage in the city garbage dump Erev Pesach [the day before the Seder]. I was mortified to see that there were people there who would take the garbage from you for the sole reason to collect whatever scraps they could get from it; however I will never forget the dignity on the older black man who quietly indicated to me where to place the garbage and I believe his innate dignity was greater than mine.]
- [It is also most important to mention that a religious Jew who thinks he is better than a non religious Jew has lost the entire legitimacy of how G-d judges people. As the Baal Shem Tov explains, G-d judges people based on how they think they should behave, e.g. if you see someone go through a red light and comment “that was a wrong thing to do,” thus you are held accountable in heaven for doing such a thing; There is a fundamental difference between one who knows about Torah and Mitzvos, G-d and Judaism, and one who doesn’t. This is called in Jewish law, a tinuk shenishbah, who is not responsible to keep the Torah [i.e. it is a voluntary wonderful thing, however even if he were to serve idols when there was a supreme court in ancient Israel – then although the Jew brought up in Judaism would be liable for the death penalty – but since this person was not brought up with Judaism, thus although he currently knows about it nonetheless, the supreme court would not consider this as an offence and he would not receive any punishment whatsoever; this applies to Shabbos Kashrus etc.
Thus although this chapter teaches us how to be humble before a sinner, this does not refer to a Jew who is living according to his ideals – or a gentile as well – even if their ideals do not include Torah and Mitzvos, for they were not exposed to the importance of Torah and Mitzvos from childhood when the definition of right and wrong become engrained within a person and therefore by following their own education of right and wrong they are considered perfect in the heavenly court – by G-d.]
In other words realize that you are far worse than everyone else.
- Now the sages say “Do not judge someone until you are in their shoes / circumstance;” for it is their background that causes them to sin or it is their current environment. In other words, say there is someone who was brought up religious, but their home did not properly inculcate the values of Judaism [now although this is not an excuse for every Jew should have the fear of G-d before him and never sin, nonetheless] one certainly can understand that the temptations of his environment is greater than a Jew brought up say in a Chassidic home, with no exposure to the secular lifestyle. Thus one should never judge another, for the test of the other can be compared to the following comparison e.g. if the Chassidic child now as an adult is praying with the greatest amount of concentration he can muster; [for this would be the true equivalent in terms of the test that G-d is giving,] and the same would apply to concentration during blessing etc.
Another equivalent test would be refraining from saying slander which is compelling but slightly derogatory about another; even just to exonerate oneself [as Rebbe told his son Rabbi Shimon “stop saying Lashon Hara,” when he said in reply to his father’s thinking that he wrote an incorrect Kesubah “I did not write it, Yehudah Chatey did.”]
In other words one who does not fight their Yetzer Hara, cannot judge another who doesn’t either.
In other words realize that you are far worse than everyone else.
- Furthermore G-d considers the sin of those who are ignorant [i.e. grew up in a Jewish background but are ignorant of the greatness of G-d, Chassidus, etc.] as accidental [for it truly is basically accidental relative to their lack of knowledge;] while one who is trying to get close to G-d and knows of G-d’s greatness, but does not fight the Yetzer Hara to concentrate greatly during prayer or to not say anything negative etc. is considered purposeful, [for this person desires the closeness of G-d and yet does not make the effort to achieve it; similar to how G-d was upset with Acher who rejected Judaism “for he knew of my glory etc…”]
In other words realize that you are far worse than everyone else.
Joy following the sadness
Now even if the above meditation causes sadness one should not worry, for although sadness over spiritual failings comes from the positive of negative [the good within kelipos,] for within holiness there is only happiness, nonetheless the method to destroying the Yetzer Hara is through its own means, as it states “the tree is chopped down from the ax that is carved from it.”
- And thus when a person is feeling saddened from something in this world [perhaps financial matters] or even just feeling low and not knowing why, this is the time to shout down the Yetzer Hara as mentioned how before [chapter 29].
When you are feeling sad – with a reason or just feeling that way- use the time to let loose on your Yetzer Hara calling it low names.
- Now after one humbles the Yetzer Hara [which is only for the subsequent light of the soul to shine forth] one should be very happy that one has a soul that gets unified with G-d whenever they do a mitzvah; and this is similar to a prince who was enslaved by the enemy [i.e. the soul in the body doing negative,] and the prince is forced to grind wheat standing in excrement etc.; now imagine the joy the king would have upon his sons return home, captured by a specially commando operation. Similarly when a Jew does a mitzvah and returns his soul to its pristine connection to G-d there is infinite joy given to G-d; and this should be a person’s joy all their life, in that, the good deeds they are doing return their prince – their soul – to their father, the king.
After you shout at your Yetzer Hara then feel great joy for you have a soul which is one with G-d.
- Additionally one should feel joyful that this is in fact the entire purpose of creation for G-d desired this unity with the soul here on earth, so whenever a person does Torah and Mitzvos they are uniting themselves in an infinite union with G-d which is the entire purpose of creation.
Additionally after humbling oneself you should feel great joy that through your Torah study and performance of Mitzvos you are fulfilling the purpose of creation.
How to Love your fellow Jew
Through the previous chapters meditations whereby A. a person feels utterly repulsed by their body’s lowness [i.e. their sins etc.], but utterly joyful over their souls joy [i.e. the union it creates with G-d when doing good] now a person can come to a true love for every Jew, from the greatest to the lowest:
Someone who loves the body and what is represents say good looks, power etc. will only love those “values;” think how you would feel with the most amazing person but their face was completely disfigured [got it?] Or are you attracted to someone that is powerful, say the President of the United States? [This is because unfortunately these are the body’s values, and if you do the previous meditations of the lowness of the body, you will not be attracted to these valueless “values.”]
- Now if someone makes the body’s values unattractive but the soul values important, then it is very easy to love every Jew, for every Jew has a soul – no matter what that person does where he or she lives, their financial status, looks etc. – and to start with, their soul may be a very lofty and great soul indeed; and furthermore all of us on a soul level are litterly brothers, for the souls of all Jews is G-d, and just as brothers love each other more than regular people do, for they share the common ancestral bond, thus you and your fellow Jew have a common ancestral bond.
[It should be mentioned, that in a televised Lag B’omer rally, the Rebbe said that we can love every creation, for it is a creation of G-d, something inherent within everything and everyone in this world.
Now there are no words to overstate the importance of the above meditation; in fact it is the most important meditation in Tanya, for all of Chassidus comes to teach us that more than G-d wants us to love him, he wants us to love his children, which is him on earth; and a father prefers you love the children even more than you love the father.]
In other words, realize that as your soul is what is most important in you, therefore you are truly united with every Jew, for they too have a soul just like yours, and both of your souls come from G-d. [In fact as G-d is indivisible, both you and s/he form part of the same entity.] Furthermore realize that the good in themm specifically – perhaps they have a great gentle disposition / soul – so see the manifest good in them as well, for this too will evoke your love for them.
Meditations for Joy
There are no words to describe the benefit of the following meditation; additionally two of the twelve dictums culled from the entire Torah and Chassidus chosen by the Rebbe for every Jewish person to know by heart, are found in this chapter indicating its supremacy above all else. The reason for its importance is because joy is a necessary prerequisite to be able to beat the intense war against the Yetzer Hara – in order to do good and not do evil.
- Additionally when a person sees they need to refine their soul through joy, they should think and meditate on the absolute union of G-d in the world; [this is explained at length in the second part of Tanya called Shaar Hayichud Vehaemunah, however for the sake of a complete meditation we will discuss it here in great detail.
Science has given us the ultimate paradigm of how G-d is one with the universe. E=mc2 means that energy is matter, so everything physical is actually an amount of energy, [c2;] now if everything is actually energy and all this energy obviously has to come from somewhere [remember you pay for electricity because it costs money to generate, not to mention it being a fairly recent discovery; and what comes out of an atom in a nuclear reactor according to Einstein is just a tiny bit of the actual energy that it contains, like a rich man giving away a thousand dollars;] Thus as G-d and his energy are one [for nothing takes place outside of him] G-d is literally everything.]
When to have this meditation:
When you see that you need to refine yourself through adding joy in your life [for as mentioned joy is necessary all the time] have the above meditation.
- Another way to understand how everything is G-d is as follows, think how the rays of the sun must illuminate within the sun, for it can travel 98,000,0000 miles [give or take a mile or two] to light up the entire earth, thus it must be able to shed light within the sun itself, now if this is the case, would anyone think of saying that there is sunlight in the sun? No; for as the sunlight is nothing compared to the actual heat and energy generated within the sun itself, [which as scientists predict, it can keep on generating this light for 4,000,000,000 years,] thus obviously we just say that the sun exists there. Similarly, relative to G-d – as everything is actually within him [like a thought is within the mind of a person] everything is only G-d. It is only to the outsider’s perspective and perception that a separate entity exists only because they don’t see G-d. However if the eye and the mind were able to truly perceive truth, all we would see is G-d; just as, if the materiality of objects would reveal their energy, all you would see is a blinding light. In other words, just as light of the sun on earth is perceived as an independent existence i.e. we call it sunlight not sun, which is only because we see it outside of its source [similarly we perceive the universe as being independent for we see it [as it appears to us] outside its source.] However the truth is the entire universe is within its source, but the source is hidden [like the energy in atoms that we don’t see;] and therefore we understand that everything is really just G-d. [Of course it is G-d’s kindness that he hides himself, in order for us to have an independent existence.]
Now if you will think about the above meditation for a long time you will get a great joy, for this is litterly the purpose of the entire world, that G-d desires a home in this world, [imagine the feeling that one gets when they go to their luxurious mansion on the beach – this world is G-d’s desired home;] and this takes place when the person thinks this thought [for through understanding, that G-d is you and the universe, this then becomes the reality within you, which is exactly where G-d desires to be, as the verse states “Make for me a dwelling place and I will reside in them,” and the sages say, “But there was only one temple?” And they explain, that every person who creates themselves as a temple for G-d, G-d resides within them1 [See the last meditation to understand how G-d can be more unified with himself i.e. as everything is G-d so what does our meditation achieve?]
[Another way of looking at it is that when you have this meditation then – as we know meditations i.e. intentions and thoughts create a new dynamic within reality / atoms – then G-d unites within you and this physical universe which is his desire and gives him great joy.]
Now imagine how honored you would be if the president of the united states decided to come to your home and stay with you for some time [the original example is of a great king but it is hard for us to relate to that; or perhaps another example people can relate to is their boss;] now imagine the joy of knowing that the president of the united states is living with you; you would feel such pride and this is the reality when you have this meditation, for G-d himself resides within you at this time.
And this is why in the morning prayers we say [before the first Shemah of the morning] we are so fortunate, how lucky is our inheritance, for just like if a material treasure which is given as an inheritance to a person, then the person would certainly rejoice over it; similarly but infinitely more so should we rejoice in this true treasure we have received as an inheritance; [i.e. the information we received] through our fathers which is, how G-d is one in the world and the world is G-d, and there is nothing besides him; [perhaps a real treasure gets spent in time, as most inherited treasures get wasted in a generation but this treasure whenever one thinks about it not only does it cause great joy to themselves, but they are uniting G-d in the world [as mentioned above] which is very much the epitome of creation itself.]
When to have this meditation:
When you see that you need to refine yourself through adding joy in your life [for as mentioned joy is necessary all the time] have the above meditation.
- One should imagine that this is their entire purpose of existence, as if this was the only mitzvah given to man [i.e. to have this meditation that everything is G-d], and through the joy they will generate within themselves through this meditation, one will raise themselves above all the concealments and difficulties that exist in serving G-d.
- And there is an additional joy in this; [it should be mentioned that this latter joy was the second verse the Rebbe had everyone know by heart,] which is the joy that G-d receives when we have this meditation, for there is no greater joy, then the joy of when darkness converts to light; and when we have this meditation, especially in the land of the gentiles where we live, which is filled with kelipos that give life to the air etc. then we transform this darkness to light, [and although we don’t see it, but G-d does. It should be mentioned that it has becomes a scientific fact that positive intentions change the shape of atoms] and thus through this meditation, especially in gentile lands, we give G-d incredible joy.
The follow up meditations and advice from the previous meditations
- Now this above meditation [that G-d is everything] was what created the highest level of service [i.e. doing the will of G-d / Merkavah] of the Avos / forefathers and the prophets to G-d; and to a certain extent the Jewish people got this level revealed to them at the giving of the Torah, however their souls were not capable of maintaining it, and at the same time, remaining independent entities which is why every time G-d spoke to them their souls left their bodies [and G-d revived them – until they finally asked Moses to speak as a middleman to them;] and thus they were commanded to build a Mishkan; and in the holy of holies this unity dwelled [as we know that within the holy of holies there was no real space for if one measured from wall to wall it would be ten Amos, and if one measured from a wall till the end point of the keruvim on the holy ark then despite the fact that the ark itself took up two and half Amos one would get five Amos on each side i.e. there was infinite space within finite space,] thus a person should have a follow up meditation – after increasing this knowledge of G-d’s unity in the world to whatever extent their mind can – which is as follows:
“As my mind is not as great as the prophets to have this meditation move me to a complete and total service of G-d, thus I will host G-d through my Torah study [as it states that since the destruction of the temple G-d is found in the space of Torah study] and as soon as I have time, [and at least] morning and evening, I will have a Shiur / class in Torah [or to the greatest extent I can] and in this way I will host G-d”.
[I.e. we are connecting this ideal into a practical reality, for when one learns Torah, as the Torah is one with G-d, thus G-d becomes one within the person at that time. And this is the intention of the above meditation, to motivate a practical unity of G-d within man, which is the true home G-d desires on earth.]
When to have this meditation:
After having the joy based meditations in chapter 33 then follow with the above meditation.
- Additionally if G-d enables one financially [thus giving them more time to study – and particularly these days on Shabbos and Sundays when people don’t work,] one should expand the time they host G-d in their body’s, through studying more Torah then.
- Additionally through giving charity they draw G-d into their workday and in fact through giving ten percent or even better a fifth to charity [or everything as the Rebbe encouraged], they elevate all the time they were at work [which was spent to make this money] into G-dliness, and thus expand the unity of G-d within themselves.
- Additionally when they pray and study Torah, with the energy of the food they eat, [bought by the money they worked hard for], it elevates that time to be united with G-d [i.e. the time spent making money used to by the food which gave them the positively used energy.]
- Now all of the above positive happy meditations do not mean that a person should not feel crushed inwardly as well [i.e. if a person is so thrilled over their relationship with G-d, they can lack any feelings of remorse over their failings which is a necessity in order to break the arrogance of the Yetzer Hara that hides this unity of G-d’s existence within everything, from them. It is important to note that the Tanya, as the Baal Shem Tov teaches us as well, demands a dual personality; A. on one hand a person is inwardly crushed but B on the other hand outwardly or manifestly very happy over their good fortune to host G-d, i.e. a humble person enjoying hosting the king.] And the reason for this is for one is crushed by who they are [i.e. the lowness of the body mentioned before, and for more on this please study the chapters at length inside] and yet at the same time overjoyed at their privilege of hosting G-d and their complete soul unity with him.
An additional meditation to help the Benoini keep his momentum up [in his seemingly endless struggle against his Yetzer Hara;]
The reason why G-d created this physical world and did not suffice only with the spiritual worlds is because even a complete Tzaddik in heaven i.e. his soul serving G-d in heaven is still not G-d himself; for he is a separate being who is loving G-d; however G-d is what he desires to unite with, which is whatever is the fulfillment of his will. [I.e. Torah and Mitzvos on earth.]
Now when a person on earth does a mitzvah, say says Amen Yehei Shemei Rabba then because the animal soul has said Amen Yehei Shemei Rabbah [for a person obviously needs his body to speak and do good when his Mitzvos are being done] therefore at that time – as this was the will of G-d – therefore the animal soul and the body parts included in saying Amen Yehei Shemei Rabbah become converted into light;
In other words the entire purpose of existence is this transformation of the animal soul into G-dliness and this unity happens only on earth where there is a body run by an animal soul and against its will the person does a mitzvah and thus fulfils the purpose of every cell and every atom ever created.
In other words when we realize that in fact our actions are the very purpose G-d created the world – for even as we are perfect as souls above in Heaven we cannot fulfill G-d’s intention – which is fulfilled only here on earth when we study Torah and do Mitzvos, then we have an additional motive and pleasure in the fulfillment of G-d’s will here on earth.
When to have this meditation:
After having achieved the level of Benoini i.e. one is constantly struggling not to give into their base instincts the above concept is very important to know.
Chapters 36 – 40
An additional insight to help the Benoini keep his momentum up [in his seemingly endless struggle against his Yetzer Hara:]
- An additional insight to motivate and inspire the Benoinim in their Torah and Mitzvos is given, namely that every light [i.e. reward, for the reward for a mitzvah is a mitzvah, namely the light of G-d that unifies within that physical object i.e. a Teffilin, Mezuzah etc. for that light will burst forth like lighting bursting forth from a dark thunder cloud and provide light for the entire world in the era of Moshiach] is all dependent on the work we do in the time of exile.
So whenever you do a mitzvah, realize that you are creating a light that will shine forever in the coming of Moshiach.
When to have this meditation:
After having achieved the level of Benoinie i.e. one is constantly struggling not to give into their base instincts the above concept is very important to know.
The beginning of service of G-d
In chapter 41 the Alter Rebbe clarifies what he calls the beginning of service of G-d, the fundamental part of service of G-d, and the source for all subsequent service of G-d: furthermore the Rebbe quotes one of the twelve verses that everyone should know by heart from the following lines:
It is not enough to have love for G-d in ones heart, a person must also serve G-d out of fear; [now one may ask, why should I have fear? And the answer is simple “Do you want to be a good person?” “Yes.” “Well it is impossible to be good unless you have fear of G-d, and the proof is from the Nazis, for they were officially the most cultured nation of the time, they excelled at humanities, “living ethically based on human understanding of ethical behavior and how people should treat one another,” and yet they turned into the most barbaric race ever; this is because they did not base themselves on a higher authority, and thus when it suited them, all of their ethics turned into a warped concept, that it is a “mitzvah” to murder innocent men women and children.]
- A person must draw the reverence of G-d upon themselves to at least not go against his will, and this is done through the following meditation.
G-d fills the entire world, furthermore he unites specifically with the Jewish people and even more so with me – as everyone must say that the entire world was created for them. Now G-d hovers above me and tests my intentions and my desires to see if I am serving him properly [i.e. am I following through with what I believe I should be doing.]
[In other words the constant recognition that G-d is right there in front of you and is watching your heart / intentions and desires to see if you are true to your own ideals of goodness and kindness should be enough of a motive to keep to your ideals.]
Although we have already given meditations on how to inspire ones love and reverence for G-d nonetheless one must always feel that G-d is scrutinizing their behavior, in order to be good. [Additionally as the Rebbeeim sometimes told people one should have a picture of the Rebbe, for through looking at a picture of the Rebbe Yiras Hashem is transmitted to a person.]
- Furthermore a person must accept G-d as their master. [I.e. I will serve G-d in any service he desires of me; just like a servant doesn’t ask questions but does what the master tells him, similarly G-d is my master and I will not ask questions rather I serve faithfully.]
[It is very hard for us to imagine the service of a servant for we live in a democratic world thank G-d, but picture how if you were serving the Emperor of Rome there would be no room for democratic banter but only faithful service and similarly accept G-d as your Emperor and you the faithful minister.]
Although we have already given meditations on how to inspire ones love and reverence for G-d nonetheless it is necessary also to accept G-d as your King to which you are obligated to serve.
- Now just as one serves G-d as a servant, similarly one must serve G-d as a son, i.e. out of love; and thus before one does a mitzvah, say Torah study, one should say: “The reason I am doing this is to unite myself with G-d”; [As G-d and his Torah are one.] However a person should also include the souls of all Jewish people in this meditation for at the source all our souls are one, and this is the idea of Lshem Yichud Kudsha Brich Hu Ushchintaeh [said daily by religious Jews] for the Shechinah is the source of all Jewish souls and it is the life force that allows everything to be created. In other words “I intend to unite the Shechinah, the source of all Jewish souls and everything – including the speech that I am using to say Torah etc. – and thus when I have this intention the Shechinah gets united within G-d in an infinite union.”
Although we have already given meditations on how to inspire ones love and reverence for G-d nonetheless it is also necessary to feel like a son and serve G-d out of love which will happen by using the above meditation.
Arousing the awe of G-d
- Additionally a person should meditate daily for a full hour – now this hour depends on the individual – for some souls can arouse the awe of G-d through meditating on his greatness almost immediately – but for others it takes a daily hour to meditate on G-d’s greatness, and that is, He fills the entire world, and is always testing the intentions and thoughts of man.
The purpose of this meditation is that it achieves a genuine sense of fear of G-d to the point that it affects their behavior. Now after this hour’s meditation, any time during the day, a person can reawaken this feeling by just simply thinking about it and without having to do a full hour’s meditation.
Another way of inspiring this necessary “fear” of G-d is doing what Chassidim do by studying an hour of Chassidus before Davening for the words of Chassidus is filled with reverence and grandeur of G-d.
- Additionally a meditation to have throughout the day is, that just as when one sees a king they are not in awe of the kings outside, for when he sleep the person feels no awe for him, rather it is from the essence – i.e. his personality and power represented by his inner being, and thus if one sees the king when is awake and naked one would still feels the same fear or awe from him; similarly although the physical world around us that we see is physical which is thus like looking at the outer clothing of G-d, nonetheless G-d himself is within it [for if not it couldn’t exist] and thus one should accustom themselves to not see the clothing, but feel the inner essence of G-d which is behind every atom of matter which we see.
[And this is also the etymology of emunah – faith, similar to an umon a craftsman who accustoms his hands to carve etc. and thus gets more accustomed and used to it all the time.]
The above meditation can induce great happiness within a person for their eyes will be giving them happiness just by looking at physical reality – when they realize they are truly looking at G-d. As mentioned this meditation takes practice but practice makes perfect. You should do it whenever you are walking down the street [perhaps on Shabbos] or just have some time.
- Another meditation [to arouse reverence for G-d constantly is] that one should always think: “G-d is my master” which is why we bow in Shmoina Esrie, for after we have accepted G-d’s kingship in Shema, through speech; we then practically bow to him in Shmoina Esrie. [Obviously accepting G-d as a master means that we are prepared to do whatever he instructs us to do.]
The above meditation, “G-d is my master” should always be in a person’s consciousness.
A higher level of fear / reverence
The meditations of the last chapter, are the Yiras Hashem – fear of G-d that precede Torah and Mitzvos i.e. cause Torah and Mitzvos, however there is higher level of fear which is actually embarrassment of doing anything wrong before G-d, and a reverence from the inner core of G-d, and this is what it states that “if there is no wisdom there is no fear” and this fear is the reverence that comes from understanding that everything is constantly being created by Hashem. And this reverence comes as a result of the understanding that as everything is constantly being created by G-d thus it is like a concept that a person has while it is still within their subconscious, namely completely united within that person [i.e. it is not external to him at all] and thus the concept is completely within the thinker and thus the entire world is like non-existence [similar to the example of the sunlight within the sun mentioned before] and this includes the person themselves. [In other words this idea leads to a great reverence for G-d, for “if everything is always being created by G-d and is hence within him, thus everything, myself included, is really only G-d and thus to sin would be to go against myself, not to mention G-d which is me.”]
However the only way to truly perceive / feel this reverence is through prefacing it with an abundance of Torah study and Mitzvos / good deeds.
- After one has truly dedicated themselves to Torah study and performance of Mitzvos [not only dedicated but performed] they should have the above amazing meditation.
There are also two levels in loving G-d: Ahava Rabba and Ahavas Olam
Ahavah Rabba is what is called a delightful love. In other words the reward for the person’s good deeds is this love for there is a great amount of pleasure in the love itself and this only comes as a gift from G-d and only to a person who has already mastered the higher level of fear mentioned above.
Now the other level of love [Ahavas Olam] what is possible for everyone to attain and this is the love when one contemplates G-d’s greatness: that he is everything we see; is the creator of everything we see; and everything we see is nothing in his estimation, much like the thought that someone has is completely nullified within that person [i.e. relative to G-d it is nothing.]
Now although sometimes this level of love can precede and act as a catalyst for Torah study, nonetheless the way a person should act is that they first do Torah and Mitzvos [i.e. Torah study and perform the Mitzvos they studied about,] based on the lower level of fear we mentioned before, and then following this they arouse the love just mentioned.
Following the reverence inducing meditations of chapter 42 one should have the above love inducing meditation.
Following the reverence inducing meditations of chapter 42 one should have the above love inducing meditation.
Now there is a far greater level of love [or love based meditation] that includes both Ahavas Olam and Ahavah Rabbah and this is based on what the Zohar says that one loves G-d for they are G-d. In other words like the verse says “I long for my soul!” Just as a person longs for their soul to be energetic when they are tired or sick [i.e. they long for their normal soul levels of energy] similarly when a person truly comprehends that they are G-d [as mentioned in the previous chapters how we really are only G-d for everything is only G-d,] thus a person then desires to bring G-d within them – i.e. the light of the infinity of G-d – through their study of Torah and performance of Mitzvos. [I.e. they desire to attach to their full soul potential.]
Then there is an even higher level of love that we can meditate and create and it is already present in a concealed manner [latent] within the heart of every Jew and that is to love G-d more than one loves oneself for just as sometimes a child loves their parents more than themselves and would happily give up their life for their parents similarly as G-d is every Jews parent we can motivate this kind of love for him.
Now although this is the highest level of love, so who really believes that they can attain the love of Mosheh Rabbeinu nonetheless as there is a part of Mosheh in each of our souls / hearts therefore it is in fact very easy to take this innate [or latent love] out of the recesses of our hearts and fan it into a fiery glowing feeling through constantly saying out loud that “G-d is my father, as he has created me, and I love him as a son loves a father.”
When we do this often [including not only saying it but trying to feel it as well,] then [and I am sure as our era is closer to the Messianic era – and as the Rebbe states that the revelations to be offered in the messianic era are now available for all] thus through the repetition of this meditation / emotional feeling one will create it permanently in their hearts.
[There really are no words to describe how valuable such a feeling is, for love creates serotonin / feel good chemicals and one who does attain this will feel better than any drug offered to mankind.]
Now if someone is not able to arouse this feeling nonetheless they can reveal this love through uniting with G-d through Torah study and doing Mitzvos while picturing this emotional bond in their imagination.
Now although the past two meditations, include the great level of Ahavah Rabbah in them, nonetheless one must also create Ahavas Olam which is the previous meditation of G-ds greatness. For this is in fact one of the reasons for our creation which is to realizes G-d’s grandeur through our minds. [Obviously this includes the great meditations into G-d’s greatness that we can now have due to scientific advances for example the divine code 1:1.618 which is the exact ratio of a galaxy and millions of other things such as a seashell, your arms ratio etc. and is found right throughout creation. Furthermore fractals – how every creation is similar but different, for example every leaf of a tree will be very similar to every other leaf and yet each one is different – just like all people look similar but all have their own characteristics – and the same applies to everything in creation revealing an awesome Creator and harmony throughout creation. Furthermore as we get to subatomic levels realizing how all of matter is really the same and even the structure of atoms namely tiny balls riding around their nucleus and the ratio is about [i.e. the nuclei] the size of an orange and the electrons are like flying around in a [comparative] two mile orbit which is higher than the clouds orbiting above earth and thus the invisible universe is litterly beyond anyone’s greatest scientific endeavor to comprehend; For the very orbit is an epic miracle just as the fact that the spheres i.e. the moon, the planets etc. all travel at precise orbits by some magical guiding system and the list of miracles science has revealed all pointing to the greatest mind in our Creator ever imaginable – is endless.]
Another meditation to help reveal the highest level of Love, Ahavah Rabbah.
When a person thinks what a pity it is on the G-dly soul [and hence G-d who is one with this soul,] for it left the highest heights of G-dly unity to descend into a world filled with evil [junk] thus it is truly in a pitiful state [like a prince working in a dungeon] thus one desires to unite his soul back to its original source. Now when he studies Torah or does a mitzvah particularly the Mitzvah of Tzedakah this is litterly like kissing G-d – reattaching his soul to its source.
Chapters 50 – 53
In these chapters the Alter Rebbe elaborates on what was mentioned from the holy child [a child that spoke with Divinity] about the importance of doing Mitzvos.
Although not a meditation per se it is very interesting and can sort of sum up as well the ideal of the Benoini, which is the practical performance of the Mitzvos – adding as Chassidus does the rationale of its significance.
To understand this the author begins with a question. What does it mean that the Shechinah was found more in the holy of holies [in the Beis Hamikdash] then elsewhere [for as we know, even space there was infinite within a finite place,] if G-d is everywhere [as he is] then what is the idea that he is someplace more than others.
To understand this the author uses a parable from our soul.
On one hand our souls are everywhere in our body [elsewhere in Chassidus the proof of this is given that as soon as you desire to move your foot you do so and if the instruction needed to come from the head there would be a minute delay to relay the message, so the desire and will of the soul [part of its essential essence] is everywhere. However although the soul gives life to the entire body equally [as both the foot and head are equally living] nonetheless obviously the command center or the operations manager is in the brain. So there are actually two emanations from the soul. The first is general i.e. its life force, and the second is specific which are the abilities of the soul. E.g. the soul is able to see, and obviously it places the sight ability through the medium of the brain within the eyes and all of the abilities in the correct organs etc. as we know, the brain is the source for the organs functions etc. [The organs are auxiliary and only serve the essence of the soul – i.e. its desires / what give it pleasure etc. for they are what help it attain them.]
Similarly although G-d is everywhere both above and below, he is likewise not revealed neither above nor below [just as you cannot see the soul anywhere in the body.] Yet similarly G-d manifested a single ray of light [called in kabbalah the kav or memaleh kol almin] and this is called the Shechinah which is the beginning of G-d’s indwelling as it were within the vast “body” of heavens and earth.
Generally speaking there are four heavens / spiritual worlds and this physical universe. So the brain would be wisdom of Atzilus and it resides in the holy of holies in Atzilus and then travels down to the level of Malchus of Atzilus and there the souls of the world of Atzilus are created and from it comes the light for the next world of Beriah. Now without getting to lengthily, in every world there is the holy of holies and there the main light source for that world is found and it goes to Malchus to create the angels and souls of that world.
When the first Beis Hamikdosh was standing which contained the Luchos, Malchus of Atzilus came straight into the Luchos in the holy of holies and in fact it served as a source for the Kodesh Hakadoshim of the world of Beriah Yetzirah and Assiyah. So in other words although it is true G-d is everywhere nonetheless the Shechinah the ray of light or its intensity is certainly different depending on the location from where it emanated, to serve as a light source to that world, to create creations i.e. angels souls etc.
Now after the destruction of the first Beis Hamikdosh [when the holy ark was hidden] then our sages state G-d’s place is found in Torah learning – Torah of course being the source for the 613 Mitzvos. And there G-d himself who is one with his Torah is found.
So in other words when a Jew uses his animal soul and instead of say being selfish helps out a fellow Jew [Chesed / kindness etc.] then at that time G-d himself unites with that person.
This is like a wick which is being burnt, for then G-d [as the verse states “I your G-d am a fiery flame”] consumes the animal soul and is lit [so to say] upon the person who is using his body / wick for drawing the fiery G-dly flame of the Shechinah upon him.
There are many stories of how the Baal Shem Tov witnessed quite literally columns of fire of kindness or other attributes, above people and later drew them into his inner circle of hidden Tzaddikim realizing how united they were with G-d.
In other words here we once again find the rational of literally uniting with G-d through whatever positive [good] thoughts we have, words we say, and Mitzvos / good deeds we do here on earth. Although we may not see it, but G-d and the holy Tzaddikim do.
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