So how about getting the Bible Of Jewish Mysticism – The Tanya in Cliff Notes – actually simple short summaries (of each chapter!)
Shaar Hayichiud – The Gateway To Understanding How Everything Is God and Faith (12 Summaries)
For The Alter Rebbe (Rabbi Shneur Zalman – the authors) introduction To Shaar Hayichud and the Tanya See Below
In the beginning God said, “Ten Sayings,” such as “Let There Be Light.” “Let There Be A Sky…” These sayings (in Hebrew… which their Hebrew letters) not only cuase the physical matter, such as water etc. to come into existence, but are continually within the very matter (as anything which needs a source for its existence must have this source continuously pulsating.)
(In other words because God is infinite and His Torah is one with Him, therefore the energy within these Holy Letters continually pulsate, bring to existence all creations – though based on the specific intent (say for a rock) specific Hebrew letters cause that specific combinations of energy to form the rock. Interestingly the Hebrew word for Water / MaYiM is similar to the atomic structure of H2O – 1 Hydrogen atom surrounded by two oxygen.)
Unlike when a person makes something – the individual can let go of the object (say a carpenter who fashioned wood into a chair…) but as God’s creation – the very object comes from nothing (say like imagining a chair) therefore God must continually imagine it into existence!!!
As every created entity in truth is like sunlight within the sun – only the human eye sees not the force of God – “the breath of His mouth” (breathing its life force, Energy = Matter) therefore in actuality, relative to the Life force from God, nothing exists.
God conceals His infinite light through the Divine name Eloikim and the Keilim (the Hebrew letters – this is so independent (at least in their self-perception) beings, can be created.)
A. As God and His emotions are one, therefore both his Chesed (revelation) and Gevurah (concealment) are a single entity.
B. A Soul in heaven – Tzaddikim who learn Torah Lishma (altruistic = to attach themselves to God) receive the Dew from a Heaven, which is the secret of the 22 Hebrew Letters.
As Havayeh and Eloikim are two parts of God, therefore but from the perspective of the observer (is there a separation / concealment.)
The purpose of the world is God wishes to reveal Himself.
As such there must be an “other” (you and me…) to whom.
The lower level Unity (Boruch Shem…) is as God unites with the name Adnay (representing Malchus / nature which conceals – now nature is made up of time-space so the essence of God is within all time, space.)
God unites – in a way that a human cannot understand (for there is “us and our intelligence and emotions” which are separate (as there was a time when we existed prior to knowing or feeling something…) whereas in God, they are one.
Though God’s emotions are infinitely below him, yet nevertheless He unifies with them and they are then one.
The reason the Kabbalists termed God’s Sefiros / emotions as light, to demonstrate that just as light within the sun is one with the essence of the sun… ( Each day of creation God expressed one of the emotions, so on the first day the emotion of kindness created light..)
Now the purpose of an emotion (speech by way of example) is revelation (emotions are relative to another (“I love/despise etc. something/someone…”) as such, the concept of God’s emotions exist only inasmuch as God is dealing with others (and the concept of God’s thought – like thoughts which are hidden – create the hidden world – and God’s speech such as “Let there be light” (which of-course as all speech must be based on an emotion (desire) to say those words, create the specific creation (such as light.))
All beings are the combinations of the letters – the letters show on specific Divine energies (Yes, 22 letters are the sum total of all creations.)
Likutei Amaraim The Book For Benoinis (53 Summaries)
1 Chapter one clarifies that in each and every Jew reside both a Holy Divine Spirit as well as a self-oriented “animal” spirit (life-force.)
2 The Second Soul In A Jew Literally Is Part Of God.
3 The Divine Soul Has An Intellectually Born – Namely from realizing the awesome greatness of God – Reverence and Love (for God.)
Furthermore to have an emotion that remains, one must employ Daas (a deep attachment – otherwise the emotion born is fleeting.)
3. Torah and Mitzvos being the Will And Wisdom of God, Which Is One With God, Hence The Soul That Thinks, Speaks and Does Torah and Mitzvos Becomes Intimately United (with God.)
4. Torah and Mitzvos being the Will And Wisdom of God, Which Is One With God, Hence The Soul That Thinks, Speaks and Does Torah and Mitzvos Becomes Intimately United (with God.)
5. Torah surpasses even Mitzvos, in that the light of God which envelopes a person who does a Mitzvah is like clothing (enwrapping externally) whereas Torah – as it is God Himself – and is intellectually studied and comprehended by the mind, is like “ingesting Godliness” (as such, the clothing that allows a soul to receive Divine Light in Gan Eden, Heaven, are Mitzvos; and the actual Light is the radiation of the Torah (they studied.))
6. Just as the side of Holiness creates a positive side (Chapters 2-5 discussed the Divine Soul, Her Intellect, Emotions, and Clothing…) the Kelipa – Opposing Side, has souls that are attracted to pleasures (as mentioned in Chapter 1) that are selfish.
When a person places their thoughts, speech, and actions in worldly matters (with no Holy motive…) this causes that at that time, that the thought speech and actions are energized by the Kelipah – opposite side (Holiness is anything that is fulfilling God – both in potential or actually.)
7 Kelipas Noga (which constitutes Kosher and permissible food items, relations, actions) will either ascend into Kedusha (holiness) when a person uses these items or acts, with holy intent (to fulfil the will of God) or will descend into the three completely impure Kelipah if one’s intention was gluttonous – self-gratification.
Something, say kosher, for a selfish intent that thereby causes a descent, can be elevated through Teshuva – using that energy now for a Mitzvah.
In contrast something unkosher cannot be elavated – unless one does a powerful Teshuva (whereby their feeling of distance from God due to the sin, compels their newfound longing and return to God.)
8 If one drinks / eats unkosher food it will not elevate.
Similarly a person who speaks ill of others (Lashoin Hara) there are severe punishments in hell (to excoriate from the soul, this evil (desire.))
Though certain people cannot be blamed for indulging in frivolous experiences (such as chit-chat – food pleasure) as they don’t have the intelligence for Torah etc. nevertheless as a stain remains on the soul (…an addiction to these desires) therefore the punishment of Kaf Hakela (where the soul is shown the contrast between heaven and this world (meaning and foolishness) and Chibut Hakever (when the body is eaten by worms – which is painful for the soul to see…) occur. (In contrast to one who takes no pleasure from this world, their body is not eaten – their soul directly ascends.)
9 The Godly soul is located in the mind, and its intellectual perceiving of God’s majesty and greatness, cuase the right side of the heart (where its emotions reside) to flame. Its desire is that this love should be so strong in order to convert all of the animal soul’s selfish pleasure (so the person is consumed but with a love and reverence for God.)
In contrast, the animal soul which located in the left side of the heart – filled with blood – spreads to the mind, to contemplate how to attain its desires. So the body and its powers of thoughts, speech, and action are being fought over.
Both the Godly and animal soul seek complete control.
10 The Tzaddik Gamur – complete Tzaadik, has such a great love for God (and despising of physical pleasure which stem from Kelipa, the opposite of God) that he converts his animal soul into pure goodness.
A lower lever is an incomplete Tzaddik, who though his love for God is very great – it is not to the extent of converting the minute desires for physical pleasures into Divine pleasure.
11 The two types of Rashas are discussed. Namely one who occasionally sins but then repents (Teshuvah) and even one who frequently sins, but at least feels bad – this is called the Rasha Vtoiv Loi – A Rasha that has good. (In contrast if God-forbid a person ceases to even feel remorse – this is a “Rasha Vra Loi” – A Rasha and its all bad. (Though notwithstanding his current state of affairs, His Divine Soul at least is “hovering” above him. Hence even ten Rashas have the Shechina and constitute a Minyan.)
12 This chapter explains the Benoini.
Though he does not have control over his subconscious (animal soul) desires, nevertheless his love for God and convictions cuase that he will never sin. Not only in speech and action, but even in thought (when he is aware he is thinking something inappropriate, he diverts his thought (particularly to thinking something Holy.) Similarly if he perceives he has resentment, not only does he “forgive and forget,” but will go to the opposite extreme, to be kind to those who are not.)
13 Everyone can be a Benoini – for it just requires positive action / resolve.
14 Everyone can / should be a Benoini.
Though what differentiates a Tzaddik from a Benoinie is the delight in God, as well as the repulsion of evil nevertheless the Benoini (to fulfil is heavenly oath, “Be A Tzaddik”) should set times when he imagines delight in God and repulsion of worldly pleasure (“a woman filled with excrement.” Or imaging the end of say steak, thereby turning lust into repulson.)
15 There are two levels in Benoini: a. One who will constantly struggle to do the will of God – or at least to advance (for all “going outside one’s comfort zone” requires love / motivation (for the goal.) b. the other who doesn’t (though has become accustomed to always thinking, speaking, doing right.)
16 Because a person can discipline themselves, everyone can be a Benoini – as we can tell ourselves what to do, including what to think about (namely during Davening/prayer we should contemplate the greatness of God, generating a palpable motivating love and reverence for God – and even if we can’t generate a strong emotional love and fear of God, but one that continually generates a motive to do His will, this is adequate.)
18 Everyone can be a Benoini – the reason being a. it is all about the action (or contemplations that arouse love etc. for God, and every mind has the capacity to think, as well as instruct oneself.) b. Every Jew, as an inheritance from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has God as the source of their soul (and in the subsequent chapters we will learn how to awaken this spark, that motivates love and reverence for God.)
20 The reason it’s very easy for a Jew to do all of Judaism, through a love for God is because the Divine spark always is in love (we see a clear proof of this, whereas even Jews who did not involve themselves in Judaism, when it came to a challenge to their core soul (“Kiss the cross or the sword”) they happily abandon all their previous desires and even gave for God their very life.)
20 This whole world is like a single word – actually not even like a word, like the inkling of the desire (which will eventually go into the mind to form a word.) As such, if this world is like a single word – hence to God who is capable of infinite… (words, the whole world is like nothing.)
21 Everything is really like nothing – as God used “speech” to create the world. (Speech means to reveal (like what we do when we speak – but this revelation and experience of things is only relative to the perceivers; relative to the speaker, the speech reveals nothing.)
22 Tzimtzum (contraction / concealment) is the process whereby the infinite ray from the infinite light descends to such a low (concealed /contracted degrees) that even the Kelipa (which God despises) can be created.
God only dwells on (in) those who (to Him) are humble (whereas arrogance / Kelipa, receives backhanded.)
23 As when you study Torah, you “ingest” the Torah in your mind, and as the Torah is the wisdom and will of God (transcending all universes, which receive but energy from it – and a low amount…) therefore we can now comprehend how awesome is the unity that our soul experiences as it merges with Divinity when we study Torah and to a lesser extent our body (which being used as an expression of the Divine will, likewise.)
24 When A Jew sins, he is taking the God-Head (the highest element of Godliness – the source of life that is within Him) and placing it into like a toilet bowl (…the kelipah that are reprehensible and repulsive – though through repentance, one once again reconnects.)
25 A meditation / contemplation to always beat the Yetzer Hara is that as I would be ready to maintain my connection to God even if it cost my life, so say, praying with devotion or refraining from a pleasurable food (that isn’t Kosher) to maintain or strengthen my connection, is easy.
26 To beat the Yetzer Hara you need to feel happy (for in joy you have energy, and you can win, whereas in sadness you are lethargic and susceptible to temporary gratification.)
If sadness comes from financial, familial, health etc. worries, realize that God loves you and the bad is God’s loving gift (for a greater reason. (ED. Obviously if you can alleviate the problem you must.)
If the worry / sadness is from guilt – ignore guilt! as its the Yetzer Hara’s trick! There are appropriate times for repentance (but never for guilt.)
27 What if someone is feeling sad/guilty from say thinking sexual thoughts (not God-forbid sinning). The person should realize that every time they repel these thoughts (divert their attention) they are making God exceedingly happy – even greater than all Mitvos!
29 If one is feeling guilty that sexual imagery thoughts enter their mind during prayer, one should realize that this is not a problem. As there are two souls and as the animal soul recognizes the Godly soul winning, it’s putting up a fight. Hence the solution is to simply ignore (just as if someone was maliciously trying to distract your prayer, ignoring would be the best solution – however if it is too onerous, you should ask God to have mercy on you, and remove these thoughts, especially as you are a part of God.)
30 If a person finds they can’t motivate their prayer (they are feeling dull…) furthermore they find it difficult to overcome temptation, then they should humble themselves by recalling all of their sins. Furthermore they can shout at their evil Yetzer Hara, “You are loathsome, despicable, evil, vile” (all the accurate names the sages describe her – this has the ability to remove her sole existence, a narcissistic illusion – allowing the truth of the soul to shine.)
30 Be Humble – consider yourself lower than others, even people who sin, by recognizing firstly it is their circumstance (and had you been in their shoes you probably would not be different.) Secondly, though you know about God and desire His closeness, you fail to exert yourself (so on what basis could you condemn another, who likewise.)
31 In the previous chapter we spoke (and in some others) about a person humbling themselves through recalling their sins (often this mechanism is mentioned…) Now we know sadness is opposite to holiness which must be joyful. As such, to counteract the sadness, a person should meditate (say to themselves) “Whereas the lowness of the body / the Yetzer Hara is true, nonetheless the spirit of God is in me (my Godly soul) and her greatest pleasure is when she reconnects to her heavenly father (this is accomplished when we study Torah, pray, and do Mitzvos!) As such this will be my life’s aim and joy!”
32 The way to have true unconditional Ahavas Yisroel, love for your fellow, is by understanding that a. as the body is reprehensible (and the body’s desires are what cuase division) b. our souls are actually what is so beautiful in us! Furthermore our souls, in her source – God – are actually both a single entity and then (as they become subdivided) are brothers and sisters (as they come from the One Father). And even when you find reason that a person sin’s vex, instead of hating them you can feel compassion (that their spirit is being overpowered by the dark side.)
33 The way to be happy, is to realize our entire universe is subsumed within God (like a single thought within the mind of the thinker etc.)
We should also take great joy in God’s joy who receives pleasure when we have this contemplation – eliminating the perception of multiplicity – namely its all the one God.
34Firstly this (Chapter 33’s) meditation, (contemplation, that everything is truly subsumed and hence one with God) was the continuous connection to God that our forefathers and the prophets and most of all Moses had.
We who do not have the capacity (to maintain such a continuous deep bond – and contemplation) must offer to “host God” – for whenever we study Torah or pray and do a Mitzvah – and even give 10% of earning to Charity, we connect ourselves and our body and soul and work to God (in fact when we eat and drink and later use that energy for prayer, all the molecules elevate to holiness.)
Finally just as one (previous chapters…) should be humble from seeing the lowness of the body /animal soul – we should simultaneously rejoice in the great pleasure of the Divine.
35 Whenever you do a Mitzvah, the Divine light (the Shechina – God) in you, merges.
36 The entire purpose of life is – Dirah Bitachtoinim – for the infinite light of God to shine below.
38 The purpose of Mitzvos is to refine the animal soul and body (the Godly soul doesn’t need to be refined.)
This is why the words of prayer need to be said (as the more physically involved a Mitzvah is, the more the physical body is refined – notwithstanding that intention (concentration) is also very lofty.)
39 Depending on our motive, namely either Innate love / reverence for God; Intellectually generated love / reverence for God; The level of Merkavah (totally selfless as our forefathers / Tzaddikim; And even God forbid negative (say to be called “Rabbi” (namely honor;) Or even just habit, determines to which universe (namely Atzilus, Beriah, Yetzirah (or lack thereof…) our Torah and Mitzvos ascend.
40 The study of Torah connects to God.
41 To begin with we must have a reverence to fear sin and we must also dedicate our lives not only in love and fear (reverence) of God, but also to undertake like a servant, “I will serve God in any way He requests.”
42 We need to “Know” God – this means to contemplate perhaps an hour on the greatness of God till we sense – or similar to the knowledge of one you see (hence know.)
43 There are two levels of fear of God and two levels of love – there is the fear born (or awe inspired) from seeing the greatness of this universe. And there is the healthy sense of shame, recognizing that God is constantly gazing at you and He is the very essence of all reality (including you). Likewise there is a “Great Love” which is a sublime level, in which one actually feels pleasure in God. And then there is the “love of the world,” which comes from seeing the greatness of God (from contemplating nature etc.)
44 A number of contemplations for rousing a great love for God are discussed: By realizing (and verbalizing) that “God is your life source” – “God is your father” – as well as taking pleasure in God’s joy in being with you (Dirah Bitachtionim) and more.
45 Another form of love for God is arousing compassion for the poor Divine Soul (the spark of GOD) that has been forced from the highest heights, celebrating with her father in Heaven to the lowest denigration, your body on earth (especially realizing the debased thoughts, speech or actions you have done).
46 Here we are introduced to the type of love for God, called reciprocal, by contemplating the incredible love and unity that God bestowed upon us; He descended (imagine a great king doing this…) from His infinitely sublime realm (beyond infinite beings etc.!) and came into the most depraved, debased land, to save us and unify, and become with our soul, one! By giving us the Torah and the holiness and unity its Mitzvos cuase between us and Him.
47 We must daily leave Egypt – this is our soul leaving the prison of our body to unite with God through Torah and Mitzvos – particularly when we say the Shemah.
48 In this chapter the Alter Rebbe firstly gives us an understanding that infinity has no comparison to the finite, hence the infinite light and will of God is infinitely beyond and can never be contained in the finite – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there, only that it isn’t revealed.
49 By realizing that God infinitely condenses His infinite self, due to His love for us finite Beings (and therefore relatively speaking we are infinitely less,) This should cuase – especially in the blessings prior, and in the recitation of Shema – a reciprocal love (to the extent, we will abandon all of our loves, including what we are naturally attracted to, our wife, children, body (honor) possessions, and be ready to abandon everything to do God’s will from infinite reciprocal love.)
50 The Golden Love is realizing, before God everything is actually nothing! And when your heart “runs” to God, you must return (to your purpose in life! And then once again awaken your Divine yearning.)
51 The analogy of the Shechina is similar to the soul in the body – on one hand the brain has the essence of the life-force but from there it is spreads to each organ for its functionality – similarly, God creates all reality yet (the Malchus) in each world, dishes out the specific energy for the specific creations (as per their individualized needs.)
52 Just as the soul is a simple Force which comes into the mind, and then from the mind all the individual parts of the body receive their life-force – in a similar sense, the beginning of the revelation of the God’s presence (the Shechina) comes into the Chaba”d / intelligence of the world of Atzilus, which is also referred to as the Holy of Holies – it then descends into the level of Malchus of Atzilus. Then Malchus of Atzilus, drawing its energy from the Divine intelligence which is also the level of the Torah and Mitzvos, God’s will and wisdom – then creates the Beings (souls) within that Universe, namely the structure of the universe, as well as the souls and Angels within her. Then Malchus of Atzilus descends into forming the Chaba”d, and the Holy of Holies in the world of Beriah, which then descends into Malchus of Beriah, to likewise create the world of Beriah, and the angels and souls within her. This process continues to the next World of Yetzirah, and of course the next World of Asiyah.
53 The Shechina descended into the Beis Hamikdosh and after its destruction – it came into the laws of Halacha – effectively when a Jew sacrifices his life (will) for Hashem.
Intro. To Shaar Hayichud Veha-emuna – Gateway To Understanding
How God Is Everything & Faith
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?!
Love & Reverence
The answer is based on the fact that it is known that the reason and source for fulfilling all of God’s Commandments are 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 – then 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 nor end.
Now the idea of this love, which creates a reciprocal emotion to love God back, and 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 Ve-atah 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 can 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.” 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 love and fear of God is the complete and pure faith and conviction that God is everything, and everything is within God, as will be explained.