Sunday, August 01, 2004

A Condensation of Tanya (Conclusion)

Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

CONCLUSION: Ch's 51-53

1. Rabbi Shneur Zalman ends Tanya with an erudite discussion of the place of the Divine Presence here in this world, after first emanating from and passing through the upper realms. And in the process he explains how G-d "restricted" His Presence to the Holy Temple in antiquity and yet managed to nourish the entire world (which it still does).

2. He does it by comparing the Divine Presence here in the world with the soul in the body. For just as the soul "dwells" primarily in the brain yet nurtures the entire body at the same time, organ by organ -- so too is the universe in its entirety nurtured by the Divine Presence that dwells primarily in the upper realms and emanates outward to the world.

3. In fact, he points out that each of the upper realms has its own "Holy of Holies" (which is analogous in its own way to the one in the Holy Temple) in which the Divine Presence dwells and emanates outward throughout that realm.

4. RSZ then explicates the means by which G-d's exalted Presence resided in the first and second Holy Temples, and thus dwelt in the material world in the process. And he underscores the fact that despite the irony of G-d's Presence dwelling there and thus in this world, it still-and-all shines more profoundly and powerfully here than in the upper realms.

5. Hence it's important to know that "all that G-d Almighty has to dwell in since the Holy Temple has been destroyed are the four-square amot of halacha" since it's there that G-d dwells, and it's thus imperative that we study Torah so to allow for a dwellingplace for G-d in this world. It's likewise imperative that we do that is such a way that our animalistic sprit is humbly subsumed to G-d's Presence so as to turn darkness to Divine light.

(c) 2004 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

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