Monday, February 12, 2007

Tanya Ch. 14 (Part 3)

“Nearly Everybody”: The Inner Life and Struggles of the Jewish Soul

(Based on “Tanya: Collected Discourses of R. Schneur Zalman of Liadi”)

by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman


Ch. 14


When it comes to literally hating wrongdoing (see 13:5) though, we can't possibly simply "decide" to do that; we'd first have to foster the sort of great and mighty love of G-d known as the “love of delights” which the righteous bask in, in the World to Come (see 9:4 and Ch. 27) and sometimes even in life [7].

But not everybody can arrive at that degree of love, let alone *bask* in the "love of delights" as tzaddikim do, since it itself is a reward granted to those who strive for it, as is explained elsewhere (See Chinuch Kattan, Iggeret HaKodesh 18) [8].

In fact, our inability to just decide to hate wrongdoing explains why Job pointed out that G-d "created the ox with cloven hooves and ... the donkey with whole hooves ... " and likewise "created tzaddikim and rashaim" (9:7, see Babba Batra 16A and Ch. 1 in the original). What Job's point was that just as an animal can't decide to be born other than how it is, we likewise can't aspire to be tzaddikim unless G-d grants us that make-up.

The same was intimated for all intents and purpose in the Tikkunei Zohar’s statement that, “there are many orders and sorts of souls within the Jewish Nation: pious individuals, mighty ones who overpower their yetzer harahs, masters of Torah, prophets, ... tzaddikim, etc.” (1B). That's meant to indicate that just as not everyone has the capacity to master Torah or be a prophet no matter how much he might want to, not everyone can be a tzaddik either.


[7] Our sages referred to that as “seeing your (eternal) world while (yet) alive” (Berachot 17A).

[8] Moshe Chaim Luzzatto referred to this phenomenon (which he termed the state of "holiness") as being, "a twofold matter: (which) begins in effort and ends in recompense; and (which) begins in striving and ends in being given as a gift .... because it's impossible for a human to place himself in this state which -- because he is in truth physical, and flesh and blood-- is so difficult for him. All you can do is make the effort of seeking the true knowledge, and try to constantly give thought to the sanctification of your actions. Ultimately, G-d alone can direct you in this, the path you would like to follow, and can have His holiness dwell upon you and sanctify you" (Messilat Yesharim, Ch. 26).

(c) 2007 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

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