Thursday, November 29, 2007

TANYA [for the last day of the year]

Kuntres Acharon, Essay 9

הוכח תוכיח את עמיתך, אפילו מאה פעמים

[It is written,]1 “You shall surely reprove your comrade” — “even one hundred times,” add our Sages,2 taking up the hint offered by the repetitive form of the Hebrew verb.

ולזאת לא אוכל להתאפק ולהחריש מלזעוק עוד, בקול ענות חלושה

Therefore, writes the Alter Rebbe, I cannot contain myself and cannot refrain from crying out yet again, in a voice betraying [pained] weakness.3

במטותא מינייכו ברחמין נפישין

I plead with you out of deep compassion,

חוסו נא על נפשותיכם, והשמרו והזהרו מאד מאד על התורה ועל העבודה שבלב, זו תפלה בכוונה

have pity on your souls. Take care, be extremely vigilant, concerning the study of Torah and the service of the heart, which is prayer4 with proper intent.

להתחיל כולם יחד כאחד, מלה במלה, ולא זה בכה וזה בכה, וזה דומם וזה משיח שיחה בטלה, ה׳ ישמרנו

All should begin [the prayers] in unison, as one, word by word, not one person here and another elsewhere, one mute and the other idly chatting, may G‑d protect us.

ועיקר הסיבה וגרמא בנזקין, הוא מהיורדים לפני התיבה

The main cause and instigator of [this] damage comes from those leading the services.

שהוא הפקר לכל הרוצה לפשוט רגליו החוטף אפרתי

That office is abandoned to whoever wishes to stride forth and snatch the honor,5

או מחמת שאין גם אחד רוצה כו׳

or because not even one desires it..., so that ultimately the prayers are led by someone inappropriate to the task.

ואי לזאת, זאת העצה היעוצה ותקנה קבועה, חוק ולא יעבור עוד, חס ושלום

For this reason, this is the counsel offered, and a regulation established as law not to be violated further, G‑d forbid.

דהיינו, לבחור אנשים קבועים הראוים לזה, על פי הגורל או בריצוי רוב המנין

That is, choose fixed individuals fit for this office of leading the prayers, by lot or by consent of the majority of the worshipers.

And who, indeed, is fit for this office?

דהיינו שמתפללים מלה במלה, בדרך המיצוע, בקול רם

These shall be men who pray word by word, at a moderate pace, aloud,

ולא מאריכים יותר מדאי, ולא מקצרים וחוטפים, חס ושלום

neither overly prolonging the prayers, nor racing intemperately, G‑d forbid.

ועליהם מוטל החובה לירד לפני התיבה, כל אחד ואחד ביומו אשר יגיע לו

Theirs is the duty to lead the prayers, each on his day as determined.

ולאסוף אליו מסביב סמוך כל המתפללים בקול קצת על כל פנים, ולא בלחש ולא חוטפים, חס ושלום

He shall assemble close around him all those who pray audibly, at least, neither whispering nor rushing, G‑d forbid.

וכמבואר בתקנות ישנות בכמה עיירות

This is amplified in age-old communal regulations in many towns.

ועתה באתי לחדשן ולחזקן ולאמצן, בל ימוטו עוד לעולם, חס ושלום

I come now, writes the Alter Rebbe, to renew them, to strengthen and invigorate them, never again to be weakened, G‑d forbid.

גוולד6 גוולד7

(8The following two words appear in Yiddish9 in the Alter Rebbe’s original manuscript: Gevald! Gevald! — an outcry of agonized consternation.)

עד מתי יהיה זה לנו למוקש

How long will this be an obstacle for us?10

How long will we burdened by praying without proper intent?

ולא די לנו בכל התוכחות והצרות שעברו עלינו, ה׳ ישמרנו, וינחמנו בכפלים לתושיה, ויטהר לבנו לעבדו באמת

Have we not sufficient reproofs and troubles that have overtaken us? — May G‑d protect and console us with redoubled support,11 and purify our hearts to serve Him in truth.

חזקו ואמצו לבבכם, כל המייחלים לה׳

Strengthen and fortify your hearts, all who hope in G‑d.12

(Sabra: I cut some out here. Read full lesson here.)

ולהיות מחמת חלישות הדור, אין כח בכל אחד ואחד להתענות כראוי לו

Moreover, since, due to the frailty of our times, not everyone is capable of fasting as he ought,

In Iggeret HaTeshuvah15 the Alter Rebbe cites the classical works of Mussar as to the number of fasts prescribed for each major sin, so that a penitent will be able to render himself as acceptable to G‑d after his repentance as he was before sinning.

לזאת עצה היעוצה, כמאמר רז״ל: כל השומר שבת כהלכתו, מוחלין לו על כל עוונותיו

the counsel offered follows the declaration of our Sages, of blessed memory,16 “Whoever observes Shabbat according to its law, is forgiven all his sins.”

כהלכתו דייקא

The term “according to its law” is used advisedly, for the Shabbat cannot be properly observed without a knowledge of its laws.

לכן מוטל על כל אחד ואחד, להיות בקי בהלכתא רבתי לשבתא

It is therefore incumbent upon every individual to master the “great law” of Shabbat.

The term “great law” echoes the expression in the Gemara17 regarding checking one’s clothes before sundown on Friday in order not to transgress a prohibition later. The laws of Shabbat thus not only inform us of what is prohibited, but also of how to avoid transgression.

וגם יזהר מאד שלא לשוח שום שיחה בטילה, חס ושלום

Also, be most careful [on Shabbat] not to indulge in idle chatter, G‑d forbid.

בהיות מודעת זאת ליודעי חכמה נסתרת, כי בכל המצות יש פנימיות וחיצוניות

For, as is known to the initiates in the mystical wisdom [of Kabbalah], all the mitzvot comprise an internal and an external aspect — the spirituality of the mitzvah, and the physical act which it requires.

וחיצוניות מהשבת היא שביתה מעשיה גשמיית, כמו ששבת ה׳ מעשות שמים וארץ גשמיים

The externality of the [mitzvah of] Shabbat is the cessation of physical activity, just as G‑d ceased making the physical heaven and earth.

ופנימיות השבת היא הכוונה בתפלת השבת ובתלמוד תורה, לדבקה בה׳ אחד

The internal dimension of Shabbat is one’s intention in the Shabbat prayers and during one’s Torah study, to cleave to the One G‑d,

כמו שכתוב: שבת לה׳ אלקיך

as it is written,18 “It is Shabbat to the L‑rd your G‑d.”

Underlying the cessation of labor on Shabbat is the concept of elevation. When a person rests from his labor at any time, the energy that had been vested in it rises and returns to its source within the soul. So, too, the cessation of labor and resting on Shabbat means that the soul, which during the week had been immersed in mundane activities, is uplifted “to the L‑rd your G‑d.”

וזו היא בחינת זכור

This [internal level of the mitzvah of Shabbat] is the element of “remembering”.

The Shabbat comprises two elements, “remembering” (zachor) and “observing” (shamor),19 “Remember the Shabbat day, to sanctify it,” and20Shabbat day, to sanctify it.” Elevating the soul on Shabbat through proper intent (kavanah) during prayer and Torah study, is an act of “remembering”. reflecting the two commandments, “Observe the

ובחינת שמור בפנימיות, היא השביתה מדיבורים גשמיים, כמו ששבת ה׳ מיו״ד מאמרות שנבראו בהם שמים וארץ גשמיים

The inner dimension of the element of “observing” is refraining from speech about material affairs, just as G‑d ceased from the Ten Utterances through which the physical heaven and earth were created.

The external aspect of “observing” is refraining from active labor; the internal aspect of “observing” is refraining and resting from speech about material affairs.

כי זה לעומת זה כו׳

For21 “one opposite the other...” — speaking about material affairs on Shabbat is the inverse of the rest and elevation that a Jew secures on Shabbat, through prayer and Torah study.

FOOTNOTES (scroll down to the bottom or rather foot of the page)

Elucidated by Rabbi Yosef Wineberg. Translated from Yiddish by Rabbi Levy Wineberg and Rabbi Sholom B.Wineberg. Edited by Uri Kaploun.
Lessons in Tanya is Published and Copyright by Kehot Publication Society

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(end of Hayom Yom, 18 Kislev)

1 comment:

the sabra said...


Kislev 19, 5768 * November 29, 2007

"T O D A Y ' S D A Y"

From a letter by my father: *

The 19th of Kislev...the festival on which "He redeemed our soul in peace," (1) and our soul's illumination and vitality were given to us, this day is Rosh Hashana for Chassidus bequeathed us by our sacred forebears, (2) identical with the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov. (3)

"This day is the beginning of Your works," (4) the fulfillment of the true intention behind the creation of man on earth, which is to call forth revelation of the light of the inward part (5) of our holy Torah.

On this day, that light is called forth, in a general way, for the entire year. It is our duty, on this day, to awaken our hearts with an innermost, elemental desire and will, in the very core of our heart, that G-d illuminate our souls with the light of His Inner Torah.

"From the depths I called to You, O G-d," (6) to elicit the depth and inwardness of G-d's Torah and G-d's mitzvot from the inwardness and essence of the Infinite (May He be blessed), to illuminate the inwardness of our souls. That all our being (meaning our total existence, the essence and the extensions) (7) be devoted to Him alone, to banish from within us any of the natural traits that are evil and unworthy. Instead, all our works and affairs (our Avoda, meaning - davening and Torah and mitzvot, and our worldly undertakings necessary for the maintenance of the body), be with sincere intention for the sake of Heaven, as G-d wishes.

May G-d the Merciful Father have compassion upon us and lead us along the good and righteous path and may we "see His face in uprightness.

* Dated, Wednesday, Kislev 16, 5662.

Shabbat, Kislev 19 5703

Haftora: Chazon Ovadya. Av Harachamim (Siddur p. 191) and Tzidkat'cha
(p. 209) are not said.

Torah lessons: Chumash: Vayishlach, Shevi'i with Rashi.
Tehillim: 90-96.
Tanya: Title page, Approbation by a) Rabbi Meshulam...
b) Rabbi...HaCohen (p. viii).

The Chazan does not wear a Tallit for Mincha or Maariv - neither on weekdays, Shabbat and festivals, or Rosh Hashana.

Yahrzeit of the Mezritcher Maggid, (9) Tuesday, Parshat Vayeishev 5533 (1772). He is interred in Anipoli.

The Alter Rebbe (10) was released from his first imprisonment, Kislev 19, Tuesday, Parshat Vayeishev 5559 (1798) towards evening.

From the Alter Rebbe's letter: This indeed must be made known, that on the day G-d made for us, the 19th of Kislev, Tuesday (the day on which "it was good" was said twice in Torah (11) Yahrzeit of our holy teacher whose soul is in Eden, while I was reading in the book of Tehillim the verse "He redeemed my soul in peace," (12) before beginning the following verse, I emerged in peace by (the act of) the G-d of peace.

A day of Farbrengen and good resolutions towards establishing times to study the revealed Torah (13) and Chassidus publicly, and in bolstering the ways of chassidim in true friendship.

It is customary to apportion volumes for the study of the Talmud, according to the procedure set out in Igeret Hakodesh "Hochei'ach Tochi'ach" (14).

In Lubavitch, since the year 5663 (1902-03) this allocation was made on Tevet 24, Yahrzeit of the Alter Rebbe, there not being time on Kislev 19.


(1) Tehillim 55:19.
(2) I.e. the Rebbe'im of Chabad. In the Hebrew there appears after
"forebears," this phrase: "May the memory of those saintly and
holy ones be a blessing for life in Olam Haba - the spiritual
Hereafter; their souls rest in Eden; may their merit protect
(3) In the Hebrew: "...of the Baal Shem Tov - may his memory be a
(4) Siddur p. 288.
(5) See "On the Teachings on Chassidus, Kehot.
(6) Tehillim 130:1.
(7) See translator's notes, p. 122.
(8) Tehillim 11:7.
(9) Rabbi Dov Ber, successor to the Baal Shem Tov.
(10) Rabbi Schneur Zalman, founder of Chabad Chassidus. For a full
biography, see Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, by Nissan Mindel,
Kehot, New York, 1969.
(11) See Rashi, Bereishit 1:7.
(12) Tehillim 55:19.
(13) Talmud, halacha etc.
(14) Tanya p. 633.