Monday, 31 March 2008


And behold, by means of fulfilling the things spoken about above[1], that a person’s body should be despised and disgusting in his eyes – and that his only happiness should be the happiness of the soul alone: Behold, this is the upright and easiest way to come to fulfilling the Mitzvah of “And you shall love your fellow man as you love yourself” – “ואהבת לרעך כמוך” towards every Jewish soul from great to small.

Since it is that his body is disgusting and despicable towards him, and the[2] soul and the spirit[3] – who knows their greatness and high level in their root and source (Root and Source) in the living G-d. Since all[4] are fitting and there is one Father to them all. And therefore all of Yisrael[5] are called “brothers”[6] in absolute reality[7] from the point of view of the root of their soul in the One G‑d. It is only their bodies that are divided.

And therefore, those who make their bodies “the main thing” and their souls “secondary”, it is impossible for there to be true love and brotherhood between them, except for the type that is dependant on something[8].

And this is what Hillel the elder said regarding the fulfillment of this Mitzvah, “that this is the entire Torah, and the rest is but mere commentary etc.” For the foundation and root of the entire Torah is to raise and elevate the soul over the body (higher) level by (higher) level until[9] the origin (Origin) and source (Source) of all worlds, and also to draw down the Infinite Light[10] (Hashem) Blessed is He, into the Community of Israel – as it is written later. That means to say, into the origin of souls of all Israel to be one (One) in one (One) specifically[11], and not when there is separation G-d forbid, with the souls, because the Holy One Blessed is He does not dwell in a place of defect.

And as it is written[12] “Bless us, our King, all of us like one (One) in the light of Your Face. And as is written in other places at length"

And that, that is written in the Gemara, that one who sees in his friend that he sinned, it’s a Mitzvah to hate him, and also to tell his teacher to hate him too – this[13] is someone who is his friend in Torah and Mitzvos. And[14] he must already have fulfilled the Mitzvah of “And you shall surely rebuke your fellow man” – "הוכח תוכח את עמיתך"[15] – i.e. (one who is) with you in Mitzvahs.[16] And even though that be the case[17], he did not return (do Teshuva) from sinning – as is written is the Sefer Chareidim.

But someone who is not his friend and is not his close companion by him, behold, about this, Hillel the elder said[18] “Be of the pupils of Aharon – loving peace etc. (pursuing peace), loving people[19] (creatures) and bringing them closer to Torah. That means to say, even those who are far from the Torah of Hashem and His service[20]. And therefore they are called by the name “creatures” in a general sense – one must draw them with ropes tied up of love. And all of this, and perhaps, he will be able to bring them to Torah and to the service of Hashem.

And if not, he still has not lost out on the reward for the Mitzvah of loving ones comrades. And also those who bring others close to him, and rebuke them, and they don’t return (do Teshuva) from their sins – that it is a “Mitzvah” to hate them, there is also a Mitzvah to love them as well! And both of them are true – hatred from the side of the bad in them, and love from the side of the aspect of good that is hidden inside them, that is the spark of G-dliness inside them, that gives life to their G-dly souls, and also to awaken mercy in his heart upon her[21]. Because she[22] is in exile amidst the bad of the Sitra Achra[23], which strengthens itself upon her[24] towards the Reshaim[25], and mercy[26] nullifies the hatred, and awakens the love, as is known from what is written about Yaakov, that (Yaakov) redeemed Avraham[27] [and King David, peace be upon him, did not say[28] “With absolute hatred, I hate those… etc. except on the willful apostates and abandoners of the Jewish faith – Apikorsim, who have no portion in the G-d of Israel, as it stated in the Gemara, beginning chapter 16 of Shabbat.][29]

תניא פרק לב

והנה ע"י קיום הדברי' הנ"ל להיות גופו נבזה ונמאס בעיניו רק שמחתו תהיה שמחת הנפש לבדה הרי זו דרך ישרה וקלה לבא לידי קיום מצות ואהבתה לרעך כמוך לכל נפש מישראל למגדול ועד קטן. כי מאחר שגופו נמאס ומתועב אצלו והנפש והרוח מי יודע גדולתן ומעלתן בשרשן ומקורן באלקי' חיים. בשגם שכולן מתאימות ואב א' לכולנה ולכן נקראו כל ישראל אחים ממש מצד שורש נפשם בה' אחד רק שהגופים מחולקי'. ולכן העושי' גופם עיקר ונפשם טפלה אי אפשר להיות אהבה ואחבה אמיתית ביניהם אלא התלויה בדבר לבדה. וז"ש הלל הזקן על קיום מצוה זו זהו כל התורה כולה ואידך פירושא הוא כו'. כי יסוד ושורש כל התורה הוא להגביה ולעלו' הנפש על הגוף מעלה מעלה עד עיקרא ושרשא דכל עלמין וגם להמשיך אור א"ס ב"ה בכנסת ישראל כמ"ש לקמן דהיינו במקור נשמות כל ישראל למהוי אחד באחד דוקא ולא כשיש פירוד ח"ו בנשמות דקב"ה לא שריא באתר פגים וכמ"ש ברכנו אבינו כולנו כאחד באור פניך וכמ"ש במ"א באריכות: ומ"ש בגמ' שמי שרואה שחטא מצוה לשנאותו וגם לומר לרבו שישנאהו. היינו בחבירו בתורה ומצות וכבר קיים בו מצות הוכח תוכיח את עמיתך עם שאתך בתורה ומצות ואעפ"כ לא שב מחטאו כמ"ש בס' חרדים אבל מי שאינו חבירו ואינו מקורב אצלו הנה ע"ז אמר הלל הזקן הוי מתלמידיו של אהרן אוהב שלום וכו' אוהב את הבריות ומקרבן לתורה. לומר שאף הרחוקים מתורת ה' ועבודתו ולכן נקראי' בשם בריות בעלמא צריך למשכן בחבלי עבותו' אהבה וכולי האי ואולי יוכל לקרבן לתורה ועבודת ה' והן לא לא הפסיד שכר מצות אהבת ריעים וגם המקורבים אילו והוכיחם ולא שבו מעונותיהן שמצוה לשנאותם מצוה לאהבם ג"כ ושתיהן הן אמת שנאה מצד הרע שבהם ואהבה מצד בחי' הטוב הגנוז שבהם שהוא ניצוץ אלקות שבתוכם המחיה נפשם האלקית וגם לעורר רחמים בלבו עליה כי היא בבחי' גלות בתוך הרע מס"א הגובר עליה ברשעי' והרחמנות מבטלת השנאה ומעוררת האהבה כנודע ממ"ש ליעקב אשר פדה את אברהם [ולא אמר דה"עה תכלית שנאה שנאתים וגו' אלא על המינים והאפיקורסים שאין להם חלק באלהי ישראל כדאיתא בגמרא ר"פ ט"ז דשבת]

[1] See previous chapter/s
[2] i.e. but regarding the
[3] The Nefesh and the Ruach (the two lower, more discernable layers of the five levels of the soul. The Nefesh being more associated with the animal part of the soul. The Ruach being associated with a slightly higher level, but still very much a part of the “visible” self. The Baal HaTanya does not mention the Neshama which is already the more G-dly part of a persons soul, and he surely makes no mention of the two highest levels of the soul, namely Chaya and Yechida which are said to hover above/around a person and far more “attached” to G-dliness than the 3 lower levels.
[4] Every Jewish soul
[5] The Jewish people
[6] See Chapter 2 of Tanya well!
[7] Materially and spiritually
[8] See Pirkei Avos 5:16 “Only a love that is not dependant on a love with last. But a love that is dependant on a cause will never last.”
[9] Read: “Until it ‘reaches’”
[10] Ohr Ain Sof in original Hebrew
[11] For each soul to include itself in every other Jewish soul so that there is a total unity of souls
[12] Final blessing of the Shemoneh Esrei
[13] Refers to
[14] In addition to this point
[15] Leviticus 19:17 (See Rashi as well.) I personally read a very interesting statement made by Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz (known as the Chazon Ish, a Posek – ruler in Halacha, of the previous generation.) The Rambam defines the Mitzvah of Ahavas Yisrael – loving one’s fellow Jew as: “To love everyone in Israel with a soul love (ahavas nefesh). To have compassion on a Jew and on his money just like a person would have compassion on himself and his own money.” The oft-quoted exception is the rasha. The Chazon Ish ruled that already in his generation there were no real reshaim – only Tinokos Shenishbu (children held captive and are not liable for not having kept the Mitzvos, as they have no knowledge of what Torah and Judaism are all about.) Most Jews today fall into this category. With regards to this Mitzvah of rebuking a fellow Jew before one is entitled to hate him is concerned – they asked the Chazon Ish “how many times must one rebuke a Jew before he is allowed to hate him?” The Chazon Ish replied: “Until you know, from Ruach HaKodesh – Divine Inspiration from Above – that you are Yotzei (have fulfilled) the Mitzvah of rebuke.” Nevertheless even here, the entire Mitzvah of rebuke is an entire Sugya (section of learning) unto itself, and one must certainly be very careful of how one goes about it. As above, see the entire Passuk with Rashi.
[16] A play on the word Amitecha (“your nation”) which shares the same first two letters as the word IM meaning “with”.
[17] Even after rebuking him
[18] Pirkei Avos 1:12
[19] Literally “creatures” – בריות. The word chosen is not “people” – אנשים, but rather “creatures.”
[20] And one may think that this person may be no better than a creature that scurries around attending to it’s animalistic tendencies all day long.
[21] The G-dly soul which is not felt be this individual, who has lost all touch with his connection to G-dliness.
[22] This G-dly soul.
[23] “The other-side” – a term used in Kabbalah and Chassidus to describe everything that is antithetical to Torah. The Sitra Achra is the exact opposite of G-dliness.
[24] The G-dly soul.
[25] The evil people. See Chapter 1 of Tanya for a better understanding of Tzaddik - the righteous, Beinoni – the middle-man, and Rasha – the evil person.
[26] This is the mercy that one Jew has upon another, in spite of his apparent “evil” ways. He continues to love him, even though he feels he (the other Jew) may not be deserving of such love, - perhaps due to his behaviour.
[27] In Kabbalah and Chassidus, each of the Avot (Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov) represent one particular force. Avraham is Chesed – kindness. Yitzchak is Gevurah – Strength. Yaakov is Emet – truth. Truth being the middle point is also closest to Kindness, and by mediating between the two, Kindness and Strength, it inclines towards Kindness becoming Mercy! Therefore Yaakov takes more out of Avraham – so to speak – than he does from Yitzchak. Whereas Yitzchak inclines in a very hard approach of holding-back (strength), Yaakov pulls away from that, returning to Avraham’s Kindness, resulting in an even more beautiful attribute, known as Mercy. Thus Yaakov redeems Avraham. Mercy brings out the Kindness that has been hidden, or captured, so to speak.
[28] Psalms 139:22
[29] See footnote 16 again.

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