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Tanya for Shabbos, 26 Tevet, 5778 - January 13, 2018

As Divided for a Regular Year

Tanya for 26 Tevet

25 Tevet, 5778 - January 12, 201827 Tevet, 5778 - January 14, 2018

Our Sages, of blessed memory, hinted at this [principle stated here, that the tevunah-love, too, has the power of elevating one's Torah and mitzvot] when they said: [8] "The Holy One, blessed be He, joins a good thought to the deed."

The simple meaning of the phrase, [that when one intends to do a mitzvah, but is prevented from doing so, G-d ascribes it to him as though he had actually performed it], warrants the expression: "Torah considers him as though he had actually done it."

[Why the oblique expression, "G-d joins the thought to the deed," which seems to indicate that the thought was indeed implemented, but that the action is somehow detached from it, and requires that G-d join the two together]?

The explanation, however, [lies in the previously-mentioned principle]:

It is the revealed fear and love of G-d in the heart that vest themselves in one's performance of the commandments, giving them vitality to soar on high.

For the heart is also corporeal, like the other organs of the body which are the instruments of action.

[Therefore, when one feels a palpable love in his heart - which indicates that the revelation in the soul has become "materialized" to the point where it can be experienced as a feeling of love in the corporeal heart - then this soul-revelation, this love, can also be received by and expressed in the other corporeal organs of the body.

When it is so received, and when the organs act in accordance with the love in the heart, then this love lends vitality to these actions, for the heart is the source of vitality for all the organs, as the Alter Rebbe goes on to say].

The heart is, however, internal and is the organs' source of vitality.

Therefore, [because the heart, in its corporeality, is close to the other organs, and also provides their vitality], it can clothe itself in their actions, to be their "wings", elevating them.

[As we see in practice: When one acts out of love, his hands suddenly become animated; for, as stated, when the soul's revelation reaches the point where it is felt in a revealed love, it has become so materialized that it can be experienced in the other organs of the body, and can therefore animate their actions].

However, the above-mentioned fear and love that are in the intelligence of the brain and the recesses of the heart are of a far higher order than the level of "action."

Therefore, they cannot clothe themselves in the performance of the commandments, to become their intellectual power and vitality, to elevate them, so that they may soar on high;

[The inability of the love to find expression beyond the mind - which is far more spiritual than the other organs - indicates that the revelation of soul present in the tevunah-love has not become materialized enough to affect the other, more corporeal organs. As we see, when one's actions are motivated, not by the desire of his heart, but solely by his understanding that he ought to act in a particular manner, then his actions lack vitality. So it is too of the tevunah-love, and tevunah-fear ;they are so far removed from the organs, that they are incapable of lending vitality to the actual performance of the mitzvot, and to elevate them thereby].

If not for the fact that G-d joins and unites them together with the action, [so that they may serve as its "wings".

They - [the tevunah-fear and love] - are called "good thought," for they are not actual fear and love in a revealed state in the heart, but only in the intelligence of the brain and the recesses of the heart, as mentioned above; * [since they express themselves in the mind, they are called "good thought."

This, then, is the allusion contained in the statement, "G-d joins the good thought to the deed": G-d joins the "good thought" - the tevunah-love and fear - to the good deed (that one has actually performed), so that the deed is not separate from the thought, but instead is elevated by it.

In the following note, the Alter Rebbe states that this idea is expressed in the Kabbalah in terms of the Sefirot (the Divine attributes), and from this we may understand its parallel in the human faculties].


Thus it is also written in the Zohar and Etz Chayim, that the Hebrew word Tevunah ("understanding") comprises the letters which form the words ben and bat ("son" and "daughter" ), which, in terms of human emotions, represent love and fear.

Sometimes the tevunah descends to become the intelligence in the feminine aspect of the "small image" (i.e., the recipient of the Divine middot, or attributes, which are referred to collectively as the "small image"), which, in the human sphere, refers to the letters of Torah and mitzvot.

The normal order would be that the tevunah descend first to the "small image" (the middot) and thence to the "feminine aspect" (the attribute of Malchut). Sometimes, however, there is a direct flow from Binah to Malchut, bypassing the intervening middot. In terms of one's service to G-d this means: The normal procedure should be that the understanding derived from one's meditation should affect his emotions, arousing a love and fear within him, and these emotions should, in turn, express themselves in one's actual performance of the commandments. There is, however, an alternative method of affecting one's actions - through the direct influence of the tevunah.

The initiated shall understand. I.e., the kabbalistic references contained in the note will be more fully elucidated in the course of further study.


[The Alter Rebbe now goes on to say that the effect of G-d's joining the "good thought" of tevunah to one's good deeds, is that in this way the mitzvot are able to ascend to the World of Beriah. This is a "world of comprehension," and all the mitzvot motivated by emotions arising from an understanding of G-d's greatness ascend thereto. But even without this act of joining the good thought to the deed, one's Torah and mitzvot ascend to the (lower) World of Yetzirah, a "world of feeling," since one's performance is motivated (at the very least) by the inherent love and fear of G-d that is hidden in the heart of every Jew].

But G-d effects this joining of tevunah to action in order to elevate the performance of the commandments and the Torah study - which are carried out through the influence of the "good thought" [viz., the tevunah] mentioned above - into the World of Beriah;

the World of Beriah being the level to which ascends the performance of Torah and mitzvot when motivated by a fear and love deriving from one's meditation, and which are truly revealed in one's heart.

However, even without this joining they rise to the World of Yetzirah, by means of the natural fear and love which are latent in the heart of all Jews from birth, as will be later explained at length. [9]

[In summary: Even he who cannot create a conscious, palpable love and fear of G-d in his heart, can serve G-d with a perfect service through the tevunah-emotions. Thereby, too, his performance of the Torah and mitzvot will ascend to the same level as that motivated by a revealed love and fear of G-d].



  1. (Back to text) Cf. Kiddushin 40a.

  2. (Back to text) Chs. 38, 39, 40.

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