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Tanya for Wednesday, 29 Cheshvan, 5779 - November 7, 2018

As Divided for a Regular Year

Tanya for 29 Cheshvan

28 Cheshvan, 5779 - November 6, 201830 Cheshvan, 5779 - November 8, 2018

Kuntres Acharon - Essay Three

[In chapters 39 and 40 of Tanya the Alter Rebbe spoke of the various worlds to which souls ascend as a result of their Torah study and spiritual service.

Their level in each case is determined by the individual's intention at the time.

If the study and prayer were accompanied by love and awe generated by the contemplation of G-d's greatness, they rise to the World of Beriah, the world of comprehension.

If the love and fear are merely instinctive (inasmuch as they are inherent within every Jew), then the study and prayer ascend to the World of Yetzirah, the world of the spiritual emotions.

The Alter Rebbe also stated there that the Torah and spiritual service itself ascends to the Sefirot, which are the G-dliness of the worlds.

All this, however, applies only when the Torah study and the spiritual service are motivated by a kavanah lishmah, a pure intent born of a love or awe of G-d.

If, however, this intent is lacking, such as when one studies Torah out of habit, this Torah study does not ascend to the Sefirot of the worlds.

For the Sefirot are the G-dliness of the world, and "without love and fear they cannot [ascend and] stand before G-d."

Such a grade of Torah study ascends only as far as the chitzoniyut (the "external" aspect) of the worlds, where the angels abide.

Concerning this, the Alter Rebbe quoted R. Chayim Vital, who states [1] that Torah study that is uninspired by proper intent (kavanah) creates angels in the World of Yetzirah, while commandments fulfilled without proper intent create angels in the World of Asiyah.

("Without intent" here means without an intent that stems from love or fear of G-d.

It does not mean that there was no intent at all.

For, as explained by R. Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, the saintly father of the Rebbe Shlita, since angels comprise both form and matter, as the Alter Rebbe stated above, we must say that the Torah study that creates them has form and matter likewise. These are speech and intent, respectively.)

In any event, we see that Torah even without proper intent creates angels in the World of Yetzirah - and this it can do only by having risen to that world.

Now why should this be different from prayer?

For prayer without proper intent remains mired below in this world.

Why is it that when Torah study and prayer are performed with proper intent they both rise to the same world (whether Beriah or Yetzirah), while when they lack the proper intent, the Torah rises to Yetzirah and creates angels there, while the prayers remain below in this world?

This is the central question addressed in the following essay.]

To understand the statement in Shaar HaYichudim, Chapter 2, that through Torah without proper intention, angels are created in the World of Yetzirah.

[Shaar HaYichudim of R. Chayim Vital (which appears in Shemoneh She'arim of current editions of the writings of the Ari-Zal) is part of Shaar Ruach HaKodesh.

The Rebbe Shlita once remarked in a talk, that the introduction to Shaar HaYichudim states that it is divided into several She'arim (Shaar HaNevuah, Shaar Ruach HaKodesh, and Shaar Tikkun Avonot).

The Rebbe then noted the precision of the Alter Rebbe's writings:

In chapter 40 of Tanya he quotes a passage from Shaar HaYichudim and specifies that its source is Shaar HaNevuah, while with regard to another passage he simply cites Shaar HaYichudim.

In light of the above, clarification is needed as to why in chapter 40, when speaking of the angels that are created in the Word of Yetzirah by Torah that is not studied lishmah ("for its own sake"), the Alter Rebbe cites Shaar HaNevuah, while here he cites Shaar HaYichudim.]

There [this source] quotes the Zohar, Parshat Shlach: [2] "There is no voice lost [from this world], except the voice of Torah and prayer that ascends and pierces [the heavens]"; [i.e., it does not remain below, but ascends.]

Now, through intention in prayer, angels are created in the World of Beriah, as with intention in the study of Torah.

[Considering the results of one's intent in avodah, then, prayer and Torah are thus similar: they both ascend to the same level, the World of Beriah.]

Without proper intent, [prayer] is repelled utterly downward.

So it is stated in the Zohar, Parshat Pekudei, p. 245b, "Into the lowest heaven,..."

[When prayer is not "as it should be," i.e., when it is without proper intent, it is banished "into the lowest [of the heavens that govern the world]."

"These [prayers] are called invalid prayers," [as the Zohar goes on to say.]

Examine also [the Zohar,] Parshat Vayakhel, p. 201b: "If it is a seemly word...," [i.e., if a prayer is prompted by a proper intent, then the angel appointed as warden of prayers "kisses it" and elevates it.

Thus, prayer ascends only when it is propelled by a proper intent.

If so, then since Torah and prayer are similar when they are performed with the proper intent, why when the proper intent is lacking is Torah still able to create angels in the World of Yetzirah, while prayer without proper intent is repelled into the lowest heaven?]



  1. (Back to text) Shaar HaNevuah, ch. 2.

  2. (Back to text) 168b, 169a.

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