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Tanya for Tuesday, 24 Tevet, 5780 - January 21, 2020

As Divided for a Regular Year

Tanya for 24 Tevet

23 Tevet, 5780 - January 20, 202025 Tevet, 5780 - January 22, 2020

This explains the Talmudic statement[2] that "he who serves G-d" refers to one who revises his studies 101 times, while "he who serves Him not" refers to one who revises his studies only 100 times.

[It seems strange that this 101st revision should outweigh all the previous hundred, and should earn the student the designation of "he who serves G-d." However, when we appreciate the struggle one must face in order to learn more than is his custom, this is readily understood, as the Alter Rebbe goes on to explain].

This is so because in those [Talmudic] days, it was customary to review each lesson one hundred times.

[Thus, to review one hundred times did not require any effort; it was second nature. Only the 101st revision, which required effort beyond the student's custom, could gain him the appellation of "he who serves G-d]."

The Talmud illustrates this by the analogy of the market of the donkey drivers. The drivers would charge one zuz for ten parsi (Persian miles), but demanded two zuz for driving 11 parsi, for driving an eleventh mile exceeded their customary practice.

Therefore, this 101st revision, which is beyond the normal practice to which the student has been accustomed since his childhood, is equivalent to all the previous one hundred revisions combined.

In fact its quality surpasses them in its greater strength and power, so that it is only this one extra revision which entitles the student to be called "he who serves G-d."

For in order to change his habitual nature he must arouse [within himself] the love of G-d, by contemplating G-d's greatness in his mind, in order to master the nature that is in the left part of the heart, [the seat of the animal soul], which is full of the blood of the animal soul originating in kelipah, whence comes this nature; [and the power of his love enables him to transcend his nature].

And this - [to overpower one's animal soul through a love of G-d generated by meditation] - is a perfect service for a Beinoni.

An alternate [type of service for a Beinoni] is to arouse [to a revealed state] the love of G-d [inherently found] hidden in his heart, thereby to control the nature that is in the left part of the heart.

This, too, is called serving G-d, [although an imperfect service] - to wage war against his nature and inclination by arousing the love hidden in his heart.

If, however, he wages no war at all - [not engaging even in the lesser struggle of arousing the love hidden within him, e.g., when he studies only to the limits of his natural diligence, then although he employs his hidden love of G-d in his divine service, [10] yet] - this love in itself can in no way be credited to his service [and he is therefore called "he who serves Him not]."

[To be designated "one who serves G-d," the Beinoni must engage in a struggle with his evil inclination, either through a love of G-d born of meditation or at least by arousing his hidden love.



  1. (Back to text) Chagigah 9b.

  2. (Back to text) He must employ at least his hidden love of G-d to motivate him to study Torah, for although he may be studious by nature yet he still desires his bodily comforts more than the constant study that displaces them.

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