said, "Open your home for providing
welfare16, and poor people should
become members of your household.
Do not overly engage in conversation
with a woman." As this refers to his
wife, even more so does this apply to
his fellow's wife. From here the Sages
learned that one who overly engages in
conversation with a woman brings
perniciousness upon himself17, and
nullifies the words of Torah. In the end, he shall inherit Gehinnom.
Open your home to way-farers, and either make the indigent members of your
household or hire them as household staff. Make your home a place to relieve
the distress of those in want and who are suffering. Let the homeless share in the
pleasures of your home and hospitality. Do not engage in idle chatter with
women, even your wife, for most such discussions are frivolous, without
modesty, and generally wind up by speaking gossip. Better you should spend
your time learning Torah. A man cannot think about Torah and women at
the same time. It is either one or the other. Don’t chat with women because
people might get suspicious of your motives. Talking leads to desire, and
desire leads to action. Nevertheless, respect and attach importance to your wife’s
views, opinions and counsel. Hold her in esteem and show genuine appreciation for
her wisdom by engaging her in serious conversations.
16 For way-farers.
17 You will just up sinning.
ה יוֹוֹוֹוֹסֵֵסֵֵי בּבּבֶֶּבֶֶּן יוֹוֹוֹוֹחָָחָָנןָָָָן אִִאִִישׁשׁשׁשׁ
ירְְְְרוּוּוּוּשׁשׁשָָׁשָָׁלַַלַַיםִִִִם אוֹוֹוֹוֹמֵֵמֵֵר, יהְְְְהִִהִִי בֵֵבֵֵיתְתְתְְךָָָָ
פּפּפָָּפָָּתוּוּוּוּחַַחַַ לִִלִִרְְְְרוָָחָָחָָחָָה, וְְיְְיהִִִִהְְהְְיוּוּוּוּ עֲֲעֲֲניִִִִּיּיִִּיִִּים בּבּבְְּבְְּניֵֵֵֵי
בֵֵבֵֵיתֶֶתֶֶך , וְְְְאַַאַַל תּתּתַַּתַַּרְְְְרבּבּבֶֶּבֶֶּה שׂשׂשִִׂשִִׂיחָָחָָה עִִעִִם
הָָהָָאִִאִִשּׁשּׁשָָּׁשָָּׁה. בּבּבְְּבְְּאִִאִִשׁשׁשְְׁשְְׁתּתּתּתּוֹוֹוֹוֹ אָָאָָמְְמְְרוּוּוּוּ, קַַקַַל וָָחָָחֹֹחֹֹמֶֶמֶֶר
בּבּבְְּבְְּאֵֵאֵֵשׁשׁשֶֶׁשֶֶׁת חֲֲחֲֲבֵֵבֵֵרוֹוֹוֹוֹ. מִִמִִכּכּכָָּכָָּאן אָָאָָמְְמְְרוּוּוּוּ
חֲֲחֲֲכָָכָָמִִמִִים , כּכּכָָּכָָּל זמְְְְמַַמַַן שׁשׁשֶֶׁשֶֶׁאָָאָָדָָָָדם מַַמַַרְְְְרבּבּבֶֶּבֶֶּה
שׂשׂשִִׂשִִׂיחָָחָָה עִִעִִם הָָהָָאִִאִִשּׁשּׁשָָּׁשָָּׁה, גּגּגּגּוֹוֹוֹוֹרֵֵֵֵרם רָָָָרעָָעָָה
לְְלְְעַַעַַצְְצְְמוֹוֹוֹוֹ, וּוּוּוּבוֹוֹוֹוֹטֵֵטֵֵל מִִמִִדּדּדִִּדִִּבְְבְְרֵֵֵֵרי תוֹוֹוֹוֹרָָָָרה,
וְְְְסוֹוֹוֹוֹפוֹוֹוֹוֹ יוֹוֹוֹוֹרֵֵֵֵרשׁשׁשׁשׁ גּגּגֵֵּגֵֵּיהִִהִִנּנּנָָּנָָּם
Kuntres Acharon, middle of Essay 4Knowledge of the various spiritual levels may indeed be superior for an unrelated reason, namely, that it leads to a “complete heart” (lev shalem), a wholehearted awe of G‑d — and this, as the Alter Rebbe will later say, is the purpose of all the mitzvot. Intrinsically, however, gaining this knowledge is not superior to studying the laws governing the performance of the mitzvot, whose essence he can understand.
Moreover, this [study] is considered [in certain cases] the equivalent of actual performance,
כמו שכתוב: זאת התורה כו׳
as it is written,1 “This is the law [of the burnt offering and the meal offering...].”
The Gemara comments on this,2 “He who occupies himself with these laws is considered as if he had actually offered a burnt offering and a meal offering.”
Mastering the revealed laws of the commandments is thus in one sense superior to delving into the innermost dimension (the pnimiyut) of the Torah, on esoteric subjects such as the order of Hishtalshelut. For the study of the laws relates to the essence of the subject at hand, such as the physical objects with which the commandments are performed.
G‑d’s wisdom, moreover, which is inherent in these laws, descends and permeates the physical objects around which the laws revolve. It is thus the essence of G‑d’s wisdom that the student comprehends, and thereby he becomes involved in the “wondrous union” described in ch. 5 of Tanya, whereby his mortal intellect simultaneously “encompasses and is encompassed by” the Divine wisdom embodied in the Torah which he is studying. This intellectual union in turn unites his soul (which transcends his intellect) with the infinite light that is vested in the wisdom of the Torah.
The above is true only when he understands the essence of his subject. This is the case when he studies (for example) the laws regulating the observance of the commandments. If, by contrast, his subject is the hierarchies of angels in the Worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah, or, yet higher, the configurations ofSefirot within the World of Atzilut, then his grasp is no more than external: he may indeed be aware of his subject’s existence, but he will be unable to know its essence.
* * *
And now, all the above notwithstanding, the Alter Rebbe is about to point out the superior aspect of the study of Hishtalshelut.
As explained in Likkutei Torah, in the discourse beginning VeLo Tashbit, this refers to serving G‑d with awe — and this is the ultimate intent of all the mitzvot, as the Torah states,6 “G‑d has commanded us to perform all these statutes so that we may fear the L‑rd our G‑d.” And it is the study of the innermost dimensions of the Torah and a knowledge of the various spiritual levels which comprise the order of Hishtalshelut that enable one to fulfill the mitzvah of “knowing G‑d,” which leads in turn to the “whole heart” of “fearing Him.” Thus the Alter Rebbe concludes:
And this is the essential thing: the wholehearted awe of G‑d is the ultimate purpose of all the commandments.
As mentioned above, one can attain this state only through a knowledge of the order of Hishtalshelut, even though this knowledge is merely an awareness of its existence and not a grasp of its essence.
והשגת המציאות הוא להפשיט מגשמיות כו׳
The comprehension of existence entails divesting [this subject] of any physicality....
As previously explained, the extraction and elevation of the sparks exiled in the various worlds is the ultimate purpose of creation.
|3.||Current Hebrew editions of Tanya read, “a great (רבה) and exalted mitzvah,” which the Rebbe amends to read (as above) “a lofty (רמה) and exalted mitzvah.” This is how the phrase is quoted (and explained) in Likkutei Torah on Vayikra, in the discourse entitled VeLo Tashbit.|
|5.||I Divrei HaYamim 28:9.|
|7.||Tikkunei Zohar, end of Tikkun 6; discussed in Likkutei Sichot, Vol. XV, p. 42ff. et al.|