Thursday, November 27, 2014

Yosse ben Yochanan, the Jerusalemite,
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 4

Knowledge 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.”
1.Vayikra 7:37.
2.Menachot 110a.
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 BeriahYetzirah 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:
שהוא העיקר
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.
1.Vayikra 7:37.
2.Menachot 110a.
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.
4.Devarim 4:39.
5.I Divrei HaYamim 28:9.
6.Devarim 6:24.
7.Tikkunei Zohar, end of Tikkun 6; discussed in Likkutei Sichot, Vol. XV, p. 42ff. et al.

Tehilim 29-34


Words are the pen of the heart; song is the pen of the soul

Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi
Chapter 29
The Name of God appears eighteen times in this psalm, corresponding to which our Sages established eighteen blessings-the Amidah. The entire psalm can be interpreted as referring to the giving of the Torah and the ingathering of the exiles.
1. A psalm by David. Render to the Lord, children of the mighty, render to the Lord honor and strength.2. Render to the Lord the honor due to His Name; bow down to the Lord in resplendent holiness.3. The voice of the Lord is over the waters, the God of glory thunders; the Lord is over mighty waters.4. The voice of the Lord resounds with might; the voice of the Lord resounds with majesty.5. The voice of the Lord breaks cedars; the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon.6. He makes them leap like a calf, Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox.7. The voice of the Lord strikes flames of fire.8. The voice of the Lord makes the desert tremble; the Lord causes the desert of Kadesh to tremble.9. The voice of the Lord causes the does to calve, and strips the forests bare; and in His Sanctuary all proclaim His glory.10. The Lord sat [as King] at the Flood; the Lord will sit as King forever.11. The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.
Chapter 30
This psalm teaches one not to be distressed if God visits suffering upon him in this world, for only through suffering can one enter the World to Come. Even one of great spiritual stature should realize that his stability is not guaranteed, but that all is in the hands of God.
1. A psalm, a song of dedication of the House, by David.2. I exalt You, Lord, for You have uplifted me, and did not allow my enemies to rejoice over me.3. Lord, my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me.4. Lord, You have brought up my soul from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not descend to the pit.5. Sing to the Lord, you His pious ones, and praise His holy Name.6. For His wrath endures but for a moment, when He is conciliated there is [long] life; when one retires at night weeping, joy will come in the morning.7. In my security I thought, "I shall never falter.”8. Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong; when You concealed Your countenance I was alarmed.9. I called to You, O Lord, and I made supplication to my Lord:10. What profit is there in my death, in my going down to the grave? Can dust praise You? Can it proclaim Your truth11. Lord, hear and be gracious to me; Lord, be a help to me.12. You have turned my mourning into dancing; You have undone my sackcloth and girded me with joy.13. Therefore my soul shall sing to You, and not be silent; Lord my God, I will praise You forever.
Chapter 31
Composed by a destitute and oppressed David, running from Saul while placing his trust in God, this psalm instructs man to put his trust in God alone.
1. For the Conductor, a psalm by David.2. In You I have taken shelter, O Lord, I shall never be shamed; rescue me in Your righteousness.3. Turn Your ear to me, save me quickly; be to me a rock of refuge, a fortress to deliver me.4. For You are my rock and my fortress; for the sake of Your Name, direct me and lead me.5. Remove me from the net they planted for me, for You are my stronghold.6. I entrust my spirit into Your hand; You will redeem me, Lord, God of truth.7. I despise those who anticipate worthless vanities; but I trust in the Lord.8. I will rejoice and delight in Your kindness, for You have seen my affliction; You know the troubles of my soul.9. You have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet on spacious ground.10. Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye wastes away from vexation-my soul and my stomach.11. For my life is spent in sorrow, my years in sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones are wasted away.12. Because of my adversaries I have become a disgrace-exceedingly to my neighbors, and a dread to my friends; those who see me outside flee from me.13. Like a dead man, I was forgotten from the heart; I became like a lost vessel.14. For I have heard the slander of many, terror on every side, when they assembled together against me and plotted to take my life.15. But I trusted in You, O Lord; I said, "You are my God.”16. My times are in Your hand; save me from the hands of my enemies and pursuers.17. Shine Your countenance upon Your servant; deliver me in Your kindness.18. O Lord, let me not be ashamed, for I have called You; let the wicked be shamed, let them be silent to the grave.19. Let the lips of falsehood-which speak insolently against the righteous, with arrogance and contempt-be struck dumb.20. How abundant is Your good that You have hidden for those who fear You; in the presence of man, You have acted for those who take refuge in You.21. Conceal them from the haughtiness of man, in the shelter of Your countenance; hide them in a shelter from the strife of tongues.22. Blessed is the Lord, for He has been wondrous in His kindness to me in a besieged city.23. I said in my panic, "I am cut off from before Your eyes!" But in truth, You heard the voice of my pleas when I cried to You.24. Love the Lord, all His pious ones! The Lord preserves the faithful, and repays with exactness those who act haughtily.25. Be strong and fortify your hearts, all who put their hope in the Lord!
Chapter 32
This psalm speaks of forgiveness of sin, and of the good fortune of one who repents and confesses to God wholeheartedly.
1. By David, a maskil.1Fortunate is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.2. Fortunate is the man to whom the Lord does not reckon his sin, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.3. When I was silent, my limbs wore away through my wailing all day long.4. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my marrow became [dry] as the droughts of summer, Selah.5. My sin I made known to You, my iniquity I did not cover. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord," and You have forgiven the iniquity of my transgression forever.6. For this let every pious man pray to You, at a time when You may be found; indeed, the flood of many waters will not reach him.7. You are a refuge to me; protect me from distress; surround me with songs of deliverance forever.8. I will enlighten you and educate you in the path you should go; I will advise you with what I have seen.9. Be not like a horse, like a mule, senseless, that must be muzzled with bit and bridle when being adorned, so that it not come near you.10. Many are the agonies of the wicked, but he who trusts in the Lord is surrounded by kindness.11. Rejoice in the Lord and exult, you righteous ones! Sing joyously, all you upright of heart!
Chapter 33
This psalm teaches the righteous and upright to praise God. For the more one knows of the Torah's wisdom, the more should he praise God, for he knows and understands His greatness.
1. Sing joyously to the Lord, you righteous ones; it is fitting for the upright to offer praise.2. Extol the Lord with a harp; sing to Him with a ten-stringed lyre.3. Sing to Him a new song; play well with sounds of jubilation.4. For the word of the Lord is just; all His deeds are done in faithfulness.5. He loves righteousness and justice; the kindness of the Lord fills the earth.6. By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their hosts.7. He gathers the waters of the sea like a mound; He places the deep waters in vaults.8. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world tremble before Him.9. For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it endured.10. The Lord has annulled the counsel of nations; He has foiled the schemes of peoples.11. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the thoughts of His heart throughout all generations.12. Fortunate is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He chose as a heritage for Himself.13. The Lord looks down from heaven; He beholds all mankind.14. From His dwelling-place He looks intently upon all the inhabitants of the earth.15. It is He Who fashions the hearts of them all, Who perceives all their actions.16. The king is not saved by a great army, nor a warrior rescued by great might.17. The horse is a false guarantee for victory; with all its great strength it offers no escape.18. But the eye of the Lord is directed toward those who fear Him, toward those who hope for His kindness,19. to save their soul from death and to sustain them during famine.20. Our soul yearns for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.21. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, for we have put our trust in His Holy Name.22. May Your kindness, Lord, be upon us, as we have placed our hope in You.
Chapter 34
This psalm tells of when David was in grave danger while at the palace of Achish, brother of Goliath. David acted like a madman, letting spittle run down his beard, and writing on the doors: "Achish, king of Gath, owes me one hundred thousand gold coins," leading Achish to eject him from the palace. In his joy, David composed this psalm in alphabetical sequence.
1. By David, when he feigned insanity before Avimelech,1 who then drove him away, and he left.2. I bless the Lord at all times; His praise is always in my mouth.3. My soul glories in the Lord; let the humble hear it and rejoice.4. Exalt the Lord with me, and let us extol His Name together.5. I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.6. Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never humiliated.7. This poor man called, and the Lord heard; He delivered him from all his tribulations.8. The angel of the Lord camps around those who fear Him, and rescues them.9. Taste and see that the Lord is good; fortunate is the man who trusts in Him.10. Fear the Lord, you His holy ones, for those who fear Him suffer no want.11. Young lions may want and hunger, but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.12. Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.13. Who is the man who desires life, who loves long life wherein to see goodness?14. Guard your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.15. Turn away from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it.16. The eyes of the Lord are directed toward the righteous, and His ears toward their cry.17. The wrath of the Lord is upon the evildoers, to excise their memory from the earth.18. But when they [repent and] cry out, the Lord hears, and saves them from all their troubles.19. The Lord is close to the broken-hearted, and saves those with a crushed spirit.20. Many are the afflictions of a righteous person, but the Lord rescues him from them all.21. He protects all his bones; not one of them is broken.22. Evil brings death upon the wicked, and the enemies of the righteous are condemned.23. The Lord redeems the soul of His servants; all who take shelter in Him are not condemned.