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Tanya for Shabbos, 30 Av, 5778 - August 11, 2018

As Divided for a Regular Year

Tanya for 30 Av

29 Av, 5778 - August 10, 20181 Elul, 5778 - August 12, 2018

Therefore, my beloved ones, my brethren: Direct your hearts to these words which are expressed very briefly, ( [24] and face to face, please G-d, I will speak of them at length) - how in these times, when the approaching footsteps of Mashiach are close upon us, the principal service of G-d is the service of charity.

As our Sages, of blessed memory, said: [25] "Israel will be redeemed only through charity."

Our Sages, of blessed memory, did not say that the study of Torah is equivalent to the performance of acts of lovingkindness, [The Mishnah states in Peah: [26] "The study of Torah is equivalent to them all," i.e., to all the mitzvot previously enumerated in the Mishnah, and these include gemilut chassadim, the performance of acts of lovingkindness,] except in their own days. For with them the principal area of divine service was the study of the Torah, which is why at that time there were great scholars: tannaim and amoraim. However, in a time when the approaching footsteps of Mashiach are close upon us, as "the Sukkah of David has fallen" to a level of "feet" and "heels", i.e., to the level of Asiyah,

[I.e., the Sefirah called Malchut of Atzilut, the Shechinah that vests itself in the lower Worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah - also known as the "Sukkah of David," for David, as the King of Israel, was a merkavah to Malchut of Atzilut - has fallen to the lowest level of Asiyah.] There is no way of truly cleaving unto it, [i.e., to the Shechinah,] and transforming the darkness of the world into its light, [27] except through a corresponding category of action, [and not through intellect and speech alone, as in Torah study,] namely, the act of charity.

[But why is charity unique among all the many commandments that involve action?] As is known to the scholarly, "action" with reference to Divinity is the diffusion and downward flow of vitality to the lowest depths - to him who has nothing of his own.

[Among the currents of Divine influence that descend into the various worlds, there are those that are called "thought" and "speech". The flow of vitality to the very lowest level - to the World of Asiyah, where G-dliness is not at all manifest - is called "action".

The act of giving tzedakah thus truly corresponds to the spiritual level of Asiyah, inasmuch as it too provides beneficence to one "who has nothing of his own."]

And whoever sacrifices his impulse in this respect, [i.e., with respect to charity,] and opens his hand and heart, [thereby] causes [28] "the other [i.e., evil] side" of the universe to be subjugated, and [28] "converts the darkness into the light" of G-d, blessed be He, Who, in the time when the footsteps of Mashiach are close upon us, dwells over us in a state of action; moreover, he will merit to [29] "behold Eye to eye, G-d returning to Zion...."

[At that time the physical eye, though yet retaining its physicality, will behold G-dliness as it is beheld by the Supernal Eye. Thus, within the physicality of the World of Asiyah, there will be revealed the level of certainty in spiritual perception which is called vision - a level that far surpasses the furthest attainments of the intellect.



  1. (Back to text) Parentheses are in the original text.

  2. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita:

    See Rambam, Hilchot Matnot Aniyim, beginning of ch. 10; quoted in Tur, Yoreh Deah, beginning of sec. 247. The above quotation does not refer to the similar teaching in the Talmud (Shabbat 139a; Sanhedrin 98a), for there the verb is Nifdeh [whereas our text reads Nig-alin]. Very often, as is well known, the commentators {(the Radbaz and the Kesef Mishneh and the Glosses on the Tur) who give the teaching of Ulla in the Talmud (loc. cit.) as Rambam's source} do not intend to quote the exact wording of a particular teaching, but rather to cite its content. See also the halachah that immediately follows this statement in the Rambam, and the above-named commentaries on it.

    As to Mesoret HaShas and the other authorities who argue that the Rambam had before him the text "Israel" (in place of "Jerusalem") in the Talmud, they speak only of the one word "Israel", and such a variant reading is to be found elsewhere - in Ein Yaakov. A version that would include nigalin, however, I have yet to find in the Talmud or in Yalkut Shimoni. Moreover, it is more improbable to postulate that the Rambam had a variant reading that is not at all extant, than to assume that the Rambam is more explicit than the Talmud, for which reason he very understandably writes nigalin.

  3. (Back to text) 1:1.

  4. (Back to text) V.L.: Linhora Dee-lay ("to his light").

  5. (Back to text) Cf. Likkutei Amarim, Part I, ch. 27.

  6. (Back to text) Yeshayahu 52:8.

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