Real Triumph

Real Triumph

 

What is the Torah’s relevance to the real worlds? What role does Chassidus play? How does Torah refine the world?

This edition of The Long Short Way covers an excerpt of the Rebbe’s ma’amer, Podoh V’Sholom 5741 (1980). This ma’amer was said and distributed in honor of 10 Kislev, the birthday and yohrtzeit of the Mittler Rebbe.

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Real Triumph    
 
These questions can be answered from both a physical and spiritual perspective. At the mundane level, most of us live our lives based on our beliefs and preconceived notions. When we learn Torah—G-d’s will and wisdom—it provides us with the unique perspective of G-d’s thoughts and desires. Obviously, a G-dly thought is beyond human grasp, but the Torah we have is G-d’s thoughts limited to terms of this world. From a spiritual perspective, the light of Torah is so great, outshines any darkness in our minds.
 
The two dimensions of Torah—the revealed parts and the hidden—reflect the two ways Torah refines the world.   ג) וְהִנֵה בְּהַבִּירוּר דְתּוֹרָה יֵשׁ חִילוּק בֵּין הַבִּירוּר שֶׁעַל יְדֵי גַלְיָא דְתּוֹרָה לְהַבִּירוּר שְׁעַל יְדֵי פְּנִימִיוּת הַתּוֹרָה21.
 
The way the revealed parts of Torah refines the world is by discussing the subjects that need refinement. One of the reasons that the Torah deals with mundane subjects discusses forbidden things, and even describes the false testimony a witness could provide, is for the purpose of refining those subjects.   דְבְּהַבִּירוּר שֶׁעַל יְדֵי לִימוּד גַלְיָא דְתּוֹרָה צָרִיךְ לִהְיוֹת הַלִימוּד בְּעִנְיָנִים אֵלוּ שֶׁצְרִיכִים לְבַרְרָם, וּמֵהַטַעֲמִים עַל זֶה שֶׁהַתּוֹרָה נִתְלַבְּשָׁה בְּדְבָרִים גִשְׁמִיִים וְגַם בְּדְבָרִים הָאַסוּרִים וְעַד לְטַעֲנוֹת שֶׁל שֶׁקֶר22, הוּא, בִּכְדֵי לִפְעוֹל הַבִּירוּר גַּם בָּעִנְיָנִים אֵלוּ23.
 
When we classify things as permitted and forbidden based on the Torah, those things are elevated. They are translated, so to speak, into a context of Torah and holiness. The Torah’s purpose in discussing false claims is to sift out the truth of the matter. The same holds true of the Torah’s treatment of any mundane subject; it is meant to sift out the truth. When we approach a situation through the lens of Torah, knowing what is permissible and what is not and knowing how the Torah defines something, we can relate to the truth and that which is G-dly. When faced with a challenging decision we can easily define our variables, cut away the excess, and decide effectively.
 
The way the revealed part of Torah refines existence is peaceful.   וְזֶה שֶׁגַם הַבִּירוּר שֶׁעַל יְדֵי גַלְיָא דְתּוֹרָה נִקְרָה בְּשֵׁם בּירוּר בְּדֶרֶךְ מְנוּחָה24
 
Existence can be refined through peace or by force. For instance, the Zohar describes davening as a time of war. By contrast, Torah study improves the world peacefully. Let us explore this analogy further: Imagine a scenario where two nations are at war, and the one nation attains victory by being more powerful. The peace that this produce would be incomplete. The weaker nation would be temporarily subdued, but it only would be a matter of time before the more vulnerable nation gathers the courage—or the firepower—to fight back. This is true of the struggle between our G-dly selves and our animal souls and bodies. The effect that prayer has on the body and animal soul is temporary. We don’t become different people; the animal is just subdued. When it comes to learning Torah, the only struggle is to understand the content. When Torah enters our minds and becomes the way we think, our entire life becomes G-dly. When we choose to think in Torah terms, our mind adjusts.
 
The subjects we learn in the revealed aspects of Torah—forbidden things, and even false claims against another—are true and holy within the framework of Torah. Being that a) these mundane subjects in Torah are G-d’s word and b) the Torah is likened to fire which doesn’t become impure. Torah always remains pristine, remaining in its place and on its level. Therefore, Torah’s refinement of existence is automatic.   הוּא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁגַם עִנְיָנִים אֵלוּ (דְבָרִים הָאַסוּרִים וְגַם טַעֲנוֹת שֶׁל שֶׁקֶר) כְּמוֹ שְׁהֵם בָּתּוֹרָה25, הֵם תּוֹרָה, תּוֹרַת אֶמֶת, וּמִכֵּיוָן שֶׁגַם דְבָרִים אֵלֶה שֶׁבָּתּוֹרָה הֵם דְבַר ה’26, ״הֲלוֹא כֹה דְבָרִי כָּאֵשׁ״27 ״מַה אֵשׁ, כוּלְהוּ, אַף דִבְרֵי תּוֹרָה אֵינָן מְקַבְּלִין טוּמְאָה28,״ הַרֵי שֶׁהַתּוֹרָה הִיא תָּמִיד בִּמְקוֹמָהּ וּמַדְרֵיגָתָהּ (דְבַר ה’), וְהַבִּירוּר הוּא בְּדֶרֶךְ מְמֵילָא.
 
Although the effect the revealed parts of Torah have an effect on existence in an automatic way, it is incomplete. The revealed aspects of Torah delve into the mundane aspects of life to uplift them. Nevertheless, by relating to the mundane, the Torah must descend.

The Torah’s descent is:

a) a means to an end—to uplift the world and

b) doesn’t affect the essence of what Torah is. Chassidus and Kabbalah uplift existence in a more peaceful way than even the revealed aspects of Torah. Being that they discuss G-d and G-dliness, this aspect of Torah uplifts existence without needing to descend.When compared to davening, the revealed aspects of Torah refine the world in a peaceful and automatic way. When compared to Chassidus and Kabbalah—which discuss primarily G-d and G-dliness—the revealed aspects of Torah seem forceful.

 
A Higher Calling    
 
This, however, doesn’t compare to the way the deeper aspects of Torah—Chassidus, and Kabbalah—refine existence.   אֶלָא שֶׁאַף עַל פִּי כֵּן אֵין זֶה דוֹמֶה לְהַבִּירוּר שֶׁעַל יְדֵי פְּנִימִיוּת הַתּוֹרָה,
 
The revealed aspects of Torah speak of mundane matters. Relatively speaking, this is a this is so to speak. Although the revealed aspects of Torah continue to be G-d’s word, and thus pristine but, relative to Chassidus and Kabbalah, they descend.   דְבְּהַבּירוּר שֶׁעַל יְדֵי גַלְיָא דְתּוֹרָה הַרֵי זֶה גוּפָא שֶׁהַתּוֹרָה מְדַבֶּרֶת בְּנוֹגֵעַ לְדְבָרִים גַשְׁמִיִים וְכוּלְהוּ, הַרֵי זֶה עִנְיָן שֶׁל יְרִידָה29 כְּבְיָכוֹל, אֶלָא שֶׁגַם לְאַחֲרֵי יְרִידָתָהּ וְהַמְשָׁכָתָהּ לְמַטָה הִיא תּוֹרָה, דְבַר ה’ (וְלֹא שֶׁיוֹרֶדֶת וּמִתְלַבֶשֶׁת בְּעִנְיָן אַחֵר).
 
The effect that Chassidus and Kabbalah have on existence is based on the fact that it is the Tree of Life. The revealed aspects of Torah, on the other hand, are the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The effect of Chassidus and Kabbalah on existence is automatic because it doesn’t deal at all with the mundane.   מַה שְׁאֵין כֵּן הַבִּירוּר שֶׁעַל יְדֵי פְּנִימִיוּת הַתּוֹרָה, מִכֵּיוָן שֶׁפְּנִימִיוּת הַתּוֹרָה הִיא אִילָנָא דְחַיֵי (שֶׁאֵינָה מְלוּבֶּשֶׁת בְּטוֹב וְרַע)30, הַרֵי הַבִּירוּר שֶׁנַעֲשֶׂה עַל יְדֵי זֶה הוּא שֶׁלֹא בְּדֶרֶךְ הִתְלַבְּשׁוּת כְּלַל.
 
The revealed aspects of Torah are referred to in Kabbalah as the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This is because it helps us sort out good and evil. Before the sin of eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, we were able to recognize the difference intuitively. The revealed aspects of Torah are also full of questions and answers, differences of opinions, chunks of the Talmud were censored, etc. As a result, we must struggle to sift through the wake of this long exile to extract clear halachos. On the other hand, Chassidus and Kabbalah have much less when it comes to differences of opinion. In fact, Chassidus does a great job of exposing the underlying unity in all of Torah, especially reconciling age-old halachic arguments.
 
Summary    
 
Torah is so powerful, it refines the body, animal soul, and all of existence in an automatic, peaceful, and permanent way. Davening on the other hand is an act of war against the animal soul and body. As such the results are temporary. Chassidus and Kabbalah’s effect on the body, animal soul and all of existence, makes the rest of Torah seem forceful in comparison. This is because the rest of Torah, although it remains holy and pristine as G-d’s will and wisdom, relates and descends into the mundane aspects of life. Chassidus and Kabbalah on the other hand uplift existence by outshining the mundane.


21. המשך תרס”ו ע’ שו-ז. המשך תער”ב ח”ב פשע”ז. סה”מ עטר”ת ע’ קלז. ובכ”מ.

22. שהם למטה גם מדברים האסורים – כמובן מתניא פכ”ד (ל, ב).

23. ראה קונטרס עץ החיים פי”א (ע’ 38).

24. בהמשך תער”ב שם כותב בזה בירור “בדרך מלחמה”. ובדוגמת הארון שהי’ מהלך במדבר והי’ הורג נחשים שרפים ועקרבים, “כמו שהמלך יוצא ממקומו והולך למדינת האויב להלחם בו”. דכמו”כ הוא גם בהבירור ע”י גליא דתורה ע”י שהיא מתלבשת בענינים הגשמיים וכו’, דאף שהבירור הוא לכאורה בדרך ממילא, הרי ההתלבשות כו’ (הילוך במקום האויב) הו”ע של מלחמה. אבל בהמשך פדה בשלום תרנ”ט (ע’ קסג) ותש”ד (פ”כ – ע’ 108) שהבירור שע”י גליא דתורה הוא “בדרך מנוחה”, וזה בא בהמשך לענין הבירור בדרך מנוחה שמבואר שם לפנ”ז (סה”מ תרנ”ט ע’ קסב. תש”ד ע’ 107) שהי’ בימי שלמה ושיהי’ לע”ל. וראה ד”ה פדה בשלום שבשערי תשובה (פי”א – נו, א): ע”י עסק התורה .. כמו לע”ל .. וכה”ג הי’ בימי שלמה.

25. ראה לקוטי לוי”צ (אגרות-קודש ע’ רסו) דהא דר’ אשי בדותא היא וכיו”ב תורה הוא. – ולהעיר מהמבואר במק”א (לקו”ש ח”כ ע’ 341 ואילך. ח”ל ע’ 145. ועוד) בענין “יעקב ועשו האמורים בפרשה” (פרש”י ר”פ תולדות).

26. זו הלכה – שבת קלח, ב.

27. ירמי’ כג, כט.

28. ברכות כב, א.

29. להעיר מתניא פ”ד (ח, ב) “נסעה וירדה גו’ עד שנתלבשה בדברים גשמיים כו'”. ולהעיר מהמשך תער”ב ח”ב ס”ע א’מט “ועם היות דהבירור (דשם מ”ה) נעשה בדרך ממילא, מ”מ זהו שנמשך בכדי שיהי’ הבירור כו'”.

30. אגה”ק סכ”ו.

 
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