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Tanya for Shabbos, 7 Elul, 5778 - August 18, 2018

As Divided for a Regular Year

Tanya for 7 Elul

6 Elul, 5778 - August 17, 20188 Elul, 5778 - August 19, 2018

Therefore, first of all, [25] man ought to be happy and joyous at every time [26] and hour, and truly live by his faith [27] in G-d, Who animates him and acts kindly towards him at every moment. [28]

But he who is grieved and laments demonstrates [29] that he is undergoing some hardship and suffering, and lacks some goodness; he is [heaven forfend] like a heretic, who denies G-d's omnipresence.

[For if he would truly believe, he would realize (as above) that "In the light of the King's countenance there is life," and "Strength and joy are in His place," so that he indeed lacks nothing.]

This is why the Sages of Truth, the Kabbalists, strongly rejected the trait of sadness, [for it contradicts a Jew's true faith that "There is no place devoid of Him."]

The truly faithful, however, is not perturbed [30] by any suffering whatever, and with respect to all mundane matters, "yes" and "no" are all the same to him, in true equality.

But he to whom they are not the same, demonstrates [31] that he is one of the eirev rav, who act but for themselves; [32] he loves himself to the extent that [33] he removes himself from under the hand [i.e., the authority] of G-d, and lives the life of the gentiles, -- [all] because of his self-love.

This is why he desires the "life of the flesh," [34] and "children and sustenance," for that is his good.

[Indeed,] it would have been better for him had he not been created. For the main purpose of man's creation in this world is to test him by these trials and physical tribulations, to ascertain what is in his heart: [35] whether his heart will turn towards other gods, namely the passions of the body which evolve from the sitra achra, and desire these, [Since the kelipot and sitra achra, the forces of evil and un-holiness, are termed "other gods," the passions that they generate are likewise termed "other gods."] or whether his desire and wish is to live the true life which evolves from the living G-d. [36]

One must believe that he really lives it, i.e., the true life, and that all his needs, and everything related to himself, truly evolve in all their details not from the sitra achra, for [37] "By G-d are the steps of man made firm," [38] and [39] "While there is [yet] no word [on my tongue, You, G-d, know it all]." [Thus, G-d is aware of all man's thoughts, words and deeds, even before man thinks, speaks or does them.] Accordingly, everything is absolutely good, except that it is not apprehended as such by man.

When one believes this truly, everything becomes good even on a revealed level. For by such a faith, in which one believes that what manifestly seems to be evil in fact receives its entire vitality from the Supreme Good, i.e., from G-d's Chochmah which is not apprehensible, and which is the Eden that transcends the World to Come [40] - by this faith the imagined evil is truly absorbed and sublimated in the concealed Supreme Good, so that the good becomes palpably revealed to the physical eye.



  1. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: For, as explained above, we are speaking of the Yotzer Bereishit ["the One Who formed the first beginnings of Creation"].

  2. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: This may be seen as a hint that [one should maintain this happy frame of mind at all times, despite the vagaries of life's] 28 different and opposite "times" (as listed in Kohelet 3:2 ff.). The same hint may also be perceived at the beginning of the present Epistle ("at every time and moment").

  3. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: Since it is for the sake of [his faith] that he was created - and he is alive at all times and hours.

  4. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: This is another reason why [the above-described train of thinking] should be maintained at all times and hours.

  5. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: [The second word in the Hebrew phrase Mar-eh Be-atzmo (here translated "demonstrates"; lit., "shows concerning himself")] is seemingly superfluous and also unexpected. Perhaps it suggests that [such a response to hardship] runs contrary to the very essence - Etzem - of one's creation and existence (for [a faith in G-d's ever-present goodness is] the purpose, as stated above, for which he was created).

  6. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: This echoes Yeshayahu 28:16; see the Targum there [which translates Lo Yachish as Lo Yizda-az-un - "...will not be agitated"]. In our text, too, the verb should perhaps be spelled thus [with a yud replacing the vav]. See also the Targum of Kohelet 2:25 [which translates Umi Yachush as De-is lei Chash-asha - "...who is apprehensive"].

  7. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: As above, footnote 29.

  8. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 6, end of p. 22a; cf. Iggeret HaKodesh, beginning of sec. 22; see also Part I [of Tanya], conclusion of ch. 1 (with regard to gentiles).

  9. (Back to text) The explanatory phrase "to the extent that" was inserted by the Rebbe Shlita.

  10. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: This [reason] was not stressed above for it is self-understood, and is the simple meaning of the expression as often quoted by our Sages. This, however, is not the case here: after the Alter Rebbe has focussed on life in the light of the King's countenance, it is obvious that this is what should have been desired.

  11. (Back to text) Cf. Devarim 8:2.

  12. (Back to text) In the text here follow the words, Af She-aino Yachol - "though he is unable." A gloss, inserted at this point by the original publishers of this Hebrew edition, notes the anomalous nature of this phrase and comments that it does not appear in some manuscripts. An alternative version reads, "...or whether his desire and wish - though he is unable [to actually do so] - is to live the true life." According to this version the phrase is parenthetical.

  13. (Back to text) Tehillim 37:23.

  14. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: The choice of this particular verse here might appear problematic, when numerous verses about Divine Providence appear in Scripture before this one. [Its relevance to our context] becomes clear, however, in light of a comment of our Sages specifically on this verse (Chullin, end of p. 7b): ["A man does not (even have something trivial happen to him, such as)] bruise [his finger, without its having been decreed from Above"]. Here too, then, we observe the extreme precision of the Alter Rebbe's writing, even with regard to words that might seem to be mere stylistic embellishments."

  15. (Back to text) Tehillim 139:4.

  16. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita:Cf. the teaching of our Sages in Berachot 34b.

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