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Tanya for Wednesday, 9 Nisan, 5784 - April 17, 2024

As Divided for a Leap Year

Tanya for 9 Nissan

8 Nisan, 5784 - April 16, 202410 Nisan, 5784 - April 18, 2024

[The Alter Rebbe previously compared love and fear of G-d to the wings of a bird; the wings are not the essential part of the bird, but merely serve it, enabling it to fly; likewise, love and fear merely serve the mitzvot, which are the essential objective, by elevating them to a level where the union effected by them can be revealed.

He now raises a question:

Love and fear of G-d are themselves enumerated among the 613 mitzvot; why, then, are they assigned a secondary status]?

Although fear and love are also among the 613 mitzvot, they are nevertheless described as [mere] wings for other mitzvot, because the goal of love is the service of G-d resulting from this love.

[Its purpose lies, not in itself, but in its role as motivation for serving G-d via the mitzvot. For this reason it is likened to "wings", which are secondary to the bird itself].

Love without "service" [i.e., a love that is not a means to an end, but an end in itself] is a "love of delights," [a supremely high level of love], in which one delights in G-dliness.

This is in the nature of the World to Come, and thus constitutes reward.

[I.e., such love for G-d is actually a foretaste and part of the reward to be given in the World to Come; it does not in itself represent service of G-d].

But it is written, [15] "Today - to do them [i.e., `today', this life in the time of action and service], and tomorrow [in the World to Come] to receive their reward."

[Thus, in this life, the time of service, the love that leads to service is the love most prized].

He, however, who has not attained to this level of savoring a foretaste of the World to Come, [and has not reached the level of "a love of delights]," but whose soul yet yearns and thirsts for G-d and goes out to Him all day long, and he does not quench his thirst [for G-dliness] with the "water" of Torah that is in from of him, - such a person is comparable to one who stands in a river and cries: "Water, water to drink!"

Thus the Prophet laments over him: [16] "Ho, all of you who thirst, go to the waters!", [on which our Sages comment [17] that "water" refers to Torah.

[Surely the Prophet is not addressing (as the simple meaning of the words would indicate) one who thirsts for Torah, for such a person will surely quench his thirst and study Torah without the Prophet's exhortation.

Clearly, then, these words are addressed to one who thirsts for G-d; and the Prophet tells him that he must quench the thirst of his love by studying and practicing the Torah.

In the Alter Rebbe's words]:

For in its simple meaning the verse is incomprehensible: he who is thirsty and desires to study [Torah], will surely do so of his own accord.

Why must the Prophet cry over him, "Ho"? [Clearly, then, the verse refers to one who loves G-d and thirsts for Him.

Now if love of G-d were an end in itself, the service of prayer could suffice, for it creates a love and thirst for G-d.

But because the purpose of love is that it lead one to serve G-d, the Prophet exhorts us not to rest content with love itself, but to study Torah - and thereby quench the thirst for G-dliness, and also realize the purpose of love].

This matter is discussed elsewhere at length.



  1. (Back to text) Eruvin 22a.

  2. (Back to text) Yeshayahu 55:1.

  3. (Back to text) Bava Kama 17a.

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