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Tanya for Wednesday, 29 Adar, 5766 - March 29, 2006

As Divided for a Regular Year

Tanya for 29 Adar

28 Adar, 5766 - March 28, 20061 Nisan, 5766 - March 30, 2006

Nevertheless, [notwithstanding the superior level of unity with G-dliness attained only by Torah], our Sages have said: [11] "The essential thing is not study, but deed."

It is also written: [12] "This day, [i.e., during our life in this world, the all-important thing is] to do them" [the mitzvot]. And [the Halachah rules that] one must interrupt Torah study to perform a mitzvah of action when it cannot be fulfilled by others.

For "this [the active performance of mitzvot] is man's entire purpose," the purpose for which he was created and for which [his soul] descended to this world, so that G-d may have an abode precisely in the lowest realms, to turn the darkness [of this world] into light [of holiness], so that G-d's glory fill specifically the entire physical world, and "all flesh will behold [G-dliness] together," as was discussed above (chapter 36).

[Thus, the goal of making this world an abode for G-d is achieved primarily through mitzvot of action.

Therefore, when presented with the opportunity of performing a mitzvah that others cannot fulfill, one must fulfill this mitzvah even at the cost of interrrupting his Torah studies, so that G-d's desire for "an abode in the lower realms" be realized.

If, however, the mitzvah that clashes with one's Torah study can be fulfilled by others, the choice is no longer between respecting or ignoring G-d's desire for "an abode..." - whether he suspends his Torah study to perform the mitzvah, or continues his studies and leaves the mitzvah to others, this objective will be realized regardless.

The choice is now between studying Torah and actively performing a mitzvah; and here Torah study prevails because of the superior level of unity that it effects between the Torah student's soul and G-d.

In the Alter Rebbe's words]:

On the other hand, if [the mitzvah] can be performed by others, one does not interrupt Torah study [to perform it], even though the whole Torah is, after all, only an explanation of the mitzvot of action.

This is because the Torah is the level of ChaBaD of the blessed Ein Sof, and hence, when one is engaged in [studying] it he draws upon himself an infinitely greater illumination of the blessed Ein Sof - light - [greater both in its illuminative power and in its higher quality] - than the illumination and influence [that one draws upon his soul] through mitzvot, which are [merely] "organs" of the King.

[What emerges from this discussion is that the effect of mitzvot consists primarily of the elevation of one's body and the physical world in general; the effect of Torah study on the other hand is to unite the soul with G-d. Accordingly, the Alter Rebbe explains the following Talmudic statement]:

This is what Rav Sheshet meant when he said, [13] "Rejoice, my soul! For you do I study Scripture; for you do I study Mishnah."

[For the soul, the unity with G-d attained through Torah (Scripture and Mishnah) is greater than that attained through mitzvot; he therefore addressed these words to it: "For *your* sake I learn...."

As - [this subject of - the superiority of the soul's unity with G-d through Torah] is explained elsewhere at length. [14]



  1. (Back to text) Avot 1:17.

  2. (Back to text) Devarim 7:11.

  3. (Back to text) Pesachim 68b.

  4. (Back to text) The Rebbe Shlita notes: "Possibly this alludes to the discourse in Torah Or, beginning of Parshat Mishpatim."

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