Unraveling the enigma of concealed love in every Jewish heart. * The constant struggle to reveal the divine within us. * On the Tanya lesson for 28 Elul.
The lesson from Tanya delves into the subject of Ahavat Zuta, a latent and inherent form of love for the Divine that exists within every Jewish soul, contrasting it with the more visible and profound Ahava Rabba. The lesson teaches us that this latent love, although concealed, is the root of remorse even among the wicked, stating: "This love is latent in the heart of all Jews, even in the wicked, as explained at length in Part I, chs. 18 and 19, and from this [latent love] derives their remorse."
Here's an interesting twist: while the love may be latent, it is nonetheless constantly at risk of being dominated by kelipah, the forces of unholiness. The text states, "Therefore, a man’s service to his Maker consists of strengthening himself and prevailing over the kelipah in all its manifestations."
So, the question arises: how do we awaken this concealed love within us and prevent it from falling under the influence of kelipah?
The Tanya guides us towards a roadmap for manifesting this latent love into action. First, one must expel kelipah "from the [faculties of] thought, speech, and action that are in the brain, the tongue, and the 248 organs." Once that's accomplished, the latent love can become fully revealed. The heart is then primed for a stronger yearning for the Divine, leading to active engagement in Torah and mitzvot (commandments), as it states, "so that he will occupy himself with the Torah and the commandments in order to really cleave thereby to G-d."
It is worth noting that this battle against the kelipah is an ongoing process that needs perpetual vigilance. Just as a flame naturally rises upward, seeking its source, so too does our concealed love yearn to connect with the Divine. This is not just a lofty concept; it's a call to spiritual action, encouraging us to be aware of our inner emotional and spiritual lives as we navigate the physical world.
Let's put this into a modern perspective. In today's fast-paced life, we are constantly bombarded by materialistic desires and distractions that can dull our spiritual sensitivities. But the teaching from Tanya gives us hope. It guides us to uncover the hidden love within us and transform it into concrete action through Torah study and mitzvot. It's not just about revealing the concealed; it's about leading a life filled with purpose, meaning, and a stronger connection to the Divine.
So let's take a moment to reflect on this: how can we identify and nurture this latent love in our daily lives? How can we guard it from the distractions that seek to conceal it further? The wisdom is ancient, but the application is as current as ever.