Love and awe are like a master’s imparted illumination, while mitzvot are the essence, real like the birth of child. * On the Tanya lesson for 7 Kislev.
In today's Tanya lesson, we delve into a profound exploration of the nature of mitzvot (commandments) and their relation to the soul’s inner experiences of love and awe. The Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, presents a captivating idea: while love and awe of G-d are spiritual and lofty, the physical action of performing mitzvot holds an even higher status. This is because they draw from a deeper source within the Divine, particularly the Divine Name "Sag" related to the World of Tohu (Chaos), compared to the soul's emotions, which relate to the World of Tikkun (Rectification) and the Divine Name "Mah."
This distinction between spiritual emotions and physical actions leads us to an engaging hook: Why are physical actions, which seem mundane, considered superior in the spiritual hierarchy? The Alter Rebbe answers this by comparing love and awe to the 'light' or 'reflection' of intellect, which, although high, doesn't carry the essence of the soul. On the other hand, action-related mitzvot, like a physical seed from a parent, encompass the essence and have the power to create and transform.
The lesson eloquently illustrates this concept using Kabbalistic symbolism, showing how the essence of Divine wisdom and intention is more fully expressed in physical actions (mitzvot) than in spiritual emotions. It suggests that in our tangible actions of fulfilling G-d's commandments, we tap into a more profound aspect of Divinity than through our internal spiritual experiences.
In our lives, this teaching offers a powerful perspective. It's not just the lofty spiritual feelings that bring us close to G-d but also our everyday actions, especially when they are in line with the Divine will. Each physical deed has the potential to draw down a deep Divine energy, transforming the world around us and elevating it.
In the context of today's world, filled with anticipation for Moshiach's arrival, this lesson becomes even more relevant. It reminds us that the path to redemption isn't only through lofty spiritual states but also through concrete actions and deeds, which embody the essence of Divine purpose. As we engage in these mitzvot, we are actively participating in the process of making the world a dwelling place for the Divine, hastening the arrival of the era of ultimate peace and enlightenment.