In the maze of life, every decision we make reflects our inner compass. * Does this compass point solely toward earthly concerns, or is it fine-tuned to a higher calling? * On the Tanya lesson for 20 Elul.
What if the lens through which we see the world, our own attributes and emotions, could be recalibrated to focus on something beyond the mundane? This is not just a thought experiment; it is a directive for soulful living, as illuminated in the Tanya lesson for 20 Elul.
The Tanya text navigates us through the labyrinth of our emotional and spiritual attributes, known as sefirot. The core teaching instructs us that our Divine soul’s sefirot, or attributes like Chesed (loving-kindness), Gevurah (judgment), and Tiferet (beauty), should be directed not at worldly concerns but solely at divine service. "Likewise, by exercising the attribute of netzach, [a man seeks] to prevail triumphantly against anything that would restrain [him] from the service of G-d," reads one part.
The moment that sparks contemplation here is the notion that every attribute we possess can be a tool for divine connection. Imagine that!
Ah, but how does one achieve this? How can we align our human attributes to mirror divine qualities and serve a higher purpose? Let's explore this further.
Turning to the Chassidic classic "Reishit Chochmah," it delves into the concept of "hod," or acknowledgment and humility, suggesting that this is an avenue to recognize the infinite and all-encompassing nature of G-d. Like the Tanya instructs, "Though we cannot apprehend just how everything is truly as null before Him, nevertheless, we acknowledge and genuinely concede that in absolute truth, such is the case."
We can also look at the saying of our Sages, "The tzaddik is the foundation of the world" (Proverbs 10:25), to explain the attribute of Yesod (foundation). The Tanya says, “so that one’s soul is bound up with G-d, the Fountainhead of Life, cleaving to Him with an attachment and a desire, out of a wondrous love and delight, all of which are expressions of the attribute of yesod.” This echoes the idea that our attributes, when aligned with divine service, become the building blocks of a world attuned to G-d.
In simpler terms, the Tanya shows us that our natural emotions are not mere reactions to our circumstances but potent tools for divine service. By internalizing this perspective, we not only redefine our emotions but also our very essence, aligning ourselves with the G-dly part within us.
When faced with a dilemma or a choice, let’s consider our internal compass once again. Is it pointing toward the mundane or toward the spiritual, toward our desires or toward divine service? As we go about our daily activities, let us aim to align our sefirot with the ultimate purpose, shaping our world one divine-oriented decision at a time.