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Divine gifts are tools enabling us to better serve Hashem, gain insights, connect with the Divine, and uplift ourselves and those around us. They are manifestations of G-d's unending love and connection to us, guiding us on a higher spiritual plane. On the Tanya lesson from 20 Menachem Av.

by ChatGPT

We find ourselves today in the midst of the month of Menachem Av, a month of mixed emotions—sorrow for the destruction of the Temples and joy for the forthcoming Redemption. Today, the 20th of the month of Av, is also the yahrzeit of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe's father, who embodied courage and unyielding faith and worked tirelessly to expound the teachings of kabbala and the Zohar. In fact, today is also the anniversary of the publication of the Zohar, a foundational work of Kabbalah, revealing deep mystical secrets.

In the Tanya for 20 Av, we find an insight into the nature of these gifts from Hashem: "There are two types of awe [of G-d] and [two types] of love [of G-d]...The first ones originate from an understanding of G-d's greatness...The latter ones are bestowed from Above, as a gift" (Tanya, Iggeret HaKodesh, end of Epistle 6). This delineation separates our own efforts in spirituality from the divine elevation we receive, emphasizing the power and value of these gifts from Above.

The Tanya proceeds to elaborate on the distinction: "There is surely no comparison between... the lower levels of love and fear...and the latter ones, which are [a gift] from the Creator." Here, the Tanya underscores the incomparable nature of these divine gifts, revealing them as emanations of G-d's essence, far surpassing our human-conceived comprehension and emotions.

Therefore, in our spiritual journeys, we're not solely reliant on our efforts. There exists a divine element, a gift from Above, which elevates our love and fear of G-d to higher levels. These are the gifts that illumine our path and bring us closer to G-d.

To shed further light on the concept of gifts from Above, consider the words of the Torah (Deuteronomy 8:18): "And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, in order to establish His covenant." This verse doesn't simply speak of divine blessings, it assigns purpose and responsibility. Our wealth, as granted by G-d, isn't simply for personal comfort or indulgence. Rather, it's given to us to fulfill G-d's covenant—to perform mitzvot and distribute charity. Every cent we earn and spend can become a vessel for sanctity, a conduit for divine blessings to flow through us to others. Our material success is not our own, but a divine gift intended for a higher purpose.

In the Keter Shem Tov, the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov are recorded: "All that a man encounters in his life is by Divine Providence. All thoughts that enter one's mind, whether in matters of the service of G-d or even in mundane matters, are all from G-d." These words remind us that even spontaneous thoughts or moments of inspiration during prayer or Torah study are not accidents or products of our own minds. They are divine gifts, designed to draw us closer to G-d. The insight, the connection, and the transformative power these moments carry are heavenly treasures, enriching our religious experience.

The Tanya (Iggeret HaKodesh, Letter 25) further deepens this understanding: "Divine inspiration, which descends of its own accord from Above, is surely superior to the inspiration aroused by one's own intellectual efforts." The Tanya reveals the inherent worth and beauty of these divine gifts. G-d, in His boundless love, continuously bestows His gifts, even when we might feel undeserving or distant. This divine inspiration and connection is a gift, a treasure that reminds us of our relationship with G-d. It comes not from our efforts but from Above, a grace that surpasses any achievement we could strive for ourselves.

Lastly, the Zohar (III:173b) provides another perspective on the divine gifts: "Every man who has grace in his eyes is from the side of the Holy One, blessed be He, and the grace upon him is from Above." Here, the Zohar speaks of grace, a divine gift that is a response to our deeds—acts of kindness, prayer, or other spiritual practices. This grace from Above can manifest as an unexpected spiritual upliftment that strengthens our faith and deepens our connection with G-d. It serves as an affirmation of the value of our spiritual endeavors.

Divine gifts are thus meant to guide us, uplift us, and enable us to serve G-d with greater devotion and love. They are reminders of G-d's ceaseless love and connection with us, opportunities to elevate our lives to a higher spiritual plane.

These gifts from Above, whether they are material wealth, dreams, divine inspiration, or grace, are not merely for our personal enjoyment or spiritual growth. They are tools, enabling us to better serve Hashem, to fulfill our covenant, to gain insights, to connect with the Divine, and to uplift ourselves and those around us. They are a manifestation of G-d's unending love and connection to us.

In light of today's historical events, we see how these divine gifts have shaped our history. The Zohar's publication is a divine gift, providing us access to profound mystical teachings. And Rabbi Levi Yitzchak's life teaches us how to utilize these gifts. Exiled and persecuted, he remained committed to Jewish life, drawing strength from the divine gift of faith, and became a beacon of inspiration for all of us.

In conclusion, as we remember Rabbi Levi Yitzchak today and celebrate the printing of the Zohar, let us contemplate the divine gifts we have received. Let's recognize them not as rewards but as tools to serve Hashem better. And in doing so, may we merit to receive the ultimate gift—the coming of Mashiach, speedily in our days, Amen.

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