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Learning Torah for the heart’s sake

by yedidah on December 16, 2013

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We could  approach Torah just through our mind, trying to understand it intellectually—learning the mitzvot, and fulfilling the commandment of learning the Torah. Although we all have to start our learning of Torah through our mind, many just leave it at that. But Rabbi Ashlag, the great Kabbalist, teaches that just learning the Torah intellectually does not in fact fulfill the real purpose of our study of the Torah. As Rabbi Ibn Ezra tells us, the most important reason for learning the Torah is the tikkun of the heart.

What does the term “heart” refer to? Is it simply an anatomically important vessel in the body that keeps us alive? Or is it something more? Many people refer to the heart when they want to describe their feelings. But Rabbi Ashlag defines the heart as desire. The tikkun of the heart is thus the rectification of the will. This makes sense. When i am excited by something, my heart races faster. When I am angry I can hear it throbbing in my ears. But why should my heart need rectification, why does it need to change?

Related talks:

  • Joining heart and mind
    The Torah: the soul’s voice
    The labor in Torah
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    The works of the Kabbalah are often technical with language that seems foreign to us. What are they really talking about? Why is it that purity of heart and loving-kindness help us understand the material in question, why isn’t intellectual aptitude enough?
    Rabbi Ashlag wrote introductions, essays and letters to his pupils, which use language with which we are familiar. So we think we understand them. But the more we go into these works, the more we realize how deep they are, with many shades of meaning. As we work on ourselves, their meanings seem to change.
    However, all these works are based on the work of the Ari and of the Zohar to which Rabbi Ashlag wrote more technical works that use language that seems foreign to our ears.
    As we grow in both our inner work and in our learning we begin to see that both these types of writings are actually talking about the same issue. How we can rectify ourselves and fulfill the lives we were created for.

    Includes an essay by the Baal HaSulam on why he wrote his books
    (16 minutes)

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    Receiving the Torah through faith

    by yedidah May 13, 2013
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    The light of the Torah is one. The vessels with which we receive the light of the Torah are called the garments of the Torah. However, to access the light of the Torah we need to add in the ingredient of faith. Faith that the Torah itself can bring us back to the good way.

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    The Labor in Torah

    by yedidah August 5, 2012
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    The light in the Torah is the essence of God and brings us back to the right way

    Read the full article →