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Setting Times for Torah Study in R. Shneur Zalman of Liady's Thought

  • Wojciech Tworek (a1)

This study presents the ideas about setting times for Torah study in the writings of R. Shneur Zalman of Liady (Rashaz) as one of the elements that formed the inclusive concept of mystical experience in the Ḥabad movement. The article argues that in his teachings Rashaz invested common experiences and the precepts of normative, non-mystical Judaism with mystical meanings, and thus proposed a new, inclusive concept of mystical experience. The reinterpretation of the precept of setting times for Torah study in Rashaz's writings was one of the factors that greatly contributed to the re-evaluation of the role of ordinary people in religious life, and to shaping Ḥabad's inclusivist vision of mysticism.

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1. Abbreviations used in the footnotes: T—Likutei ’amarim: Tanya (London: Soncino, 1973); LT—Likutei torah (Brooklyn: Kehot, 2002); TO—Torah ’or (Brooklyn: Kehot, 2001); MAHZ—Ma’amrei ’Admor ha-Zaken (Brooklyn: Kehot, 1964–2008); HTT—Hilkhot talmud torah: Shulḥan ‘arukh Rabenu ha-Zaken, vol. 4 (Brooklyn: Kehot, 1987). This article developed as a part of my PhD project on the concept of time in the teachings of Shneur Zalman of Liady, currently in progress. I wish to thank my advisors, Professor Ada Rapoport-Albert and Dr. Tali Lowenthal, for their valuable insights and comments, which helped me to improve this study. I also would like to express my gratitude to the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture and the Posen Foundation for their financial support of my PhD project.

2. On the communicative aspect of Hasidism in general and Ḥabad in particular, see Loewenthal, Naftali, Communicating the Infinite: The Emergence of the Habad School (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990), 34; see also Elior, Rachel, The Paradoxical Ascent to God (Albany: SUNY Press, 1993), 2122.

3. A story recorded by Bratslav Hasidim speaks of Rashaz having a following of eighty thousand Hasidim; see Rapoport-Albert, Ada, “Hasidism after 1772: Structural Continuity and Change,” in Hasidism Reappraised, ed. Rapoport-Albert, Ada (London and Portland: Littman, 1996), 117. The distress of the masses that reached Rashaz's court resulted in the so-called “Liozna Regulations” (Takanot de-Lozni), aimed to restrict access to the court and the rebbe. See Hilman, David Ẓevi, ed., ’Igerot Ba‘al ha-Tanya u-venei doro (Jerusalem: Ha-Mesorah, 1953), 5870, and Etkes, Immanuel, Ba‘al ha-Tanya: Rabbi Shene’ur Zalman mi-Ladi ṿe-reshitah shel ḥasidut Ḥabad (Jerusalem: The Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History, 2011), 7080; Etkes, “Darko shel R. Shene’ur Zalman mi-Ladi ke-manhig shel ḥasidim,” Zion 50 (1985): 334341.

4. See the famous letter of Avraham of Kalisk against Rashaz's attempt to popularize the esoteric in Hillman, ’Igerot, 105–07, discussed in Loewenthal, Communicating, 51–52, Elior, Paradoxical Ascent, 21, Elior, “Vikuaḥ Minsk,” Meḥkerei Yerushalayim be-maḥashevet Yisra’el 1, no.1 (1981): 193–96, Etkes, “Darko shel R. Shene’ur Zalman,” 343, and in Etkes, Ba‘al ha-Tanya, 317–29. According to Ḥabad hagiography, the conflict between Rashaz and other hasidic masters about the idea of communicating the esoteric to the masses can be traced back to the time when Rashaz was still a student of the Great Maggid. One should keep in mind, however, that Ḥabad stories transmitted by the sixth leader of the movement, Rabbi Yosef Yiẓḥak Schneersohn, in which Rashaz defends the idea of teaching the esoteric against the criticism of Rabbi Pinḥas of Korets, were aimed to present the Ḥabad communication ethos as the genuine expression of the teachings of Dov Ber of Mezherich and the Ba‘al Shem Tov and can hardly be seen as a historical source, see Ha-tamim 2 (1936): 49, and 8 (1938): 50–1, and Glitzenstein, Avraham Hanokh, Sefer ha-toldot Rabbi Shene’ur Zalman mi-Ladi (Brooklyn: Kehot, 1967), 2930. On Ḥabad historiography in the times of Yosef Yiẓḥak Schneersohn, see: Rapoport-Albert, Ada, “Hagiography with Footnotes: Edifying Tales and the Writing of History in Hasidism,” in Essays in Jewish Historiography, ed. Rapoport-Albert, Ada (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1988): 154–55.

5. B. Shabbat 31a. The first question concerns business ethics.

6. “If there is no derekh ’ereẓ, there is no Torah.” Rashi, B. Shabbat 31a, quoting M. Avot 3:17.

7. Sefer ha-ḥinukh (Jerusalem: Eshkol, 1958), 419; Maimonides, Moses, Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot talmud torah, 1.8 (Jerusalem: Mosad Harav Kook, 1993).

8. Eidels, Shmuel (Maharsha), Ḥidushei ’agadot, 18b, to B. Shabbat 31a (Frankfurt, 1682): “And he said: did you fix times [for study]? Two times: one during the day and one during the night.” See also Horoviẓ, Yeshayahu, Shenei luḥot ha-berit, Masekhet shavu‘ot, ner miẓvah, 11 (Amsterdam, 1698): “‘Ittim in plural, because one should set as many times as possible, whenever he is free from his occupation.”

9. Asher, Ya‘akov Ben, ’Arba‘ah turim: ’Oraḥ ḥayim, par. 155 (Jerusalem: Kiriyah ne’emanah, 1961–64); Karo, Yosef, Shulḥan ‘arukh: ’Oraḥ ḥayim, par. 155 (Vilna, 1895–96); for the talmudic source informing the codices, see B. Berakhot 64a.

10. See Foxbrunner, Roman A., Habad: The Hasidism of R. Shneur Zalman of Lyady (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1992), 137.

11. HTT 3.2, 846a.

12. Lamm, Norman, Torah Lishmah: Torah for Torah's Sake in the Works of Rabbi Hayyim of Volozhin and His Contemporaries (New Jersey: Ktav, 1989), 152.

13. For arguments in favor of the centrality of Torah study in Rashaz's doctrine, see Foxbrunner, Habad, 137–39.

14. Rashaz refers to Kohelet Rabbah 7.28:1, to Ecclesiastes 7:28 to illustrate the relation between these two groups: “One man among a thousand have I found. Usually if a thousand men take up the study of Scripture, a hundred of them proceed to the study of Mishnah, ten to Talmud, and one of them becomes qualified to decide questions of law.” (translation follows Midrash Rabbah, [London: Soncino, 1939]); HTT 3.4, 846b–847a.

15. HTT 3.1, 841a.

16. HTT 3.4, 446b.

17. See HTT, Kuntres ’aḥaron, 3.1, 844a, and Ma’amar “Perek ’eḥad shaḥarit,” in: Ashkenazi, Mordekhai Shemu’el, Hilkhot talmud torah mi-shulḥan ‘arukh ’Admor ha-Zaken ‘im hosafot ‘im he‘arot ve-ẓiyunim (Brooklyn: Kehot, 2000), 5:621, and in: Mondshein, Yehoshua, Migdal ‘oz (Kfar Chabad: Makhon Lyubavitch, 1990), 5.

18. See Ashkenazi, Hilkhot talmud torah, 5:102.

19. On the high level of Torah education among Rashaz's followers, see Etkes, “Darko shel R. Shene’ur Zalman,” 349, 352–53; Etkes, Ba‘al ha-Tanya, 168, 186–87. The dichotomy between the elite and the common people is addressed in Rashaz's writings in various ways. Two distinctions recur in his sermons and halakhic writings. The first one distinguishes between scholars (talmidei ḥakhamim) and nonscholars (businessmen—ba‘alei ‘asakim, householders—ba‘alei batim, or those who perform commandment—ba‘ale miẓvot), according to the extent of their Torah study and their place in the society. The second one differentiates between penitents (ba‘alei teshuvah) and righteous men (ẓadikim), according to their relation to God—the latter are permanently joined with God, while the former by means of ritual return to God from their secular activities. Several sources indicate that these two distinctions are synonymous: see for example the excerpt from LT Shir ha-shirim 44d–45a, discussed below. Finally, in the first part of the book of Tanya, Rashaz introduces the distinction between the intermediate and the righteous one (beinoni and ẓadik), namely between two ethical paradigms. Beinoni has the potential to sin, yet he always manages to suppress his urge to do so, whereas ẓadik not only never sins, but is also able to transform evil into good. While the level of ẓadik is attainable by a very small group of saintly individuals (if it is attainable at all—see LT Tazri‘a 22b), the level of beinoni seems to be designed to be the ethical ideal of Rashaz's followers, who were predominantly householders and businessmen (see Etkes, “Darko shel R. Shene’ur Zalman,” 353; Ektes Ba‘al ha-Tanya, 168). On the problem of transposing the categories of beinoni and ẓadik from Tanya to the sermons, see Hallamish, Moshe, “Yaḥasei ẓadik ve-‘edah be-mishnat R. Shene’ur Zalman mi-Ladi,” 90, in Ḥevrah ve-historyah, ed. Cohen, Yeḥezkel (Jerusalem: Misrad ha-ḥinukh, 1980), 7992; Dan, Joseph and Tishby, Isaiah, “Torat ha-ḥasidut,” in Ha-’enẓiklopedyah ha-‘ivrit, ed. Leibowitz, Yeshayahu (Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv: Encyclopaedia Publishing, 1965), 792–93. See also Etkes, Ba‘al ha-Tanya, 208, where he resolves this problem by defining the categories from Tanya as abstract ideals, which Hasidim should strive to achieve, and the categories prevalent in the sermons as descriptions of real-life people that emerged from Rashaz's direct contacts with his followers.

20. The importance of such a stratification of the Jewish community in Ḥabad ideology is evident in a letter written by the sixth Ḥabad leader, R. Yosef Yiẓḥak Schneersohn in 1932, in which he emphasizes the traditional difference between businessmen (ba‘alei ‘asakim), including those who spend a good deal of time on study, and scholars (yoshvei ’ohel), sharply criticizing the modern idea according to which “everyone should be equal,” as wasting (mevaleh) and destructive (mekhaleh). See his introduction to Schneersohn, Shalom Dovber, Kuntres ’eẓ ha-ḥayim (Brooklyn: Kehot, 2000), 7.

21. HTT 3.4, 847a.

22. HTT 3:4, based on B. Menaḥot, 99b.

23. HTT, Kuntres ’aḥaron, 3.1, 843b.

24. On the novelty of this notion, see Foxbrunner, Habad, 138–140.

25. Joshua 1:8. Analogous typology appears in MAHZ 5562, I, 182–3, where Rashaz lists two miẓvot included in the Torah: Reasoning and study (higayon ve-‘iyyun), and reading out loud (keri’ah be-dibur); see also Moshe Hallamish, “Mishnato ha-‘iyyunit shel rabbi Shene’ur Zalman mi-Lyadi ve-yaḥasah le-torat ha-kabalah u-le-reshit ha-ḥasidut” (Ph.D. diss., Hebrew University, 1976), 276 n. 7.

26. HTT, Kuntres ’aḥaron, 3.1, 843c. However, in TO 108d–109a, Rashaz dismisses this view and presents the verbal articulation of Torah as superior to comprehension, for through “speech” of Torah one draws down Keter (divine nothingness and the source of Ḥokhmah) into Malkhut (speech) and achieves self-nullification. On the mystical re-evaluation of Torah study by laymen, see below.

27. HTT 1.4, 831b–832a. Elsewhere Rashaz presents knowledge of Torah in general as a regulative idea rather than something anyone could really achieve, given the infinity of the Torah: “No one can reach the limit of the Torah (takhlit ha-torah), which in itself does not have an end or limit.” Even if someone would memorize the entire corpus of Written and Oral Torah, he should continue with learning its possible interpretations. See HTT 2.5, 835a.

28. HTT 3.6, 847b–848a; T1.8, 13a.

29. HTT 3.7, 848a. See also T1.8, 13b, where Rashaz brings the examples of Maimonides and Naḥmanides, who studied gentile wisdom in order to use it in the service of God.

30. In letters sent to his followers Rashaz acknowledges the worsening economic situation in the community. See for example T4.16, 124a–b; Hillman, ’Igerot, 32, 94, and 320, where Dov Ber, Rashaz's son, notes that not even the sharp and intelligent young men are not spared from the toil of trade and before long they forget everything they learned. Similarly, according to the Ḥabad chronicler Ḥayim Meir Heilman, Rashaz began working on Shulḥan ‘arukh in order to ensure that his contemporaries would be able to learn all 613 commandments despite the economic situation which deprived them from time necessary for deep halakhic studies; see Heilman, Ḥayim Meir, Bet rabi (Berditchev, 1902), 3b. See also Hallamish, “Mishnato ha-‘iyyunit,” 309, where Rashaz's affirmative attitude toward tradesmen among his followers is said to be motivated by his mercifulness (salḥanut) and understanding of the circumstances in which they live.

31. HTT 3.4, 847b.

32. HTT 3.5, 847b.

33. Shulḥan ’arukh Rabenu ha-Zaken, ’Oraḥ ḥayim, Seder masa u-matan, par. 156.

34. T1.4, 102a; T5, 163a.

35. HTT 3.4, 847a.

36. The distinction between these two modes of Torah study is rendered in Rashaz's mystical writings as a distinction between two types of souls: the souls of scholars (talmidei ḥakhamim) and the souls of those who perform the commandments (ba‘alei miẓvot). The former are committed to full–time study, the latter devote a limited time to learning, but make up for this by performing other commandments, especially charity (T4.5, 109a; LT Ha’azinu 74b; see also Lamm, Torah Lishmah, 149–50). The souls of scholars derive from limitless Ḥesed, whereas the souls of baalei miẓvot derive from the constrained Gevurah, which is the reason for the precept of fixing limited times for study. However, in Rashaz's doctrine, every Jew contains both traits, which in practical terms means that ba‘alei miẓvot should complement their constrained Torah study with generous charity (T4.13, 119a). This charity should facilitate Torah study by scholars and credit the donor “as if he truly studied himself” (HTT 3.4, 847a).

37. Shulḥan ‘arukh Rabenu ha-Zaken, ’Oraḥ ḥayim, Hilkhot talmud torah, par. 150.

38. Elior, Paradoxical Ascent; Hallamish, “Mishnato ha-‘iyyunit.”

39. Loewenthal, Naftali, “Women and the Dialectic of Spirituality in Hasidism,” in Be-ma‘gelei ḥasidim: Koveẓ meḥkarim le-zikhro shel profesor Mordekhai Vilenski, ed. Etkes, Immanuel, et al. (Jerusalem: The Bialik Institute, 1999), 15*16*.

40. Shulḥan ‘arukh Rabenu ha-Zaken, ’Oraḥ ḥayim, Hilkhot talmud torah, par. 1.

41. See for example Dov Ber Sheneuri, Pokeaḥ ‘ivrim (New York: Kehot, 2003), 54.

42. Teshuvah literally means “return.”

43. LT Shir ha-shirim 44d–45a.

44. LT Shir ha-shirim 75a; on repentance which is not of sins, see TO 74a; LT Re’eh 24d, 33a; LT Niẓavim 48d; LT Rosh ha-shanah 60d; LT Shabbat shuvah 65c, 66c; LT Ha‘azinu 77b; LT Shir ha-shirim 44d; MAHZ 5565, I, 493–94; MAHZ 5572, 5; Seder tefilot mi-kol ha-shanah (Brooklyn: Kehot, 1965), 226a.

45. Although in several discourses (MAHZ 5571, 84, 92, 106, 119) Rashaz mentions people who are completely “unable to study and to fix times,” and for that reason their worship is based exclusively on good deeds, one can surmise that they are still obliged to recite the Shema, which in certain circumstances is considered Torah study, too.

46. MAHZ 5565, II, 873. “Father” and “Mother” are two parẓufim which refer to the sefirot Ḥokhmah and Binah, sources of unbounded Ḥesed (Kindness) and constricted Din (Judgement) respectively; one who is engrossed in worldly matters and studies at set times needs to dissolve himself in the unbounded Divine Wisdom in order to arouse in himself love of God, whereas a full-time Torah student is able to find the love of God through contemplation (hitbonenut—a term deriving from binah) of the Godliness within constrictions of the world. For the Lurianic doctrine of parẓufim, see Scholem, Gershom, Kabbalah (Jerusalem: Keter, 1974), 140–44. For the source of the notions of “Kindnesses of Father” and “Kindnesses of Mother,” see Vital, Ḥayim, ’Eẓ ḥayim, vol. 1, Sha‘ar ha-kelalim (Jerusalem, 1988), chapters 10, and 15.

47. Rashi to B. Berakhot 21a.

48. See for example TO 64b–d; TO 67b; TO 102a; LT Ẓav 13c, 18a; LT Shelaḥ 48c, 50c–d, 51b; LT Masa‘ei 96b.

49. LT Sukkot 81a.

50. Elior, Paradoxical Ascent, 191–200; Elior, Torat ha-’elohut ba-dor ha-sheni shel ḥasidut Ḥabad (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1982), 290315; Jacobs, Louis, Hasidic Prayer (London: Routledge, 1972), 100–03; Etkes, Ba‘al ha-Tanya, 430–445.

51. LT Shir ha-shirim 44d; see also: MAHZ 5565, I, 494–95, where the essential change is defined as the cause of ecstasy, and MAHZ 5565, I, 502–03, where the cause of ecstasy is the renewal (ḥidush or hitḥadshut), inherent in penitence.

52. TO 80c.

53. “Let us begin with the Zohars esoteric interpretation of teshuvah. [Teshuvah] is tashuv hey [“the hey is to be returned”]. [The reconnection of] the latter hey [to the preceding letter vav] is teshuvah tata’ah [“lower-level teshuvah”]; [the reconnection of] the former hey [to the precedent letter yud] is teshuvah ‘ila’ah [“upper-level teshuvah”]. T3.4, 93b, based on Zohar III 122b. The letters of the tetragrammaton refer to different aspects of the sefirotic tree: yud to Ḥokhmah, hey to Binah, vav to seven lower sefirot (Ḥesed, Gevurah, Tif’eret, Neẓaḥ, Hod, and Yesod), and the second hey to Malkhut, identified with the divine speech; see T3.4, 94b. For a scholarly discussion of this motif, see Foxbrunner, Habad, 133–36.

54. T3.9, 98b.

55. Va-yikra Rabbah, Kedoshim, par. 25, 1, to Leviticus 19:23.

56. MAHZ Ketuvim, I, 17; in a similar manner Maharsha interprets the plural of ‘ittim as referring to morning and evening study. See Ḥidushei ’agadot 18b, to B. Shabbat 31a.

57. Job 31:2. On the soul as part of God, see for example T1.2, 6a; T1.35, 44a; TO 16a; LT Va-yikra 2d, etc.

58. On the possibility of mystical unity through halakhic study, see Loewenthal, Naftali, “Finding the Radiance in the Text: a Habad Hasidic Interpretation of the Exodus,” in Scriptural Exegesis: The Shapes of Culture and the Religious Imagination, Essays in Honour of Michael Fishbane, ed. Green, Deborah A., and Lieber, Laura Suzanne (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 301–08.

59. See for example Dubnow, Simon, History of Jews in Russia and Poland (Bergenfield, Avotaynu, 2000), 113.

60. T1.10, 16a

61. See T1.14, 20a; T1.27, 33b–34a, and Polen, Nechemia, “Charismatic Leader, Charismatic Book: Rabbi Shneur Zalman's Tanya and His Leadership,” in Rabbinic and Lay Communal Authority, ed. Stone, Suzanne Last (New York: Yeshiva University Press, 2006), 5759. Rashaz, however, did not deny a possibility of transformation by means of repentance from a wicked person (rasha) to beinoni or in some particular cases, like in case of Eleazar ben Durdaya (B. ‘Avodah Zarah 17a), even from rasha to a ẓadik (Seder tefilot, 226c, LT ’Aḥarei 26c, LT Va-’etḥanan 9b, LT Niẓavim 46d, TO 20d, MAHZ Razal 106–07).

62. MAHZ Ha-keẓarim, 119; see also Loewenthal, Communicating, 69.

63. MAHZ 5571, 204–05.

64. MAHZ 5571, 204–05.

65. On Cordoverian notions of direct and reflected light see Gershom Scholem, Major Trends of Jewish Mysticism (New York: Schocken, 1941), 261–273; Scholem, Kabbalah, 131.

66. On extracting the sparks of holiness from the husk of Nogah, see Foxbrunner, Habad, 22.

67. MAHZ 5571, 105. On breaking of vessels in Lurianic kabbalah, see Scholem, Kabbalah, 135–40; Scholem, Major Trends, 265–68.

68. MAHZ 5571, 105.

69. Lamm, Torah Lishmah, 152.

70. MAHZ 5571, 105 and 204–05.

71. On the idea of the human temple in the beginnings of Hasidism, see Margolin, Ron, Mikdash ’adam: Ha-hafnamah ha-datit ṿe-‘iẓuv ḥayei ha-dat ha-penimiyim be-reshit ha-ḥasidut (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 2005), 127138.

72. See for example de Vidas, Eliyahu, Reshit ḥokhmah, Sha‘ar ha-’ahavah, ch. 6, 58a (Warsaw, 1937); Torat Mosheh Alshekh, Terumah, 148a (Warsaw, 1861); Horoviẓ, Shenei luḥot ha-berit, Sha‘ar ha-’otiyot, ’ot kuf, 5.

73. LT Naso 20b.

74. See TO 87a, where commandments are compared to curtains (yeri‘ot) that cover the sanctuary from the outside, and Torah study to the instruments of the tabernacle (kelei ha-mishkan), the inner components of the sanctuary.

75. LT Be-har 43a. See also T1.53, 74b; TO 90d; LT Va-yikra 1d; LT Balak 74d; LT Va-etḥanan 10a; etc.

76. T1.34, 43a–b.

77. On different types of nullifications in Ḥabad tradition, see Wolfson, Elliot R., Open Secret: Postmessianic Messianism and the Mystical Revision of Menaḥem Mendel Schneerson (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009), 75–6.

78. On the complete disclosure of the Torah in the future to come, see for example LT Matot 84a–b.

79. Horoviẓ, Shenei luḥot ha-berit, Sha‘ar ha-’otiyot, ’ot kuf, 5.

80. T1.53, 74a–b.

81. T1.34, 43a.

82. LT Balak 74d–75a; Va-etḥanan 11a.

83. Idel, Moshe, Hasidism: Between Ecstasy and Magic (Albany: SUNY Press, 1995), 198207.

84. See for example LT Teẓe 40c.

85. MAHZ 5571, 83.

86. On delight in kabbalah and Hasidism, see Idel, Moshe, “Ta‘anug: Erotic Delights from Kabbalah to Hasidism,” in Hidden Intercourse: Eros and Sexuality in the History of Western Esotericism, ed. Hanegraaff, Wouter Jacobus, and Kripal, Jeffrey John (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 111151.

87. On the notion of torah li-shmah in Rashaz, see Foxbrunner, Habad, 152–54. See also Idel, Hasidism, 176–85, where different understanding of li-shmah in Hasidism are discussed, and Lamm, Torah Lishmah, 191–92, where functional, devotional, and cognitive definitions of li-shmah are proposed.

88. MAHZ 5571, 81–82.

89. T1.4, 8a.

90. See also TO 47c on set times for study as disclosure of the divine will in thought and speech.

91. See for example Keter shem tov, par. 121 (Brooklyn: Kehot, 2004), and Dov Ber, ’Or torah, 1:84d (Brooklyn: Kehot, 2004). For a discussion of this issue see Idel, “Ta‘anug,” in Hanegraaff, Hidden Intercourse, 132–35, where he places this dictum in the context of avoiding routine worship. Notably, in his discourse Rashaz uses the same dictum precisely in order to empower religious routine.

92. MAHZ Parashiyot, I, Hosafot, Va-yeẓe, 7; MAHZ 5572, 102–03.

93. See also LT Ha’azinu 76a, discussed in Hallamish, “Mishnato ha-‘iyyunit,” 274, where it is explicitly stated that a businessman can draw down the divine light by li-shmah study at set times. In this case, the difference between a full-time student (she-torato ’omanuto) and a businessman who studies at set times is annulled, for they both allow the Torah to speak through them. Businessmen, however, must complement their study with charity. Notably, some passages in Rashaz's discourses seem to exempt those “who cannot set times for study at all” and are “empty of Torah,” but nevertheless draw down the influx through their miẓvot, MAHZ 5571, 84, 92, 106, 119.

94. MAHZ 5571, 119.

95. MAHZ 5571, 119; see an alternative version of the discourse in TO 80c.

96. On the ideological implication of setting study sessions immediately after prayer, see Hallamish, “Mishnato ha-‘iyyunit,” 257–58, where he presents Torah study at set times as a finalization of the process which begins with prayer and effects the spiritualization of the self. Foxbrunner rejects Hallamish's speculation on the grounds that Rashaz's emphasis on setting time for study immediately following the morning prayers “is based wholly on explicit statements to that effect in the Talmud, Tur, Shulḥan arukh (Habad, 219).” However, Hallamish does not question the halakhic origins of the principle and points out himself its halakhic formulations in Rashaz's Shulḥan ‘arukh. The talmudic and halakhic statements do not render invalid Rashaz's far-reaching ideological implications of this principle as outlined by Hallamish.

97. LT Va-yikra 4d; see also T1.6, 10b. On the interdependence of Torah and other types of worship in the context of bitul, see Foxbrunner, Habad, 148–49.

98. On mesirat nefesh and kiddush ha-shem in the Ḥabad school, see Loewenthal, Naftali, “Self-Sacrifice of the Zaddik in the Teaching of R. Dov Ber, the Mitteler Rebbe,” in Jewish History: Essays in Honor of Chimen Abramsky, ed. Rapoport-Albert, Ada, and Zipperstein, Steven J. (London: Nicolson & Weidenfeld, 1988), 457494; Elior, Paradoxical Ascent, 185–89.

99. LT Shir ha-shirim 22a. On the development of the idea of the Shekhinah which overtakes man's vocal apparatus in prayer and study, see Idel, Moshe, “’Adonai Sefatai Tiftah: Models of Understanding Prayer in Early Hasidism,” Kabbalah 18 (2008): 3449; Idel, Enchanted Chains: Techniques and Rituals in Jewish Mysticism (Los Angeles: Cherub Press, 2005), 196202.

100. T1.41, 58b; LT Be-har 40c-d; LT Ha’azinu 74a; LT Tazri‘a, 22d–23a; LT Va-yikra 5a.

101. See for example LT Ha’azinu 74a, LT Shir ha-shirim 17a, LT Shir ha-shirim 49a–b.

102. Rachel Elior, Moshe Idel, and Elliot Wolfson proposed three different scholarly readings of raẓo va-shov, see Elior, Rachel, “ḤaBaD: The Contemplative Ascent to God,” in Jewish Spirituality from the Sixteen-Century Revival to the Present, ed. Green, Arthur (New York: Crossroad, 1987), 178181, and also Elior, Paradoxical Ascent, 127–38, Idel, Hasidism, 123–24, and Wolfson, Open Secret, 145.

103. See for example TO 25b, LT Shir ha-shirim 46a; MAHZ ’Ethalekh–Loznya 17–18.

104. See for example TO 45c, LT Ẓav 15c, MAHZ 5564, 238; Seder tefilot, 116a, 132c, 237d.

105. According to Rashaz, all created things are divided into four categories: inanimate (domem), vegetative (ẓomeaḥ), animate (ḥai), and speaking (medaber). Only the human being comprises all the four categories. See T1.38, 50b; TO 3d.

106. LT Shir ha-shirim 20d.

107. LT Berakhah 96b–c; see also LT Va-etḥanan 4a. On self-sacrifice in prayer as the condition to Torah study, see also LT Shir ha-shirim 41a, LT ’Emor 33c, LT Be-har 40d, LT Ba-midbar 19d, MAHZ 5570, 8, MAHZ, ’Ethalekh–Loznya, 90.

108. TO 16b. On the principle of unity of the Torah and God, see Tishby, Isaiah, Ḥikre kabalah u-sheluḥotehah: meḥkarim u-mekorot (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1993), 3.941–953; Tishby, Wisdom of the Zohar (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), 3.1085–86; see also LT Sukkot 79c: “A man can have the impression (roshem) of the nullification of Shmoneh ‘esreh set and affixed, so it will never be shaken, every day in his Torah studies,” and the discussion of this passage in Hallamish, “Mishnato ha-‘iyyunit,” 257–258.

109. TO 28d; see also T1.12, 16b–17a.

110. On twofold ecstasy in Rashaz, see Wolfson, Open Secret, 145; Wolfson, “Oneiric Imagination and Mystical Annihilation in Habad Hasidism,” ARC, The Journal of the Faculty of Religious Studies, 35 (2007): 141.

111. On Ḥabad worship through corporeality, see Wolfson, Open Secret, 138–140.

112. On the origins of the expression see Tishby, Ḥikre kabalah u-sheluḥotehah, 3.941–953, where he corrects the common erroneous attribution of the expression to the Zohar by pointing out to its origin in Moshe Ḥayim Luzzatto's writings.

113. Based on M. Avot 2:4.

114. LT Shir ha-shirim 25d–26a; on the mystical role of ritual routine, see Wolfson, Open Secret, 74: “Indeed, even the minimal halakhic routine should and can be endowed with this mystical valence predicated on the consubstantiality of God and the Jewish soul.”

115. LT Ba-midbar 13d.

116. See LT Tavo 43a.

117. LT Kedoshim 30d. Ideally, everyone ought to memorize the entire Written and Oral Torah. However, because of the “affliction of the times, shortness of the comprehending consciousness and the deepness of the subject” it is enough for a scholar to memorize merely the Pentateuch and the Seder kodashin from the Talmud.

118. LT Re’eh 23b.

119. On eternal Torah, see for example: LT Ba-midbar 13a–b, LT Balak 68b.

120. Zutarta, PesiktaVa-etḥanan, to Deuteronomy 6:6 (Vilnius: Romm, 1880, 11a); Rashi to Deuteronomy 26:16; Baḥya bar Asher, Midrash Rabenu Baḥya ‘al ḥamishah ḥumshe torah) to Deuteronomy 6:6, 130a (Nagyvarad: Vilmos Rubinstein, 1942; see also de-Rav Kahana, Pesikta, Ba-ḥodesh ha-shelishi, pis. 12:21, to Exodus 19:1 (New York: JTS, 1962, p. 219).

121. Tanna de-vei ’Eliyahu, ch. 18, 51a (Warsaw: Shmuel Shmelka Filitser, 1912).

122. MAHZ 5570, 10. See also LT Shir ha-shirim 42a–b, LT Matot 82a–b.

123. On memale kol ‘almin and sovev kol ‘almin as technical terms for divine immanence and transcendence in Ḥabad, see Elior, “ḤaBaD” in Green, Jewish Spirituality, 171–72; Foxbrunner, Habad, 65–66, Hallamish, “Mishnato ha-‘iyyunit,” 50–55, and Schwartz, Dov, Maḥshevet Ḥabad: me-reshit ‘ad ’aḥarit (Ramat Gan: Bar Ilan University Press, 2010), 62–3, and 68–75.

124. Wolfson, Elliot R., Aleph, Mem, Tau: Kabbalistic Musings on Time, Truth and Death (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2006), 6465.

125. On the symbolism of ze’ir ’anpin and nukba in Lurianic kabbalah, see Scholem, Kabbalah, 141–42.

126. MAHZ Ketuvim, I, 233; Boneh Yerushalayim, 80 (77) (Jerusalem: Yeḥi’el Varker, 1926); MAHZ Ha-keẓarim, 251.

127. Scholem, Kabbalah, 141.

128. See for example T2.7, 82a; TO 37a; Seder tefilot 75b.

129. See also Seder tefilot 75a–b, where sha‘ah is identified as the unity of past, present, and future. An instructive passage on malkhut as ḥayei sha‘ah, in the sense of an ecstatic moment encapsulating all three tenses, can be found in Menaḥem Mendel Schneersohn (Ẓemah Ẓedek), Derekh miẓvotekha, 1:151a–b (Poltava, 1912), and is discussed in Wolfson, Open Secret, 277–8. On the relation between contemplation and ecstasy in Ḥabad worship see Elior, Paradoxical Ascent, 162.

130. The comparison of prayer to “temporal life” and of Torah to “eternal life” is used by Rashaz to justify exempting professional scholars from praying the Amidah, see HTT 3.5, 851a, Shulḥan ‘arukh Rabenu ha-Zaken, ’Oraḥ ḥayim, par. 106, discussed in Foxbrunner, Ḥabad, 139.

131. Seder tefilot 28a.

132. See also T5, 155b. The connection between the temporal life of prayer with malkhut and the eternal life of Torah study with ze‘ir ’anpin appears in Luzzatto, Mosheh Ḥayim, Sefer ’adir ba-marom ha-shalem (Jerusalem: Spiner, 1994), 109–10, see also Amira Liwer, “Torah she-be-‘al peh be-khitvei R. Ẓadok ha-Kohen mi-Lublin” (Ph.D. diss., Hebrew University, 2006), 329.

133. For an example of overly eschatological usage of the phrase in Rashaz, see T1.37, 49a–b.

134. Dov Ber Shene’uri, Perush ha-milot, 59b (Warsaw, 1887). For a discussion of this excerpt in the context of the difference between “time” (zeman), attributed to malkhut, and “the order of times” (seder ha-zemanim), attributed to ze‘ir ’anpin, see Wolfson, Aleph, Mem, Tau, 110.

135. MAHZ, ’Ethalekh–Loznya, 90.

136. B. Shabbat 10a.

137. MAHZ ’Ethalekh–Loznya, 91.

138. See also Hallamish, “Mishnato ha-‘iyyunit,” 309, where it is suggested that Rashaz's positive attitude to nonscholarly folk, exceptional when compared to the scholarly ethos of Lithuanian Jewry, contributed to the growing popularity of Hasidism in general and Ḥabad in particular. Hallamish's opinion on Rashaz's exceptional attitude to ordinary men is based on Rashaz's instruction to call up businessmen to the Ark on Shabbaths and Festivals (T4.1, 103a) and not on his egalitarian approach to Torah study, which also should be mentioned, in particular when comparing Rashaz to his Mitnagdic contemporaries. Thus, for example, the Vilna Gaon, according to a tradition transmitted by his student and cousin Avraham Ragoler (for information on him see Fishman, David E., Russia's First Modern Jews [New York and London: NYU Press, 1995], 102–03), compared a man who studies Torah intermittently (ha-lomed torah li-ferakim) to an adulterer (see B. Sanhedrin 99b), for one who comes to join with the Torah occasionally treats it as a harlot, and not as a wife with which one should be joined continuously (Avraham Ragoler, Ma‘alot ha-torah, 8 [Pressburg, 1875]). The Ḥabad tradition refers to the same talmudic passage in quite a different way: “The Ẓemah Ẓedek said: This world is a world of falsity therefore even good is adulterated with chaff and must be purified ‘from below upward’ as well as from ‘above downward.’ The Coming World is the world of truth. In Torah there are discussions of matters which may appear negative, yet the same matters, as they are studied in gan ’eden — are actually positive qualities …. In This World the meaning of the passage: ‘He who studies Torah li-ferakim,’ means one who studies Torah intermittently; in gan ’eden they interpret the passage to mean that he studies Torah and the Torah ‘takes him apart,’ the words of Torah possess him.” (Schneerson, Menaḥem Mendel, Ha-yom yom, entry for 11th Elul, 86 (Brooklyn: Kehot, 1957); English translation: Y. M. Kagan (Brooklyn: Kehot, 1987).

139. Etkes, Ba‘al ha-Tanya, 47.

140. Etkes, Ba‘al ha-Tanya, 70–80.

141. Etkes, Ba‘al ha-Tanya, 168.

142. Etkes, Ba‘al ha-Tanya, 86.

143. Etkes, Ba‘al ha-Tanya, 103.

144. Etkes, Ba‘al ha-Tanya, 99.

145. Etkes, Ba‘al ha-Tanya, 30.

146. On Menaḥem Mendel as one of three most important sources of inspiration for Rashaz, see Etkes, Ba‘al ha-Tanya, 42.

147. On Rashaz's role in collecting donations for the Hasidim in the Land of Israel, see Etkes, Ba‘al ha-Tanya, 122–42.

148. On the role of the “collectors for the sake of the Land of Israel” (ha-gaba’im de-’ereẓ yisra’el) in enforcing the “Liozna Regulations” in Ḥabad communities see Etkes, Ba‘al ha-Tanya, 99.

149. Schneerson, Menaḥem Mendel, ’Igerot kodesh, 14:30–31 (Brooklyn: Kehot, 1989); Schneerson, Likutei siḥot, 23:443, (Brooklyn: Kehot, 2006).

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AJS Review
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