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I Will Write It In Their Hearts - Volume 1
Letters from the Lubavitcher Rebbe

The roles of a husband and wife in marriage; marriage as a phase in a man's personal development

Translated by: Rabbi Eli Touger

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No. 118

This letter was addressed to Rabbi Meir Greenberg.
B"H, Friday, 20 Kislev, 5704
Greetings and blessings,

In response to the invitation to your wedding, I send my blessing, a blessing of mazal tov, mazal tov. May you build a house in Israel on the foundations of the Torah and its mitzvos.

With regard to the descent of the soul into the body, it is possible to explain that the soul itself does not require any emendation at all. Its descent is solely for the sake of correcting the body, the vital soul, and its portion of the world (as stated in Tanya, ch. 37). The Torah - whose name is derived from the word horo'ah, meaning "instruction" - shows the way to achieve this. And this is accomplished through mitzvos which are all intended to elevate the vital soul.

When a person reaches the stage in his Divine service that he begins to refine his portion of the world, he needs a "helper corresponding to him."[1] Thus our Sages comment (Yevamos 63a): "A man brings wheat. Can he cut wheat?..." [and continue to explain the contributions of a woman].

This also explains the order of the stages of life which the Mishnah (Avos, the conclusion of ch. 5) relates as universally relevant: "At five, to the study of Scripture, at ten, to the study of Mishnah, at fifteen, to the study of Gemara." And it is only at eighteen that he should marry, for this prepares him to reach the age when he must "pursue," involve himself in refinement of the world (which is a "major agitation" to refer to the quote in the Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch that will be mentioned), at the age of 20.

At that point, he will have fulfilled the directive:[2] "Correct yourself, [and afterwards, correct others]" and have attained a consummate level of perfection, as can be understood from the maamar entitled Ben Chof Limkor in Likkutei Torah. For he will have completed his study of the Talmud, as the Alter Rebbe explains in his Hilchos Talmud Torah, the beginning of ch. 3.

{There the Alter Rebbe mentions that a person should continue to] study "two or three years" after marriage. It is possible to explain that his wording was intended to satisfy either of two options, the opinion that "at eighteen to marriage" refers to the conclusion of a person's eighteenth year (Tosafos, entry, bar, Kesubos 50a), and the opinion that it refers to the beginning of that year [Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Ishus 15:2; see also the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 1:3) and the commentaries there]}.

Even before this age, [the person] will have carried out the first stages of this service, as our Sages said: "At thirteen, to mitzvos." This, however, relates only to his body and his vital soul without a connection to his portion of the world. For [as it is written:][3] "I will drive them out little by little."

Nevertheless, since this is not the fundamental aspect of the mitzvos, it is therefore not considered as the fulfillment of the mitzvah in the choicest manner. On this basis, we can explain the precision in the choice of words in the passage of the Shulchan Aruch cited above: "When a person hastens and marries at the age of thirteen, he performs a mitzvah in the choicest manner."[4] [Indeed,] according to Rashi, this applies even a year earlier, for he has already reached the level of "a distinguished [child], close to manhood," and his vows are binding according to Scriptural Law.

In a simple, [physical] sense, through marriage, the power of reproduction, which resembles the power of the Ein Sof, is revealed. (See Likkutei Torah, at the conclusion of the explanation of the maamar entitled Shishim Heimah Milachos, et al.) In the parallel in our Divine service, the ultimate goal is the revelation of the Ein Sof. This is accomplished by the mitzvos which possess an advantage over the Torah. For [the Torah] is described by [the analogy of] hairs (Likkutei Torah, loc. cit., the conclusion of sec. 1 and sec. 2).[5]

The Jewish people, [through] their Divine service, draw down this level into the Torah, by connecting it to its source [above]. In particular, this is relevant to the select few who are able to grasp the Torah as it exists above tzimtzumim. [To cite an example,] Likkutei Torah, in the conclusion of Parshas Tazria, speaks of Rabbi Meir who would reveal the inner dimensions [of Torah concepts].[6]

With the blessings of mazal tov, and [with the blessing,] "Immediately to teshuvah, immediately to Redemption,"

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson
Chairman of the Executive Committee

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) [Bereishis 2:20.]

  2. (Back to text) [Bava Metzia 107b.]

  3. (Back to text) [Shmos 23:30. The verse refers to the Canaanite nations who lived in Eretz Yisrael. It is, however, allegorically employed to refer to the undesirable qualities in a person's makeup.]

  4. (Back to text) [I.e., at the very beginning of his performance of the mitzvos, he is already involved in the refinement of his portion of the world. This is "the most choice manner" of performing the mitzvos.]

  5. (Back to text) [The intent is that just as hairs contain a very small dimension of life-energy; so, too, the Torah reflects G-d's will as it has been confined by His intellect, as it were.]

  6. (Back to text) [See Eruvin 13b. The recipient of the letter was named Meir.]


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