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The Chassidic Dimension - Volume 4
Interpretations of the Weekly Torah Readings and the Festivals.
Based on the Talks of The Lubavitcher Rebbe,
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson.


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"Arousal From Below"

At the beginning of the Torah portion Tazria, we read: "When a woman conceives and gives birth to a boy...."[1]

In terms of man's spiritual service, "When a woman conceives" refers to a spiritual service aroused from below, rather than one that emanates from G-d.[2]

This is because "male" and "female" in their spiritual context refer to G-d and the Jewish people. G-d is referred to as "male" in that He is the benefactor, and the Jewish people are referred to in the feminine gender as they are the recipients.

The Alter Rebbe explains[3] that when a spiritual service is instigated by the Jewish people - "When a woman conceives" - then it is a lasting one. For since the service comes from humans themselves rather than from something external, it penetrates people to their core.

This "recipient" quality is found in every Jew, for even a Jew who is tender in years or knowledge has the ability to "receive" in a manner that will bear fruit - "and gives birth."

With the above in mind, we will be able to understand Rashi's comment on "when a woman conceives." Rashi states: "R. Simla'i said, 'Just as man's creation came after the creation of all animals, beasts and birds, so too are the laws that relate to him explained after the laws relating to animals, beasts and birds.' "

This must be understood. Torah preceded creation. As our Sages say:[4] "He looked into the Torah and created the world."

Why, then, is the order reversed here, so that the passage reads "Just as man was created ... so too is his Torah"? Shouldn't it state: "Just as man's Torah was elaborated after the Torah of ... so too was his creation...."?

The order of creation is "from above to below" - first came Torah, and then, by gazing into Torah, G-d created the world accordingly.

The same is true of man's spiritual service. At the beginning of man's service, his actions are not predicated on his own understanding of the importance of Torah and mitzvos. Rather, they are based and "created" solely on the Torah's commands. For at the outset of a person's service, his performance of Torah and mitzvos is merely a product of the acceptance of the divine yoke, as the person is not yet cognizant of the tremendous quality of his actions. His performance thus does not "derive" from his own being, but from above.

The ultimate level of spiritual service, however, requires that a person understands and feels the truth and beauty of Torah and mitzvos. He will then desire to perform them of his own volition. Performing Torah and mitzvos in this manner affects one's entire being.

Rashi therefore begins the portion of Tazria (that speaks of man's service "from below to above") with the statement that "Just as man was created ... so too is his Torah." For on this level, man's very being, "his creation," leads him to Torah - similar to the theme of the verse:[5] "From my own flesh I behold G-dliness."

However, man finds himself in a world that conceals G-dliness, a world where Torah is not in a state of revelation. How can he become so inspired and motivated that his very being impels him to ever-greater heights of spirituality?

When one has already achieved a deeper appreciation of G-dliness, then the fact that he can achieve this level is understandable. This lesson, however, (like all Torah lessons) applies to all Jews, even those who are first beginning their spiritual quest. How can they be expected to accomplish such a daunting spiritual task?

Rashi notes that the statement that "man's creation should lead to his Torah" was made by R. Simla'i.

R. Simla'i also says that when a child is still in the womb "he is taught the entire Torah." The fact that it is later forgotten in no way dissipates, Heaven forfend, the Torah that he previously learned. It is merely a temporary concealment.

This Torah that all Jews study allows them to retain the ability to reveal the truth of Torah and make it the essential component of their lives.

Based on Sefer HaSichos 5748, Vol. II, pp. 425-427.



  1. (Back to text) Vayikra 12:1.

  2. (Back to text) See Likkutei Torah beginning of Tazria.

  3. (Back to text) Ibid.

  4. (Back to text) Zohar, Vol. II, p. 161b.

  5. (Back to text) Iyov 19:26.

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