Parshas Ha’azinu – The Soul of a Jew

This week in the Torah:

“G‑d’s nation is a part of Him; Jacob is the rope, His bequest.” (Deuteronomy 32:9)

Tanya, Section III, Ch. 5-6:

The aforementioned rope refers to the G-dly soul in every Jew. The soul comes from deep within G-d and is tied to Him.

Earlier in Tanya (Section I, Ch. 2):

“The second [as opposed to the first, which is animalistic – see Ibid, Ch. 1] soul in Israel is ‘A part of G‑d Above’, really so.”


It is generally accepted that when an author of Torah teachings has an option to bring one of two equally relevant sources, he brings the earlier one. In Tanya, however, when explaining the G-dly nature and connection of the G-dly soul within a Jew, in the beginning of the book, he resorts to quoting a verse from Job (“A part of G-d Above”) instead of using a much earlier verse which he himself quotes later with the very same theme; the aforementioned verse from this week’s Torah portion.


These two sections in Tanya are actually referring to two different levels of the G-dly soul. In Section III of Tanya where it discusses Teshuvah, it refers to levels of the soul which can become blemished by sin, G-d forbid. In the first section of Tanya, it talks about the essence of the soul, which no blemish can reach. For it remains pristine in its bond with G-d Almighty, because on that level it is one with Him. This level is expressed in the following two aphorisms.

The Rebbe Rashab (to his son and later successor):

“The Tanya is precise to say that the G-dly soul in Israel is “a part of G-d Above, really so”; “Above”, here, refers to the most spiritual of spiritual, and the words “really so” refer to the most physical of physical. And this is the greatness of the G-dly soul; that although it is the most spiritual of spiritual, it can have an effect on the most physical of physical.” (HaYom Yom pg. 81)

The Tzemach Tzedek:

The intention in the word “Above” here in the beginning of Tanya, is that the Jew’s G-dly soul is rooted in “higher, higher, and higher yet….”


Never despair, G-d forbid, nor be discouraged. We have an unbreakable bond with G-d which is eternal. Even if one experiences ups and downs in matters of the inclination, the lost battle is insignificant in the face of the sure win in the greater scheme of things. Little by little, step by step, with every positive act, speech, or even thought, one will, with G-d Almighty’s help, surely succeed.

(Based on a teaching I was privileged to hear from Rabbi Yosef Wineberg obm, author of Lessons In Tanya)


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