Tanya 4th Nissan Chapter 39-What happens to Torah studied not Lishma

(LY) 4th Nissan

  1. What happens to the Torah of one who serves Hashem for ulterior motives and how to elevate it?
  • Enters Kelipos: One who serves Hashem not Lishma at all, for ulterior motives, such as to become a Torah scholar and receive fame and honor and the like, then the Torah which he learns becomes penetrated with the Kelipa of his motive, which is Kelipas Nogah.
  • Is in state of exile until redeemed through repentance: The Torah which he learns enters into a temporary state of exile inside the Kelipa until he does Teshuvah which brings healing to the world. When he repents to Hashem, his Torah returns with him.
  • Learning Torah even not Lishma: For this reason, the Sages[1] state that one should always serve Hashem even not Lishma, as eventually even a non-Lishma learning will certainly become Lishma.
  • Every Jew will certainly repent eventually: This eventual coming to Lishma is guaranteed being that certainly one will eventually do Teshuvah, whether in this incarnation or the next incarnation, as no Jew will be pushed away from Hashem. [Thus, not only will one eventually progress to a Lishma learning if he learns not Lishma, but even the Torah that was learned not Lishma will become Lishma due to his Teshuvah.]

  1. What happens to the Torah of one who serves Hashem out of habit and how to elevate it:
  • No need for repentance: When one learns Torah out of habit, without any ulterior motive, not Lishma and not Lo Lishma, then he does not require Teshuvah in order to elevate the Torah that he learned.
  • Lishma learning elevates habitual learning: Rather, as soon as he reviews the subject Lishma then also that which he learned out of habit becomes connected and joins this learning and becomes elevated above.
  • Habitual learning is not invested in the Kelipos: The reason for this is because habitual study does not invest the Torah into the Kelipos, even of Kelipas Nogah, [as there was not motive at all in his study]. Therefore, one should always learn Torah even not Lishma.

  1. What happens to prayer that is said without concentration and how to elevate it:
  • Just as habitual Torah learning becomes elevated when one relearns the subject Lishma, so too prayer that was said without concentration. When one prays that section with concentration on another occasion, it elevates the previous prayer, as is written in the Zohar.[2]


[1] Pesachim 50b

[2] Zohar 2 p. 245

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