The Wonders of Learning Nigleh

A common complaint about delving into the study of Gemara and Halacha is that it is dry and at times tedious. Some erroneously believe that someone can be a sincere Jew and minimize study in these areas, even misquoting the Baal Shem Tov and other chassidic sages, rachmana litzlan. Learning Keser Shem Tov, it is said in the name of the Baal Shem quite often that our ultimate goal should be to be learning or involved with active performance of a mitzvah constantly, with only a break in order to regather our energy and focus on gaining d’veikus HaBorei (cleaving to the Creator).

Rebbe Nachman teaches that the study of Gemara along with Halacha and the Poskim is incredibly important, not simply because it shows us how to be Jewish, but because this study accomplishes various things in the higher worlds. When a person learns how to distinguish between Tumah v’Tahor (Impure and Pure), Issur v’Heter (Forbidden and Permitted), and the various other halachic dualities, the Netzotzos HaKedoshim (Holy Sparks) are separated from the Klippah.

One other aspect of learning Nigleh (revealed Torah), particularly in the form of Gemara and Halacha rather than primarily Midrashim, is to create the Kli (vessel) needed to receive various Oros (Lights) and Hashpo’os (influences) from Hashem. The best comparison is to an architect building a castle with a treasury meant to hold valuables for a king. The architect will have a vision in his mind, which while it may be glorious is still only theoretical; after mapping this out in his head he will have to put together blueprints; and after this is done the actual building will be put together and the treasure can be placed into the treasury. The initial mental map of the castle is Midrashim and aspects of Kabbalah Iyunis (Contemplative Kabbalah), because this shows the general image of what will be, the ideal form so to speak; the blueprints which will be followed by him or his workers is the Gemara and various Halacha seforim, since these are the directions as to how to accomplish the ideal form; the construction of the building is the performance of the mitzvos according to Halacha. While the purpose of the blueprints and the building process isn’t the thing itself, it serves a greater purpose of turning an empty plot of land into something magnificent and capable of holding much value within. In this same way we find one purpose of learning Halacha and Gemara, that is to figure out the path which we need to follow in order to merit Hashroas HaShechinah (Dwelling of the Shechinah), and with that all the various Hashpo’os that we can merit for ourselves and others.

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