A gitten erev Shabbos! This week’s parsha is Parshas Sh’mos, and today it is also the yuhrtzait of the Baal HaTanya zy’a of Chabad, the first rebbe. L’kovod (to honor) the yuhrtzait of the Baal HaTanya, the inspiration for this d’var Torah is taken from Sefer Torah Ohr.
In Torah Ohr, the Baal HaTanya teaches us based off of pesukim in Shir HaShirim, along with a bit of d’rash from the Gemoro in Maseches Eruvin (which I just happened to learn last night as part of my seder in Gemoro), what the labors of Mitzrayim were. He says there that the avodah of Golus is the difficult labor of clarification of halacha, which leads us to understanding Penimiyus HaTorah (Internal Part of the Torah), as taught in the Zohar HaKodosh. To summarize what it says there, the Zohar teaches us that the stories of the Torah are the clothing for the body of the Torah, which are the mitzvos and halochos, which is then clothing for the soul of the Torah which is Toras HaSod, the higher secrets contained within the Torah. The Baal HaTanya explains that each labor in Mitzrayim, from making the cement to shlepping the straw and all other aspects of this labor correspond to different aspects of learning Torah; from Mikra (written Torah), to Mishnah, Gemoro, and at last halacha. The entire avodah of Golus is to clarify and understand the final halacha, which is incredibly difficult because in Golus we have so many kashyos and machlokes and many of them cannot even be resolved until Eliyahu HaNavi comes and clarifies it for us.
Kabbalistically speaking, the Baal HaTanya writes, each step of the process of learning corresponds to higher levels of Birurim (separations of Ohr from Klippah). So following the entirety of the Torah there that he teaches us, as we resolve machlokes and shaalos in halacha, we get closer to the Geulah itself.
So now l’maaseh (practically), what can we do with this? What we should take out from this is the aspect that learning and understanding Torah is a piece of Geulah in and of itself. Every hard sugya (subject) in Torah learning that we can resolve and come to an understanding of is mamesh a taste of the Geulah, and hence me’ain Olam HaBa. This is one of the reasons it is best, whenever possible, that one should learn Gemoro on it’s own terms, without translations like Artscroll or even Steinsaltz, because through throwing oneself entirely into the process of learning Gemoro to figure out the halacha and understand the different opinions brings you to the highest pleasure once the answer is reached, and understood. The reason is because this is a higher level of attainment just like the Geulah Shleima itself, and is indeed an aspect of Geulah Yechidis, which should iy’H lead to the Geulah Klalis for the entire world. This should not be taken to discourage anyone who has trouble learning Gemoro, rather it should serve to encourage everyone to work more and more on learning with diligence, and to cleave to Hashem through His Holy Torah.