Thursday, December 10, 2015

Screen for the Spirit, Garment for the Soul

Screen for the Spirit, Garment for the Soul
by Josh Rosenfeld

Josh Rosenfeld is the Assistant Rabbi at Lincoln Square Synagogue and on the Judaic Studies Faculty at SAR High School.

This is his third contribution to the Seforim blog. His first essay, on "The Nazir in New York," is available here, and his second essay, “The Princess and I: Academic Kabbalists/Kabbalist Academics,“ is available here.

אור לנר ג׳, חנוכה ה׳תשע״ו

            Recent years have witnessed a remarkable trend in the widespread study of Hasidic texts within Orthodox communities that themselves do not self-identify as traditionally Hasidic. Whether in much-discussed Modern Orthodox neo-Hasidic circles or amongst the National-Religious in Israel, Hasidic texts canonical and obscure merit serious teaching, engagement, and even reverence in these communities. One of the earliest expressions of this trend was the introduction of such texts into the curricula of Hesder Yeshivot, and arguably the man most responsible for this was R. Shimon Gershon Rosenberg (Shagar; 1949-2007).

R. Shagar began his career in the Hesder Yeshivot first as a student at Yeshivat Kerem b’Yavneh, eventually returning from the Yom Kippur war to become a popular RaM at Yeshivat Hakotel, even filling in as interim Rosh ha-Yeshiva when R. Yeshayahu Hadari took a sabbatical. R. Shagar, known as a Talmudic prodigy, branched out to both found and direct other institutions on the cutting edge of the National Religious educational framework, such as Beit Midrash Ma’aleh and Beit Morasha, and finally, Yeshivat Siach Yitzchak in Efrat, with his longtime friend and study partner, R. Yair Dreyfuss (1949- ). After a difficult period of suffering, R. Shagar passed away from Pancreatic cancer on June 11, 2007, a month after the announcement of a committee to begin preparing his voluminous writings for publication.

R. Shagar wrote and taught on a level characterized as “extremely deep”, and despite the resurgence of interest and posthumous publications of his writings, a close student of his once told me “it was not always such a great honor to be counted amongst his students.” There was some opposition to some of his ideas, especially those relating to education and Talmud pedagogy.[1] R. Shagar’s writings exhibit a sustained engagement with, in my opinion, three central themes: postmodernism and its challenge to traditional religion, spirituality and faith in the Modern Orthodox and National Religious, and the development of a viable language, a discourse - based upon traditional texts - to think and talk about the aforementioned themes. R. Shagar’s writings are as quick to quote R. Schnuer Zalman of Liadi as Slavoj Zizek, the Slovenian cultural critic and philosopher.

For English speakers, much of R. Shagar’s oeuvre remains a closed book,[2] despite the rapid pace with which new material of his - developed from the reportedly hundreds of files he left behind - is being published, and the resurgence in his popularity in Israel. Despite that, a few articles and introductions to his thought have appeared in English.[3]

What follows is an attempt at translation of an excerpt from one of the most recent of R. Shagar’s works, To Illuminate the Openings (להאיר את הפתחים).[4] The book is primarily a collection of R. Shagar’s discourses on the holiday of Hanukkah, part of the “For This Time” (לזמן הזה) series of R. Shagars derashot on the cycle of Jewish holidays and festivals.[5]

This particular essay, “Screen for the Spirit, Garment for the Soul” is an expansion and presentation of R. Schneur Zalman of Liadi’s[6] phenomenological discourse on the candles of Hanukkah. R. Shagar uses the language of philosophy, Maimonides, and Lacanian psychoanalysis to explain the two religious paths that R. Schneur Zalman sees as represented in the candles, wicks, and flames of Hanukkah. In doing so, a rich tapestry of religious thought is woven, with R. Shagar characteristically bringing such diverse thinkers as the founder of Chabad Hasidism and Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz in conversation with each other.[7]

"Screen for the Spirit, Garment for the Soul”

{A Translation and Annotation of R. Shimon Gershon Rosenberg, “To Illuminate the Openings” (Machon Kitve ha-Rav Shagar: Efrat, 2014), 53-61}[8][9]

כִּי אַתָּה תָּאִיר נֵרִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהַי יַגִּיהַּ חָשְׁכִּי (תהילים י״ח, כט).
כִּי נֵר מִצְוָה וְתוֹרָה אוֹר (משלי ו׳, כג).
נֵר יְהוָה נִשְׁמַת אָדָם (שם כ׳, כז).

The Soul and the Commandment

There is a well-known custom of many Hasidic rabbis on Hanukah to sit by the candles after lighting and to meditate upon them, sometimes for hours. This meditation washes over the spirit and allows the psyche to open up to a whole host of imaginings, gleanings, thoughts, and emotions - that afterward blossom into the ‘words of the living God’, to use the Habad formulation. Therefore, it is instructive for us to look at the physical entity, the elements of the candle and its light as crucial elements in the development of these words of exegesis - the meditation upon the candlelight. For example, in one stage of the discourse of R. Schneur Zalman of Liadi[10] (1745-1812; henceforth, Admor ha-Zaken) that we shall discuss, Admor ha-Zaken distinguishes between two different types of light emanating from the candle: and the fact of the matter is that the candle consists of both the oil and the wick - two types of light: a darkened light directly on the wick, and the clarified white light.[11] This differentiation acts as a springboard for a discourse upon two pathways in religious life. To a certain extent, it is possible to posit that the discourse is the product of the Admor ha-Zaken’s meditation upon the different colors of light in the candle’s flame, and without that, there would be no discourse to speak of.

The motif of the candle and the imaginings it conjures are a frequent theme in scripture and in rabbinic writing - The Mitzvah Candle; Candle of the Soul; The Candle of God - in its wake arise many Hasidic discourses seeking to explain the relationship between ‘The Soul’ [נר נשמה] and ‘The Commandment’ [נר מצוה], and between ‘The Commandment’ and God [נר ה׳]. In our study of the discourse of the Admor ha-Zaken, we will most importantly encounter the tension between the godly and the commanded - the infinitude of the divine as opposed to the borders, limits, and finitude of the system of commandments [תרי״ג מצוות]. However, prior to doing so, we will focus our attention for a moment on the tension between the soul and the commandment - the internal spiritual life of the believer relative to the externalized performance of the commandment.

The emergence of Hasidism brought to the fore the following challenge - does the fact of an increased individual emphasis upon internal spiritual life mean that they will of necessity distance themselves from the practical framework of Halakha? In a different formulation, does the focus of Hasidism upon the ‘soul-candle’ mean that the light of the ‘commandment-candle’ will be dimmed? The tension between the two is clear: one’s obligation to do specific things affixed to specific times stands in opposition to one’s attunement with and attention to their own inner voice. Our own eyes see, and not just in connection with Jewish religious life, but that when one prefers their own personal truth, they do not behave according to the dictates and accepted norms of society at large. For example, one who desires to be ‘more authentic’ may be less polite, as the rules of etiquette are seen as external social constructions that dull one’s inner life. Similarly, for this type of individual, when it comes to Halakha, it will be approached and understood as a system that holds him back from his own truth, and not only that, but it sometimes will be perceived as a lie: from a Halakhic point of view, he must pray at specifically ordained times, but in his heart of hearts he knows that right now his prayers will not be fully sincere - but rather just ‘going through the motions’. Must this individual now answer the external call to prayer, or should they rather hold fast to their inner calling, thereby relaxing the connection to the outer Halakhic reality?[12]

In truth, this question has yet another dimension, within which we may be able to sharpen our understanding - the chasm between objective and subjective experience. Should an individual seek out ‘The Truth’ through their own subjective experience, or should they rather find it in the absolutist objective realm of reality? Once a person apprehends ‘The Truth’ as a construction of their own subjective internal experience, the concept of truth loses its totality and becomes relativized. Truth instead becomes dependent upon one’s specific perspective, their emotions, feelings, and personal experiences. In this sense, Halakha is identified with the absolute and fixed sphere of reality - within which God commanded us, and this type of relativism is untenable in relation to it. (א)

It is possible to argue that the ideal state is when the internal, personal truth is identified with the objective, external truth.[13] The meaning of this situation is that on one hand, the individual’s internal life is strong, on fire, and yet his sense of obligation to this internality is unassailable. This leads to a perspective where the inner life is understood as objective reality, absolute. A person in this type of situation loses their sense of relativity and their inner directives obtain the strength of an outside command, possessing no less force of obligation or truth.

The problem with the situation within which we live is that our inner lives lack strength and force; Our inner lives are prone to ups and downs, steps forward and back. Because of the dullness of our internal lives, they are susceptible to all kinds of outside influences, and thus there is a subsequent lack of authenticity. This is the reason the Shulhan Arukh - not internal spirituality - is the basis for our religious obligations, it is the absolute cornerstone of our lives.

To be sure, divine truth is revealed on a number of different levels and planes in our lives, and it is forbidden for an individual to think that this truth is obtainable only in one dimension - not in the internal or external life alone. An encompassing, total reality takes both lives into account and unifies them - both the internal and external; however, in an incomplete, non-ideal reality, to every dimension and perspective there are benefits and detriments, and we ignore either at our own peril. To this end, our rabbis taught us that we must serve God through both ‘fear’ [יראה] and ‘love’ [אהבה]: and so Hazal said, serve out of fear, serve out of love.'[14]

Admor ha-Zaken

Until now, we have seen the apposition between the mitzvah candle and the neshama candle, to wit - the conflict between the formal Halakhic system and the unmediated spirituality sought by Hasidism. This is a spirituality that has as a central prerequisite the authenticity of action, an authenticity that stands in opposition to the fact that the believer stands commanded to perform certain actions at appointed, limited times. In his discourse for Hanukkah, Admor ha-Zaken deals with yet another tension addressed by Hasidism, especially in the system of Habad Hasidism: What is the connection of physical actions - the performance of the commandments - with the metaphysical, spiritual ‘payoff’ they are supposed to engender, such as an attainment of closeness with God?

Furthermore, the commandments, as they are sensed and experienced through action, are part of the world of tangibility [יש] - the finite and created human reality. Therefore, what connection can these have with faith in the divine infinity? As it appears, the progression of the Admor ha-Zaken is a dialectical approach: one on hand, he presents the commandments in a strictly utilitarian manner without any truly inherent value, but on the other, it is this very groundedness of the commandments in our reality that accords to them their roots in the pure divine will:

It is written: ‘A Mitzvah is a candle and the Torah is Light,’ that the Mitzvot are called ‘candle.’ And it is also written: ‘the candle of God is the soul of Man’, that the soul is called ‘candle’. And in the Zohar it is explained that the Mitzvot are called ‘garments’... and in order to be fully clothed, the soul must fulfill all 613 Mitzvot… and to explain the matter of the soul’s garments… [that] there are boundless illuminations… for there are countless understandings of the light and the glow, which is an emanation of the infinite light of [God] Blessed be He…

The delights that derive from the infinite light, which is the source of all delights, are without end. Just as we perceive with our senses even… physical delights are also without measure, for there are infinite ways to experience pleasure… Because of this, the soul - which is in the aspect of the finite - is unable to fully apprehend the revelation of this glow, which is the very being of the divine, except through a garment - a filter - and through that garment and filter [the soul] is able to receive the light and the glow.[15]

The soul requires ‘garments’, for without these garments and filters, there is no comprehension. I will try to explain what I mean here: for example, when we speak of ‘eternal memory’ [זכרון נצח], are we talking about remembering the content of that person’s life, as if we are recording into a computer a reporter’s notes that are now being entered into the system? Of course that is not what we are referring to. All these moments of a person’s life are ‘garments’, a medium for the real that occurred in them. This real is not something specific, not a definable factor, but rather is the thing that grants meaning to the content of those experiences, even though it itself is undefinable.[16] Thus, ‘eternal life’ is life that retains with it the meaning of these experiences - something which can never be quantified or simply entered into a computer.[17]

This undefinable thing that grants meaning, the ‘lifeforce’ to everything else, is what Admor ha-Zaken calls the ‘glow of the infinite light’ [זיו מאור אינסוף]. It is not simply ‘meaning’, but rather the ‘meaning of all meaning’. In the discourse before us, as well as in other discourses of his, Admor ha-Zaken draws a line, a parallel, between this glow and the actual substance of delight and pleasure that in our world always appears via a medium, some physical object. Pleasure will never materialize in this world in its pure state - like delight in the earthly realm that always devolves from something outside it, like when we take pleasure in some delicious food or in the study of some wisdom.[18] If so, the commandments are garments through which our world obtains its substance and standing - its meaning. In the language of Admor ha-Zaken, the commandments act as a conduit for the infinite light to penetrate into our world. That is to say, the commandments as an entire system of life form a space within which a person may experience the eros of true meaning. (ב) Through them, an individual may feel alive, that is sensations of satisfaction, excitement, longing, the joy of commandment, and intimacy - all these we may incorporate metonymically into the word ‘light’ or ‘holiness’, that which Admor ha-Zaken would call ‘delight’ or ‘pleasure’.

In order for this light to be apprehended, it must be garbed in the outer trappings of the commandments. This is to say, that the commandments themselves are not the essence of the light and de-light, that they are not the meaningful point of existence, but rather only a garment, that receives its light only by dint of the fact that the subjective experience of holiness and pleasure are felt through it. As Admor ha-Zaken explains in the discourse we are studying: behold, the Mitzvah act… is not the way of the divine infinite light to be infused in them [Mitzvot] unless it is through… the Godly soul itself that performs the Mitzvah, and draws forth through them a revelation of the divine infinite light. As it is written [about Mitzvot]: ‘that the individual shall perform them’ - that it is the individual that makes them into Mitzvot, in drawing forth through them the infinite light.[19]

The Source of The Commandments

To be sure, it is possible to say that any way of life or cultural system is but a garment for the infinite light, for it is this system which bears the weight of the meaning of life and the essence of reality [for its adherents]. An individual experiences life through cultural constructs and the social systems - especially the most critical ones such as love, longing, lower/higher fears, loyalty, etc. - all these things grant to life meaning and purpose, something we wouldn’t trade for anything. Therefore, in Hasidism, recognition of this truth is related to the fact that the world was created through ‘ten utterances’ [עשרה מאמרות] - that is to say, even without a specifically religious language, such as the ‘ten statements’ [עשרת הדיברות] through which the divine light is revealed. For Admor ha-Zaken’s part, there remains a difference between these systems and the system of the commandments: while it is true that the commandments are a ‘human system’, ideally/from their very inception they are rooted in the infinite reality from which they devolved. At this point, Admor ha-Zaken ceases to see the commandments as merely a garment or tool alone, but rather that they themselves represent constitute a direct encounter with the presence of the divine in our reality. This is to say that the commandments are a system meant to signify and symbolize the infinite itself.[20] They don't simply give expression to it, but direct us to it as well. How do the commandments symbolize? As a system, they point to the divine will itself, for as a closed system, they lack resolution, purpose. One might even say that it is not that we have here a symbol signifying something that we are meant to understand, but rather that the signified is incomprehensibility itself, the ‘void within the void’ [חור שבחור]. In order to understand these things, we must pay attention to the differentiation Admor ha-Zaken makes between ‘the infinite light’ [אור אינסוף] and the ‘essential will of the infinite light’ [עצם רצון אא״ס] :

It is impossible for the essential will of the infinite light to be revealed to any created being, unless that divine will is embodied in some physical act, the performance of the Mitzvah… and the root of the Mitzvot is very lofty, rooted in the uppermost realms of the supernal crown, ‘Keter’... until it devolves into our realm through physical actions and things, Tzitzit and Sukkah, and it is specifically in these things that the divine will is revealed, ‘the final in deed is first in thought’ [סוף מעשה במחשבה תחילה]... In action heaven was [created] first... but in thought physicality came first... for the light is revealed from the aspect of divinity that encompasses all realms... Thus the performance of Mitzvot, whose root lies in this encompassing aspect of divinity - the supernal ‘Keter’ - cannot be expressed below in the aspect of ‘inner light’ [אור פנימי], [in finite and internal experience], but rather must find their expression in exterior, physical actions, as it is well known that that which in its essence is more lofty and elevated falls to the deeper depths.

Therefore, through the performance of Mitzvot, there is created a covering, an encompassing screen, so that through the Mitzvot the [soul] may be able to delight in the delight of the infinite light…[21]

Admor ha-Zaken locates in the commandments a type of dual identity based on the system he constructs: as a garment [לבוש], they are only a vessel through which the infinite divine light finds expression - the delight of the soul, holiness, all that is perceived as the essence of this world. The commandments themselves are not the inner aspect of life but rather a medium for this interiority. On the other hand, Admor ha-Zaken identifies them with the ‘encompassing’ lights [מקיפים]; a reality that cannot be truly apprehended or experienced within ours. This is to say that the root of the commandments are as vessels, conduits of a reality beyond ours - ‘the essential will of the infinite light’. Manifest in this is a classic HaBaD teaching, which Admor ha-Zaken formulates thusly: that which in its essence is more lofty and elevated falls to the deeper depths. We locate the root of the commandments, which in reality are purely utilitarian and without their own essential, inherent meaning, in the very essence and core of the divine.

The claim of Admor ha-Zaken is that the source of the commandments is to be found in the the divine will itself. The meaning of the commandments is not resolved through adhering to some system of rules, some ethical or moral ideal, or some historical-progressive idea through which they were conceived.[22] In the most simple sense, God ‘wanted’ commandments, and through this there developed a system with meaning and sense, which we might call ‘wisdom’ [חכמה], but that system does not fully define the will of the creator, nor is it necessary in the absolute sense. In the aforementioned discourse, Admor ha-Zaken holds that the actual ‘end’ action precedes the thought that somehow explains and gives it meaning, because in truth it is the action, the physical performance of the commandment is affixed to the divine will that warrants it to be done this particular way and no differently - for no humanly discernable reason. This is the way of the divine will, to ‘desire’ without dependence upon any externally motivating factor. One might say that as they [the commandments] are affixed in the divine will, the commandments as such signify a degree of arbitrariness and happenstance.[23] The commandments serve as a reminder of the ultimate unknowability of the divine will that tautologically ‘desires because it desires’. This is also the reason why the commandments primarily take the form of actions and not intentions. As actions, the commandments manifest themselves as closed, sealed objects, their meanings not easily teased out nor defined by the meanings attached to them - ultimately, there is just the [darkness and] light and the delight that we are able to attain through it.

[1] For example, see “Shnayim Ohazin: A Conversation Between R. Aharon Lichtenstein and R. Shagar”, Shma’atin Journal vol. 136 (Nissan 1998); also appearing in Meimad, Vol. 17, August 1999; see further the synopsis and translation by Rachel Schloss for the Lookstein teacher’s resource archive here; See also questions posed to R. Uri Sherki, a popular National Religious lecturer and teacher on the topic of R. Shagar and postmodernism, here.
[2] Two of R. Shagar’s monographs have been released in English: Chance and Providence (פור היא הגורל), trans. Naftali Moses (Efrat: Yeshivat Siach Yitzchak, 2005), 108 pp. and The Human and the Infinite: Discourses on the Meaning of Penitence (על כפות המנעול), trans. Naftali Moses (Jerusalem: Toby Press, 2010), 88 pp.
[3] To my knowledge, the most extensive study of R. Shagar in English to date has been conducted by Miriam Feldmann Kaye of the Van Leer Institute and Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Dr. Kaye holds a PhD from the University of Haifa, and her doctoral dissertation deals extensively with the encounter of Judaism and postmodernism in the thought of R. Shagar and Tamar Ross. It is forthcoming as Jewish Theology in a Postmodern Age published by The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization [2017]. Kaye’s draft study, “Hasidic Philosophy in the Age of Postmodernism and Relativism: The Case of Rav Shagar” was discussed at the March 2015 Orthodox Forum, “The Contemporary Uses and Forms of Hasidut” chaired by R. Shmuel Hain and R. Shlomo Zuckier. Hopefully Kaye’s fascinating paper will see light in the upcoming volume of in the Orthodox Forum series.
Ilan Fuchs deals, inter alia, with R. Shagar’s perspective on Torah learning for women and Orthodox feminism in Women’s Torah Study: Orthodox Education and Modernity (Routledge press: New York, 2014), 209-220
See Alan Jotkowitz, “And Now the Child Will Ask: The Post-Modern Theology of Rav Shagar,” Tradition 45:2 (2012); R. Yair Dreyfuss, “Torah Study in Contemporary Times: Conservatism or Revolution?”, Tradition 45:2 (2012); Admiel Kosman, “A Letter in Search of a Destination” [review of The Remainder of Faith] in Ha’aretz, 2/27/15, available here; R. Zvi Leshem, “Book Review: B'Torato Yehageh: Limud Gemara Kibakashat Elokim,” available here; Alan Brill has dedicated several fascinating posts to R. Shagar, his thought, and its larger ramifications for Israeli society on his blog, ‘The Book of Doctrines and Opinions’. A good starting point is his discussion of a curious film about R. Shagar produced by the Ma’aleh film school, available here.
[4] l’Ha’ir et ha-Petahim (Efrat: Makhon Kitve ha-Rav Shagar, 2014) 242 pp.
[5] Other volumes that have already been released include In the Shadow of Faith (בצל האמונה) on Sukkot, A Time for Freedom (זמן של חירות) on Passover, and On That Day (ביום ההוא) on Israeli national holidays.
[6] In general, see Roman A. Foxbrunner, Habad: The Hasidism of R. Shneur Zalman of Lyady (Jason Aronson, 1993); Immanuel Etkes, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady: The Origins of Chabad Hasidism (Brandeis University Press, 2015); Naftali Loewenthal, Communicating the Infinite: The Emergence of the Habad School, (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1990).
[7] R. Shagar is accused of a certain naivete with regard to the possibility and rigor of this type of thinking, see Kosman, idem. and see also the editor’s introduction to R. Shagar, Luhot ve-Shivrei Luhot (Yediot Ahronot, 2013); 407 pp. for a discussion of the autodidactic nature of R. Shagar’s engagement with general philosophy, specifically postmodern thought.
[8] לכב׳ ראש השנה לחסידות יום שיחרור אדמוה״ז זיע״א י״ט כסלו ה׳תשע״ו.
[9] Thanks is due to R. Eli Rubin for his insight and comments.
[10] R. Hershel Schachter once quipped that perhaps the name “Schneur” was a portmanteau of שני אור (= two lights), in the naming after two different people with the name “Meir” - quite appropriate for one who was able to draw such deep meaning from even the two lights within the candle’s flame.
[11] Torah Ohr, Miketz 33a.
[12] A prime example of this would be the controversy surrounding the practice of postponing prayer times. During the formative years of Hasidism, many Hasidic leaders (such as the the Seer of Lublin, The Holy Jew, and The Kotzker Rebbe) held that in order to focus the heart properly for prayer it is permissible to delay the time for prayer, despite violating the clear Halakhic guidelines governing it in the Shulhan Arukh.
[13] Thus we reduce conflict between the soul-life and the practical-life. See further torah no. 33 in Lectures on Likkutei Moharan vol. 1, 295-310; torah no. 6, ad loc., 68.
[14] Commentary of R. Ovadia Bartenura on the Mishnah, Avot 1:3. I will point out, however, that it is basically impossible to impose upon someone a completely external commandment, and so in this way even the ability to follow an external command is a matter of personal prerogative, and therefore related to the realm of personal freedom. This is to say that the internality of a person itself transitions between many different phases - sometimes appearing as the freedom to be unfree/limited and inauthentic.
[15] Torah Ohr, ad loc. 32d.
[16] We must differentiate between ‘sense’ and ‘meaning’ [english in the original; JR]. As we shall soon see, ‘the glow of the infinite’ [that is to say, the ‘spiritual background radiation’, the reflection of the infinite source of light illuminating our moon-world; JR] is what gives ‘sense’ to ‘meaning’ [without it, the slip into nihilism begins; JR]. As long as ‘sense’ is completely attached to the level of content - words, actions, situations - ‘meaning’ becomes the internal, animating force behind these, granting these things spiritual ‘weight’.
[17] There is a touch of autobiography here. R. Shagar worked extensively on notes and files from his oeuvre, hundreds of which were saved on his computer, from which the Institute for the Publication of the Works of R. Shagar compiles, edits, and publishes his voluminous writings posthumously.
[18] R. Schneur Zalman of Liady, Likkutei Torah, addenda to Parshat Vayikra, 52a.
[19] Torah Ohr, ad loc. 33c.
[20] This may be likened to the Lacanian idea of the real. [see Jacques Lacan, Symbol and Language: The Language of the Self (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1956); Dylan Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis (London: Routledge, 1996), entry: “real”. JR]
[21] Torah Ohr, ad loc. pp. 32d-33a.
[22] The position of the Admor ha-Zaken here parallels in a certain sense the positions of Yeshayahu Leibowitz with regards to the commandments. See further R. Shagar, “Faith and Language According to the Admor ha-Zaken of Habad,” Nehalekh b’Regesh, pp. 175-178.
[23] See R. Shagar, Pur hu ha-Goral; 32-37 (בענ׳ את יעקב אהבתי ואת עשו שנאתי).

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