The posuk in parashas Tzav writes:

and the fire of the altar shall be kept burning in it.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe in Likkutei Sichos (Vol. 1, p. 217; parashas Tzav) explains that the Torah we study must be with continuous excitement. Not only the study, also the application of what we study. The Divrei Emes (from Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Horowitz, the Hoozeh of Lublin), also echoes this idea, e.g. to serve him with enthusiasm.

The Rama in Orach Chayim, siman 264:9 writes:

And in all cases our custom is to light the wick and to then extinguish it so that it may be charred (before [re]kindling them for the sake of the mitzvah) [so that] the flame should catch on well.

According to the explanation of the Rama, the flame gets stronger when it's extinguished once before, and then re-kindled. This got me thinking. The posuk, and the deeper meaning behind it, tells us to not extinguish our "inner flame" and to serve G-d with continuous excitement and enthusiasm (Likkutei Sichos and the Divrei Emes). But, are there sources that discuss the idea that our "inner flame" and our Torah gets stronger, if we, G-d forbid , lose excitement for a moment (this is compared to what the Rama writes; extinguish the flame, then re-kindling it). Is that a concept?

As always, please cite any sources. Answers explaining the concept @shmosel talks about are also welcome.

Please note that I am not asking if the "inner light" needs to be completely distinguished (G-d Forbid), but rather if diminishing of this light, e.g. we experience less excitement for a while, is to make sure that it returns to us in stronger form.

  • It's a common theme in chassidus that a greater light is produced by overcoming and overturning darkness. But I don't think you'll find any suggestion to extinguish the light lechatchila, if that's what you're asking.
    – shmosel
    Mar 27 at 20:09
  • I wasn't aware of this concept in Chassidus. No, I do not mean completely extinguishing the light, G-d forbid, but more if the same concept applies.
    – Shmuel
    Mar 27 at 20:11
  • It's basically why we're here: G-d wanted us to transform darkness into light. See Tanya Chapter 49 and any of the Basi Legani Maamorim.
    – shmosel
    Mar 27 at 20:57
  • 1
    Look up the idea of desert, forests and fields by Rebbi Nachman
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Mar 27 at 21:20
  • @shmosel I did not take OP's question to mean whether you should try to create such a situation but more of an idea that the baal teshuvah can be in a different place than one who has never sinned. As to doing so l'hatchilah, the main place I would look for that would be in Sabbateanism!
    – Avraham
    Mar 28 at 15:27

1 Answer 1


This is a quote from Tanya (Chinuch Katan)

אַךְ הִנֵּה יָדוּעַ לַיּוֹדְעִים, טַעֲמָא דִקְרָא מַאי דִּכְתִיב: ״כִּי שֶׁבַע יִפּוֹל צַדִּיק וָקָם״, וּבִפְרָט שֶׁהָאָדָם נִקְרָא ״מְהַלֵּךְ״ וְלֹא ״עוֹמֵד״, וְצָרִיךְ לֵילֵךְ מִמַּדְרֵגָה לְמַדְרֵגָה, וְלֹא לַעֲמוֹד בְּמַדְרֵגָה אַחַת לְעוֹלָם, וּבֵין מַדְרֵגָה לְמַדְרֵגָה, טֶרֶם שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ לְמַדְרֵגָה עֶלְיוֹנָה מִמֶּנָּה, הוּא בִּבְחִינַת ״נְפִילָה״ מִמַּדְרֵגָה הָרִאשׁוֹנָה. אַךְ, ״כִּי יִפּוֹל – לֹא יוּטָל״ כְּתִיב, וְאֵינָהּ נִקְרֵאת נְפִילָה, אֶלָּא לְגַבֵּי מַדְרֵיגָתוֹ הָרִאשׁוֹנָה, וְלֹא לְגַבֵּי שְׁאָר כָּל אָדָם חַס וְשָׁלוֹם, שֶׁאַף־עַל־פִּי־כֵן, הוּא לְמַעְלָה מִכָּל הָאָדָם בַּעֲבוֹדָתוֹ, כִּי נִשְׁאַר בָּהּ בְּחִינַת רְשִׁימוּ מִמַּדְרֵיגָתוֹ הָרִאשׁוֹנָה.

Now, those who are familiar with the esoteric meaning of Scripture know [the explanation of] the verse, “For a tzaddik falls seven times and rises up again.” Especially since man is called “mobile” and not “static,” he must ascend from level to level and not remain forever at one plateau. Between one level and the next, before he can reach the higher one, he is in a state of decline from the previous level. Yet, it is written, “Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down.” It is considered a decline only in comparison with his former state, and not, G–d forbid, in comparison with all other men, for he is still above them in his service [of G–d], inasmuch as there remains in it an impression of his former state.

The Rebbe explained this concept to someone by using a parable, that if someone wishes to jump over an obstacle, he first must step back in order to get over it

  • So basically, the concept of ירידה לצורך עליה applies to this case?
    – Shmuel
    Mar 28 at 18:06
  • Yes, it would seem so
    – שלום
    Mar 28 at 18:07
  • So according to this, if one loses some excitement in Torah study, G-d forbid, this doesn't need to be a bad thing, since this can be a way to ascend to a higher level?
    – Shmuel
    Mar 28 at 18:13
  • 1
    Correct, as long as he is still holding by the basics
    – שלום
    Mar 28 at 18:15
  • TY! Also, where did the Rebbe wrote the parable you've used? Did he write it down, or was it spoken?
    – Shmuel
    Mar 28 at 18:20

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