Iggeres Ha’Teshuvah Chapter 1, Class 4

Tanya/ Iggeres Ha’Teshuvah – The Epistle on Repentance, Chapter 1, Class 4

If one violates a prohibition in thought, speech, or action, since thereby evil cleaves to his soul, he [also] impairs its supernal root and source

וְהָעוֹבֵר עַל מִצְוַת לֹא תַעֲשֶׂה, עַל־יְדֵי שֶׁנִּדְבַּק הָרָע בְּנַפְשׁוֹ – עוֹשֶׂה פְּגַם לְמַעְלָה בְּשָׁרְשָׁהּ וּמְקוֹר חוּצְבָּהּ

(11in the garbs of the ten sefirot of Asiyah, as Tikkunei Zohar12 writes, “You have fashioned garbs for [the sefirot], from which fly forth souls for man…”).

(בַּלְּבוּשִׁים דְּי’ סְפִירוֹת דַּעֲשִׂיָּה, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּתִיקּוּנֵי זֹהַר: “לְבוּשִׁין תְּקִּינַת לוֹן, דְּמִנַּיְיהוּ פָּרְחִין נִשְׁמָתִין לִבְנֵי נָשָׁא וְכוּ’”),

We thus see from Tikkunei Zohar that it is from the “garments” of the sefirot that souls emanate; when a soul is blemished through sin, these garments are blemished as well.

Therefore, there is no atonement for his own soul nor Above until Yom Kippur,

לְכָךְ, אֵין כַּפָּרָה לְנַפְשׁוֹ וְלֹא לְמַעְלָה עַד יוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים,

As will be explained a little later, “atonement” means cleansing that which was blemished. This requires not only repentance, but in addition, Yom Kippur:

concerning which it is written, “He shall atone for the holy place because of the impurities of the Children of Israel and because of their sins…; before Havayah shall you be purified.”13

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: “וְכִפֶּר עַל הַקֹּדֶשׁ מִטּוּמְאוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וּמִפִּשְׁעֵיהֶם וְגוֹ’”, “לִפְנֵי ה’ תִּטְהָרוּ” –

Before G‑d” is stressed.

“לִפְנֵי ה’” דַּיְיקָא.

I.e., the purification granted by Yom Kippur emanates from a level that transcends the Divine Name Havayah and can even atone for a blemish that resulted from transgressing a prohibitive command.

At any rate, we have seen that in certain respects, transgressing a positive command has more serious consequences than transgressing a negative command.

Hence, one should not (G‑d forbid) infer any leniency in the positive commandments from this Baraita which states that one is immediately forgiven after repenting for having transgressed a positive command while transgressing a negative command requires in addition the atonement of Yom Kippur;

וְלָכֵן אֵין לִלְמוֹד מִכָּאן שׁוּם קוּלָּא חַס־וְשָׁלוֹם בְּמִצְוֹת עֲשֵׂה,

particularly ought one not infer any leniency in Torah study.

וּבִפְרָט בְּתַלְמוּד תּוֹרָה,

On the contrary, our Sages assert,14 “G‑d has in certain instances glossed over [even] idolatry, [incest, and murder,]” though excision and capital punishment are involved “but did not excuse the neglect of Torah Study.”)15

וְאַדְּרַבָּה, אָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה: וִיתֵּר הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא עַל עֲבוֹדָה־זָרָה וְכוּ’, אַף שֶׁהֵן כְּרֵיתוֹת וּמִיתוֹת בֵּית־דִּין, וְלֹא וִיתֵּר עַל בִּיטּוּל תַּלְמוּד תּוֹרָה).




11.  Parentheses are in the original text.

12.  Introduction.

13.  Leviticus 16:16 and 16:30.

14.  Jerusalem Talmud, Chagigah 1:7.

15.  The opening counterpart of this closing parenthesis appeared at the very beginning of the chapter: “(This means….”

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