Iggeres Ha’Teshuvah Chapter 3, Class 4

Tanya/ Iggeres Ha’Teshuvah – The Epistle on Repentance, Chapter 3, Class 4


However, there still remain the fasts in excess of (for example) the 252, i.e., whatever number exceeds three times the prescribed number of fasts for any particular sin,

אָכֵן, מִסְפַּר הַצּוֹמוֹת הָעוֹדְפִים עַל רנ”ב וּכְהַאי גַּוְנָא,

that one ought to fast in deference to the more stringent opinion insisting on the appropriate number of fasts for every violation committed, as noted above.

שֶׁהָיָה צָרִיךְ לְהִתְעַנּוֹת, לָחוּשׁ לְדַעַת הַמַּחְמִירִים לְהִתְעַנּוֹת מִסְפַּר הַצּוֹמוֹת שֶׁעַל כָּל חֵטְא וְחֵטְא כְּפִי מִסְפַּר הַפְּעָמִים שֶׁחָטָא כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל,

He may redeem them all by charity to the value of eighteen “gedolim Polish” for each fast day.

יִפְדֶּה כוּלָּן בִּצְדָקָה עֵרֶךְ ח”י גְּדוֹלִים פּוֹלִישׁ בְּעַד כָּל יוֹם.

So, too, [charity may redeem] all other fasts that he should have undergone for sins not entailing death,

וְכֵן שְׁאָר כָּל תַּעֲנִיּוֹת שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לְהִתְעַנּוֹת עַל עֲבֵירוֹת שֶׁאֵין בָּהֶן מִיתָה,

and even for neglecting a positive command, whether explicit in the Torah or Rabbinically ordained,

וַאֲפִילוּ עַל בִּיטּוּל מִצְוֹת עֲשֵׂה דְּאוֹרַיְיתָא וּדְרַבָּנָן,

and for [neglect of the positive command of] “Torah study, which is equivalent to them all,”12

וְתַלְמוּד תּוֹרָה כְּנֶגֶד כּוּלָּם,

according to the number of fasts prescribed by the penances of the Arizal. (13Most of these are noted in Mishnat ChassidimTractate Teshuvah.)

כְּפִי הַמִּסְפָּר הַמְפוֹרָשׁ בְּתִיקּוּנֵי הַתְּשׁוּבָה מֵהָאֲרִ”י זִכְרוֹנוֹ לִבְרָכָה (וְרוּבָּם נִזְכָּרִים בְּ”מִשְׁנַת חֲסִידִים” בְּמַסֶּכֶת הַתְּשׁוּבָה) –

All of these fasts, then, he may redeem as explained above, if he cannot mortify himself as explained above.

הַכֹּל כַּאֲשֶׁר לַכֹּל, יִפְדֶּה בִּצְדָקָה כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל, אִי לָא מָצִי לְצַעוּרֵי נַפְשֵׁיהּ כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל.

Though this might amount to a very considerable sum, he need not fear violating the injunction that “one should not extravagantly distribute more than one-fifth [of one’s property to charity],”14

וְאַף שֶׁיַּעֲלֶה לְסַךְ מְסוּיָּים, אֵין לָחוּשׁ מִשּׁוּם “אַל יְבַזְבֵּז יוֹתֵר מֵחוֹמֶשׁ”,

for this kind of giving cannot be termed “extravagant distribution” since he does it to redeem himself from fasting and affliction.

דְּלָא מִקְרֵי בִּזְבּוּז בִּכְהַאי גַּוְנָא, מֵאַחַר שֶׁעוֹשֶׂה לִפְדּוֹת נַפְשׁוֹ מִתַּעֲנִיּוֹת וְסִיגּוּפִים.

This is no less necessary than healing his body or his other needs, in which one does not restrict one’s spending to a fifth of his means.

וְלָא גָרְעָא מֵרְפוּאַת הַגּוּף וּשְׁאָר צְרָכָיו.

Since the number of fasts enumerated in the abovementioned penances of the Arizal is exceedingly great,

וּלְפִי שֶׁמִּסְפַּר הַצּוֹמוֹת הַמּוּזְכָּרִים בְּתִקּוּנֵי תְּשׁוּבָה הַנִּזְכָּרִים לְעֵיל רַבּוּ בִּמְאֹד מְאֹד,

all who revere the word of G‑d are now accustomed to being unstintingly generous with charity, which is given in place of fasting,

לָכֵן נָהֲגוּ עַכְשָׁיו כָּל הַחֲרֵדִים לִדְבַר ה’, לְהַרְבּוֹת מְאֹד מְאֹד בִּצְדָקָה,

for the prevalent lack of stamina prevents them from mortifying themselves to this extent.

מֵחֲמַת חֲלִישׁוּת הַדּוֹר, דְּלָא מָצוּ לְצַעוּרֵי נַפְשָׁם כּוּלֵּי הַאי

(15A comment is made elsewhere on this subject on the words, “The kindnesses of G‑d, for they are not concluded.”16)

(וּכְמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר עַל פָּסוּק: “חַסְדֵי ה’ כִּי לֹא תָמְנוּ”):

The last three Hebrew words, here translated “for they are not concluded,” may also be interpreted to mean “for we are not perfect.” Accordingly, in Epistle 10 of Iggeret Hakodesh, the Alter Rebbe explains the verse thus: Since “we are not perfect,” burdened as we are by sins that plead for rectification, we are in need of G‑d’s infinite kindness and charity. And in order to elicit kindness and pardon of an infinite order, man, for his part, must exceed the conventional, finite bounds of charity.




12. Peah 1:1.

13 .Parentheses are in the original text.

14. Ketuvot 50a.

15. Parentheses are in the original text.

16. Lamentations 3:22. 

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