Iggeres Ha’Teshuvah Chapter 6, Class 4

Tanya/ Iggeres Ha’Teshuvah – The Epistle on Repentance, Chapter 6, Class 4


Hence, the statement of our Sages, of blessed memory: “It is not within our hands (i.e., it is not given us) to understand the reason for either the tranquillity of the wicked [or the suffering of the righteous].”19

וְזֶהוּ שֶׁאָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה: “אֵין בְּיָדֵינוּ לֹא מִשַּׁלְוַת הָרְשָׁעִים וְכוּ’” –

The quotation specifies “in our hands,” i.e., in this time of exile after the Destruction, when the wicked receive added vitality through the kelipot and sitra achara.

“בְּיָדֵינוּ” דַּוְקָא, כְּלוֹמַר, בִּזְמַן הַגָּלוּת אַחַר הַחוּרְבָּן.

This is an expression of the “Exile of the Divine Presence,” as it were, during which time, the life-force emanating from the latter hey flows into the kelipot,

וְזוֹהִי בְּחִינַת גָּלוּת הַשְּׁכִינָה כִּבְיָכוֹל,

viz., [G‑d’s] granting [supplementary measures of] life-force to the chambers of the sitra achara that He despises.

לְהַשְׁפִּיעַ לְהֵיכְלוֹת הַסִּטְרָא אָחֳרָא אֲשֶׁר שָׂנְאָה נַפְשׁוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ.

However, when the sinner repents appropriately, he then removes from them the life-force that he had drawn into them through his deeds and thoughts,

וּכְשֶׁהָאָדָם עוֹשֶׂה תְּשׁוּבָה נְכוֹנָה – אֲזַי מְסַלֵּק מֵהֶם הַהַשְׁפָּעָה שֶׁהִמְשִׁיךְ בְּמַעֲשָׂיו וּמַחְשְׁבוֹתָיו,

for by his repentance, he returns the flow issuing from the Shechinah to its proper place.

כִּי בִּתְשׁוּבָתוֹ מַחֲזִיר הַשְׁפָּעַת הַשְּׁכִינָה לִמְקוֹמָהּ.

This, then, is the meaning of [the teaching of the Zohar, quoted in ch. 4, that “teshuvah is] tashuv hey, the return of the lower hey from exile”—that the lower level of repentance consists of returning the Shechinah, which is represented by the latter hey of the Tetragrammaton, from its state of exile.

וְזֶהוּ תָּשׁוּב הֵ”א תַּתָּאָה – מִבְּחִינַת גָּלוּת,

As the verse states, “The L-rd, your G‑d (the source of your soul), will return (i.e., bring back) those of you who return”20;

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: “וְשָׁב ה’ אֱלֹקֶיךָ אֶת שְׁבוּתְךָ”,

regarding the verb as being intransitive, this means [that G‑d Himself will return] with your return.

כְּלוֹמַר עִם שְׁבוּתְךָ,

As our Sages have commented on this verse, “Scripture does not say, ‘He shall bring back,’ [but that He Himself will return].”21

וּכְמַאֲמַר רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה: “וְהֵשִׁיב לֹא נֶאֱמַר וְכוּ’”:

The verse is thus telling every Jew: When through repentance you extricate yourself from your own spiritual exile, you will thereby liberate “your G‑d”—the Shechinah, the source of your soul—from His exile too.




19. Avot 4:15.

20. Deuteronomy 30:3.

21. Megillah 29a. 

Comments are closed.