Iggeres Ha’Teshuvah Chapter 9, Class 2

Tanya/ Iggeres Ha’Teshuvah – The Epistle on Repentance, Chapter 9, Class 2


Ahavah, the love of G‑d, is primarily the cleaving of spirit to Spirit,3

וְהִנֵּה, עִיקַּר הָאַהֲבָה הִיא “אִתְדַּבְּקוּת רוּחָא בְּרוּחָא”

as the verse expresses it, “He kisses me with the kisses of His mouth….”4

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: “יִשָּׁקֵנִי מִנְּשִׁיקוֹת פִּיהוּ וְגוֹ’”, כַּנּוֹדָע.

A physical kiss unites the inner breath or spirit of two individuals. Similarly, the internal aspects of the soul and G‑dliness are united through the “breath” or speech of the Torah, through good deeds, and most specifically through the concentrated study of the Torah, as explained in Part I, ch. 45.

With regard to this [cleaving of spirit to Spirit], the verse says [that “you shall love the L-rd your G‑d…] with all your soul,”5

וְעַל זֶה נֶאֱמַר: “וּבְכָל נַפְשְׁךָ”,

which means that the love is to be so intense that all aspects of the soul—intellect and emotions and their garbs of thought, speech, and deed—are to cleave to G‑d.

שֶׁהֵם הֵם כָּל חֶלְקֵי הַנֶּפֶשׁ: שֵׂכֶל וּמִדּוֹת, וּלְבוּשֵׁיהֶם: מַחֲשָׁבָה דִּיבּוּר וּמַעֲשֶׂה, לְדָבְקָה כוּלָּן בּוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ.

This means that man’s emotive faculties are [to be bound up] with His—“As He is merciful [so should you be merciful]….”6

דְּהַיְינוּ, הַמִּדּוֹת – בְּמִדּוֹתָיו יִתְבָּרֵךְ, “מַה הוּא רַחוּם וְכוּ’”.

Thus, when a person acts kindly out of the attribute of compassion, for example, this emotive faculty of his is bound up with G‑d’s.

So, too, man’s intellect [adheres] to G‑d’s intellect and wisdom;

וְהַשֵּׂכֶל – בְּשִׂכְלוֹ וְחָכְמָתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ,

this refers to the concentrated study of the Torah, for “the Torah issues from Wisdom.”7

הוּא עִיּוּן הַתּוֹרָה, דְּ”אוֹרַיְיתָא מֵחָכְמָה נָפְקָא”:

So, too, is man’s thought [to be united] with G‑d’s,

וְכֵן הַמַּחֲשָׁבָה – בְּמַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ:

and his speech [is to be unified] with “the word of G‑d, which is the Halachah,”8

וְהַדִּיבּוּר – בִּדְבַר ה’, זוֹ הֲלָכָה,

as in the passages which speak of the Torah: “I have placed My word in your mouth,”9

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: “וָאָשִׂים דְּבָרַי בְּפִיךָ”,

and “My words that I have placed in your mouth.”10

“וּדְבָרַי אֲשֶׁר שַׂמְתִּי בְּפִיךָ”:

Man’s deeds [shall likewise be united with His deeds] through works of charity,

וְהַמַּעֲשֶׂה – הוּא מַעֲשֵׂה הַצְּדָקָה,

to revive the spirit of the crestfallen,

לְהַחֲיוֹת רוּחַ שְׁפָלִים,

Acting thus unites man with His Maker, for He too provides life and “revives the spirit” of created beings.

as the verse states, “For six days G‑d wrought…,”11 as is explained elsewhere.

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: “כִּי שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים עָשָׂה ה’ וְגוֹ’”, כַּנּוֹדָע בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר,

The expression used concerning G‑d’s activity during the Six Days of Creation—a verb expressing action and doing—indicates that the Divine powers had to descend even to the nethermost level of mere action in order to create and vitalize the inconsequential beings of creation.

This is the cleaving of spirit to Spirit—the ultimate attachment and union that result from love….

וְזוֹ הִיא “אִתְדַּבְּקוּת דְּרוּחָא בְּרוּחָא” בְּתַכְלִית הַדְּבֵיקוּת וְהַיִּחוּד, כְּשֶׁהִיא מֵחֲמַת אַהֲבָה וְכוּ’.

Ultimate union with G‑d through Torah study is attained only when it is the result of love. Thus, while it is true that when one studies the Torah simply out of one’s acceptance of the Yoke of Heaven he also achieves a measure of the cleaving of spirit to Spirit, this cannot compare to the degree of attachment that is attained when the same study is motivated by a love of G‑d. Hence, since teshuvah ilaah is a manifestation of the soul’s ultimate attachment with G‑d, it follows that “teshuvah ilaah means engaging in the study of the Torah in awe and love of the Holy One, blessed be He,” as the Zohar teaches.




3. Note by the Rebbe: “There are many differences between the way in which the ‘cleaving of spirit to Spirit’ is explained here and earlier on, in ch. 49 [of Part I].”

4. Song of Songs 1:2.

5. Deuteronomy 6:5.

6. Jerusalem Talmud, Peah 1:1, et al.

7. Zohar I, 85a.

8. Shabbat 138b.

9. Isaiah 51:16.

10. Ibid. 59:12.

11. Exodus 20:11.

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