Iggeres Ha’Kodesh Epistle 1, Class 4

Tanya/ Iggeres Ha’Kodesh – The Holy Epistle, Epistle 1, Class 4


(47As regards supporting and sustaining the “head” of the soul, i.e., the intellect that contemplates, [Solomon] said: “She perceives that her trade is good,”48 [a metaphor which is] explained elsewhere.)

(וְעַל הַעֲמָדַת וְקִיּוּם בְּחִינַת הָרֹאשׁ שֶׁבַּנֶּפֶשׁ, הוּא הַשֵּׂכֶל הַמִּתְבּוֹנֵן כוּ’, אָמַר “טָעֲמָה כִּי טוֹב סַחְרָהּ כוּ’”, וּמְבוֹאָר בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר):

What mainly concerns the Alter Rebbe here is “girding one’s loins” in order to arouse a love and fear of G‑d; as he will soon explain, the ideal time for this is during prayer. He therefore only briefly notes in passing that the intellect is also strengthened through the study of the Torah laws.

However, the occasion and time for the strengthening and fortification of the “arms” (i.e., the spiritual emotions) and the “head” (i.e., the intellect) is the time of morning prayer,

אַךְ עֵת וּזְמַן הַחִיזּוּק וְאִימּוּץ הַזְּרוֹעוֹת וְהָרֹאשׁ, הִיא שְׁעַת תְּפִלַּת הַשַּׁחַר,for Above, that is a time of compassion, a time at which the supreme will is revealed.49

שֶׁהִיא שְׁעַת רַחֲמִים וְעֵת רָצוֹן הָעֶלְיוֹן לְמַעְלָה.

Since the supreme will strengthens the “arms” and “head,” it follows that the time of prayer, an hour of favor when the supreme will is manifest, is an especially propitious time to strengthen both one’s intellectual grasp of G‑dliness and one’s spiritual emotions. Prayer is thus the ideal opportunity to meditate upon the greatness of G‑d and to create within oneself a feeling of awe and love of Him.

Therefore, says the Alter Rebbe, this is what I would ask of those who seek to draw close to G‑d:

וְלָזֹאת, אוֹתָהּ אֲבַקֵּשׁ מִמְּבַקְשֵׁי ה’,

Let them both understand and contemplate, and have as a [constant] reminder between their eyes,50 all that I wrote them last year51 in general,

יָבִינוּ וְיַשְׂכִּילוּ יַחְדָּיו, וְלִהְיוֹת לְזִכָּרוֹן בֵּין עֵינֵיהֶם כָּל מַה שֶּׁכָּתַבְתִּי אֲלֵיהֶם אֶשְׁתָּקַד בִּכְלָל,

and especially with respect to devout concentration during prayer from the depths of their heart.

וּבִפְרָט מֵעִנְיַן כַּוָּונַת הַתְּפִלָּה מֵעוּמְקָא דְלִבָּא,

Day after day, let them seek G‑d and desire to cleave to Him with all their heart and with all their soul;52

יוֹם יוֹם יִדְרְשׁוּן ה’ בְּכָל לִבָּם וּבְכָל נַפְשָׁם,let them pour out their soul like water (in prayer53) in the presence of G‑d.

וְנַפְשָׁם תִּשְׁתַּפֵּךְ כַּמַּיִם נוֹכַח פְּנֵי ה’,

In this spirit, our Sages, of blessed memory, taught in Sifreicommenting upon the verse, “and with all your soul”54—that [prayer should be intense] “to the extent of pressing out the soul…”; i.e., until the soul bursts forth and expresses itself in an outpouring of love for G‑d.

וּכְמַאֲמַר רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה בְּסִפְרֵי: “עַד מִיצּוּי הַנֶּפֶשׁ כוּ’”:

The liquid that is forced out through the cracks of an absolutely full barrel is no more than a trickle. Yet what forces it through is the very fullness of the entire quantity of wine within. Likewise, “pressing out the soul” refers to a state in which the entire essence of the soul is bursting forth with its love for G‑d, yet only a trickle of this love is visible externally.




48.  Proverbs 31:18.

49.  Zohar I, 247b; III, 204a.

50.  Cf. Exodus 15:9.

51.  In the epistle beginning “You shall reprove…” that appears at the conclusion of Kuntres Acharon [Part V of the Tanya].

52.  Cf. Deuteronomy 4:29.

53.  Cf. I Samuel 1:15.

54.  Deuteronomy 6:5.

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