Iggeres Ha’Kodesh Epistle 3, Class 5

Tanya/ Iggeres Ha’Kodesh – The Holy Epistle, Epistle 3, Class 5


But what causes the descent to this physical world of the light and abundance from [a source as lofty as] the ten sefirot [of the World of Atzilut], which are referred to as the Body?

אַךְ מִי הוּא הַגּוֹרֵם לִירִידַת הָאוֹר וְהַשֶּׁפַע לָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה הַגַּשְׁמִי מִי’ סְפִירוֹת הַנִּקְרָאִים “גּוּפָא”,

It is the abovementioned union of the Holy One, blessed be He, and His Shechinah, the infinite degree of radiance permeating the sefirot and the subsequent worlds—and this union is brought about by the performance of the mitzvot,

הוּא הַיִּחוּד הַנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל,

for it is an additional radiance and effluence from the light of the Ein Sof, the Supreme Emanator [of the ten sefirot],

שֶׁהִיא תּוֹסֶפֶת הֶאָרָה וְהַשְׁפָּעָה מִבְּחִינַת אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף הַמַּאֲצִיל הָעֶלְיוֹן בָּרוּךְ־הוּא,

in a measure exceeding the radiance and effluence at the beginning of the emanation in the World of Atzilut and subsequent evolution….

בְּיֶתֶר שְׂאֵת עַל הַהֶאָרָה וְהַהַשְׁפָּעָה שֶׁבִּתְחִילַּת הָאֲצִילוּת וְהַהִשְׁתַּלְשְׁלוּת וְכוּ’.

Inasmuch as the additional measure of infinite radiance and effluence far transcends Atzilut so much so that in comparison to it, the World of Atzilut and our grossly corporeal World of Asiyah are equally distant; it enables the radiation of Atzilut to find its way into this world.

And the additional radiance and effluence is first bestowed upon [the sefirah of chochmah, which is] the first of the ten sefirot.

וְרֵאשִׁית תּוֹסֶפֶת הַהֶאָרָה וְהַהַשְׁפָּעָה, הִיא לְרֵאשִׁית הַי’ סְפִירוֹת.

This is the meaning of [the above-quoted phrase], “…and a helmet of salvation (יְשׁוּעָה) upon his head,”

וְזֶה הוּא “וְכוֹבַע יְשׁוּעָה בְּרֹאשׁוֹ” –

for יְשׁוּעָה shares a root with וַיִּשַׁעwhich is the verb in the phrase, “And G‑d turned toward Abel and his gift.”18

“יְשׁוּעָה” הוּא מִלְּשׁוֹן “וַיִּשַׁע ה’ אֶל הֶבֶל וְאֶל מִנְחָתוֹ”,

The word yeshuah thus means “turning toward” and (by extension) “drawing down.”

This alludes to the drawing down of the light and abundance of the shin-ayin nehorin, the “three hundred and seventy lights” spoken of in the holy Zohar.19

וְהוּא יְרִידַת הָאוֹר וְהַשֶּׁפַע דְּש”ע נְהוֹרִין שֶׁבַּזּוֹהַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ,

This light is much loftier than the ten sefirot of Atzilut: The letter shin, whose numerical value is 300, alludes to the three intellectual faculties of ChaBaD insofar as they exist at the spiritual level termed “hundreds”; the letter ayin, whose numerical value is 70, hints at the seven emotive attributes, each of which incorporates ten elements. This lofty illumination of the “helmet of salvation” is drawn down upon the “head,” i.e., the beginning, of the ten sefirot.

As it is written, “May G‑d make His Face (i.e., His inner being) shine upon you”20upon His people in this lowly world.

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: “יָאֵר ה’ פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ”,

[It is also written]: “May He make His Face (i.e., His inner being) shine with us forever.”21

“יָאֵר פָּנָיו אִתָּנוּ סֶלָה” –

[That which ensures that this Divine light be] “with us” is the practice of charitable deeds.

“אִתָּנוּ” הוּא עַל־יְדֵי מַעֲשֵׂה הַצְּדָקָה.

And this is the meaning of the phrase, “He who sows tzedakot (‘charities’) brings forth yeshuot (‘salvations’)22i.e., the distribution of charity results in the salvation brought about by the light of the abovementioned shin-ayin nehorin.

וְזֶה הוּא “זוֹרֵעַ צְדָקוֹת מַצְמִיחַ יְשׁוּעוֹת”.

So may G‑d make His Face shine upon you,23

וְכָכָה יָאֵר ה’ פָּנָיו אֲלֵיהֶם,

and “your Tzedakah shall endure forever.”24

“צִדְקָתָם עוֹמֶדֶת לָעַד”,

That which is revealed now as a result of an act of tzedakah is merely the “fruit”; the essence of the reward is revealed only at the Time to Come, at the time of the Revival of the Dead, and until that time, it remains concealed. Only then will the light of sovev kol almin truly permeate and clothe itself within this world, as explained below, in Epistle 32.

May your horn (i.e., power) be exalted by the salvation (yeshuah) of the One “Who causes the horn of salvation to sprout”25 —by a sprouting of the tzedakah [which G‑d does for His people], from the “helmet of salvation” mentioned above,

וְקַרְנָם תָּרוּם בִּישׁוּעַת “מַצְמִיחַ קֶרֶן יְשׁוּעָה”, “צֶמַח צְדָקָה” מֵהַ”כּוֹבַע יְשׁוּעָה” הַנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל,

as is the wish of one who seeks Him.26

כְּנֶפֶשׁ תִּדְרְשֶׁנּוּ




17. See above, Iggeret Hateshuvah, ch. 4.

18. Genesis 4:4.

19. See Zohar I, 4b; III, 133b; et passim.

20. Numbers 6:25.

21.Psalms 67:2.

22. Liturgy, Blessings of the Shema (Siddur Tehillat Hashem, p. 44; Annotated Edition, p. 41).

23. Note by the Rebbe: “Here begins the Alter Rebbe’s request to those who received the letter—those who were to give the charity.” In the original, the recipients of the letter are here addressed in the polite third person of classical Hebrew—“…upon them,” “their tzedakah…,” and so forth.

24. Cf. Psalms 112:3.

25. Cf. Liturgy, Amidah (Siddur Tehillat Hashem, p. 56; Annotated Edition, p. 50).

26.  Cf. Lamentations 3:25. 

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