Iggeres Ha’Kodesh Epistle 4, Class 5

Tanya/ Iggeres Ha’Kodesh – The Holy Epistle, Epistle 4, Class 5


However, it is well known that an arousal from above comes only in response to an arousal from below,

אַךְ מוּדַעַת זֹאת, כִּי “אִתְעָרוּתָא דִלְעֵילָּא” הִיא בְּ”אִתְעָרוּתָא דִלְתַתָּא” דַּוְקָא,

A man’s soul is stimulated from above only in response to the spiritual service that he initiates here below. Even an effusion of Divine benevolence that comes exclusively from above, and can neither be brought into being nor drawn down by man’s service alone, also awaits a previous arousal from below,

as an elevation of mayin nukvini.e., by an arousal of the “feminine waters” by which the recipient elicits the mayin dechurin—the downward flow (“masculine waters”)—emanating from the Giver.

בִּבְחִינַת הַעֲלָאַת “מַיִּין נוּקְבִין”,

As our Sages, of blessed memory, said: “No drop [of rain] descends from above [without two corresponding drops first ascending from below].”25

כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה “אֵין טִפָּה יוֹרֶדֶת מִלְמַעְלָה כוּ’”.

A man must therefore perform the beginning of this Milah by himself,

וְלָכֵן צָרִיךְ הָאָדָם לַעֲשׂוֹת בְּעַצְמוֹ תְּחִלַּת מִילָה זוֹ,

to remove the “foreskin” of the heart and the coarse and thin husks which clothe and cover its innermost point,

לְהָסִיר עָרְלַת הַלֵּב וּקְלִיפָּה הַגַּסָּה וְדַקָּה, הַמַּלְבִּישׁוֹת וּמְכַסּוֹת עַל בְּחִינַת נְקוּדַּת פְּנִימִית הַלֵּב,

this [innermost point being] a love of G‑d in the spirit of the phrase, “for the sake of your life”—i.e., a love that springs from an awareness that G-dliness is the person’s entire life—[this love of G‑d being] in exile among the desires of this world.

שֶׁהִיא בְּחִינַת אַהֲבַת ה’, בְּחִינַת “לְמַעַן חַיֶּיךָ”, שֶׁהִיא בַּגָּלוּת בְּתַאֲווֹת עוֹלָם הַזֶּה,

These [physical desires] likewise exist in the spirit of the phrase, “for the sake of your life,”

שֶׁהֵם גַּם כֵּן בִּבְחִינַת “לְמַעַן חַיֶּיךָ”

in [that aspect of the universe which is] the opposing counterpart [to holiness], as mentioned above.

בְּ”זֶה לְעוּמַּת זֶה”, כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל.

It is thus possible for an individual to be so dedicated to his passions and desires that they are his entire life. For just as this state exists in holiness, it also has its counterpart in the opposite direction, whereby one is immersed in desires to the innermost core of his heart and being.

And this [removal of the spiritual foreskin] is achieved by giving charity to G‑d from one’s money, which is his vitality,

וְהַיְינוּ, עַל־יְדֵי נְתִינַת הַצְּדָקָה לַה’ מִמָּמוֹנוֹ, שֶׁהוּא חַיּוּתוֹ.

It has been noted earlier, in Part I, ch. 37, that since money enables a man to purchase life’s essentials, parting with it in favor of charitable ends is equated to giving his “very vitality” to G‑d,

especially with a person whose income is limited and who is very hard pressed at the time,

וּבִפְרָט מִי שֶׁמְּזוֹנוֹתָיו מְצוּמְצָמִים וּדְחִיקָא לֵיהּ שַׁעְתָּא טוּבָא,

for—when he gives—he gives of his very life.

שֶׁנּוֹתֵן מֵחַיָּיו מַמָּשׁ.

This is especially so if he supports himself by the toil of his hands,

וּבִפְרָטוּת אִם נֶהֱנֶה מִיגִיעַ כַּפָּיו,

for it is impossible that in his work, he did not often involve “the innermost point of the heart,” the depth of his heart,

שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁלֹּא עָסַק בָּהֶם פְּעָמִים רַבּוֹת בִּבְחִינַת נְקוּדַּת פְּנִימִית הַלֵּב מֵעוּמְקָא דְלִבָּא,

as is the way of the world when people are occupied with business and the like.

כְּמִנְהַג הָעוֹלָם בְּעִסְקֵיהֶם בְּמַשָּׂא וּמַתָּן וּכְהַאי גַּוְנָא,

Thus, now that he disburses the fruits of his toil unstintingly, despite his circumstances,

וַהֲרֵי עַתָּה הַפַּעַם כְּשֶׁמְּפַזֵּר מִיגִיעוֹ

and gives unto G‑d with joy and with a gladsome heart,

וְנוֹתֵן לַה’ בְּשִׂמְחָה וּבְטוּב לֵבָב

he thereby redeems his soul from the pit.26

הִנֵּה בָּזֶה פּוֹדֶה נַפְשׁוֹ מִשַּׁחַת,

That is, [he redeems] the innermost point of his heart, which was in a state of exile and captivity within the coarse or thin kelipah.

דְּהַיְינוּ בְּחִינַת נְקוּדַּת פְּנִימִית לְבָבוֹ, שֶׁהָיְתָה בִּבְחִינַת גָּלוּת וְשִׁבְיָה בְּתוֹךְ הַקְּלִיפָּה גַּסָּה אוֹ דַקָּה,

For thus it is written: “Guard your heart with the greatest vigilance”27 (lit., “Guard your heart from every mishmar”),

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב, “מִכָּל מִשְׁמָר נְצוֹר לִבֶּךָ” –

mishmar” meaning a prison.

“מִשְׁמָר” פֵּירוּשׁ בֵּית הָאֲסוּרִים,

The verse is thus exhorting us to “guard our hearts from being imprisoned and exiled in kelipot and desires.”

Thus, through present charity, [the innermost point of the heart] is now redeemed from the forces of evil in which it had been imprisoned.

וְעַתָּה, נִפְדֶּה מֵהַחִיצוֹנִים בִּצְדָקָה זוֹ.

This also explains the term periah, which suggests28 periat chov (“removing a debt”), for [the individual in question] had become indebted and subjected to the forces of evil that had ruled within him over the innermost point of his heart.

וְזֶה גַּם כֵּן לְשׁוֹן “פְּרִיעָה” עִנְיַן פְּרִיעַת חוֹב, שֶׁנִּתְחַיֵּיב וְנִשְׁתַּעְבֵּד לַחִיצוֹנִים שֶׁמָּשְׁלוּ בוֹ עַל נְקוּדַּת פְּנִימִיּוּת לְבָבוֹ,

Through this, we can understand the meaning of [the above-quoted phrase], “and her (former spiritual) captives [shall be redeemed] through tzedakah.”29

וְזֶהוּ “וְשָׁבֶיהָ בִּצְדָקָה”.




25.  Zohar III, 247b; cf. Taanit 25b.

26.  Cf. Job 33:28.

27.  Proverbs 4:23.

28.  Note by the Rebbe: “See Tikkunei ZoharTikkun 37: ‘And the blood…from the periah to provide nurture….’ Similarly at the conclusion of Tikkun 24. See also Sefer Hamitzvot by the Tzemach TzedekMitzvat Eglah ArufahLevush on Yoreh Deah 265:10.”

29.  The Hebrew וְשָׁבֶיהָ can mean either “her returning expatriates” or “her captives.”

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