Iggeres Ha’Kodesh Epistle 4, Class 6

Tanya/ Iggeres Ha’Kodesh – The Holy Epistle, Epistle 4, Class 6


In these terms, too, we can understand the meaning of [the above-quoted phrase], “Righteousness (or charity) shall go (yehaleich) before Him (lefanav).”

וְזֶהוּ “צֶדֶק לְפָנָיו יְהַלֵּךְ”,

The word lefanav shares a root with pnimiyut (“inwardness”),

“לְפָנָיו” – הוּא מִלְּשׁוֹן פְּנִימִיּוּת,

and yehaleichthe causative form of the verb, which appears in this verse in place of the expected form, yeilech (“shall go”)—shares a root with holachah (“leading”). It thus implies that charity does not itself “go before Him”: rather, it causes some other entity to “go before Him.”

וִ”יְהַלֵּךְ” – הוּא מִלְּשׁוֹן הוֹלָכָה,

For [tzedakah] leads the innermost point of [a man’s] heart toward G‑d,

שֶׁמּוֹלִיךְ אֶת פְּנִימִית הַלֵּב לַה’,

and then “he sets his steps30 toward the way of G‑d”31

וְאַחַר כָּךְ “יָשִׂים לְדֶרֶךְ” ה’ “פְּעָמָיו”,

as it is written, “And you shall walk in His ways,”32

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: “וְהָלַכְתָּ בִּדְרָכָיו”,

[and likewise,] “You shall go after the L-rd your G‑d”33

“אַחֲרֵי ה’ אֱלֹהֵיכֶם תֵּלֵכוּ”,

with [his] entire performance of the commandments, and with [his] “study of the Torah, which is equivalent to them all,”34

בְּכָל מַעֲשֵׂה הַמִּצְוֹת, וְתַלְמוּד תּוֹרָה כְּנֶגֶד כּוּלָּן,

for they all ascend to G‑d through the inwardness of the heart, which is revealed through the service of tzedakah,

שֶׁכּוּלָּן עוֹלִין לַה’ עַל־יְדֵי פְּנִימִית הַלֵּב,

[and this ascent is] more intense and reaches far higher than their ascent to G‑d through the externality of the heart,

בְּיֶתֶר שְׂאֵת וּמַעְלָה מַּעְלָה מֵעֲלִיָּיתָן לַה’ עַל־יְדֵי חִיצוֹנִית הַלֵּב,

[for this ascent] is born only of man’s contemplation and knowledge [of G‑dliness], without an illumination of the [Divine] “countenance” (i.e., inwardness) from above but in a state in which “the countenance is hidden.”

הַנּוֹלָד מֵהַתְּבוּנָה וְהַדַּעַת לְבַדָּן, בְּלִי הֶאָרַת פָּנִים מִלְמַעְלָה אֶלָּא בִּבְחִינַת הֶסְתֵּר פָּנִים,

For the supernal “countenance” does not radiate downward except through an arousal initiated from below, through an act of charity, charity being called “peace.”

כִּי אֵין הַפָּנִים הָעֶלְיוֹנִים מְאִירִים לְמַטָּה אֶלָּא בְּאִתְעָרוּתָא דִלְתַתָּא, בְּמַעֲשֵׂה הַצְּדָקָה הַנִּקְרָא “שָׁלוֹם”.

This is the meaning of the verse that says, “He has redeemed my soul in peace”35or “through peace.” This, as explained by our Sages,36 refers to tzedakah and acts of lovingkindness that are known as “peace.”

וְזֶהוּ שֶׁכָּתוּב: “פָּדָה בְשָׁלוֹם נַפְשִׁי” –

[The verse speaks] expressly of “my soul,”37 inasmuch as it refers to the Shechinah found in the soul of each and every Jew, for the Divine spark that vitalizes the soul of every Jew is redeemed through “peace”—through tzedakah.

“נַפְשִׁי” דַּיְיקָא.

This is also the reason for which charity is called “peace,”

וְזֶהוּ גַּם כֵּן הַטַּעַם שֶׁנִּקְרָא הַצְּדָקָה “שָׁלוֹם”,

because according to the teaching of our Sages, of blessed memory, by virtue of charity, “peace is made between Israel and their Father in heaven,”38

לְפִי שֶׁ”נַּעֲשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם בֵּין יִשְׂרָאֵל לַאֲבִיהֶם שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם” כְּמַאֲמַר רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה,

through the redemption of their souls, which are truly a part of G‑d, from the grip of the forces of evil.

דְּהַיְינוּ עַל־יְדֵי פִּדְיוֹן נַפְשׁוֹתֵיהֶן, הֵם חֵלֶק ה’ מַמָּשׁ, מִידֵי הַחִיצוֹנִים,

The Alter Rebbe wrote this letter, like most of the letters that comprise Iggeret Hakodesh, in connection with the charitable fund of Kollel Chabad in the Land of Israel. This fund supported R. Mendele Horodoker and his colleagues, together with their disciples, who had settled there. Hence, the Alter Rebbe concludes:

This is especially the case with charity for the Land of Israel,

וּבִפְרָט צִדְקַת אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל,

for it is truly the charity of G‑d, since it is directed to a place where the Divine Name is revealed,

שֶׁהִיא צִדְקַת ה’ מַמָּשׁ,

[to a Land of which] it is written, “The eyes—i.e., the most quintessential efflux and attention—of the L-rd your G‑d are constantly upon it.”39

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: “תָּמִיד עֵינֵי ה’ אֱלֹהֶיךָ בָּהּ”,

[In this vein, it is also written,] “And My eyes and My heart will be there at all times.”40

“וְהָיוּ עֵינַי וְלִבִּי שָׁם כָּל הַיָּמִים”.

It is this [charity for the Holy Land] that has stood by us to redeem the life of our souls from the counsel of those who seek to repel our steps, i.e., those who desire to harm us.

וְהִיא שֶׁעָמְדָה לָנוּ לִפְדּוֹת חַיֵּי נַפְשֵׁנוּ מֵעֲצַת הַחוֹשְׁבִים לִדְחוֹת פְּעָמֵינוּ,

And this [charity] will stand by us forever—to set our souls in the true life of the Fountainhead of Life,

וְתַעֲמוֹד לָנוּ לָעַד, לָשׂוּם נַפְשֵׁנוּ בְּחַיִּים אֲמִיתִּים, מֵחַיֵּי הַחַיִּים,

so that we will be “enlightened with the light of life”41 which G‑d “will make His Face radiate with us, Selah.”42

“לֵאוֹר בְּאוֹר הַחַיִּים”, אֲשֶׁר “יָאֵר ה’ פָּנָיו אִתָּנוּ סֶלָה”,

Amen, may this be His will.

אָמֵן כֵּן יְהִי רָצוֹן:




30. Note by the Rebbe: “Regarding the term פְּעָמָיו (‘his steps’) and so, too, פְּעָמֵינוּ (‘our steps’) later on, the Tzemach Tzedek (in his comment on this verse in Psalms) refers the reader to the maamar entitled Paamon Verimon (which appears in Or Hatorah, Parashat Tetzaveh).”

31. Psalms 85:14, continuing the verse which began, “Tzedek shall go before Him….”

32. Deuteronomy 28:9.

33. Ibid. 13:5.

34. Mishnah, beginning of Peah.

35. Psalms 55:19.

36. Berachot 8a, and Rashi, ad loc.

37. Note by the Rebbe: “One would have expected the verse to say, ‘[He has redeemed] me’ [rather than ‘my soul’], as in the verse, ‘You have redeemed me’ (Psalms 31:6).”

38. ToseftaPeah, ch. 1.

39. Deuteronomy 11:12.

40. I Kings 9:3.

41. Job 33:30.

42. Psalms 67:2.

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