Iggeres Ha’Kodesh Epistle 5, Class 7

Tanya/ Iggeres Ha’Kodesh – The Holy Epistle, Epistle 5, Class 7


However, after the creation of man “to work it…,”53 his lifelong task being to draw down to this world a flow of Divine energy by means of an “arousal from below,” i.e., by means of his own spiritual labors,

אַךְ אַחַר בְּרִיאַת הָאָדָם “לְעָבְדָהּ כוּ’”,

every arousal from Above, to arouse the attribute of supreme kindness, depends on an arousal from below,

אֲזַי כָּל אִתְעָרוּתָא דִלְעֵילָּא לְעוֹרֵר מִדַּת חֶסֶד עֶלְיוֹן, הוּא בְּאִתְעָרוּתָא דִלְתַתָּא,

through the acts of charity and kindness54 that Jews perform in this world.

בִּצְדָקָה וָחֶסֶד שֶׁיִּשְׂרָאֵל עוֹשִׂין בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה.

Thus, these good deeds draw down Divine influence from the yud of the Divine Name, from the level of chochmah, to the final hey of the Name, the level of malchut. In this way, then, good deeds bring together and “make” the Name of G‑d and draw it downward in its entirety.

That is why our Sages, of blessed memory, have said: “Whoever says that he has nothing but Torah,”55 and thus no kindly deeds, “does not have even Torah;

לָכֵן אָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה: כָּל הָאוֹמֵר אֵין לוֹ אֶלָּא תּוֹרָה בְּלִי גְּמִילוּת חֲסָדִים, אֲפִילוּ תּוֹרָה אֵין לוֹ,

rather, one ought to engage in Torah and in the performance of acts of lovingkindness.”

אֶלָּא לַעֲסוֹק בַּתּוֹרָה וּבִגְמִילוּת חֲסָדִים.

For though the “Torah derives from Chochmah,”56 and “the world subsists by virtue of the Torah”57 and “those who discourse in it,”58

כִּי הִנֵּה, הֲגַם דְּ”אוֹרַיְיתָא מֵחָכְמָה נָפְקַת”, וּבְאוֹרַיְיתָא מִתְקַיֵּים עָלְמָא וּבְאִינוּן דְּלָעָאן בָּהּ,

because by speaking of the Torah subjects they elicit illuminations and effusions59 from supreme chochmah, the source of the Torah, into the plane of the letters of speech with which the world was created,

כִּי בְּדִבּוּרָם מַמְשִׁיכִים הֶאָרוֹת וְהַשְׁפָּעוֹת (נוסח אחר: וְהַשְׁרָאוֹת) חָכְמָה עִילָּאָה, מְקוֹר הַתּוֹרָה – לִבְחִינַת אוֹתִיּוֹת הַדִּבּוּר שֶׁבָּהֶן נִבְרָא הָעוֹלָם,

as our Sages, of blessed memory, said with regard to Torah scholars, “Do not read banayich (‘Your children’) but bonayich (‘Your builders’),60 for they build the world through their study of the Torah—

כְּמַאֲמַר רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה: “אַל תִּקְרֵי בָּנָיִךְ אֶלָּא בּוֹנָיִךְ”

nevertheless, this flow of chochmah to the letters of speech is a great descent.

הֲרֵי הַמְשָׁכָה זוֹ הִיא בְּחִינַת יְרִידָה גְדוֹלָה,

To accomplish this, it is necessary to arouse supernal chesed which, like water, is drawn down from a high place to a low place

וְלָזֶה צָרִיךְ לְעוֹרֵר חֶסֶד עֶלְיוֹן, הַנִּמְשָׁךְ כַּמַּיִם מִמָּקוֹם גָּבוֹהַּ לְמָקוֹם נָמוּךְ,

by means of an arousal from below, through acts of charity and kindness here below,

בְּאִתְעָרוּתָא דִלְתַתָּא, בִּצְדָקָה וָחֶסֶד תַּתָּאָה,

whereby one diffuses life and kindness “to revive the spirit of the humble and downcast.”61

שֶׁמַּמְשִׁיכִים חַיִּים וָחֶסֶד, לְהַחֲיוֹת רוּחַ שְׁפָלִים וְנִדְכָּאִים.

By doing so, one draws down supernal kindness so that the vitality of chochmah descends to the letters of speech, the source of all creation.

This is the meaning of the verse, “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom…, but in this, let him glory [in understanding and knowing Me,”62 but in such a manner that it brings about the fulfillment of the phrase that follows]: “for I am G‑d, Who acts with kindness….”63

וְזֶהוּ שֶׁכָּתוּב: “אַל יִתְהַלֵּל חָכָם בְּחָכְמָתוֹ כוּ’, כִּי אִם בְּזֹאת יִתְהַלֵּל כוּ’, כִּי אֲנִי ה’ עוֹשֶׂה חֶסֶד כוּ’”,

We thus see that wisdom is justifiably glorified when it leads to an act of kindness, which in turn evokes a reciprocal act of kindness from Above.

For it is chesedthe kindly conduct of man here below, that results in the fulfillment of the verse, “I am G‑d, Who acts with kindness,” i.e., with the chesed of Asiyah, and that causes the vitality of chochmah to issue downward into the letters of speech, the source of all created beings.

כִּי הַחֶסֶד הוּא הַמַּמְשִׁיךְ חַיֵּי הַחָכְמָה לְמַטָּה,

In the absence of this [kindly conduct], [the Torah Study] that such a person undertakes is called “His wisdom” alone: it remains in heaven as an untapped resource in which that wise man cannot glory,

וְאִם לָאו, הֲרֵי נִקְרֵאת “חָכְמָתוֹ” לְבַדּוֹ,

and there is no downward flow of life from it, G‑d forbid.

בְּלִי הַמְשָׁכַת חַיִּים מִמֶּנָּה חַס וְשָׁלוֹם.




52.  Micah 7:20.

53.  Genesis 2:15.

54.  Note by the Rebbe “It will be noted that though the opening passage of this epistle speaks of tzedakah alone, there are many variations thereafter: charity and kindness; acts of lovingkindness; charity and lovingkindness; charity and acts of lovingkindness; and so on.”

55.  Yevamot 109b.

56.  Zohar II, 121a, et al.

57.  Op. cit. 200a, et al.

58.  Ibid. I, 47a, et al.

59.  A variant reading: “indwellings.”

60.  Berachot 64a.

61.  Cf. Isaiah 57:15.

62. Note by the Rebbe: “For this, too, is wisdom; moreover, its mainstay.”

63.  Jeremiah 9:22–23.

Comments are closed.