Iggeres Ha’Kodesh Epistle 8, Class 1

Tanya/ Iggeres Ha’Kodesh – The Holy Epistle, Epistle 8, Class 1


[It is written:] “He sows tzedakot and causes deliverance to sprout forth.”1

“זוֹרֵעַ צְדָקוֹת, מַצְמִיחַ יְשׁוּעוֹת”.

Tzedakot, the plural form of tzedakah, can mean both “acts of righteousness” and “acts of charity.”

The use of the idiom “sowing” in relation to the commandment of charity,

הִנֵּה, מַה שֶּׁכָּתוּב לְשׁוֹן “זְרִיעָה” בְּמִצְוַת הַצְּדָקָה,

and likewise in the verse, “Sow for yourselves for tzedakah, [and reap according to the measure of chesed,]”2

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּפָּסוּק: “זִרְעוּ לָכֶם לִצְדָקָה כוּ’”,

may be understood in the light of a teaching of our Sages: “Rabbi Elazar would give a coin to a poor person and would then pray, for it is written, ‘Through tzedek will I behold Your face,’34 and tzedek (“righteousness”) is closely related to tzedakah (“charity”).

יוּבַן עַל פִּי מַה שֶּׁאָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה: “רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר יָהִיב פְּרוּטָה לְעָנִי וַהֲדַר מַצְלֵּי, דִּכְתִיב: אֲנִי בְּצֶדֶק אֶחֱזֶה פָנֶיךָ”.

This means, i.e., the reason prayer is deemed “seeing G‑d’s face” and the reason why this is attained by prefacing prayer with charity is:


that the manifestation of Divinity—which is revealed in the thought of man and in his devotion during prayer,

כִּי גִּילּוּי אֱלֹקוּתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ הַמִּתְגַּלֶּה בְּמַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם וְכַוָּנָתוֹ בִּתְפִלָּתוֹ,

in each individual according to his own measure—

כָּל חַד לְפוּם שִׁיעוּרָא דִילֵיהּ,

is [granted to man] by way of Divine charity and by [the descent of] “G‑d’s lovingkindness from world to world upon those who fear Him….”5

הוּא בְּתוֹרַת צְדָקָה “וְחֶסֶד ה’ מֵעוֹלָם וְעַד עוֹלָם עַל יְרֵאָיו כוּ’”.



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

2.  Hosea 10:12. See above, Epistle 6, end.

3.  Psalms 17:15.

4.  Bava Batra 10a.

5.  Ibid. 103:17.

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