Iggeres Ha’Kodesh Epistle 8, Class 5

Tanya/ Iggeres Ha’Kodesh – The Holy Epistle, Epistle 8, Class 5


For though “His greatness is unfathomable,”19 and גְּדֻלָּה (“greatness”) denotes the Divine attribute of chesed,20

כִּי אַף שֶׁ”לִּגְדוּלָּתוֹ אֵין חֵקֶר”,

to the extent that “all are esteemed as naught before Him,”21

עַד דְּ”כוּלָּא קַמֵּיהּ כְּלָא חֲשִׁיבֵי”

How, then, does it descend below and become capable of being fathomed by the Jewish soul?

even so, “Where you find His greatness, there you find His humility,”22

הֲרֵי “בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁאַתָּה מוֹצֵא גְּדוּלָּתוֹ, שָׁם אַתָּה מוֹצֵא עַנְוְתָנוּתוֹ”,

Hence, the very greatness and chesed of G‑d always find expression in His “humility,” i.e., in His ability to descend and reveal Himself to the nethermost levels,

like “water, which descends [from above to below].”

כְּ”מַיִם שֶׁיּוֹרְדִין כוּ’”.

G‑d’s kindness may thus be likened to water in its ability to manifest itself within a Jew’s soul in this lowly world.

This is [implied] in the verse: “He shone in the darkness as a light unto the upright, [He] that is gracious, and merciful, and tzaddik.”23

וְזֶהוּ שֶׁכָּתוּב: “זָרַח בַּחֹשֶׁךְ אוֹר לַיְשָׁרִים, חַנּוּן וְרַחוּם וְצַדִּיק”,

For, by being gracious and merciful, and “tzaddik—fond of tzedakot,”24 i.e., by performing acts of tzedakah with kindness and love, man

דְּעַל־יְדֵי שֶׁהָאָדָם “חַנּוּן וְרַחוּם וְצַדִּיק” “צְדָקוֹת אָהֵב”,

causes the light of G‑d to shine into his soul which is vested in his body—which stands in darkness,

גּוֹרֵם לְאוֹר ה’ שֶׁיִּזְרַח לְנִשְׁמָתוֹ הַמְלוּבֶּשֶׁת בְּגוּפוֹ, הָעוֹמֵד בַּחֹשֶׁךְ,

since it is the “hide of the snake.”25

שֶׁהוּא מַשְׁכָּא דְּחִוְיָא.

G‑d nevertheless causes His light to shine into the soul, even as the soul finds itself within the gloom of the unenlightened body.

This state, when “darkness is converted to light,”26 is referred to as “deliverance,” as when a man, delivered from danger, is transported from darkness to radiance.

וְזֶה נִקְרָא בְּשֵׁם “יְשׁוּעָה”, כַּד אִתְהַפְּכָא חֲשׁוֹכָא לִנְהוֹרָא.

This, then, is the meaning [of the above-quoted phrase], “and causes deliverance to sprout forth,” as a result of one’s having “sown tzedakah.”

וְזֶהוּ “מַצְמִיחַ יְשׁוּעוֹת”,

For this salvation sprouts from the charity that is sown in the “supernal land,”

שֶׁיְּשׁוּעָה זוֹ צוֹמַחַת מִזְּרִיעַת הַצְּדָקָה שֶׁזּוֹרְעִין בָּאָרֶץ הָעֶלְיוֹנָה,

the “Desired Land,” which is the Shechinah, and Knesset Yisraelthe source of Jewish souls, so called because it vests itself in the lower worlds to animate them.

“אֶרֶץ חֵפֶץ”, הִיא הַשְּׁכִינָה וּכְנֶסֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל, שֶׁנִּקְרֵאת כֵּן עַל שֵׁם שֶׁמִּתְלַבֶּשֶׁת בַּתַּחְתּוֹנִים לְהַחֲיוֹתָם,

As it is written, “Your sovereignty (an allusion to the sefirah of malchutis the sovereignty (i.e., it serves as the source) of all worlds.”27

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: “מַלְכוּתְךָ מַלְכוּת כָּל עוֹלָמִים”.

It is this supernal “land” that is sown with a Jew’s tzedakah, with the result that Divine revelation sprouts forth during prayer.

This applies most particularly when one sows in the nether Holy Land,

וּבִפְרָט מִן הַפְּרָט, כְּשֶׁזּוֹרְעִין בְּאֶרֶץ הַקֹּדֶשׁ הַתַּחְתּוֹנָה

The above applies to mitzvot in general, all of them being called tzedakah, as Scripture states, “Our performance of all the commandments will be accounted for us as tzedakah.”28 Particularly so through the actual performance of tzedakah, in the sense of charity. It applies even more particularly when the tzedakah is planted in the Holy Land, maintaining those who study Torah and serve G‑d there.

which truly corresponds to it (i.e., the Holy Land below is truly located “opposite” the Holy Land in heaven),

הַמְכֻוֶּונֶת כְּנֶגְדָּהּ מַמָּשׁ,

for (when such charity is given), the seed [of tzedakah] is immediately absorbed in the supernal land,

שֶׁהַזְּרִיעָה נִקְלֶטֶת תֵּיכֶף וּמִיָּד בָּאָרֶץ הָעֶלְיוֹנָה,

without any obstacle and hindrance whatsoever,

בְּלִי שׁוּם מְנִיעָה וְעִיכּוּב בָּעוֹלָם,

because there is nothing whatsoever that intervenes and intercepts between the “Lands of Life,” i.e., between the supernal “Land of Life,” which is the source of Jewish souls, and the “Land of Life” below, the physical Holy Land,

מֵאַחַר שֶׁאֵין שׁוּם דָּבָר חוֹצֵץ וּמַפְסִיק כְּלָל בֵּין “אַרְצוֹת הַחַיִּים”,

for “it is the gate of Heaven,”29 referring to the location of the Holy Temple in the Holy Land.

כִּי “זֶה שַׁעַר הַשָּׁמָיִם”

This is not so, however, outside the Holy Land, where various factors may hinder the implantation of tzedakah in the “Land of Life” Above.

מַה־שֶּׁאֵין־כֵּן בְּחוּץ לָאָרֶץ,

This will suffice for the discerning.

וְדַי לַמֵּבִין:




19.  Psalms 145:3.

20.  Cf. Likkutei Amarim, Part II, ch. 4.

21.  Zohar I, 11b.

22.  Megillah 31a (according to the text of Ein Yaakov).

23.  Psalms 112:4.

24.  Cf. ibid. 11:7.

25.  Introduction to Tikkunei Zohar 10b, et al.

26.  Cf. Likkutei Amarim, Part I, ch. 27.

27.  Psalms 145:13.

28.  Deuteronomy 6:25.

29.  Genesis 28:17 and commentaries of Rashi and Targum, loc. cit.

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