Iggeres Ha’Kodesh Epistle 12, Class 3

Tanya/ Iggeres Ha’Kodesh – The Holy Epistle, Epistle 12, Class 3


Now, the arousal from above, that elicits a manifestation of this great illumination and immense diffusion from the [infinite] Ein Sof-light

וְהִנֵּה, אִתְעָרוּתָא דִלְעֵילָּא, לְעוֹרֵר גִּילּוּי הֶאָרָה רַבָּה וְהַשְׁפָּעָה עֲצוּמָה הַנִּזְכֶּרֶת לְעֵיל, מֵאוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא,

in order to bring about the abovementioned peace,

לַעֲשׂוֹת שָׁלוֹם הַנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל,

is effected by an arousal from below—

הִיא בְּאִתְעָרוּתָא דִלְתַתָּא,

by the act of charity,

בְּמַעֲשֵׂה הַצְּדָקָה

and by the benevolent bestowal by one man to another of “life, graciousness, kindness, and compassion”5

וְהַשְׁפָּעַת חַיִּים חֵן וָחֶסֶד וְרַחֲמִים

to he who has nothing of his own,

לְמַאן דְּלֵית לֵיהּ מִגַּרְמֵיהּ כְּלוּם,

thereby “to revive the spirit of the lowly, [and to revive the heart of the downcast].”6

וּלְהַחֲיוֹת רוּחַ שְׁפָלִים כוּ’.

When one gives tzedakah to a pauper7 “while raising his spirits” with a few warm and supportive words so that he is given not only “life” but “graciousness, kindness, and compassion” as well, then this arousal from below results in an arousal from above. This releases an intense illumination of the infinite Ein Sof-light into the supernal attributes, thereby making peace between them and tempering and sweetening the gevurot in the chasadim.

The Alter Rebbe will now go on to explain the effect of the “act” of tzedakah upon the individual benefactor himself, in terms of his battle with the evil of his animal soul.

The animal soul may be refined, and the good within it separated and elevated from its evil, in one of two ways:

One possible direction of attack is “from below to above” (milmatah lemaalah), whereby each attribute of the Divine soul does battle with its counterpart in the animal soul, seeking to refine and elevate it. For example: the Divine soul’s love for G‑d seeks to purify the animal soul’s attribute of chesed with its fleshly desires; the Divine soul’s fear of G‑d seeks to refine the animal soul’s evil kinds of fear; and so on.

Then there is a manner of purification that proceeds “from above to below” (milmaalah lematah), whereby one draws down a Divine light upon oneself so that the attributes of the animal soul spontaneously become purified and elevated within this light.

This approach anticipates the Time to Come, when the world as a whole will become purified of all evil through the G‑dliness that will then be manifest, until ultimately, “I shall remove the spirit of impurity from the earth.”8

A similar manner of refining the animal soul exists today. It is accomplished through studying Torah lishmah, “for its own sake.” By studying in this way—altruistically, without thought of even spiritual gain—the individual draws down a G‑dly illumination that enables him not only to overwhelm the evil within him but also to sift out the good within his animal soul from the evil in which it had been encumbered.

In the same way, when a Jew practices the “act” of tzedakah, he draws down upon himself a G‑dly enlightenment that becomes revealed within him during prayer, and this enables him to extract the good within his animal soul from the surrounding evil and to elevate it.

It is well known that our Sages, of blessed memory, said of a person who engages in the study of the Torah for its own sake,

וּמוּדַעַת זֹאת, מַה שֶּׁאָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה עַל הָעוֹסֵק בַּתּוֹרָה לִשְׁמָהּ:

that “he makes peace within the heavenly retinue and within the terrestial retinue.”9

“מֵשִׂים שָׁלוֹם בְּפָמַלְיָא שֶׁל מַעְלָה וּבְפָמַלְיָא שֶׁל מַטָּה”,

The “heavenly retinue” comprises the abovementioned “princes” and attributes,

“פָּמַלְיָא שֶׁל מַעְלָה” הֵם הַשָּׂרִים וְהַמִּדּוֹת הַנִּזְכָּרוֹת לְעֵיל,

for these are the supernal heichalot (lit., “chambers”) in the World of Beriah, as stated in the sacred Zohar.

שֶׁהֵן הַהֵיכָלוֹת עֶלְיוֹנִים בְּעוֹלַם הַבְּרִיאָה שֶׁבַּזּוֹהַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ,

Peace there consists of the harmonious relationship that is established when gevurah merges into chesed and becomes sweetened and tempered by it.

The “terrestial retinue” comprises the lower heichalot,

וּ”פָמַלְיָא שֶׁל מַטָּה” הֵן הַהֵיכָלוֹת הַתַּחְתּוֹנִים,

and especially this lowly world

וּבִפְרָט עוֹלָם הַזֶּה הַשָּׁפָל

which, since the sin of Adam, is mingled of good and evil,

הַמְעוֹרָב טוֹב וָרַע מֵחֵטְא אָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן,

As a result of Adam’s sin, there is no good in this world without evil and no evil without good.

and the evil rules over the good,

וְהָרַע שׁוֹלֵט עַל הַטּוֹב,

as it is written, “While man rules over man….”10 I.e., the “man of wickedness,” representing the forces of kelipah, rules over the “man of holiness”—and harms him, too, as the verse concludes.

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: “אֲשֶׁר שָׁלַט הָאָדָם בְּאָדָם כוּ’”,

[It is also written], “And nation will overpower nation,”11 as the balance of power fluctuates between the forces of good and the forces of evil.

“וּלְאוֹם מִלְאוֹם יֶאֱמָץ”.

This is empirically evident with terrestrial man, who is called a microcosm,12

וְכַנִּרְאֶה בְּחוּשׁ בָּאָדָם הַתַּחְתּוֹן, הַנִּקְרָא בְּשֵׁם “עוֹלָם קָטָן”,

for sometimes the good [within him] prevails, and sometimes the reverse, heaven forfend.

שֶׁלִּפְעָמִים הַטּוֹב גּוֹבֵר, וְלִפְעָמִים, לְהֵיפֶךְ חַס וְשָׁלוֹם.

Therefore, there will be no peace in the world until the ultimate time (lit., “the time of the End”)when evil will cease to exist,

וְאֵין שָׁלוֹם בָּעוֹלָם עַד עֵת קֵץ,

when the good shall be refined from the evil

שֶׁיִּתְבָּרֵר הַטּוֹב מֵהָרַע

in order to cleave to its root and source, the Divine Source of Life.

לִידָּבֵק בְּשָׁרְשׁוֹ וּמְקוֹרוֹ, מְקוֹר הַחַיִּים בָּרוּךְ־הוּא,

At that time, “all evildoers shall be scattered,”13 and the spirit of impurity shall pass from the earth,8

וַאֲזַי “יִתְפָּרְדוּ כָּל פּוֹעֲלֵי אָוֶן”, וְרוּחַ הַטּוּמְאָה יַעֲבוֹר מִן הָאָרֶץ,

when the element of the good which sustains it will be extracted from its midst.

כְּשֶׁיִּתְבָּרֵר מִתּוֹכוֹ בְּחִינַת הַטּוֹב הַמְחַיֵּיהוּ.

Evil will then cease to exist as a matter of course, for its entire existence is dependent on the good found within it.




5.  Note by the Rebbe: “Significantly, [these are the very blessings requested in the final benediction of the Amidah,] the one beginning with the words Sim Shalom” (Siddur Tehillat Hashem, p. 60; Annotated Edition, p. 53).

6.  Isaiah 57:15.

7.  Bava Batra 9b.

8.  Cf. Zechariah 13:2.

9. Sanhedrin 99b. Note by the Rebbe: “See Likkutei TorahMattot, s.v. Heichaltzu.”

10.  Ecclesiastes 8:9. See also Epistle 25 below, et al.

11.  Genesis 25:23.

12.  TanchumaPekudei 3; Tikkunei ZoharTikkun 69 (100b-101a).

13.  Psalms 92:10.

Comments are closed.