Iggeres Ha’Kodesh Epistle 13, Class 1

Tanya/ Iggeres Ha’Kodesh – The Holy Epistle, Epistle 13, Class 1


Iggeres 13. 

13 “How abundant is Your goodness which You have hidden away for those who fear You, [which You have wrought for those who trust in You before man].”1

יג ”מָה רַב טוּבְךָ אֲשֶׁר צָפַנְתָּ לִירֵאֶיךָ וְגוֹ’”.

Now, the first part of the verse states that the reward is “hidden away,” while its conclusion implies that it is revealed to the sight of man.

The Alter Rebbe will now explain that corresponding to these two forms of reward, the Jew’s spiritual service (that leads to the reward) likewise assumes two forms: there is both a concealed and a revealed form of Divine service.

Among those who serve G‑d by fulfilling the Torah and its mitzvot, there are two distinct kinds and levels,

הִנֵּה, בִּכְלַל עוֹבְדֵי ה’ יֵשׁ ב’ בְּחִינוֹת וּמַדְרֵגוֹת חֲלוּקוֹת

depending on the root of their souls above, in the categories of the “right” (chesed) and the “left” (gevurah).

מִצַּד שׁוֹרֶשׁ נִשְׁמָתָם לְמַעְלָה, מִבְּחִינַת יָמִין וּשְׂמֹאל.

In terms of the effect of the soul’s root, this means that the “left” is characterized by contraction and concealment in one’s Divine service.

דְּהַיְינוּ, שֶׁבְּחִינַת שְׂמֹאל הִיא מִדַּת הַצִּמְצוּם וְהַהֶסְתֵּר בַּעֲבוֹדַת ה’,

Thus, with regard to this manner of service, it is written, “…and to walk covertly [with the L-rd your G‑d]”2;

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: “וְהַצְנֵעַ לֶכֶת כוּ’”

[and in another verse we find], “in secret places weeps [my soul]…”3;

“בַּמִּסְתָּרִים תִּבְכֶּה כוּ’”,

[and, in the words of our Sages], “Whoever engages in the study of the Torah in secret….”4

“כָּל הָעוֹסֵק בַּתּוֹרָה בַּסֵּתֶר כוּ’”.

The three abovementioned quotations refer to the three general modes of Divine service: With regard to mitzvot

—“to walk covertly”; regarding prayer—“my soul weeps”; and with regard to Torah—“engages in the study of the Torah in secret.” All the above approaches to Divine service result from one of the traits that characterizes gevurah

, viz., concealment. The Alter Rebbe now goes on to speak of the other dominant trait that characterizes the attribute of gevurah, viz., contraction.




1. Psalms 31:20.

2. Micah 6:8.

3. Jeremiah 13:17.

4. Note by the Rebbe: “See Moed Kattan 16b (מבפנים כו‘ בסתר).”

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