Tanya/Iggeres Ha’Kodesh - The Holy Epistle, Epistle 10, Class 5



The Rebbe notes that in various sources,35 this is paraphrased as follows: “In the place where penitents stand, even the truly righteous cannot stand.” I.e., the level at which penitents stand steadfastly cannot even be attained by the truly righteous, for the Divine radiance drawn down through repentance is of an utterly superior quality.

Now the essence of penitence is in the heart,

וְהִנֵּה, עִיקַּר הַתְּשׁוּבָה הוּא בַּלֵּב,

for through regret from the depth of the heart, one arouses the [corresponding] depth (i.e., the ultimate degree) of this supreme light.

כִּי עַל־יְדֵי הַחֲרָטָה מֵעוּמְקָא דְלִבָּא מְעוֹרֵר עוֹמֶק אוֹר הָעֶלְיוֹן הַזֶּה.

I.e., a man’s earnest penitence calls forth the above-described superior spiritual light which rectifies whatever he had been lacking in his fulfillment of the Torah and its mitzvot.

But in order to call forth [this light] so that it will radiate in the higher and lower worlds,

אַךְ כְּדֵי לְהַמְשִׁיכוֹ לְהָאִיר בָּעוֹלָמוֹת עֶלְיוֹנִים וְתַחְתּוֹנִים

there must be an actual arousal from below in the form of action,

צָרִיךְ "אִתְעָרוּתָא דִלְתַתָּא" מַמָּשׁ בִּבְחִינַת מַעֲשֶׂה,

viz., the practice of charity and kindness without limit and measure.

דְּהַיְינוּ, מַעֲשֵׂה הַצְּדָקָה וָחֶסֶד בְּלִי גְבוּל וּמִדָּה,

For just as a man dispenses rav chesed, an infinite abundance of kindness

דִּכְמוֹ שֶׁהָאָדָם מַשְׁפִּיעַ רַב חֶסֶד,

[the first two letters of חֶסֶד] meaning “he pities” [and the last letter when spelled out meaning, in Aramaic,] “he who has not,”

פֵּירוּשׁ חָ"ס דְּלֵי"ת,

implying [that he dispenses his kindness] to the utterly destitute individual who does not have (deleit lei) anything of his own,

דְּהַיְינוּ לְדַל וְאֶבְיוֹן "דְּלֵית לֵיהּ מִגַּרְמֵיהּ כְּלוּם",

without setting a limit or measure to his giving and diffusion—

וְאֵינוֹ נוֹתֵן גְּבוּל וּמִדָּה לִנְתִינָתוֹ וְהַשְׁפָּעָתוֹ,

so, too, the Holy One, blessed be He, diffuses His light and benign influence in the spirit of the superior chesed, known as rav chesed,

כָּךְ הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא מַשְׁפִּיעַ אוֹרוֹ וְטוּבוֹ בִּבְחִינַת חֶסֶד עִילָּאָה, הַנִּקְרָא "רַב חֶסֶד",

that radiates infinitely, without limit or measure, within the upper and lower worlds,

הַמֵּאִיר בִּבְחִינַת אֵין־סוֹף בְּלִי גְבוּל וּמִדָּה תּוֹךְ הָעוֹלָמוֹת עֶלְיוֹנִים וְתַחְתּוֹנִים,

for in relation to Him, blessed be He, all are in a state of deleit(“having nothing”),

שֶׁכּוּלָּם הֵם בִּבְחִינַת דְּלֵי"ת אֶצְלוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ,

inasmuch as they have nothing at all of their own,

דְּלֵית לְהוֹן מִגַּרְמֵיהוֹן כְּלוּם,

and all before Him are considered as nothing.

וְ"כוֹלָּא קַמֵּיהּ כְּלָא חֲשִׁיבֵי",

Since all of creation is of no account in the eyes of G‑d, anything received from His hand is not deserved but a gratuitous gift, as, indeed, is the very fact that mortal endeavors are able to draw down Divine light.

At any rate, boundless tzedakah and kindness draw down the degree of Divine radiance that transcends all worlds.

All the blemishes that a man caused above, in the upper and the lower worlds, through his sins, are thereby rectified.

וְעַל־יְדֵי זֶה נִתְקְנוּ כָּל הַפְּגָמִים שֶׁפָּגַם הָאָדָם בַּעֲוֹנוֹתָיו לְמַעְלָה בָּעוֹלָמוֹת עֶלְיוֹנִים וְתַחְתּוֹנִים.

Thus, the measured performance of tzedakah and chesed draws down chesed olam, which is a worldlike (hence, a finite) degree of Divine benevolence, while the boundless performance of tzedakah and chesed draws down rav chesed, an infinite degree of Divine benevolence.




35.Rambam, Hilchot Teshuvah 7:4, as distinct from the wording cited in Berachot, loc. cit.: ‘…do not stand.’”