Tanya/Iggeres Ha’Teshuvah - The Epistle on Repentance,Chapter 2, Class 2



Nonetheless, in order that he should be acceptable before G‑d, as beloved of Him as before the sin so that his Creator might derive delight from his service—

אָמְנָם, שֶׁיִּהְיֶה לְרָצוֹן לִפְנֵי ה' וּמְרוּצֶּה וְחָבִיב לְפָנָיו יִתְבָּרֵךְ כְּקוֹדֶם הַחֵטְא, לִהְיוֹת נַחַת רוּחַ לְקוֹנוֹ מֵעֲבוֹדָתוֹ –

[in past times,] he would bring an Olah offering,1 in addition to his repentance,

הָיָה צָרִיךְ לְהָבִיא קָרְבַּן עוֹלָה

even for [transgressing] an ordinary positive commandment that involves no excision or execution.

אֲפִילוּ עַל מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה קַלָּה שֶׁאֵין בָּהּ כָּרֵת וּמִיתַת בֵּית־דִּין,

In this spirit, our Sages in Torat Kohanim interpret the verse,2 “It shall be acceptable for him,”—that the olah offering causes a person who violated a positive command to become acceptable to G-d.

כְּמוֹ שֶׁדָּרְשׁוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה בְּתוֹרַת כֹּהֲנִים עַל פָּסוּק "וְנִרְצָה לוֹ";

and thus we find in the Talmud, in the first chapter of Zevachim,3 that the Olah offering atones for [the violation of] positive commandments; it is a “gift” [that is offered] after one has repented and been pardoned his punishment.

וְכִדְאִיתָא בַּגְּמָרָא פֶּרֶק קַמָּא דִזְבָחִים, דְּעוֹלָה מְכַפֶּרֶת עַל מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה, וְהִיא דוֹרוֹן לְאַחַר שֶׁעָשָׂה תְּשׁוּבָה וְנִמְחַל לוֹ הָעוֹנֶשׁ.

This is like the case of a man who displeased his king, appeased him through intercessors, and was forgiven by him;

וּכְאָדָם שֶׁסָּרַח בַּמֶּלֶךְ וּפִיְּיסוֹ עַל־יְדֵי פְּרַקְלִיטִין וּמָחַל לוֹ,

still, he will send a gift so that the king might consent that he appear again before his sovereign.

אַף־עַל־פִּי־כֵן, שׁוֹלֵחַ דּוֹרוֹן וּמִנְחָה לְפָנָיו שֶׁיִּתְרַצֶּה לוֹ לִרְאוֹת פְּנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ

The olah offering was similarly brought as a gift to G‑d after the offender had repented and had been granted a pardon in order that he once again find favor in His eyes and be beloved by Him as before the sin.

(4The expression “atones,” quoted from the Talmud and in the verse,5 “It shall be acceptable for him to atone for him,”

(וּלְשׁוֹן "מְכַפֶּרֶת", וְכֵן מַה שֶּׁכָּתוּב בַּתּוֹרָה "וְנִרְצָה לוֹ לְכַפֵּר עָלָיו" –

does not refer to the soul’s atonement for the sin, for this is accomplished through repentance,

אֵין זוֹ כַּפָּרַת נַפְשׁוֹ,

but rather (so to speak) his restoration before G‑d so that he will bring his Creator gratification; no vestige of the sin will remain, and the former offender will be beloved of G‑d as before,

אֶלָּא לְכַפֵּר לִפְנֵי ה' לִהְיוֹת נַחַת רוּחַ לְקוֹנוֹ,

as the Talmud teaches there—that once the person has been pardoned, then comes the gift of the olah offering,

כִּדְאִיתָא שָׁם בַּגְּמָרָא,

and as the verse states: “It shall be perfect so that it be acceptable.”6)

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "תָּמִים יִהְיֶה לְרָצוֹן").

Today, when we have no offerings to call forth G‑d’s pleasure, fasting replaces the offering. As the Talmud says, the prayer of one who is fasting is: “May my loss of fat and blood brought about through fasting be regarded as though I had offered it to You [as a sacrifice on the altar].”7

וְעַכְשָׁיו, שֶׁאֵין לָנוּ קָרְבָּן לְהָפִיק רָצוֹן מֵה' – הַתַּעֲנִית הוּא בִּמְקוֹם קָרְבָּן, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּגְּמָרָא "שֶׁיְּהֵא מִיעוּט חֶלְבִּי וְדָמִי שֶׁנִּתְמַעֵט – כְּאִלּוּ הִקְרַבְתִּי לְפָנֶיךָ וְכוּ'".

The purpose of fasting, then, is that one become acceptable to G‑d just as before the sin.




1.Leviticus 1:3.

2.Loc. cit., v. 4.

3. 7b.

4. Parentheses appear in the original.

5.Loc. cit., v. 4.

6.Leviticus 22:21.

7. Cf. Berachot 17a.

Did you find a mistake in the article or inappropriate advertisement? Report to us