Tanya/Iggeres Ha’Teshuvah - The Epistle on Repentance,Chapter 10, Class 1

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The theme of the previous chapter was teshuvah ilaah and how it finds expression in the “cleaving of spirit to Spirit”—through Torah study, tzedakah, and acts of lovingkindness.

This higher level of teshuvah, the cleaving of spirit to Spirit through the study of the Torah and the performance of acts of kindness,

וְהִנֵּה, תְּשׁוּבָה עִילָּאָה זוֹ, דְּאִתְדַּבְּקוּתָא דְרוּחָא בְּרוּחָא עַל־יְדֵי תּוֹרָה וּגְמִילוּת חֲסָדִים,

comes as a downward thrust from Above,

הִיא בִּבְחִינַת הַמְשָׁכָה מִלְמַעְלָה לְמַטָּה,

Neither Torah study nor acts of lovingkindness elevate a person solely as a result of his own initiative and Divine service. Rather, he is aided from Above to reach an infinitely higher level than he would have attained alone.

so that the word of G‑d shall actually be in one’s mouth,

לִהְיוֹת דְּבַר ה' מַמָּשׁ בְּפִיו,

This too is a Divine gift.

as Scripture states, “I have placed My words in your mouth.”1

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "וָאָשִׂים דְּבָרַי בְּפִיךָ",

Torah study thus accomplishes much more than what man could attain on his own.

Similarly,

“His right hand embraces me,”2 through [man’s] acts of kindness,

"וִימִינוֹ תְּחַבְּקֵנִי" בִּגְמִילוּת חֲסָדִים,

for “kindness is the [supernal] right arm….”3

דְּ"חֶסֶד דְּרוֹעָא יְמִינָא וְכוּ'".

With every act of lovingkindness, one draws down Divine benevolence: one is embraced by a far loftier level of holiness than he could possibly aspire to by dint of his own spiritual service.

However, mortal man must ascend from stage to stage

אֲבָל אָדָם הַתַּחְתּוֹן צָרִיךְ לֵילֵךְ מִמַּדְרֵגָה לְמַדְרֵגָה מִמַּטָּה לְמַעְלָה,

toward this higher level of Teshuvah and this “cleaving of spirit to Spirit” through the heart’s devoted worship,

הִיא בְּחִינַת תְּשׁוּבָה עִילָּאָה וְאִתְדַּבְּקוּת רוּחָא בְּרוּחָא, בְּכַוָּונַת הַלֵּב בִּתְפִלָּה,

particularly during Shema and its blessings,

וּבִפְרָט בִּקְרִיאַת־שְׁמַע וּבִרְכוֹתֶיהָ,

so that he might in perfect truth say during the recitation of the Shema, “You shall love [the L-rd your G‑d] with all your heart and with all your soul….”4

כְּדֵי לוֹמַר: "וְאָהַבְתָּ וְגוֹ' בְּכָל לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל נַפְשְׁךָ וְגוֹ'", בֶּאֱמֶת לַאֲמִיתּוֹ:

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FOOTNOTES

1.Isaiah 51:16.

2.Song of Songs 2:6.

3. Introduction to Tikkunei Zohar.

4.Deuteronomy 6:5.

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