Tanya/Iggeres Ha’Kodesh - The Holy Epistle, Epistle 4, Class 4
Thus, the ultimate circumcision of the heart, and in its wake the ultimate manifestation of the love of G‑d, will take place when Mashiach comes. Nevertheless, it is possible even now to liberate one’s personal Shechinah—one’s Divine spark—at least on a temporary basis during the time of prayer. This the Alter Rebbe now goes on to say:
Similarly, every particular spark of the Shechinah, inherent in the soul of every individual Jew,
וְכֵן, כָּל נִיצוֹץ פְּרָטִי מֵהַשְּׁכִינָה שֶׁבְּנֶפֶשׁ כָּל אֶחָד מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל
emerges for the moment from exile and captivity
יוֹצֵאת מֵהַגָּלוּת וְהַשִּׁבְיָה לְפִי שָׁעָה,
during that “momentary life” which is prayer23—
בְּ"חַיֵּי שָׁעָה" זוֹ תְּפִלָּה,
during the service of his heart, from the depth of his heart,
וַעֲבוֹדָה שֶׁבַּלֵּב מֵעוּמְקָא דְלִבָּא,
from the innermost point which becomes divested of the [concealing] “foreskin”—
מִבְּחִינַת נְקוּדָּה הַפְּנִימִית הַנִּגְלֵית מֵהָעָרְלָה,
and soars upward to cleave to Him with a fierce passion,
וְעוֹלָה לְמַעְלָה, לְדָבְקָה בוֹ בִּתְשׁוּקָה עַזָּה
in the spirit of the phrase, “for the sake of your life,” for the individual senses that G‑dliness is his entire life.
בִּבְחִינַת "לְמַעַן חַיֶּיךָ".
And [in] this, too—in this momentary deliverance of the innermost point of the heart during the service of prayer—a man may be considered to be in a state of hessach daat, “unaware” or “absentminded,” so to speak,
וְהוּא גַם כֵּן בִּבְחִינַת הֶיסַּח דַּעַת הָאָדָם,
for this State, the state in which the Divine spark within man, his personal Shechinah, is momentarily revealed, transcends the daat of man and his meditation on the greatness of G‑d.
כִּי בְּחִינָה זוֹ הִיא לְמַעְלָה מִדַּעַת הָאָדָם וְהִתְבּוֹנְנוּתוֹ בִּגְדוּלַּת ה',
Rather, it is a kind of gift granted by G‑d from heaven
רַק הִיא בְּחִינַת מַתָּנָה נְתוּנָה מֵאֵת ה' מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם,
from the radiance of the supernal countenance,
מֵהֶאָרַת בְּחִינַת פָּנִים הָעֶלְיוֹנִים,
as it is written, “May G‑d make His countenance shine upon you,”24
כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב "יָאֵר ה' פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ",
and as it is written, “And the L-rd, your G‑d, will circumcise i.e., remove the insensitivity of [your heart]”—and this is a state which exists even now on a temporary basis.
וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "וּמָל ה' אֱלֹקֶיךָ" כוּ'.
dividual redeems it by performing a spiritual periah and removing his subtler desires as well.
Now, concerning the excision of the foreskin itself, it is written: “And you—yourselves—shall excise the foreskin of your heart.”
וְהִנֵּה, עַל מִילַת הָעָרְלָה מַמָּשׁ כְּתִיב "וּמַלְתֶּם אֵת עָרְלַת לְבַבְכֶם" אַתֶּם בְּעַצְמְכֶם.
Each and every Jew is able to remove this himself, for repentance tears down the veil with which his desires obscure the innermost point of his heart.
However, the removal of the thin membrane is a difficult matter for man,
אַךְ לְהָסִיר הַקְּלִיפָּה הַדַּקָּה, זֶהוּ דָּבָר הַקָּשֶׁה עַל הָאָדָם,
and of this, it is written that with the coming of Mashiach, “The L-rd your G‑d will circumcise your heart…, to love the L-rd your G‑d with all your heart and all your soul, for the sake of your life,”21
וְעַל זֶה נֶאֱמַר בְּבִיאַת הַמָּשִׁיחַ: "וּמָל ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֶת לְבָבְךָ כוּ', לְאַהֲבָה אֶת ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכָל לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל נַפְשְׁךָ לְמַעַן חַיֶּיךָ",
because G‑d alone is literally your whole life.
כְּלוֹמַר – לְמַעַן כִּי ה' לְבַדּוֹ הוּא כָּל חַיֶּיךָ מַמָּשׁ,
In this state, the individual’s love of G‑d will not be a mere manifestation of his soul but a love that constitutes his very life. And just as a person does not regard his life as being something apart from himself, so, too, will this love not be sensed as a distinct entity but as an intrinsic component of himself.
That is why this love, the love that follows the Divine excision of the heart’s thin membrane, stems from the depth of the heart, from the truly innermost point, as mentioned above, and transcends the faculty of daat.
שֶׁלָּכֵן אַהֲבָה זוֹ הִיא מֵעוּמְקָא דְלִבָּא – מִנְּקוּדָּה פְּנִימִית מַמָּשׁ כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל, וּלְמַעְלָה מִבְּחִינַת הַדַּעַת.
Therefore, too, Mashiach will come when Israel in general are “caught unawares.”22
וְלָכֵן מָשִׁיחַ בָּא בְּהֶיסַּח הַדַּעַת לִכְלָלוּת יִשְׂרָאֵל,
[His coming] is the manifestation of the innermost point which is universal [to all Jews],
וְהִיא גִּילּוּי בְּחִינַת נְקוּדָּה פְּנִימִית הַכְּלָלִית,
and [likewise], the emergence of the universal Shechinah [of the entire community of Israel] from exile and captivity forever more.
וִיצִיאַת הַשְּׁכִינָה הַכְּלָלִית מֵהַגָּלוּת וְהַשִּׁבְיָה, לָעַד וּלְעוֹלְמֵי עוֹלָמִים.
Just as each individual’s Divine spark—his personal Shechinah, so to speak—is redeemed from captivity through means that transcend reason and daat, in such a manner, too, will the universal Shechinah, and with it the entire House of Israel, be redeemed.
Thus, the ultimate circumcision of the heart, and in its wake the ultimate manifestation of the love of G‑d, will take place when Mashiach comes. Nevertheless, it is possible even now to liberate one’s personal Shechinah—one’s Divine spark—at least on a temporary basis during the time of prayer.
23. See Shabbat 10a.