Two basic elements, as the Alter Rebbe made clear in the previous chapter, enable the lower level of repentance to be true and direct: (a) considering how one's soul and its Source, the Shechinah, are to be pitied, and arousing Supreme compassion upon them; (b) making a thoughtful, soulful and accurate accounting of the extent to which one's own sins have brought about the “exile of the Shechinah.” This will make one's heart humble and contrite, which in turn will crush the spirit of the kelipot and sitra achra.

והנה אחרי העמקת הדעת בכל הנ"ל

After deeply considering all this,

יוכל לבקש באמת מעומקא דלבא כרוב רחמיך מחה פשעי וגו'

one can truly plead, from his inmost heart,1 “In accordance with Your abounding compassion, erase my transgressions….”

This verse is recited during Tikkun Chatzot as well as during the bedside reading of Keriat Shema - propitious times for spiritual stocktaking, which will enable him to recite it wholeheartedly.

כי אזי תקבע בלבו באמת גודל הרחמנות על בחי' אלקות שבנפשו ושלמעלה כנ"ל

For by then his heart will be thoroughly impressed with the pathetic state of the spark of Divinity within his soul, and [in his soul's Source] Above, as noted earlier.

ובזה יעורר רחמים העליונים מי"ג מדה"ר הנמשכות מרצון העליון ברוך הוא

He will thereby arouse Supreme mercy, from the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy which derive from the Supreme Will,

הנרמז בקוצו של יו"ד

alluded to by the “thorn” atop the yud,

שלמעלה מעלה מבחינת ההשפעה הנשפעת מאותיות שם הוי'

which by far transcends the flow issuing from the letters of the Tetragrammaton.

Sins cause a blemish in the individual letters of the Tetragrammaton, as explained above. This causes the flow emanating from there, and from which a Jew derives his life-force, to descend into the kelipot and sitra achra and provide them with additional nurture.

When one arouses the Supreme mercies of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy, which emanate from the level of the Supreme Will that transcends the letters of the Tetragrammaton, he is then able to rectify the letters and redirect their flow into his soul.

ולכן הי"ג מדות הרחמים מנקים כל הפגמים

Therefore, on account of their lofty origin, these Thirteen Attributes of Mercy correct all defects,

וכמו שכתוב נושא עון ופשע ונקה

as it is written,2 “He bears sin and transgression…, and cleanses.”

With this awakening of mercies following the contrition,

ושוב אין יניקה להחיצונים והסטרא אחרא מהשפעת ה"א תתאה כנ"ל

there is no further nurture for the evil (lit., “extraneous”) forces and for the sitra achra from the life-force emanating from the lower hei, as noted.

(ובזה תשוב ה"א תתאה למקומה להתייחד ביה"ו וד"ל)

(3The latter hei thereupon returns to its proper place, reunited with [the preceding three letters of the Tetragrammaton,] yud-hei-vav. This will suffice for the understanding.)

This, then, is the meaning of the statement quoted in chapter 4, that the lower level of teshuvah consists of the “return of the lower hei.

וכן ממש למטה בנפש האלקית שבאדם

Just as there is a restoration of the hei Above, exactly so below in the Divine soul within man,

שוב אין עונותיכם מבדילים

no more do4 “your sins separate [you from G-d].”

וכמו שכתוב ונקה מנקה הוא לשבים

Thus it is written, naming one of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy,5 “He cleanses,” on which our Sages comment,6 “He cleanses those who return to Him in penitence,”

לרחוץ ולנקות נפשם מלבושים הצואים הם החיצונים והסטרא אחרא

to lave and cleanse their souls of the soiled garments, which are the evil (lit., “extraneous”) forces, i.e., the kelipot and sitra achra,

כמו שכתוב בגמרא מלפפתו וכו'

that the Talmud describes 7 as [a garment born of a man's sin that] “envelops him….”