This is analogous to a compassionate, wise, and righteous father who hits his son. Surely, a wise son should not turn his back to escape, nor find himself help, nor even an intercessor to his father who is compassionate, righteous, and kind (chasid).

וּכְמוֹ אָב רַחֲמָן חָכָם וְצַדִּיק הַמַּכֶּה בְּנוֹ, שֶׁאֵין לְבֵן חָכָם לַהֲפוֹךְ עוֹרֶף לָנוּס, לִמְצוֹא לוֹ עֶזְרָה, אוֹ אֲפִילוּ מֵלִיץ יוֹשֶׁר, לִפְנֵי אָבִיו הָרַחֲמָן וְהַצַּדִּיק וְחָסִיד,

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, once remarked20 that when the Alter Rebbe first speaks of the father who punishes, he does not use the term “Chasid.” (He uses it only later, in the context of the intercessor.) The reason, says the Rebbe, is that a father who smites his child may indeed be compassionate, righteous, and wise—but he is not a Chasid, for a Chasid does not hit!

In any event, we see that if the child is truly wise, he will not flee from punishment.

Rather, he will look straight at his father, face to face, bearing his smacks lovingly for his lifelong benefit.

רַק לִהְיוֹת "יָשָׁר יֶחֱזוּ פָנֵימוֹ" עִם אָבִיו פָּנִים בְּפָנִים, לִסְבּוֹל הַכָּאוֹתָיו בְּאַהֲבָה, לְטוֹב לוֹ כָּל הַיָּמִים.

To transpose this to the analogue: Every Jew ought to look straight at his Father, “face to Face.”

Now, in the Divine realm, the concept of “Face”

וְהִנֵּה, לְמַעְלָה, בְּחִינַת "פָּנִים"

is the willingness and desire with which our Father in heaven bestows upon His children all the good of the worlds—the physical and the spiritual worlds—as well as life for the soul and body;

הוּא הָרָצוֹן וְהַחֵשֶׁק, אֲשֶׁר אָבִינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם מַשְׁפִּיעַ לְבָנָיו כָּל טוּב עוֹלָמִים וְחַיֵּי נֶפֶשׁ וְגוּף,

[all of this He bestows] out of love and willingness, out of inner desire and delight, through the Torah of Life, which is His blessed Will, that He gave unto us.

בְּאַהֲבָה וְרָצוֹן, חֲשִׁיקָה וַחֲפִיצָה, עַל־יְדֵי תּוֹרַת חַיִּים שֶׁהִיא רְצוֹנוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ אֲשֶׁר נָתַן לָנוּ,

The present passage is based on the body language that typically accompanies a gift.

As explained earlier in the Tanya (ch. 22), one gives a gift to a good friend face to face: the giver’s eyes rest on the face of the recipient. Through his very stance, the giver thus expresses the fact that his gift stems from his “face” (panim) and innermost core (pnimiyut). When, however, one gives something to an enemy, he averts his face. This simply gives outward expression to his real aversion: the gift is not prompted by any inner desire but by some external factor.

In our context, then, G-d’s loving willingness in showering us with His gifts is described by the metaphor of “Face.”

As we recite in the Amidah, “For in the light of Your Face, You have given us…the Torah of Life…,”21

כְּמוֹ שֶׁאוֹמְרִים: "כִּי בְאוֹר פָּנֶיךָ נָתַתָּ לָּנוּ תּוֹרַת חַיִּים כוּ'"

with which (and through which) to carry out His will.

לַעֲשׂוֹת בָּהּ רְצוֹנוֹ,

And of this, it is written, “For in the light of the King’s Face there is life, and His will….”22

וְעַל זֶה נֶאֱמַר: "בְּאוֹר פְּנֵי מֶלֶךְ חַיִּים, וּרְצוֹנוֹ כוּ'".

To the heathens, however, He grants the life of their bodies23 without willingness, pleasure, and delight.

מַה־שֶּׁאֵין־כֵּן לְעוֹבְדֵי גִלּוּלִים, מַשְׁפִּיעַ חַיֵּי גוּפָם שֶׁלֹּא בְּרָצוֹן וַחֲשִׁיקָה וַחֲפִיצָה,

For this reason, they are referred to as elohim acherim (“other gods”), for they draw [their life-force] from achorayim (the “hinderside” of Divinity).

לְכָךְ נִקְרָאִים "אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים", שֶׁיּוֹנְקִים מִבְּחִינַת "אֲחוֹרַיִים".

To continue the above metaphor: The Divine “reluctance” to grant life-force to the heathens—i.e., the so-called external level of Divine desire—is here described by a term that is the opposite of the “Face,” which expressed G-d’s innermost will.

It is likewise with man: willingness and pleasurable desire, i.e., man’s innermost desires, relate to the “face.”

וְכָךְ הוּא בָּאָדָם, הָרָצוֹן וְהַחֵשֶׁק הוּא בְּחִינַת "פָּנִים",

Thus, turning to G-d “face to Face” means that a man accepts willingly and with inner desire whatever is apportioned to him from the supernal face, from G-d’s innermost desire. In our context, this refers to a willing acceptance of G-d’s admonishments as expressed in physical suffering.

If one does not accept [this suffering] with love and willingness, it is as if he turns his neck and back [on G-d], heaven forfend.

וְאִם אֵינוֹ מְקַבֵּל בְּאַהֲבָה וְרָצוֹן כְּאִלּוּ הוֹפֵךְ עוֹרֶף וְאָחוֹר, חַס וְשָׁלוֹם.

The suggested advice to enable one to accept [it] with love is G-d’s counsel through the mouth of our Sages, of blessed memory—“to examine one’s conduct.”24

וְעֵצָה הַיְּעוּצָה לְקַבֵּל בְּאַהֲבָה, הִיא עֲצַת ה' בְּפִי חֲכָמֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה: "לְפַשְׁפֵּשׁ בְּמַעֲשָׂיו",

The Gemara says that “if one sees afflictions befalling him, he should examine his deeds” and repent.

He will find sins that require scouring by means of suffering. He will then clearly see G-d’s great love toward him, which “upsets the natural order of [Divine] conduct,”

וְיִמְצָא לוֹ עֲוֹנוֹת הַצְּרִיכִין מֵירוּק יִסּוּרִים, וְיִרְאֶה לָעַיִן גּוֹדֶל אַהֲבָתוֹ אֵלָיו, הַמְקַלְקֶלֶת הַשּׁוּרָה,

as in the simile of a great and awesome king who, out of his immense25 love for his only son, personally washes off the filth from him.

כִּמְשַׁל מֶלֶךְ גָּדוֹל וְנוֹרָא הָרוֹחֵץ בִּכְבוֹדוֹ וּבְעַצְמוֹ צוֹאַת בְּנוֹ יְחִידוֹ, מֵרוֹב אַהֲבָתוֹ,

As it is written,26 “When G-d will wash off the filth from the daughters of Zion…with a spirit of justice27….”28

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "אִם רָחַץ ה' צוֹאַת בְּנוֹת צִיּוֹן כוּ', בְּרוּחַ מִשְׁפָּט כוּ'".

When one becomes aware of G-d’s great love for him, a love that is expressed by scouring him with the cleansing agent of suffering:

Then, “as in water face reflects face,”29

וְ"כַמַּיִם הַפָּנִים אֶל פָּנִים",

The verse goes on to say, “…so is the heart of man to man.” And the same is true of the heart of mortal man to Supernal Man:

there will be an arousal of love in the heart of everyone who perceives and understands the preciousness of the nature of G-d’s love for the nether beings, for those who find themselves in this world, the lowest of all worlds.

תִּתְעוֹרֵר הָאַהֲבָה בְּלֵב כָּל מַשְׂכִּיל וּמֵבִין יְקַר מַהוּת אַהֲבַת ה' אֶל הַתַּחְתּוֹנִים,

This [Divine love] is dearer and better than all the [kinds of] life of all the worlds, both spiritual and material,

אֲשֶׁר הִיא יְקָרָה וְטוֹבָה מִכָּל חַיֵּי הָעוֹלָמִים כּוּלָּם,

as it is written, “How precious is Your lovingkindness (chesed)….”30

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "מַה יָּקָר חַסְדְּךָ וְכוּ'",

[It is likewise written,] “For Your chesed is better than life….”31

"כִּי טוֹב חַסְדְּךָ מֵחַיִּים כוּ'",

The motivating nucleus of chesed is love. Thus, it is written, “I have loved you with an everlasting love and have therefore drawn down chesed upon you.”32

For chesed, which is a manifestation of love,

כִּי הַחֶסֶד שֶׁהוּא בְּחִינַת אַהֲבָה,

is the Fountainhead of life that is present in all the worlds; as it is said in the Amidah, “He sustains life through chesed.”33

הוּא חַיֵּי הַחַיִּים שֶׁבְּכָל הָעוֹלָמוֹת, כְּמוֹ שֶׁאוֹמְרִים: "מְכַלְכֵּל חַיִּים בְּחֶסֶד".

Chesed and love are thus the sustaining life-force of all living beings.

And then, i.e., when one realizes G-d’s great love for him that finds expression in afflictions, and when this in turn arouses a love within him so that he will better receive G-d’s love, then:

וְאָז,

G-d, too, will grant goodness, of a kind that the naked eye can clearly and palpably perceive as good,

"גַּם ה' יִתֵּן הַטּוֹב",

and make His Face (the innermost dimension of Divinity) shine toward him34

וְיָאֵר פָּנָיו אֵלָיו,

with a manifest love, which had earlier been garbed and hidden in a manifest rebuke,

בִּבְחִינַת אַהֲבָה מְגוּלָּה, אֲשֶׁר הָיְתָה תְּחִלָּה מְלוּבֶּשֶׁת וּמְסוּתֶּרֶת בְּתוֹכָחָה מְגוּלָּה,

The overt admonition that stems from G-d’s hidden love will then be transformed into a revealed love.

and the expressions of Divine severity (the gevurot) will be sweetened at their source,

וְיִתְמַתְּקוּ הַגְּבוּרוֹת בְּשָׁרְשָׁן,

Within their source, these expressions of Divine severity are ultimately benevolent; as they descend to the world below, they become manifest in the form of suffering. The gevurot, then, will be sweetened at their source,

and thereby, these expressions of Divine severity will become nullified forevermore.35

וְיִתְבַּטְּלוּ הַדִּינִין נֶצַח סֶלָה וָעֶד: