The above applies nowadays, when the Shechinah is exiled in kelipat nogah; hence, the main function of Torah study is to seek out and elevate the sparks of holiness from the kelipot. Hence, too, the current concentration on the laws of issur and hetter, kasher and passul, and the like.

But when the Shechinah will emerge from kelipat nogah [74or: from the kelipot],

אֲבָל בְּצֵאת הַשְּׁכִינָה מִקְּלִיפַּת נוֹגַהּ [נוסח אחר: מֵהַקְּלִיפּוֹת]

after the extraction of the sparks will be completed, and the evil of the kelipot will be separated from the good of holiness, “and all the workers of evil will be dispersed,”

אַחַר שֶׁיּוּשְׁלַם בֵּירוּר הַנִּיצוֹצוֹת, וְיוּפְרַד הָרַע מֵהַטּוֹב וְ"יִתְפָּרְדוּ כָּל פּוֹעֲלֵי אָוֶן",

and the Tree of [Knowledge of] Good and Evil (which is of kelipat nogah and which prevails during the time of exile) will no longer be dominant because the good will have departed from it,

וְלָא שָׁלְטָא אִילָנָא דְטוֹב וָרָע בְּצֵאת הַטּוֹב מִמֶּנָּה,

Kelipat nogah is influential only by virtue of its minimal component of good; as soon as this is extracted, kelipat nogah will have no dominion whatsoever.

then people will engage in the study of Torah and in the observance of the commandments not in order to extract the sparks, as in the present,

אֲזַי – לֹא יִהְיֶה עֵסֶק הַתּוֹרָה וְהַמִּצְוֹת לְבָרֵר בֵּירוּרִין,

but in order to bring about the consummation of yichudim (“unions” or “marriages” of sefirot) more sublime than those which are effected through our present Torah study—in order to call forth more sublime lights, transcending75 Atzilut.

כִּי אִם – לְיַחֵד יִחוּדִים עֶלְיוֹנִים יוֹתֵר, לְהַמְשִׁיךְ אוֹרוֹת עֶלְיוֹנִים יוֹתֵר מֵהָאֲצִילוּת,

This is explained in the writings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, of blessed memory.

כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמַר הָאֲרִ"י זִכְרוֹנוֹ לִבְרָכָה.

Everything [will be accomplished] by means of the pnimiyut of the Torah, the esoteric dimension of the Torah, by the performance of the commandments with lofty mystical devotions directed to [drawing down] sublime “lights” [from the Divine Luminary].

וְהַכֹּל – עַל־יְדֵי פְּנִימִיּוּת הַתּוֹרָה, לְקַיֵּים הַמִּצְוֹת בְּכַוָּונוֹת עֶלְיוֹנוֹת שֶׁמְּכַוְּנוֹת לְאוֹרוֹת עֶלְיוֹנִים כוּ'.

For the root of the commandments is exceedingly high, in the blessed Ein Sof, at a level loftier than Atzilut.

כִּי שֹׁרֶשׁ הַמִּצְוֹת הוּא לְמַעְלָה מַּעְלָה בְּאֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא

(76As for the statement of our Sages, of blessed memory, that “the commandments will be abrogated in the future,”77

(וּמַה שֶּׁאָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה דְּ"מִצְוֹת בְּטֵילוֹת לֶעָתִיד לָבֹא",

this refers to the era of the Resurrection of the Dead.

הַיְינוּ, בִּתְחִיַּית הַמֵּתִים,

In the days of the Messiah, however, before the Resurrection of the Dead, they will not be abrogated.)78

אֲבָל לִימוֹת הַמָּשִׁיחַ, קוֹדֶם תְּחִיַּית הַמֵּתִים – אֵין בְּטֵלִים).

At that time, the observance of mitzvot will draw down to this world even higher levels of G-dliness than those drawn down by the current observance of mitzvot.

This is why Torah study will then be mainly directed to the pnimiyut (the innermost, mystical depths) of the commandments and their hidden reasons.

וְלָכֵן יִהְיֶה גַּם עִיקַּר עֵסֶק הַתּוֹרָה גַּם כֵּן בִּפְנִימִיּוּת הַמִּצְוֹת וְטַעֲמֵיהֶם הַנִּסְתָּרִים.

Specifically: Gaining insights into the dynamics of the abovementioned yichudim and thereby understanding why the scrupulous performance of the commandments brings about these supernal “unions” which give birth to renewed diffusions of the Divine light that animates this world.

The revealed aspects of the Torah, however, will be manifest and known to every Jew by an innate and unforgotten knowledge.

אֲבָל הַנִּגְלוֹת יִהְיוּ גְּלוּיִם וִידוּעִים לְכָל אִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּידִיעָה בַּתְּחִלָּה בְּלִי שִׁכְחָה,

Review will thus be unnecessary.

Only the mixed multitude (and not the Jews) will have to toil in these [aspects of the Torah],

וְאֵין צְרִיכִים לַעֲסוֹק בָּהֶם, אֶלָּא לְ"עֵרֶב רַב"

because they will not have merited to taste from the Tree of Life, i.e., the pnimiyut of the Torah and of the commandments.

שֶׁלֹּא יִזְכּוּ לְמִטְעַם מֵאִילָנָא דְחַיֵּי, שֶׁהוּא פְּנִימִיּוּת הַתּוֹרָה וְהַמִּצְוָה,

They will [therefore] need to engage [79in Torah] in Mishnah in order to weaken (80by their occupation with Torah) the power of the sitra achara that cleaves to them,

וּצְרִיכִים לַעֲסוֹק [בַּתּוֹרָה] בַּמִּשְׁנָה, לְהַתִּישׁ כֹּחַ הַסִּטְרָא אָחֳרָא הַדָּבוּק בָּהֶם (עַל יְדֵי עֵסֶק הַתּוֹרָה. בכתב יד ליתא),

so that it will not dominate them and cause them to sin.

שֶׁלֹּא תִשְׁלוֹט בָּהֶם לְהַחֲטִיאָם,

Thus, it is written, “And the sinner at the age of a hundred will be cursed.”81 This refers to the sinners of the mixed multitude.

כְּדִכְתִיב: "וְהַחוֹטֶא בֶּן מֵאָה שָׁנָה יְקוּלָּל", שֶׁיִּהְיוּ חוֹטְאִים מֵ"עֵרֶב רַב".

Thus, even with the arrival of Mashiach, there will be sinners among the mixed multitude since the sitra achara cleaves to them. They will therefore require means by which to weaken it so that they will not sin.

Nor will they need only the revealed aspects of the Torah in order to repel the sitra achara.

In addition, on the practical level, they will need the detailed rulings of prohibition and impurity more than the Jews.

וְגַם לְמַעֲשֶׂה, יִהְיוּ צְרִיכִים לִפְרָטֵי הִלְכוֹת אִסּוּר וְטוּמְאָה יוֹתֵר מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל,

For (the latter), nothing will occur that is ritually unfit, impure, or forbidden

שֶׁלֹּא יֶאֱרַע לָהֶם פְּסוּל וְטוּמְאָה וְאִסּוּר,

since “there82 shall not befall [any sin to the righteous]”83and in the era of Mashiach, all Jews will be at the level of the “righteous.”

כִּי "לֹא יְאוּנֶּה כוּ'".

It is also possible, and indeed probable, that [the Jewish people] will know all the fundamentals of the revealed plane of the Torah from the pnimiyut of the Torah,

וְגַם, אֶפְשָׁר וְקָרוֹב הַדָּבָר שֶׁיֵּדְעוּ מִפְּנִימִיּוּת הַתּוֹרָה כָּל גּוּפֵי הַתּוֹרָה הַנִּגְלֵית,

as was the case with our father Abraham, peace be to him.

כְּמוֹ אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ עָלָיו־הַשָּׁלוֹם,

The Gemara relates84 that Abraham fulfilled the entire Torah even before it was given at Sinai. Now, there are passages and commandments to which he could not possibly have related on a physical level.

Inscribed on the tiny parchment scrolls within tefillin, for example, are Biblical passages which record the Exodus from Egypt—a land to which his descendants had not yet been exiled. The mode of Abraham’s performance of the commandments was thus spiritual and esoteric, as the Alter Rebbe explains in Torah Or85 and Likkutei Torah.86

Abraham thus knew all the revealed aspects of Torah from its esoteric core. In the Time to Come, all Jews will know the Torah in a similar manner.

They will therefore not need to occupy themselves with them—with the laws defining what is permitted or prohibited, pure or impure—at all.

וְלָכֵן, אֵין צְרִיכִים לַעֲסוֹק בָּהֶם כְּלָל.

At the time of the Second Temple, by contrast, although the scholars did not derive their sustenance from the illiterate, for they had their own fields and vineyards, they needed to be involved in these [laws],

מַה־שֶּׁאֵין־כֵּן בִּזְמַן בַּיִת שֵׁנִי, הָיוּ צְרִיכִים לַעֲסוֹק –

and not only for their practical application but because this is the main purpose of Divine service—

גַּם כִּי לֹא בִּשְׁבִיל הֲלָכָה לְמַעֲשֶׂה בִּלְבַד, אֶלָּא שֶׁזֶּהוּ עִיקַּר עֲבוֹדָה

to weaken the power of the sitra achara and to elevate the sparks of holiness by means of Torah study and worship, as is explained elsewhere.87

לְהַתִּישׁ כֹּחַ הַסִּטְרָא אָחֳרָא, וּלְהַעֲלוֹת נִיצוֹצֵי הַקְּדוּשָּׁה עַל־יְדֵי הַתּוֹרָה וְהָעֲבוֹדָה, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר.

After the above words of truth, it will be possible to clearly understand the earlier-quoted passage from Raaya Mehemna,

וְאַחַר הַדְּבָרִים וְהָאֱמֶת, יוּבַן הֵיטֵב בְּתּוֹסֶפֶת בֵּיאוּר הָרַעְיָא מְהֵימְנָא דִלְעֵיל,

which spoke of “the Tree of Good and Evil, [i.e., prohibition and permission],”

בְּמַה שֶּׁאָמַר "אִילָנָא דְטוֹב וָרָע כוּ'",

meaning kelipat nogah, which is the mainstay of this world,88

רוֹצֶה לוֹמַר – קְלִיפַּת נוֹגַהּ, שֶׁהוּא עוֹלָם הַזֶּה הָעִיקָּר,

as is written in Etz Chaim.

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּעֵץ חַיִּים,

At the moment, until Mashiach arrives, the dominant influence in this material world is kelipat nogah, the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.” After his arrival, however, this dominion will cease, and man’s Divine service will be directed not to extracting the sparks of holiness hidden in the material world but to bringing about ever higher supernal unions, as explained above.

This will suffice for the discerning.

וְדַי לַמֵּבִין:


In the middle of the above epistle, the Alter Rebbe stated that if “one ate [forbidden food] in order to save an endangered life…[the food] becomes [entirely] permissible.”

The Rebbe notes89 that this concept is problematic; indeed, many editions of the Tanya omit the word “entirely,” which is evidently why it found its way into current editions as a bracketed text.

The Rebbe goes on to distinguish between prohibition (issur) and impurity (tumah). When something is prohibited, one can sense its inherent evil; for example, forbidden foods clog the mind and heart with spiritual congestion. Thus, even if a pregnant woman scented forbidden food on Yom Kippur and the Torah permitted her to eat it (if her life would otherwise be in danger),90 eating that food would still becloud her soul.

Moreover, even when the prohibition was not intrinsic to the food but a thought or a statement invalidated it, as for example when an animal was slaughtered with idolatrous intent,91 eating this food leaves its imprint. Thus, for example, the Midrash92 traces the wayward path of Elisha ben Avuyah (known as “Acher”) to very early beginnings—before his birth, his mother had tasted food that was prepared for idolatrous worship.

In light of the above, the Rebbe goes on to note, we can understand why a nursing mother who has eaten forbidden food, even when permitted to do so because her life was endangered, should refrain from nursing her child.93 For although eating this food was in fact halachically permitted, the nature of the food and the spiritual blemish which it imparts to her infant remain unchanged.

This is especially so, according to the halachic determination (with regard to one who is ill as well), that a life-threatening situation merely sets aside a prohibition; it does not make the prohibited object permissible.94

As the Rebbe concludes, the above considerations evidently explain why in current editions of Iggeret Hakodesh—regarding the food eaten in a life-threatening situation that becomes “[entirely] permissible”—the word “entirely” is bracketed and in many editions never appeared.