והנה: יעקב חבל נחלתו כתיב

Scripture states:1 “Jacob is the rope of [G‑d’s] heritage.”2

על דרך משל: כמו החבל שראשו אחד למעלה וראשו השני למטה

The analogy [compares the soul of a Jew] to a rope, with one end above and the other end below.

אם ימשוך אדם בראשו השני, ינענע וימשך אחריו גם ראשו הראשון, כמה שאפשר לו להמשך

When one pulls the lower end he will move and pull after it the higher end as well, as far as it can be pulled.

וככה ממש בשרש נשמת האדם ומקורה מבחינת ה״א תתאה הנ״ל

It is exactly so with regard to the root of the soul of man and its source in the latter hei.

הוא ממשיך ומוריד השפעתה על ידי מעשיו הרעים ומחשבותיו

Through one’s evil deeds and thoughts one draws down the life-force [issuing from the latter hei]

עד תוך היכלות הסטרא אחרא, כביכול, שמשם מקבל מחשבותיו ומעשיו

into the chambers of the sitra achra, as it were, from which he receives his thoughts and deeds.

Although a person punishable by excision has severed his ropes, so to speak, he is still able to draw down the life-force issuing from the latter hei into the chambers of the sitra achra. The reason, as is explained elsewhere in the literature of Chassidut, is that even after the rope is severed, some external vestige of it survives. And it is through this remnant that the life-force of holiness is drawn down into the chambers of the kelipot.

ומפני שהוא הוא הממשיך להם ההשפעה, לכן הוא נוטל חלק בראש, וד״ל

Because it is he, the sinful individual, who draws the flow of vitality into [the chambers of the sitra achra], it is he who receives the greatest portion from them.

I.e., in even greater measure than do other living creatures. Nevertheless, it is explained in the literature of Chassidut3 that ultimately the sinner will cease to draw vitality from this flow, for the sitra achra can serve a Jew as a source only temporarily.

This will suffice for the understanding.

וזהו שאמרו רז״ל: אין בידינו לא משלות הרשעים וכו׳

Hence the statement of our Sages,4 of blessed memory: “It is not within our hands (i.e., it is not given us) to understand the reason for either the tranquillity of the wicked [or the suffering of the righteous].”

בידינו דוקא, כלומר: בזמן הגלות אחר החורבן

The quotation specifies “in our hands,” i.e., in this time of exile after the Destruction, when the wicked receive added vitality through the kelipot and sitra achra.

וזוהי בחינת גלות השכינה, כביכול

This is an expression of the “Exile of the Divine Presence,” as it were, during which time the life-force emanating from the latter hei flows into the kelipot,

להשפיע להיכלות הסטרא אחרא אשר שנאה נפשו ית׳

viz., [G‑d’s] granting [supplementary measures of] life-force to the chambers of the sitra achra that He despises.

וכשהאדם עושה תשובה נכונה, אזי מסלק מהם ההשפעה שהמשיך במעשיו ומחשבותיו

But when the sinner repents appropriately, he then removes from them the life-force that he had drawn into them through his deeds and thoughts,

כי בתשובתו, מחזיר השפעת השכינה למקומה

for by his repentance he returns the flow issuing from the Shechinah to its proper place.

וזהו תשוב ה״א תתאה מבחינת גלות

This, then, is the meaning of [the teaching of the Zohar, quoted in ch. 4, that “teshuvah is] tashuv hei, the return of the lower hei from exile” — that the lower level of repentance consists of returning the Shechinah, which is represented by the latter hei of the Tetragrammaton, from its state of exile.

וכמו שכתוב: ושב ה׳ אלקיך את שבותך

As the verse states,5 “The L‑rd, your G‑d (the source of your soul), will return (i.e., bring back) those of you who return”;

כלומר: עם שבותך

regarding the verb as being intransitive, this means [that G‑d Himself will return] with your return.

וכמאמר רז״ל: והשיב לא נאמר וכו׳

As our Sages have commented6 on this verse, “Scripture does not say, ‘He shall bring back,’ [but that He Himself will return].”

The verse is thus telling every Jew: When through repentance you extricate yourself from your own spiritual exile, you will thereby liberate “your G‑d” — the Shechinah, the source of your soul — from His exile too.