Many of the letters that together constitute Iggeret Hakodesh were written in order to rouse Jewry to contribute generously to tzedakah in general and in particular for the Holy Land. More specifically, the Alter Rebbe strongly encouraged the support of Rabbi Mendele Horodoker and Rabbi Avraham Kalisker and their followers, who had settled there, through the Kollel Chabad Fund that he had founded.

In the present letter, the Alter Rebbe places singular emphasis on the merit of tzedakah for the Holy Land. Every year, he declares, it should be given with more vitality and in greater volume, thus echoing the rhythm of the annually renewed life-force that emanates from on High to the Holy Land, as he explains in this letter.

The Alter Rebbe begins here by stating that his purpose is “to arouse the old love and fondness for our Holy Land….” It would seem that “the old love” refers to the ardent enthusiasm which his Chasidim had originally felt for the fund when it was freshly founded and which had faded somewhat with the passage of years. It was this “old love” that the Alter Rebbe sought here to reawaken.

[This letter is written] to arouse the old love and fondness for the Holy Land,

לְעוֹרֵר אֶת הָאַהֲבָה הַיְשָׁנָה וְחִבַּת אֶרֶץ הַקּוֹדֶשׁ,

so that it burn like fiery flames from the inwardness of man and from the depths of his heart,

לִהְיוֹת בּוֹעֶרֶת כְּרִשְׁפֵּי אֵשׁ מִקֶּרֶב אִישׁ וְלֵב עָמוֹק,

as if this very day G-d had set His spirit upon us, a spirit of generosity,

כְּאִלּוּ הַיּוֹם מַמָּשׁ נָתַן ה' רוּחוֹ עָלֵינוּ, רוּחַ נְדִיבָה,

so that people volunteer to consecrate themselves to G-d with a full and generous hand,

בְּהִתְנַדֵּב עָם לְמַלֹּאות יָדָם לַה', בְּיָד מְלֵאָה וּרְחָבָה,

with one increase after another, from year to year,

בְּרִיבּוּי אַחַר רִיבּוּי, מִדֵּי שָׁנָה בְּשָׁנָה,

continually rising and excelling themselves,

הוֹלֵךְ וְעוֹלֶה לְמַעְלָה רֹאשׁ,

in keeping with the measure of [the level of Divinity called] kodesh ha’elyon (“supreme holiness”), another name for the attribute of chochmah,

כְּמִדַּת "קֹדֶשׁ הָעֶלְיוֹן"

which radiates to the Holy Land and is constantly renewed (qualitatively) and increased (quantitatively),

הַמֵּאִיר לְאֶרֶץ הַקּוֹדֶשׁ, הַמִּתְחַדֵּשׁ וּמִתְרַבֶּה תָּמִיד,

as it is written, “Forever are the eyes of the L-rd your G-d upon it (i.e., upon the Land of Israel), from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.”1

כְּדִכְתִיב: "תָּמִיד עֵינֵי ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ בָּהּ, מֵרֵשִׁית הַשָּׁנָה וְעַד אַחֲרִית שָׁנָה";

As the Alter Rebbe will soon say, the term “eyes” alludes to the Divine attribute of chochmah, or kodesh ha’elyon, which irradiates the Land of Israel constantly, from the beginning of the year to its end.

In order to explain how we derive from this verse that the level of chochmah that radiates to the Holy Land is constantly renewed and increased, the Alter Rebbe first raises the following query:

Now, this phrase “to the end…” appears to be problematic,

דְּהַאי "וְעַד אַחֲרִית כוּ'" אֵינוֹ מוּבָן לִכְאוֹרָה,

for at the end of one year begins another year.

שֶׁהֲרֵי בְּאַחֲרִית שָׁנָה זוֹ מַתְחֶלֶת שָׁנָה שְׁנִיָּה,

Thus, it should surely have said [that the eyes of G-d are upon the Land of Israel] “everlastingly.”

וְאִם כֵּן הֲוָה־לֵיהּ־לְמֵימַר "לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד"?

However, this matter will be understood by considering the verse, “G-d by chochmah established the earth.”2

אַךְ הָעִנְיָן יוּבַן, עַל פִּי מַה שֶּׁכָּתוּב: "ה' בְּחָכְמָה יָסַד אָרֶץ",

That is, the foundation of Eretz Ha’elyonah (lit., “the Higher Earth” or “the Higher Land”; i.e., the heavenly model of the terrestrial Holy Land), which is the mode of [creative Divine influence, which is immanent and therefore called] memalei kol almin (lit., “filling all worlds”),

שֶׁיְּסוֹד הָ"אָרֶץ הָעֶלְיוֹנָה" – הִיא בְּחִינַת "מְמַלֵּא כָּל עָלְמִין",

This refers to the sefirah of malchut of the World of Atzilut, called “land,” for it is the last and (so to speak) lowest of the supernal sefirot, and it vests itself in created worlds and beings so as to vitalize them.

and [likewise the foundation] of the nether [land], which is [the Land of Israel which is known as] Eretz Chefetz (“the land of [G-d’s] desire”), which truly corresponds to it[s heavenly counterpart], viz., Eretz Ha’elyonah,

וְהַתַּחְתּוֹנָה – הִיא "אֶרֶץ חֵפֶץ" הַמְכֻוֶּונֶת כְּנֶגְדָּהּ מַמָּשׁ

and is called by its name, Eretz Hachaim (“the land of life”)—

וְנִקְרֵאת עַל שְׁמָהּ "אֶרֶץ הַחַיִּים",

[the foundation, then, of the higher and the lower lands] issues from the downward flow and radiance from the supreme chochmah, which is the source of supernal life;

הִנֵּה הוּא נִמְשָׁךְ מֵהַמְשָׁכַת וְהֶאָרַת חָכְמָה עִילָּאָה, מְקוֹר הַחַיִּים הָעֶלְיוֹנִים,

as it is written, “Chochmah animates those who possess it….”3

כְּדִכְתִיב: "הַחָכְמָה תְּחַיֶּה בְעָלֶיהָ וְכוּ'".

“G-d by chochmah established the earth” thus means that the sefirah of chochmah diffuses its creative light upon Eretz Ha’elyonah (“the Higher Land,” i.e., malchut of Atzilut) as well as upon its terrestrial counterpart, the Land of Israel.

This radiance and efflux from supreme chochmah, that irradiates the “land” at both these levels, is renewed annually by a truly new light,

וְהֶאָרָה וְהַמְשָׁכָה זוֹ הִיא מִתְחַדֶּשֶׁת בְּאוֹר חָדָשׁ מַמָּשׁ בְּכָל שָׁנָה וְשָׁנָה,

for G-d (blessed be He) and His chochmah are one, in an absolute unity,

כִּי הוּא יִתְבָּרֵךְ וְחָכְמָתוֹ אֶחָד בְּתַכְלִית הַיִּחוּד,

which is called “the [infinite] Ein Sof-light,”

וְנִקְרָא בְּשֵׁם "אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא",

because there is no limit nor end to the quality and greatness of the light and vitality that issues forth from Him and from His chochmah,

שֶׁאֵין סוֹף וְאֵין קֵץ לְמַעֲלַת וּגְדוּלַּת הָאוֹר וְהַחַיּוּת הַנִּמְשָׁךְ מִמֶּנּוּ יִתְבָּרֵךְ וּמֵחָכְמָתוֹ,

in elevation upon elevation, to no end or limit, to the peak of the loftiest levels.

בְּעִילּוּי אַחַר עִילּוּי, עַד אֵין קֵץ וְתַכְלִית, לְרוּם הַמַּעֲלוֹת לְמַעְלָה מַעְלָה.