Chapter 9

פרק ט

The Alter Rebbe explained at the conclusion of the previous chapter that through teshuvah ilaah, the higher level of repentance, the soul is totally cleansed and purified. It then ascends and cleaves to G‑d with the same degree of unity that it enjoyed before it descended into the body. Furthermore, the Alter Rebbe quoted the Zohar to the effect that teshuvah ilaah involves studying Torah with awe and love of G‑d.

In the fourth chapter, however, he explained that teshuvah ilaah involves reinstating the higher letter hey of the Tetragrammaton. What possible connection does this have with studying Torah out of love and fear of G‑d when these two spiritual emotions are related to the letter vav?

In order to resolve this seeming anomaly, the Alter Rebbe will now explain that the love and fear discussed in the present chapter are generated intellectually: they result from meditation upon G‑d’s greatness and are thus the offspring of binah. It is specifically this kind of love and fear that unites the hey with the vav—the intellect with the resulting emotions.

The explanation of this subject—which levels of love and fear are related to the upper hey—is as discussed frequently in the Zohar and Tikkunim,

וּבֵיאוּר הָעִנְיָן, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּזּוֹהַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ וְתִיקּוּנִים בְּכַמָּה מְקוֹמוֹת,

that binah is the higher level of teshuvah,

דְּבִינָה – אִיהִי תְּשׁוּבָה עִילָּאָה,

“the mother crouching over the chicks….”1

"וְהָאֵם רוֹבֶצֶת עַל הָאֶפְרוֹחִים" וְכוּ'.

I.e., binah is the mother of her offspring—the love and fear of G‑d.

One ought to meditate profoundly and with concentration on the greatness of G‑d,

דְּהַיְינוּ, שֶׁעַל־יְדֵי שֶׁמִּתְבּוֹנֵן בִּגְדוּלַּת ה' בְּהַעֲמָקַת הַדַּעַת,

and through his comprehension arouse a sense of intellectual awe and love

וּמוֹלִיד מֵרוּחַ בִּינָתוֹ דְּחִילוּ וּרְחִימוּ שִׂכְלִיִּים,

on rational grounds.

וּבְטוּב טַעַם וָדַעַת,

This love is that of the verse, “To love the L-rd your G‑d…because He is your life…”2a love based on a reason.

כָּעִנְיָן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: "לְאַהֲבָה אֶת ה' אֱלֹקֶיךָ", מִשּׁוּם "כִּי הוּא חַיֶּיךָ וְגוֹ'",

He will not be content with the endowed, latent love alone….

וְלֹא דַי לוֹ בְּאַהֲבָה טִבְעִית הַמְסוּתֶּרֶת לְבַד וְכוּ',

This is concealed in the heart of every Jew and needs but to be revealed; such a worshipper, though, creates instead a love of G‑d through his own intellectual endeavor.

So, too, with fear and terror of G‑d,

וְכֵן בְּיִרְאָה וָפַחַד

or shame…, as is known.

אוֹ בּוּשָׁה וְכוּ', כַּנּוֹדָע –

This is a deeper form of awe, in which one feels abashed in G‑d’s presence, hence fearing to rebel against Him by sinning.

When one’s spiritual emotions of love and fear are born in the mind, then:

This is termed “the mother crouching over the chicks…”: binah has given birth and hovers over her offspring—the love and fear of G‑d.

אֲזַי נִקְרֵאת "הָאֵם רוֹבֶצֶת עַל הָאֶפְרוֹחִים" וְכוּ'.

Ahavah, the love of G‑d, is primarily the cleaving of spirit to Spirit,3

וְהִנֵּה, עִיקַּר הָאַהֲבָה הִיא "אִתְדַּבְּקוּת רוּחָא בְּרוּחָא"

as the verse expresses it, “He kisses me with the kisses of His mouth….”4

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "יִשָּׁקֵנִי מִנְּשִׁיקוֹת פִּיהוּ וְגוֹ'", כַּנּוֹדָע.

A physical kiss unites the inner breath or spirit of two individuals. Similarly, the internal aspects of the soul and G‑dliness are united through the “breath” or speech of the Torah, through good deeds, and most specifically through the concentrated study of the Torah, as explained in Part I, ch. 45.

With regard to this [cleaving of spirit to Spirit], the verse says [that “you shall love the L-rd your G‑d…] with all your soul,”5

וְעַל זֶה נֶאֱמַר: "וּבְכָל נַפְשְׁךָ",

which means that the love is to be so intense that all aspects of the soul—intellect and emotions and their garbs of thought, speech, and deed—are to cleave to G‑d.

שֶׁהֵם הֵם כָּל חֶלְקֵי הַנֶּפֶשׁ: שֵׂכֶל וּמִדּוֹת, וּלְבוּשֵׁיהֶם: מַחֲשָׁבָה דִּיבּוּר וּמַעֲשֶׂה, לְדָבְקָה כוּלָּן בּוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ.

This means that man’s emotive faculties are [to be bound up] with His—“As He is merciful [so should you be merciful]….”6

דְּהַיְינוּ, הַמִּדּוֹת – בְּמִדּוֹתָיו יִתְבָּרֵךְ, "מַה הוּא רַחוּם וְכוּ'".

Thus, when a person acts kindly out of the attribute of compassion, for example, this emotive faculty of his is bound up with G‑d’s.

So, too, man’s intellect [adheres] to G‑d’s intellect and wisdom;

וְהַשֵּׂכֶל – בְּשִׂכְלוֹ וְחָכְמָתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ,

this refers to the concentrated study of the Torah, for “the Torah issues from Wisdom.”7

הוּא עִיּוּן הַתּוֹרָה, דְּ"אוֹרַיְיתָא מֵחָכְמָה נָפְקָא":

So, too, is man’s thought [to be united] with G‑d’s,

וְכֵן הַמַּחֲשָׁבָה – בְּמַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ:

and his speech [is to be unified] with “the word of G‑d, which is the Halachah,”8

וְהַדִּיבּוּר – בִּדְבַר ה', זוֹ הֲלָכָה,

as in the passages which speak of the Torah: “I have placed My word in your mouth,”9

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "וָאָשִׂים דְּבָרַי בְּפִיךָ",

and “My words that I have placed in your mouth.”10

"וּדְבָרַי אֲשֶׁר שַׂמְתִּי בְּפִיךָ":

Man’s deeds [shall likewise be united with His deeds] through works of charity,

וְהַמַּעֲשֶׂה – הוּא מַעֲשֵׂה הַצְּדָקָה,

to revive the spirit of the crestfallen,

לְהַחֲיוֹת רוּחַ שְׁפָלִים,

Acting thus unites man with His Maker, for He too provides life and “revives the spirit” of created beings.

as the verse states, “For six days G‑d wrought…,”11 as is explained elsewhere.

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "כִּי שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים עָשָׂה ה' וְגוֹ'", כַּנּוֹדָע בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר,

The expression used concerning G‑d’s activity during the Six Days of Creation—a verb expressing action and doing—indicates that the Divine powers had to descend even to the nethermost level of mere action in order to create and vitalize the inconsequential beings of creation.

This is the cleaving of spirit to Spirit—the ultimate attachment and union that result from love….

וְזוֹ הִיא "אִתְדַּבְּקוּת דְּרוּחָא בְּרוּחָא" בְּתַכְלִית הַדְּבֵיקוּת וְהַיִּחוּד, כְּשֶׁהִיא מֵחֲמַת אַהֲבָה וְכוּ'.

Ultimate union with G‑d through Torah study is attained only when it is the result of love. Thus, while it is true that when one studies the Torah simply out of one’s acceptance of the Yoke of Heaven he also achieves a measure of the cleaving of spirit to Spirit, this cannot compare to the degree of attachment that is attained when the same study is motivated by a love of G‑d. Hence, since teshuvah ilaah is a manifestation of the soul’s ultimate attachment with G‑d, it follows that “teshuvah ilaah means engaging in the study of the Torah in awe and love of the Holy One, blessed be He,” as the Zohar teaches.

Since the violation of the covenant through wasteful emission,

וּלְפִי שֶׁפְּגַם הַבְּרִית בְּהוֹצָאַת זֶרַע לְבַטָּלָה,

to say nothing of incestuous relations, or other unions prohibited by the Torah or the Sages

וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר בַּעֲרָיוֹת, אוֹ שְׁאָר אִיסּוּרֵי בִּיאָה דְּאוֹרַיְיתָא אוֹ דְרַבָּנָן

(12for “the words i.e., the prohibitions of the Sages are more grave [than even the words i.e., the prohibitions of the Torah]”13),

(כִּי חֲמוּרִים דִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים וְכוּ')

causes a blemish in the mind,

פּוֹגֵם בַּמּוֹחַ,

therefore, his rectification is secured by engaging in the study of the Torah, which derives from Wisdom.

לָכֵן תִּיקּוּנוֹ הוּא דְּיִתְעַסֵּק בְּאוֹרַיְיתָא, דְּמֵחָכְמָה נָפְקָא.

This explains why it was stated in ch. 4 that only teshuvah ilaah—“engaging in the study of the Torah in awe and love of the Holy One, blessed be He”—is effective in remedying this sin.

We therefore find in Tanna Dvei Eliyahu: “A man commits a sin and is liable to death before the Almighty (for the abovementioned sin carries with it the punishment of death by Divine agency); what shall he do and live?

וְזֶהוּ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּתָנָא דְבֵי אֵלִיָּהוּ: "אָדָם עָבַר עֲבֵירָה וְנִתְחַיֵּיב מִיתָה לַמָּקוֹם, מַה יַּעֲשֶׂה וְיִחְיֶה?

If he was accustomed to studying one page [of the Written Law], let him study two; if he was accustomed to studying one chapter [of the Oral Law], let him study two chapters….”14

אִם הָיָה רָגִיל לִקְרוֹת דַּף אֶחָד – יִקְרָא ב' דַּפִּים, לִשְׁנוֹת פֶּרֶק אֶחָד – יִשְׁנֶה ב' פְּרָקִים וְכוּ'".

Why is a sin punishable by death by Divine agency, including the sin of wasteful emission, rectifiable by an increase in Torah study?

This resembles a rope that is severed and then reknotted:

וְהַיְינוּ, כִּמְשַׁל חֶבֶל הַנִּפְסָק וְחוֹזֵר וְקוֹשְׁרוֹ,

the site of the knot is twofold and fourfold thicker than the rest of the rope.

שֶׁבִּמְקוֹם הַקֶּשֶׁר הוּא כָּפוּל וּמְכוּפָּל,

So it is with the “rope of [G‑d’s] heritage,” with the soul’s bond with its Source.

וְכָכָה הוּא בְּ"חֶבֶל נַחֲלָתוֹ" וְכוּ'.

If this relationship was severed by sin, then repentance must reknot the cord doubly and fourfold. And this is accomplished through the study of the Torah.

Thus, Scripture states, “Through kindness and truth is sin forgiven…,”15

וְזֶהוּ שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב: "בְּחֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶת יְכוּפַּר עָוֹן וְגוֹ'",

and “there is no truth but Torah….”16

"וְאֵין אֱמֶת אֶלָּא תּוֹרָה וְכוּ'",

Thus, it is through the study of the Torah that sin is forgiven.

Similarly, on the statement in Scripture that “the sin of the House of Eli will not be atoned by sacrifices and offerings,”17 the Talmud comments: “By sacrifices and offerings will the sin of the House of Eli not be atoned, but it will be atoned through the study of the Torah and through good deeds,”

וַ"עֲוֹן בֵּית עֵלִי בְּזֶבַח וּמִנְחָה הוּא דְאֵינוֹ מִתְכַּפֵּר – אֲבָל מִתְכַּפֵּר בְּתוֹרָה וּגְמִילוּת חֲסָדִים",

as explained at the end of the first chapter18 of [Tractate] Rosh Hashanah.

כִּדְאִיתָא בְּסוֹף פֶּרֶק קַמָּא דְרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה: