[The Previous Rebbe’s] maamar continues, citing the com­mentary of the Radak to the above verse. That commentary mentions two interpretations of the phrase “to the far and to the near.” The Radak himself interprets [“to the far”] as referring to one who is far removed from Jerusalem, and [“to the near,”] to one who is close to [that city].

Afterwards, he cites our Sages’ interpretation that “the far” refers to baalei teshuvah (“those who turn to G‑d in teshuvah”), and “the close” to tzaddikim (“the righteous”). Thus the Talmud states,1 “The perfectly righteous cannot stand in the place of baalei teshuvah” as implied by the verse “Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” i.e., [the greetings of peace] are addressed to those who were originally far removed, and then came close.

Here also, there is a point which requires explanation: The fact that the maamar cites the interpretation of the Radak before the interpretation of the Talmud appears to indicate that the former interpretation is more closely related to the theme of the maamar than the interpretation of the Talmud. Here, clarification is necessary: For the maamar dwells on the advantage baalei teshuvah possess over the righteous (as will be explained), [a theme which seemingly relates to the interpretation of the Talmud]. Why then does the maamar mention the interpretation of the Radak — that “the far” refers to one far removed from Jerusalem — before mentioning the interpretation of the Talmud, that “the far” refers to baalei teshuvah.

The reason that the level of baalei teshuvah surpasses the level of the righteous (as explained in [the Previous Rebbe’s] maamar) is because the divine service of baalei teshuvah is [charged] with greater intensity.2 The maamar explains that the reason for this greater intensity is the distance, i.e., that originally they were far removed from G‑dliness. [This requires explanation:] Why should this factor give them an advantage over the righteous who were always close to G‑d?”

Similarly, it is necessary to explain (as is highlighted in [the Previous Rebbe’s] maamar) why after the verse states, “‘Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,’” the verse continues “says G‑d. ‘I will heal him.’” Seemingly, once those who are far removed have come close, and they have been granted peace, why is there a need for healing?