This letter was addressed to R. Moshe HaKohen Dubinsky.

B”H, 10 Cheshvan, 5710

Greetings and blessings,

In response to your notes on Tanya that you mentioned in your letter of 8 Cheshvan:

a) The marginal notes in Tanya (and similarly, in other texts) contain concepts that are not so relevant to the subject matter of the text itself. They either bring support for the state­ments of the text, resolve a question the text might provoke, or the like. I do not know where you derived the idea that they are reserved for kabbalisticconcepts. See the marginal notes to chs. 1, 24, 35, 36, 37, 39, 42, and 52.1

b) The marginal note to ch. 42 explains a new — and peripheral — concept that is not at all mentioned in the text itself. The text establishes a general principle: that [attaining] knowledge of G‑d is [merely] a small matter for every individual and that [each one] is obligated to devote effort to this [endeavor]. The explanation [which comprises the majority of the chapter] involves only how this [knowledge] leads to fear [of G‑d]. In the marginal note, [the Alter Rebbe] explains that even when there is one who does not know the king at all; [i.e., a person who has no knowledge of G‑d,] he may come to awe and fear [by seeing how all the members of the court accept the king’s authority; i.e., how the natural order follows G‑d’s will].

c) You raise a question, noting that the analogy given in ch. 44 does not resemble the analogue.2 For in the analogy, the king’s garments reveal his royal qualities, but in the analogue, the garments conceal and even contradict G‑d’s sovereignty.

I am surprised at you, for the Alter Rebbe himself alludes to this stating: “The fundamental matter is that it be firmly established... that everything one sees... is merely the external garments of the King.”

To conclude with greetings to all those who seek our welfare and wishes for everlasting good in all matters,

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson