Tanya Summaries: Igeres Hateshuvah Chapter 6

Chapter 6

18th Tamuz/23rd Tamuz


1.      Receiving vitality from the side of evil versus from the side of good:

  • In times of the temple the Jewish people received their life from the G-dly soul: In the times of the temple when the Shechina resided on it [and was revealed to the whole world to receive from], the Jewish people were on such a high level that they received their very life force for their actual bodies from the G-dly soul and from the innermost source of life given by the infinite God, through the Divine name of Havayah. [Accordingly, if somebody received the penalty of excision, in which is Godly soul was cut off from its source above, his body would literally cease to receive life and he would die at age 50 or 60.]
  • During exile the soul can receive from impurity as well: However, after the Shechina was exiled from the temple due to the sins of the Jewish people, and the Jewish people became demoted from their level of holiness, this then caused the lower letter Hei of the name Havayah to fall below from one lower lever to another lower level, until it eventually became invested within the Ten Sefiros of Nogah, which is made up of good and evil from the tree of knowledge, and is in charge of giving vitality and blessing to all of the matters of the world through the constellations, sun moon and stars, and through the ministers appointed over them.
  • This idea that all matters of the world receive from the constellations above it follows the saying of the sages that there is no blade of grass that grows below without his constellations telling it to grow from above.
  • How a Jew can receive from the side of impurity: Once the divine letter Hei has been exiled into the Kelipa of Nogah it now became possible for a sinning Jew to receive physical vitality and life for his animal soul through the levels of impurity, just like actual animals. You see, the chambers of impurity receive their energy from the ten Sefiros of Noga, and when the Sefiros of Noga themselves include within them the divine letter Hei that has been exiled within it, it makes it possible for even a Jew to receive his vitality through the chambers of evil. The Zohar explains this as follows: Man has freedom of choice to choose from where he will receive his energy and vitality from. If he chooses to act in a manner appropriate to Torah law with good and holy thoughts and actions, then he will receive his vitality from the chambers of holiness. If, however, he chooses to sin, either an action, speech, or thought of transgression, then he will receive all of his energy from the chambers of the side of evil for the time being that he is involved in the sinful activity.

2.      When man sins, he actually receives more divine energy:

  • Furthermore, as a result of his sin he actually receives greater vitality and energy through these impure levels, then he would have received if he would not have sinned and would’ve remained a recipient of the side of holiness.


19th Tamuz/24th Tamuz

  • The explanation of why the sinner receives more divine energy when he sins: It states that Yaakov is the rope of God’s heritage. This means as follows: Just as when one pulls a rope that extends from above to below, by pulling the area of rope from below he also causes the area of rope that is above to consequently be pulled, so too it is regarding the soul. Since the soul is connected with the lower letter Hei above, consequently, when he sins in thought or action, he draws down lifeforce from the letter Hei above into the chambers of evil, which is the reservoir that provides him with all of his evil thoughts and actions. Now, since it is he who provides the divine light to the chambers of impurity, through his thoughts and actions, therefore he also receives the greatest portion from it. [In other words, a Jew literally has the power with his thoughts speech and action to control the world and draw down divinity to either the chambers of holiness or the chambers of evil. When a Jew does evil either in thought speech or action he draws down divinity into the chambers of evil which are also in charge of supplying the world with life, and since he’s the one who is responsible for the extra divinity that the chambers of evil have now received, therefore it is only fair that he received the largest portion of blessing from those chambers of evil, which is translated into living a long healthy life of wealth and riches.]
  • Understanding why sinners live well: According to the above explanation it is understood why the sages state that we do not have understanding of the tranquility of the wicked and the suffering of the righteous. They specifically emphasize that “we,” which refers to the generation in times of exile, do not have understanding of this, as it is only in times of exile that it is possible for evil men to receive blessing.

3.      The exile of the divine presence caused by sin:

  • From all the above, one can understand the concept of the exile of the divine presence [i.e. the Shechina] and its connection to sin, as by sitting one causes the Divine presence that is represented in the divine lower letter Hei of the name Havayah to give vitality and divinity to the side of evil which God hates. [Thus, it is not God who decides to take His presence into exile, but it is rather we who exile His presence due to our actions.] Though

4.      Redeeming the divine presence through repentance:

  • When a person performs proper repentance, he stops the channel of divinity that comes from the divine letter Hei of G-d’s name, from flowing into the chambers of evil, as through repentance he returns the influence of the divine presence back to its rightful place. [This is similar to fixing a burst pipe. When one bursts a pipe not only does he get his room and floor all wet with water but furthermore he causes that the water does not reach its rightful destination where it is needed. By fixing the leak, not only does one prevent the floor from getting wet any longer but also returns the flow to its rightful place. When a person sins, it is as if he took a hammer and smashed the pipe to the point that it now leaks water onto the floor. By repenting, one has in essence fixed the pipe, and now prevents the floor from getting wet and returns the water back to its proper place.]
  • Returning the lower letter Hei: The stopping of the flow of divinity to the chambers of evil, and returning of the divine presence to its rightful place, is in essence the work of returning the lower letter Hei back to the divine name, back from exile. On this the verse states that “Hashem your God will return with your returnees,” as when one returns to God and does repentance, he consequently also returns God back from the state of exile that He was found in when His divine presence represented in the letter Hei was exiled to the chambers of evil.

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