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Tanya for Shabbos, 14 Elul, 5775 - August 29, 2015

As Divided for a Regular Year

Tanya for 14 Elul

13 Elul, 5775 - August 28, 201515 Elul, 5775 - August 30, 2015

And this is the meaning of what was said by King David, peace be to him, [who was [20] of the attribute of Gevurah,] "How abundant is Your goodness [which You have hidden away for those who fear You]." That is to say that the attribute of goodness and Chesed, which is in a state of concealment and hiding within those whose soul-root derives from the "left", [i.e., from Gevurah,] and who are referred to as "those who fear You," resembling the [above-mentioned] trait of Beit Sham-mai, - though this is a concealed and hidden goodness, beneath a dominant surface of Gevurah, it is nevertheless truly as abundant and immense as the attribute of Gedulah [21] and Chesed, which is of the "right".

[Although the element of Chesed within those described as "those that fear You" is concealed, for their soul-root derives essentially from Gevurah, it is latent within them just as abundantly as it is found within those who are essentially of the "right".]

Moreover, both [degrees of Chesed] - [that which is dominant in the souls deriving from the "right" as well as that incorporated in the souls deriving from the "left"] - are manifest without limit, measure or dimension.

And this is the meaning of the phrase, "How abundant is Your goodness"; i.e., [it applies in both cases] without limit and measure; whether it be the goodness "which You have hidden away for those who fear You," or that which "You have wrought for those who trust in You," referring to the trusting ones who derive from the "right", [A person trusts his beloved friend to act in his best interests. In the same way, those whose souls stem from the "right" and who serve G-d with Chesed and love, place their trust in Him.] and whose kindness and goodness are also in a state of manifestation and expansiveness before [the sight of] man, and by no means in a state of contraction and concealment.

[We can now understand why the verse begins by saying "hidden away for those who fear You" and concludes with the manifest state of "before man":

The verse is alluding to two forms of Chesed - in its concealed state, as possessed by "those who fear You," and in its revealed state, as possessed by "those who trust in You."]

( [22] The reason the verse says "FOR those who fear You," [which would seem to imply that the Chesed from above is granted to them as a reward,] rather than "IN those who fear You," is, that whatever is in a state of concealment within any soul is not vested within the body - in the individual's mind and heart, [for they are incapable of receiving it.]

Rather, it encompasses [the individual] from above, so to speak, and thence it radiates to his mind and heart at those times which require an arousal of the attribute in question, so that it will be aroused and will illumine his mind and heart in order to result in actual deeds.)

[For example, a person whose charitable contributions are customarily limited will have revealed to him the concealed and infinite attribute of Chesed, which will prompt him to give tzedakah unstintingly.]

[King David] therefore said that whereas the "abundance of goodness" of the House of Israel, [both] that which is hidden and that which is manifest, is (so to speak) without limit and measure (relative to the category of their soul vested in the body), [The kindness of a finite creature is by definition limited. However, it may be termed infinite in relation to the soul vested in the body.] therefore "You, too, O G-d, relate to them with the attribute of Your unlimited and infinitely great Chesed, [which is of the level known as Gedulah, and] which is called rav Chesed" - [the Chesed of Arich Anpin that utterly transcends the lesser Chesed of Z-eir Anpin, from which the worlds evolve by means of the Seder Hishtalshelut.]

"For there is Chesed and [then] there is [a far higher form of] Chesed" [23] There is Chesed olam [lit., "Chesed of the world" - i.e.,] a worldlike [and hence finite] Chesed, that has an opposite counterpart - the attribute of din, [of severe justice,] heaven forfend, which would diminish and contract [G-d's] goodness.

The superior form of Chesed, however, which is called rav Chesed, does not have the attribute of din opposed to it, to diminish and contract the abundance of [G-d's] benevolence from extending without limit or end.

For it derives from the level of [Divinity called] Sovev Kol Almin, [which transcends (lit., "encompasses") all worlds and limitations,] and from [the level of Divinity called] Temira DeChol Temirin [lit., "that which is hidden [even] from all the hidden [worlds]," which is called Keter Elyon [lit., "the Supernal Crown"), i.e., the utterly transcendent level of Divinity known as Keter.]

This, then, is the meaning of the verse [which follows our opening quotation, and which continues to speak of "those who fear You" and "those who trust in You":] "Hide them in the concealment of Your innermost dimension..." [for, as explained above, Panim denotes both "countenance" and "inwardness";] "conceal them in a sukkah..." [i.e., in the sublime level of Chesed which, deriving from the above-mentioned level of Keter, transcends the Seder Hishtalshelut, and will encompass them like a sukkah.]

Supplement by the Rebbe Shlita

The thrust of the above letter, which was delivered by an emissary who was to collect contributions for charity, is that even those who serve G-d by means of their soul-root in the "left", - even if, like Beit Shammai, they are totally righteous individuals (who need not give tzedakah [for the sake of atonement]; cf. "for we are not complete," as explained above in Iggeret HaKodesh, Epistle 10), - nevertheless, they too possess "an abundant and immense" degree of Chesed. "At those times which require it," moreover, "it results in actual deeds."

This is explicit in the concluding passage of the letter which was not printed "by the rabbis, long may they live, sons of the illustrious author of blessed memory, whose soul is in Eden," and which reads as follows: [24]]

And after the above words, from the depths of my soul I seek to arouse the [infinite] abundance of benevolence that is concealed in the heart of every individual in the chassidic brotherhood, [25] [so that it be manifested] from concealment to revelation and be translated into action, and so that you will all "fill your hands unto G-d" by giving charity with a full and open hand through the trusted bearer of this message - and what is written [above] in the letter should suffice for the discerning.

I am not spelling it out, for this is not necessary; the above will suffice. These are the words of one who loves you with all his soul, and who seeks your welfare with heartfelt and soulful longing.

[At this point the Alter Rebbe signs:]

Shneur Zalman, the son of my master, my father, our mentor and Rebbe, Rabbi Baruch

[The Rebbe Shlita adds: "The above passage [which makes it clear that the foregoing teachings were intended to find practical expression in the giving of tzedakah] enables us to understand the relevance here of the first part of this letter, which otherwise should seemingly have begun with Vehine Kol Ish Yisrael - `Now every Jew needs to comprise...."'



  1. (Back to text) Zohar III, 204a.

  2. (Back to text) This term denotes the Divine attribute of Chesed; see Shaar HaYichud VehaEmunah, ch. 4.

  3. (Back to text) Parentheses are in the original text.

  4. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "Zohar III, 133b."

  5. (Back to text) See Igrot Kodesh (Letters) of the Alter Rebbe (Kehot, N.Y., 5740), p. 47ff.

  6. (Back to text) In the Hebrew original, this phrase is abbreviated as Anash.

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