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I Will Write It In Their Hearts - Volume 1
Letters from the Lubavitcher Rebbe

The Divine service asked of a yeshivah student

Translated by: Rabbi Eli Touger

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No. 25

This letter was written in response to holiday greetings sent by the students of the Lubavitcher Yeshivah in Montreal, and the members of the community which gathered around that yeshivah. That yeshivah, like the Central Lubavitcher Yeshivah, carries the name Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim. Hence the elaboration on the name Tamim.
B"H, 8 Tishrei, 5703
Greetings and blessings,

In response to your blessings for the new year: [Our Sages teach:] "Whoever gives blessings will be blessed"[1] with blessings... whose accruement exceeds the principal.

The name Tamim refers to someone who is perfect in the observance of the Torah and its mitzvos. As our Sages taught,[2] the 248 positive commandments parallel the 248 limbs of the body, and the 365 negative commandments parallel the 365 sinews.

Chassidus, which reveals the inner meaning contained in every matter, explains[3] that to be perfect in [the observance of] the Torah, one's observance should reflect how Havayah is Elokecha.[4] Havayah [refers to the Torah], because all of the mitzvos of the Torah are dependent on one of the letters of the name Havayah. [This spiritual potential] should become Elokecha, your strength and your vitality. [The intent is that] a person's study should unite him with the Torah, [as implied by the expression,] "with his Torah in his hand."[5] This is accomplished through preparing [oneself through] the Divine service of prayer.[6]

When a person sins and transgresses, he creates a blemish, crippling himself, as it were. The way to correct this blemish is through teshuvah, for teshuvah brings healing to this world.[7]

Healing, however, has an effect only from the present on, for a trace of the blemish the person created remains;[8] the person does not become perfect as he was before.

This can be accomplished only by a higher degree of teshuvah, the teshuvah emanating from a powerful love from the depths of the heart which transforms sins into merits.[9] This extracts the very roots of the sin.

The attainment of this level of teshuvah, turning to G-d "with all your might,"[10] comes about through the influence of a Rebbe. For "a wise man removes [the vow] as if it never was."[11] For he searches for and finds an opening through which the sinner himself will seek regret.

It is possible to draw a connection to the possibility of creating an opening [for the sinner to regret his] transgression and for the fact that it is a wise man who can [assist him to] find it from our Sages' statement (Sukkah 52b) that there are four entities which the Holy One created and regrets having made.

May we soon merit the coming of Mashiach who will motivate the righteous - whose Divine service reflects a commitment "with all your soul"[12] to turn [to G-d] in teshuvah,[13] [thus reaching the unbounded commitment of] "with all your might."[14]

With blessings for an inscription for a good year, and the fulfillment of the promise "Immediately to teshuvah, immediately to life, and immediately to Redemption."

Menachem Schneerson
Chairman of the Executive Committee

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) [Sotah 38b.]

  2. (Back to text) [Makkos 23b; Zohar I, p. 170b.]

  3. (Back to text) Likkutei Torah, the maamar entitled Ki HaMitzvah, sec. 11, et. al.

  4. (Back to text) [As explained in Chassidic texts (See VeYadaata, 5657, et al.), the two names Havayah and Elokim refer to different manifestations of G-d's attributes. Havayah (derived from a rearrangement of the letters of the name v-u-v-h) refers to the infinite dimension of G-dliness, while Elokim refers to the dimension of G-dliness which is the source for the natural order.]

  5. (Back to text) [Pesachim 50a.]

  6. (Back to text) See Torah Or, the maamar entitled HaBo'im Yashrish, and Likkutei Torah, the maamar entitled Ki Savo'u... vishavsa, et al.

  7. (Back to text) [Yoma 86a.]

  8. (Back to text) Ibid.

  9. (Back to text) [Yoma 86b, Tanya, ch. 7.]

  10. (Back to text) [Deuteronomy 6:5. Chassidus interprets "with all your might" as referring to an unbounded commitment. With regard to the connection to the service of teshuvah,] see Likkutei Torah, the maamer entitled Vilo Avah, and its explanation.

  11. (Back to text) Kesubos 74b.

    [See the Tzafnas Panei'ach who explains the difference between the following two laws: The Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Ishus 7:8-9 states:

    If [a man] establishes a marriage bond with [a woman] on the condition that she is not bound by vows, [and it is discovered that] she was bound by vows, but she went to a wise man who nullified them for her, the marriage bond is binding.

    If [a man] establishes a marriage bond with [a woman] on the condition that she does not have physical blemishes and she has blemishes, the marriage bond is not binding, even if she goes to a doctor who heals these blemishes.

    The difference between the nullification of vows by a wise man and the healing of blemishes by a doctor can be explained as follows: The wise man nullifies the vow at its source, causing it to be considered as if it had never been taken. Thus retroactively it is as if the woman had not been bound by a vow at the time of the establishment of the marriage bond. A doctor, by contrast, can heal a blemish only from the present onward and often a trace of the blemish remains. Therefore the marriage bond is not binding. (Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XVII, p. 185.)]

  12. (Back to text) [Deuteronomy, loc. cit.]

  13. (Back to text) [Zohar III, p. 153b.]

  14. (Back to text) Deuteronomy, loc. cit. The connection to the service of teshuvah is developed in Tanya, Iggeres HaKodesh, Epistle 4, and Likkutei Torah, the maamar entitled Lehavin Inyan Yom Tov Sheni Shel Galiyos.


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