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As Divided for a Regular Year
Tanya for 17 Cheshvan
Moreover, after his passing his chassidim continue to receive from him both spiritual benefactions which enhance their Torah study and divine service, and protection in material matters.
Following that Epistle the original editors  placed the present discourse, which the Alter Rebbe wrote by way of consolation to his illustrious colleague, relative-by-marriage, and dear friend, R. Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, following the tragic passing of his son.
Here the Alter Rebbe explains how the passing of a tzaddik "effects salvations in the midst of the earth," atoning even for intentional sins.]
This letter was written [by the Alter Rebbe] to his relative-by-marriage - the famous rabbi and Gaon, the G-dly man, the holy man of G-d,  Lamp of Israel, pillar of the right hand, mighty hammer  our master, R. Levi Yitzchak (may his soul rest in Eden), head of the Rabbinical Court of the holy community of Berditchev, to console him on the passing  of his son, the pious rabbi, R. Meir (may his soul rest in Eden).
- To teach you that just as the Heifer effects atonement, [so, too, does the passing of the righteous]."
Now it needs to be understood why [the passage concerning the passing of Miriam] was adjoined specifically to [the passage concerning] the Red Heifer (which was prepared outside the three camps,  [and as such was not a sacrifice proper], except that the Torah calls it  a sin-offering),  and it was not adjoined to the passage concerning the sin-offering that was prepared within, on the altar, [and as such effects] actual atonement.
[Alternatively, the Hebrew text could be understood to mean "on the actual altar of atonement," or (preferably) that the sin-offering was "actual atonement," unlike the Red Heifer which was primarily a rite of purification.
To revert to the question concerning the juxtaposition of the two passages, the Alter Rebbe explains that an offering connoted an "arousal from below," from the soul of the animal that derives from kelipat nogah.
This, in turn, elicited a reciprocal "arousal from Above," drawing down a finite order of Divine light that can permeate the finite world and be integrated and ingested within it.
(This characteristic explains why offerings are referred to as the "food of the altar.")
Being finite, thi s contracted order of Divine light was only able to effect atonement of unwitting sins, those that derive from undue domination by the animal soul which derives from kelipat nogah.
The Red Heifer, by contrast, produces the "sanctifying purification waters" (Kiddush mei chatas); i.e., it draws down an illumination from the most supremely sanctified levels of Divinity (Kodesh HaElyon) that utterly transcend this world.
This intense illumination can transform the darkness of Tohu into the light of Tikkun, and secure purification for even the harshest degree of impurity (Avi Avot HaTumah), which is far lower than kelipat nogah.
In the same way, the passing of a tzaddik draws down a Divine illumination that transcends the world, deriving as it does from that element within the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy which is called the Tikkun of Notzer.
The name of this Tikkun, which comprises the same letters as Ratzon, brings about an et ratzon, "an auspicious time," and secures atonement for the sins of the generation, even those that are committed willfully and that derive from the three completely impure kelipot.
In this regard, the passing of a tzaddik is thus more akin to the Red Heifer than to a sin-offering.]
They are an instance of the elevation of mayin nukvin (lit., "feminine waters"; i.e., a mortally-initiated spiritual arousal) deriving from the animal soul, [which receives its life-force from] kelipat nogah, [this elevation ascending] to their root and source, i.e., the forms of the four Animals of the Celestial Chariot which bear the Throne,  [as described in Ezekiel, ch. 1]: the Face of the Ox, and the Face of the Eagle, and so on.
[The former level of Divinity is the source of the souls of all animals, the latter is the source of the souls of all birds, these being the two categories of creatures from which offerings are brought.
(The other two categories, the Face of the Lion and the Face of Man, are alluded to in the closing phrase, "and so on.")
Offerings thus constitute an elevation and an "arousal from below" from a willing recipient toward the level of Divinity (here called the four Animals of the Chariot) which is the Source of all things within the finite world and which hence has a con nection with it.]
As a result, [reciprocating this arousal], the mayin duchrin [the "male waters" from the benefactor Above] are elicited and descend from the level of Divinity called [in Ezekiel] "the Man upon the Throne," Who is [also] referred to as Malka "[King]" and Z'eir Anpin [i.e., the bracket of six "masculine" attributes preceding the recipient or "feminine" Sefirah of Malchut].
The resultant illumination flows down to the world and becomes vested and integrated within it. Hence, as mentioned above, offerings are termed "food for the altar," for they draw down a level of Divine light which can be spiritually ingested.]
As for the burning of the Red Heifer, however, it is on account of the throwing in of the cedar wood and the hyssop, and so on, [the function of both of which is hamshachah, i.e., drawing down sanctity from Above],  and [moreover] the placing of running water into the ashes, that in the Mishnah  [this process] is called the "sanctification [Kiddush] of the purifying waters."
This relates - [not only etymologically] - to Kodesh Ha-Elyon "[the supreme sanctity]", referred to as Tala DiBedulcha [lit., "the Dew of Bdellium"; cf. the Torah's descriptions of the manna. 
Unlike the heavenly benefactions that are termed "rain", for rain results from an "arousal from below" (as it is written,  "And a vapor rose from the ground and watered..."), the above-described "dew" is a spontaneous "arousal from Above" that trans cends dependence on any antecedent "arousal from below."]
As stated in the sacred Zohar,  this [Tala DiBedulcha] is an expression of the Supreme Chochmah and the Mocha Setimaah of Arich Anpin; [i.e., it is the level of Chochmah within Keter which entirely transcends the world].
Of this [level of Chochmah and Mocha Setimaah] it is said in many places in the sacred Zohar that "through Chochmah they are refined" [and rectified];  and then, [when by means of the "sanctification of the purifying waters" Divine light is drawn down from this level], darkness is converted to light, that is, [to] the World of Tikkun, which becomes refined and rectified by means of the Mocha Setimaah of Arich Anpin; [i.e., the World of Tikkun is refined and rectified] from the World of Tohu and the Breaking of the Vessels [whose sparks] fell into [the Worlds of] Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah, and so on, as is known.
[The spiritual task of the Jew is to extract, refine and elevate these sparks.]
This is why [the Red Heifer] purifies one from defile-ment [contracted by contact] with a corpse, even though this [corpse] is the ultimate degree [of impurity], and far, far lower than Nogah.
[For the "sanctification of the purifying waters" is drawn down from the supreme Chochmah and the Mocha Setimaah of Arich Anpin, an illumination that transcends the world so utterly that it is able to transform the world's darkness into light.
- (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "See the `Approbation of the ... sons ... of the ... author' which appears at the beginning of Tanya, [and which states that they were responsible for arranging the manuscript letters of Iggeret HaKodesh for publication]."
- (Back to text) Cf. II Melachim 4:9.
- (Back to text) Cf. the metaphors used by the Sages in Berachot 28b to denote resounding scholarship.
- (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "In the year 5566 ."
- (Back to text) Bamidbar 20:1ff.
- (Back to text) Ibid., ch. 19.
- (Back to text) Moed Katan 28a.
- (Back to text) S.v. Mah parah. See also Rashi on the beginning of Parshat Chukat.
- (Back to text) Cf. Rashi on Bamidbar 19:3, based on Yoma 68a.
- (Back to text) Cf. Rashi on verse 9, based on Avodah Zarah 23b and Chullin 11a.
- (Back to text) Text and parentheses here follow a gloss of the Rebbe Shlita in He'arot VeTikkunim, concerning a variant ms. reading which omitted the six Hebrew words here translated as "the three camps, except that the Torah calls it a sin-offering."
There the Rebbe Shlita refers the reader to the "Important Notification" (Modaah Rabbah) at the beginning of the edition of 5660 , which states that Iggeret HaKodesh was carefully proofread against various mss. for that edition, which was not the case with earlier printings.
- (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "Concerning the text which follows, see at length in Likkutei Torah, beginning of Parshat Chukat."
- (Back to text) I, 64b.
- (Back to text) Likkutei Torah of the AriZal, Parshat Vayikra.
- (Back to text) Bechaye, Parshat Terumah 25:10, et al.
- (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "So it is explained here. But see Likkutei Torah, Chukat, loc. cit., especially the conclusion of the passage beginning Tosefet Biur on the maamar beginning VeYikchu Eilecha (p. 61b), [where the Alter Rebbe explains that the cedar wood and the hyssop relate to the avodah of elevation, whereas only the addition of the waters is an avodah of drawing Divine energy downward]."
- (Back to text) Parah, ch. 6.
- (Back to text) Bamidbar 11:7 and Shmot 16:13.
- (Back to text) Bereishit 2:6.
- (Back to text) Cf. Zohar III, 128b.
- (Back to text) Gloss of the Rebbe Shlita to Likkutei Biurim LeTanya by Rabbi Yehoshua Korf: "See Torah Or, Parshat Bereishit, the discourse beginning VaYomer ... Hein HaAdam; ibid., Megillat Esther, the discourse beginning U'vevoah; in the supplements there, the discourse beginning LeHavin Inyan Chalav U'Dvash, sec. 2. See also Zohar II, 254b; Etz Chayim, Shaar 18, sec. 5; Mavo She'arim, Shaar 5, 1:2; Sefer HaMitzvot by the Tzemach Tzedek, Issur Avodat Baal-Mum; et al; - where these contradictions are resolved."
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