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As Divided for a Regular Year
Tanya for 11 Av
But it is well known that an arousal from above comes only in response to an arousal from below, [A man's soul is stimulated from above only in response to the spiritual service that he initiates here below. Even an effusion of Divine benevolence that comes exclusively from above, and can neither be brought into being nor drawn down by man's service alone, also awaits a previous arousal from below,] as an elevation of mayin nukvin; [i.e., by an arousal of the "feminine waters" by which the recipient elicits the mayin de-churin - the downward flow ("masculine waters") - emanating from the Giver.]
As our Sages, of blessed memory, said:  "No drop [of rain] descends from above [without two corresponding drops first ascending from below]." A man must therefore perform the beginning of this milah by himself, to remove the "foreskin" of the heart and the coarse and thin husks which clothe and cover its innermost point, this [innermost point being] a love of G-d in the spirit of the phrase, "for the sake of your life" -[ i.e., a love that springs from an awareness that G-dliness is the person's entire life] - [this love of G-d being] in exile among the desires of this world.
These [physical desires] likewise exist in the spirit of the phrase, "for the sake of your life," in [that aspect of the universe which is] the opposing counterpart [to holiness], as mentioned above.
[It is thus possible for an individual to be so dedicated to his passions and desires that they are his entire life. For just as this state exists in holiness, it also has its counterpart in the opposite direction, whereby one is immersed in desires to the innermost core of his heart and being.]
And this [removal of the spiritual foreskin] is achieved by giving charity to G-d from one's money, which is his vitality, [It has been noted earlier, in Part I, ch. 37, that since money enables a man to purchase life's essentials, parting with it in favor of charitable ends is equated to giving his "very vitality" to G-d,] especially with a person whose income is limited and who is very hard pressed at the time, for - [when he gives]- he gives of his very life.
This is especially so if he supports himself by the toil of his hands. For it is impossible that in his work he did not often involve "the innermost point of the heart," the depth of his heart, as is the way of the world when people are occupied with business and the like.
Thus, now that he disburses the fruits of his toil unstintingly, [despite his circumstances,] and gives unto G-d with joy and with a gladsome heart, he thereby redeems his soul from the pit. 
That is, [he redeems] the innermost point of his heart which was in a state of exile and captivity within the coarse or thin kelipah.
For thus it is written:  "Guard your heart with the greatest vigilance" [lit., "Guard your heart from every mishmar"], "mishmar" meaning a prison. [The verse is thus exhorting us to "guard our hearts from being imprisoned and exiled in kelipot and desires."]
Thus, through present charity, [the innermost point of the heart] is now redeemed from the forces of evil [in which it had been imprisoned.]
This also explains the term periah, which suggests  periat chov ["removing a debt"], for [the individual in question] had become indebted and subjected to the forces of evil that had ruled within him over the innermost point of his heart.
Through this we can understand the meaning of [the above-quoted phrase], "and her [former spiritual] captives  [shall be redeemed] through tzedakah."
- (Back to text) Zohar III, 247b; cf. Taanit 25b.
- (Back to text) Cf. Iyov 33:28.
- (Back to text) Mishlei 4:23.
- (Back to text) See Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 37: "And the blood... from the periah to provide nurture". Similarly at the conclusion of Tikkun 24. See also Sefer HaMitzvot by the Tzemach Tzedek, Mitzvat Eglah Arufah; Levush on Yoreh Deah 265:10. (Note of the Reb be Shlita.)
- (Back to text) The Hebrew Veshoveha can mean either "her returning expatriates" or "her captives."
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