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Tanya for Friday, 29 Kislev, 5782 - December 3, 2021

As Divided for a Leap Year

Tanya for 29 Kislev

28 Kislev, 5782 - December 2, 202130 Kislev, 5782 - December 4, 2021

Chapter Four

In addition [to its ten faculties - discussed in chapter 3], every divine soul [nefesh elokit] possesses three garments.

[The soul possesses three auxiliary powers, which are its instruments of expression.

Like garments, they can be donned or shed at will.

When the soul utilizes any of these three powers it is `clothed' in them; when it does not use them, it is `divested' of them.

Also, just as garments give expression to their wearer's beauty and importance, so, too, when the soul dons and utilizes these `garments', its intellect and emotion find expression.]

They [the garments] are: thought, speech and action [as they find expression] in the 613 commandments of the Torah.

[The Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain how the divine soul expresses itself through these three garments.]

For, when a person actively fulfills all the precepts which require physical action [e.g., when he dons the tefillin or fulfills the commandment of tzitzit, etc.], and with his power of speech he occupies himself in expounding all the 613 commandments and the laws governing their fulfillments, [i.e., the person's speech is immersed in the study of Torah which includes the exposition of the commandments.

For example, Tractate Berachot deals with the commandments and the laws of blessings; Tractate Shabbat deals with the commandments and laws of Shabbat observance, etc.], and with his power of thought he comprehends all that he is capable of understanding in the Pardes [i.e., the four levels] of Torah, then all of his soul's 613 `organs' are clothed in the 613 commandments of the Torah.

[The word Pardes, whose literal meaning is `orchard', is here used as an acronym of the four Hebrew words, Pshat, Remez, Derush and Sod, meaning, respectively: plain sense, intimation, homiletical exposition and esoteric meaning - the four levels of Scriptural interpretation.

Just as the human body consists of 248 organs and 365 blood vessels, corresponding to the Torah's 248 positive commandments and 365 prohibitive commandments (613 in all), the soul similarly comprises 613 `organs' - the spiritual counterpart of the 613 bodily organs - each `organ' corresponding to a specific commandment.

When, through its three `garments' (thought, speech and action), the soul embraces all 613 commandments, then all 613 `organs' of the soul are enclothed in all 613 commandments - each `organ' of the soul in its related commandment.

(Note the Alter Rebbe's emphasis of the word `all' (`all the precepts which require physical action, `in expounding all the 613 commandments, `all that he is capable of understanding').

Should his `garments' fail to include all 613 commandments - were he to omit one specific commandment - then the corresponding `organ' of the soul will remain bereft of its mitzvah-`garment'.)

Thus we see, in a general sense, how fulfillment of all the commandments with one's thought, speech and action, `clothes' the entire soul in all 613 commandments of the Torah.

The Alter Rebbe now goes on to specify which components of the soul are `clothed' by which particular garment.]

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