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As Divided for a Regular Year
Tanya for 21 Tamuz
And how is the heart to be broken and humbled?
Only a very minor part of this can be accomplished through mortification and fasts, in these generations of ours, when we have not the strength to fast as much as did King David; as our Sages comment  on the verse [uttered by him],  "And my heart is slain within me" - " for he had destroyed [his Evil Inclination] by fasting."
But the true humbling of the heart, so that it be broken and crushed, and so that the spirit of impurity and sitra achra will be removed, is achieved through being a "master of accounting" with all the profundity of one's mind.
[One's personal stocktaking should be as scrupulous as the accounting made by the master or owner of a business, to whom every detail is critical].
One should concentrate his intellect and understanding deeply for a period  every day, or at night before Tikkun Chatzot, to contemplate how through his sins he has brought about the exile of the Divine Presence, as noted above, and caused his spirit and Divine soul to be uprooted from the Divine Source of all Life, and demeaned it to a place of defilement and death, namely, the chambers of the sitra achra, [his soul] becoming a vehicle for them.
[Just as a vehicle has no will of its own and is completely subservient to the desires of its driver, so, too, is his soul subservient to the impure chambers of the sitra achra from whence it derives nurture], receiving from them vitality to endow his body, as noted above - [that the nurture and life-force of the sinner emanate from the kelipot and sitra achra.
Meditation along these lines will bring a man to a state of contrition - itself a fit offering to the Divine Name Elokim].
Thus our Sages declared  that "the wicked while alive [lit., "in their life]" are called `dead'."
This means to say, that their life is derived from the site of death and impurity - [from the chambers of the kelipot and sitra achra, as opposed to holiness, which is true life].
Rather, the reference is to the wicked who, while alive, are called dead, [and being spiritually dead are unable to praise G-d], for they are confused with alien thoughts while yet in their wickedness, and do not desire repentance, as is known.)
[While in such a state, the evil person will find it well nigh impossible to praise G-d fittingly, because of the confusing alien thoughts which are thrust upon him.
Thus, an individual will become contrite of heart when he contemplates how his soul has been uprooted from its Source because of a sin incurring excision or death by divine agency.
The Alter Rebbe now goes on to say that even sins which do not carry so harsh a penalty may still have the same effect].
- (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "Conclusion of Yerushalmi, Berachot; quoted as well in [Tanya,] Part I, chapter 1."
- (Back to text) Tehillim 109:22.
- (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "At a pinch this phrase could be said to mean an actual hour, like the preparatory period before prayer."
- (Back to text) Berachot 18b.
- (Back to text) Parentheses are in the original text.
- (Back to text) Tehillim 115:17.
- (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "For this is so utterly forbidden that our Sages have said, `One should not go ...." (Berachot 18a)."
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